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First Video Game orchestra score


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#1 Majestic_Mastermind   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 01:33 PM

Just tried my hand at a video game orchestra piece, it's my first one so I'm looking forward to any feedback, good and bad and what I can do to improve because I know there are professional composers on this forum.

http://soundcloud.com/majestic8390/for-glory-vg-orchestra-score/

Sponsor:

#2 Moritz P.G. Katz   Members   -  Reputation: 1041

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 02:54 PM

Hey Lavontae,

Not bad - I can hear what you were aiming for.

I think what bothers me most is your percussion, it sounds a bit dull and doesn't seem to be happening in the same room as the other instruments. Also, they just play the accents all the time (even the same accents the brass instruments play) without any drive or continuity. Sounds more like a dancehall rhythm than big orchestral instrumentation.
What I also miss is some more variation. Sure, you have the strings drop out and fade in again, but basically it's the same one-bar motive throughout the whole track. Which can work fine, but then you'll need a more distinct climax and really push the dynamics.

Hope I'm not being to harsh! Just keep doing what you do, keep motivated, hear music, practice, make music with other people, get feedback. Never stop learning! :)

Cheers,
Moritz

Check out my Music/Sound Design Reel on moritzpgkatz.de


#3 Majestic_Mastermind   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 04:49 PM

Thanks this is helpful info

What makes good orchestra percussion as far as accent ? Should it be somewhat random?

#4 Moritz P.G. Katz   Members   -  Reputation: 1041

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 07:15 PM

Thanks this is helpful info

What makes good orchestra percussion as far as accent ? Should it be somewhat random?

Well, first of we'll have to put "orchestral" in quotes here. I'm not talking about timpani here, but about those big tribal toms you hear in many battle and action movie tracks, and this is what you aimed for, obviously.
Not sure I got your question, but here's what I wanted to say earlier: I like to have at least one of those percussion elements "marching" on 4ths, 8ths or 16th notes, depending on the tempo of the track. When you watch a good drummer, he's constantly tapping the hihat pedal with his foot to give a clear pulse, even if he's playing the freakiest rhythm groupings across his whole set. It's kinda the same here.
If you're asking about where to place your accents, well that's like asking what notes work really well. Play around and try to think out of the box. Why not try to compose an odd meter like 5/4 for practice, or just have some of your higher toms play groups of 5/8 over a low 4/4 beat? Getting to know the effects of different rhythmic structures is half the deal in composing any modern music. Thinking in those groups was actually a big part of my musical education, and it can really help visualizing and playing music as well as coming up with new rhythmic ideas that can in turn bring you to new melodic ideas as well...

Okay, this may be a bit confusing, so let me lay it down for you:

What you did with your Toms was:

1–2–3–4–1–2–3–4–1–2–3–4–1–2–3–4–

X--O--O-X--O--O-X--O--O-X--O--O-

Which is a simple group of 3/8 over 4/4. - "X" marks the start of the group.
You can keep this group of 3/8 running longer than one bar though, then it will shift the beat in a really neat way:

1–2–3–4–1–2–3–4–1–2–3–4–1–2–3–4–

X--O--O--O--O--O--O--O--X--O--O-
So you see, this group will loop every 3 bars. And you can do the same with 5, 7, 9... or any given mixture of numbers.

Just play around with it, and don't forget giving it all a nice pulse, which is more important than anything I just wrote.

Cheers,
Moritz

Check out my Music/Sound Design Reel on moritzpgkatz.de


#5 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3630

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Posted 08 November 2011 - 05:50 PM

Hey,

Much of what Moritz is spot on. This isn't a bad cue it just needs some TLC in the mixing and production depts - especially the drums. The low hits are way too dry for an orchestral, epic piece. Imagine you're hitting a huge drum. What will the sound do? Just die off suddenly? Or will it echo? Old armies used to have war drums that would create loud, booming sounds to help scare the other army. You want these drum sounds to be soul shattering - not just sound too loud then die off with no reverberance. I do like your use of dynamics! I feel the overall song structure could use a bit of tweaking - for example the first ostinato just comes in then drops off. Maybe there's a more effective method for "glueing" these various sections together and really making the piece feel organic.

Aside from those things, try experimenting with tempo settings (fluid rather than static tempos) and do even more with volume/modulation automation to make the piece sound as good as possible. Your samples are not bad - you just need to produce them a bit more effectively.

For a first orchestral attempt, you've done a great job here. Thanks for sharing!

nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#6 Majestic_Mastermind   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 11 November 2011 - 01:07 PM

Thanks for the criticism and feedback

Here's an updated version

I changed the drums so it wouldn't sound so repetitive, added some echo delay and reverb to it also

http://soundcloud.com/majestic8390/for-glory-vg-orchestra-score/

#7 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3630

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 03:23 PM

Hey,

I just checked this out again:

- from 0:13 - 0:23 the ostinato stays at one steady volume and just sits. I think this would be a good spot to experiment with some horn/pad notes to add more tension and carry the forward momentum more. After hearing the same pattern for 23 seconds, the listener can start to think "Alright, I get it! What's next?!"

- 0:23 - 0:30 provides a nice transition into the next section.

- The low impact sounds are still way too dry and stale to my ears.

- The drop off at 1:05 is way too sudden and lacks polish. I can appreciate a sudden drop off but what happens here sounds more like a mistake than a deliberate effect. I know that might sound harsh but compositionally it's pretty weak. Remember that the two things to create drama or emotion in music are tension and release. You need to have a balance of both to make the music have more impact. I wish you would prepare big drop offs like this better - maybe have the tempo start to increase slightly, the volume/modulation automation builds and just when it seems it cannot grow anymore - everything drops out from underneath.

- The section around 1:13 is pretty strong - until those low drums come back in. I know you said reverb was added but I cannot really hear the soul-shattering, low drum impacts that a dramatic orchestral tune would need.

Here's what low, deep impact sounds should sound like:

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=zh0Oh5zF2iA





In these cues you'll hear that while the low impacts have weight and presence it isn't overpowering the ensemble - it's enhancing it. Plus the drum impact sounds feel and sound like they were performed with the ensemble in the same performance place. Your drum sounds feel like they were superimposed after the fact in a different room/space and in some cases overpower the recording. Keep it up! Producing orchestral music is highly challenging but fun!

Note: Some of the Youtube videos have horrible compression on the audio, so take that with a grain of salt. Do you listen to many film scores? If not, you should! They can be highly inspirational.

Thanks for sharing again!

Nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#8 Eigen   Members   -  Reputation: 520

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 06:27 AM

You should take a listen of some Medal of Honor Allied Assault music. They had really epic orchestral music that still plays in my music player today. It, of course, is live music.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=-ELFxB-tGhE
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=6OJ2qVbkcHs
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=NTxn7kqLDSY (the best drum sound is around 0:46 - 0:52 .. that cymbal is great)
Listen to that low end string and how much it adds to it.


#9 Majestic_Mastermind   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 06:46 PM

I will check it out thanks




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