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Advice for this piece


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#1 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:41 AM

Hi,

I've been writing this piece for a game called Monk, if you could give any advice on how to improve this piece it would be greatly appreciated.
This piece is meant to be played when you're walking around in the fantasy world of Monk.
I am getting a better VSTi soon as well so it will sound more like an orchestra.

Thanks,
Caleb

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#2 jischneider   Members   -  Reputation: 252

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:57 AM

I’m not a music expert (far from it). I just want to hear your work and it sounds good!!! Good work! That does not mean that it will compatible with the game, your song sounds dramatic, if your game is not then you have a problem.

But I find something, the volume is very low. Professional music always has a similar volume and I feel that this song has very low volume. Like I said I am not a professional, so don’t be mad with me.

Good luck with this!!! Bye!

Project page: < XNA FINAL Engine >


#3 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:07 AM

I’m not a music expert (far from it). I just want to hear your work and it sounds good!!! Good work! That does not mean that it will compatible with the game, your song sounds dramatic, if your game is not then you have a problem.

But I find something, the volume is very low. Professional music always has a similar volume and I feel that this song has very low volume. Like I said I am not a professional, so don’t be mad with me.

Good luck with this!!! Bye!


Thanks anything helps :)
I really appreciate your advice :)

#4 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3629

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:21 AM

Hi Caleb,

Thanks for sharing! Since this is for a video game it would be really helpful to see it in context, if you can. However I fully understand NDAs and how some projects prefer to keep things hidden until it's launched.

It's a good idea you're looking for better samples because that's really what is killing your piece right now. Higher quality samples, which offer more variety in the style of attacks and playing will add more realism to your music. But there are several things you can do even with sub-par quality samples to make the music come more alive. In my opinion the real problem with this piece isn't the actual music for the most part - it's the production of it. And everything is way too static.

Remember good music is all about tension and release. Here are some things to look over:

- Dynamics: I hear some dynamics in your music but it's very limited. Consider adding more.

- Automation: Polish out some of your phrase endings (or even phrase beginnings) with automation instead of just having a note linger then cut off. Even a slight, nuanced change can really be nice.

- Ebb and flow in tempo: Very few ensembles play at exactly the same tempo for a full piece. Look for spots where the energy can push forward as well as slow down. Of course this is genre specific. Most dance/electronic music stays at one steady tempo. But this is orchestral which is totally different.

- More layers: I realize that this piece is fantasty based but it took over 3 minutes for the instrumentation to really flourish. There's some change up before that but the material is so constant and similar that a casual listener may not even catch that change. So much of the same idea was presented so instead of restating exactly what has already been played consider changing tonality. Change up inversions of your chord/melody writing.

- Textural change: Much of the music is pretty full, with mostly a full string section present at all times. And it's mostly long notes. Even the breaks you provide at spots like 1:19 can get old because they're always presented the same way (for the most part). This "flavor" can get old. Maybe try dropping out everything but one instrument after a while to see how they tickles the ear and re-engages the listener. The last thing you want is to have your listener begin to tune you out because all you're giving him (or her) is very similar material.

- No percussion at all? Really? I realize this is an ambient fantasty piece but even a timpani/cymbal swell and/or crash here and there could really add some forward momentum and emphasis.

- Does it loop? RIght now there sounds like definite intro and ending chunks. It's fine if it doesn't but if you intend for it to loop then you might want to redraft some of the material to make it really work. And to be honest you start to lose me at around 6:40-ish when the material starts to almost sound like it's wandering off into a new piece. I like that you're adding new material but it's right at the end. It's an odd placement. I'd consider editing that out and saving it for a new track altogether.

- Everything sounds like it's panned to the center. You'll be able to get a fuller, deeper sound if you begin to pan certain layers either to the left or right channels.

Those are just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

Thanks,

Nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#5 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:30 AM

Hi Caleb,

Thanks for sharing! Since this is for a video game it would be really helpful to see it in context, if you can. However I fully understand NDAs and how some projects prefer to keep things hidden until it's launched.

It's a good idea you're looking for better samples because that's really what is killing your piece right now. Higher quality samples, which offer more variety in the style of attacks and playing will add more realism to your music. But there are several things you can do even with sub-par quality samples to make the music come more alive. In my opinion the real problem with this piece isn't the actual music for the most part - it's the production of it. And everything is way too static.

Remember good music is all about tension and release. Here are some things to look over:

- Dynamics: I hear some dynamics in your music but it's very limited. Consider adding more.

- Automation: Polish out some of your phrase endings (or even phrase beginnings) with automation instead of just having a note linger then cut off. Even a slight, nuanced change can really be nice.

- Ebb and flow in tempo: Very few ensembles play at exactly the same tempo for a full piece. Look for spots where the energy can push forward as well as slow down.

- More layers: I realize that this piece is fantasty based but it took over 3 minutes for the instrumentation to really flourish. There's some change up before that but the material is so constant and similar that a casual listener may not even catch that change. So much of the same idea was presented so instead of restating exactly what has already been played consider changing tonality. Change up inversions of your chord/melody writing.

- Textural change: Much of the music is pretty full, with mostly a full string section present at all times. This "flavor" can get old. Maybe try dropping out everything but one instrument after a while to see how they tickles the ear and re-engages the listener.

- No percussion at all? Really? I realize this is an ambient fantasty piece but even a timpani/cymbal swell and/or crash here and there could really add some forward momentum and emphasis.

- Does it loop? RIght now there sounds like definite intro and ending chunks. It's fine if it doesn't but if you intend for it to loop then you might want to redraft some of the material to make it really work.

- Everything sounds like it's panned to the center. You'll be able to get a fuller, deeper sound if you begin to pan certain layers either to the left or right channels.

Those are just my thoughts. Thanks for sharing. Good luck!

Thanks,

Nate


Thankyou :)
I'll take all of this into consideration and I really appreciate your help :)
Would you be able to explain by what you mean in the 'automation' side of things a bit more?

#6 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3629

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:42 AM

Sure, automation is where you can "draw" the curves and lines to impact all kinds of parameters like volume, expression, modulation etc. So depending on the kind of samples you're using, this can change things dynamically in your production. I don't know what program you're using to produce this track but here's a quick-n-dirty youtube video of Logic Pro 8's automation (some of the steps and features may change based on what program you're using but it will still give you a basic understanding):



Thanks,

Nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#7 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:44 AM

Sure, automation is where you can "draw" the curves and lines to impact all kinds of parameters like volume, expression, modulation etc. So depending on the kind of samples you're using, this can change things dynamically in your production. I don't know what program you're using to produce this track but here's a quick-n-dirty youtube video of Logic Pro 8's automation: (some of the steps and features may change based on what program you're using but it will still give you a basic understanding)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhgBnmtGR2s


Thanks so much :)
This helps a lot :)




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