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Request for comment newbie music track

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Hello, I'm trying to come up with a brassy battle-like track. I am using Reason plus a Miroslav brass sample set. Basically I haven't done much sharing of any of my music with anyone who knows anything about music, so basically anything is fair game; composition stuff, balance, anything. http://peteyg.net/stuff/bigbrassballs2a.mp3 Please tell me what sucks the most about it! I am a little bit nervous about this. Thanks in advance!

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Well I will try to the most helpfull to you ;)

Before anything, I want to say that the music sounds good! So before coming to any more detailed comments, if this is one of your first composition I must say: Really Well Done!

Ok now to the problems:

1 - Am I hearing a bass drum from Redrum here? In an orchestra the main "bass drum" is called a timpani. Try to use timpani and ocasionally some orchestral bass drums (like the ones Wagner used to have). This will recreate a much better sound to the music.

2 - The Cymbals are good, (good choice on the library), the snares are ok too.

You harmony progression is ok (C- Ab/C F- Ddim C-) Although the progression Ddmin -> C- is a bit poor maybe try G79b/D.
Some progressions in the middle are also not perfect but since you have big brasses all around it undercovers that fact.

3 - The thing that tires my ear is that the music is a bit squared, too much of the same, it almost seems a tracker playing. To avoid this don't let reason take control out of you. Using Reason tends to makes us compose in modules of 4 bars (or something like that) because copy/paste is so easy

4 - Some instruments don't seem glued to the rest but this is a real detail.

To sum up, I liked it and it would definitely work well as a section of a music with other different sections (big Brasses are good but are anoying after a while.)

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Thank you for the kind words! It was nice to get a reality check on this to make sure that it doesn't just sound OK to my ears : )

Thank you for the criticism as well!

1 - It's not a Redrum bass drum, but some random drum out of Reason's Orkester library standard percussion setup. Maybe it's a Taiko drum of some kind? I dunno. I definitely am not fully satisfied with it at this point... I want a little bit of concentrated percussive punch in there without sounding like it's from a drum kit, and the Timpani samples I have are a little fuzzy to achieve the effect I want. I'll keep fiddling with it.

2 - Good to know I wasn't overdoing the cymbals. Definitely not traditional use of the snares, but it's good to know it didn't stick out too bad.

Harmony - I'm pretty amazed that you can identify what the heck I'm doing harmony-wise just by listening. I agree just about 100% with what you said. I'm a little weak with my harmony, and find that coming up with new progressions is pretty much the hardest thing for me.

3 - So true; I often feel myself slipping into a 4-bar copy+paste mentality, but have to fight it off. I want to go back and differentiate sections a bit, add more uniqueness, etc.

4 - Not too surprised by this comment. Hopefully (maybe) this will be ironed out later. I can kind of tell that the instruments don't really feel cohesive, but I have a hard time homing in on exactly what needs to change to bring them together.

Anyways, thanks again for the comments. I will fiddle with things some more and upload a track and outline some of the changes I've made.

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Well, since you are so polite, let me help you a bit more:

If you REALLY want to compose all the way up, stop using reason. Reason is definitely not the best choice for orchestral music. In fact Reason is good just to get some ideas on a new electronic music, imo.

Personally I use Sonar and I love it.

Also, I write everything either in A3 music sheet paper or in the staff view of Sonar and I control the velocity note by note of each instrument (I use velocity scale like crazy until I get what I want). This ensures that I take full control of what happens in my music.

About harmony:
If you love music, go to a music school, learn composition with maestros/compositors, the only true way to learn anything in fact.

After almost 9 years studying composition I don't ever think anymore some things like: "what progression will I do now?"
I simply don't think, my ear and knowledge takes me to what I want. If you learn for so many years the rules, you know how and when to break them all, without compromising the music.

About form:
Try to learn a bit about form in music. Sonata, rondo, etc forms. Learn basic Jazz forms like AABA. Learn why most composers used the gold number and the Fibonacci sequence in their compositions (yes Claude Debussy was one of the composers that used mathematics in music more severely, although he seems so "free", that is why he is pure magic).

One day, if I ever have the time, I will make a HUGE post analysing how Debussy used the Gold number proportions (which are part of the fibonacci sequence numbers).

Fibonacci Sequence:

Number -- in+1 / in
1 --
1 -- 1
2 -- 2
3 -- 1,5
5 -- 1,666666667
8 -- 1,6
13 -- 1,625
21 -- 1,615384615
34 -- 1,619047619
55 -- 1,617647059
89 -- 1,618181818
144 -- 1,617977528
233 -- 1,618055556
377 -- 1,618025751
610 -- 1,618037135
987 -- 1,618032787

as you might have guessed the golden number proportion is 1,618 aprox.

The number in fact is: (1 + Squareroot(5))/2

The ancient greek music and architecture used this proportion in EVERYTHING.
They use this because the Fibonacci sequence was discovered in nature itself. Search a bit about this and you will be amazed.

In fact the golden proportion is SO bound to everyhing around us that even when you write a letter the writable parte of it is very close to a golden rectangle.

Dont believe me? make a new word document and see the default margins:

width: 15cm
height: 24,7

24.7/15 = 1,64 (pretty amazing huh?)

This is not a random fate of destiny, this happens because for centuries this was rigidly used on written pappers, on architecture, in music, on nature itself, that is why we are so bound to this relationship.

Ok now you tell me, I have a movie put music in it. Ok in this case you are tied to make music to what happens in the film. Of course you can apply some of this stuff to some sections but you are always tied to what happens in the movie.

Hmm I think this is enough by now, I almost seem a madman filled with passion speaking about music... well I must admit I love music... any form of it!

PS: Sorry about my english, I am portuguese.

In sum: I see talent in you so go and learn in good music school to make sure you make your talent fly!

[Edited by - Pedro Camacho on June 12, 2006 1:35:20 PM]

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Original post by Pedro Camacho
You harmony progression is ok (C- Ab/C F- Ddim C-) Although the progression Ddmin -> C- is a bit poor maybe try G79b/D.
That was *exactly* what my ear was expecting. :P

Petey, all of Pedro's advice in his first post is sound; go with it. (Didn't really read the 2nd one)

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If you ever find yourself "searching" for a good progression, don't. You will find yourself repeating your own work. Just pull out music that you have never listened to before, something completely different.

Sometimes the tools you can use are also inspiring. For example, a nice set of samples can inspire ideas.

Sean Beeson

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Original post by Sean R Beeson
If you ever find yourself "searching" for a good progression, don't. You will find yourself repeating your own work.

Wise words Sean, as always.

My ideias come up almost entirely in music sheet paper and at the piano.

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