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Robin S

Yet another "First attempt" thread.

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I have a small amount of experience of composition from my GCSE Music classes a few years ago, but there I was always given constraints to work within. This is my first attempt at writing something off the top of my head. It took an hour or so, but most of that was actually writing it out rather than coming up with ideas. I am working on an (extremely) amateur adventure game project more or less single-handedly and, although this extract does not fit the sci-fi genre of the game, I thought it might give you an idea of where I'm currently at in terms of music since I haven't started writing the actual soundtrack yet. Does this feel like something you could play to? Does it need more texture, or are the instruments too artificial? (It might be feasible, though difficult, to get together a small band to perform everything if necessary). Any and all comments welcome. Thanks! Sample, 0'49"

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Hey there.

For the most part it was good, but here are my criticisms, not to be taken personally, just to help you develop a better final product =]

- The instruments did seem really artificial, pretty much like a midi, but that may be due to my exposure to real, orchestral sampling. If you can't get your hands on a quality sampler, like Reason or Kontakt, or anything similar really, you might want to add some effects like reverb or delay to smooth things out. Try also to put more natural tid-bits like little glides.
- The sound is somewhat flat sounding. Try using panning, but not just by moving the "brass" to the left. Have different brass parts, melodies and counter melodies, at different panning levels. All the volumes seemed similar and flat throughout too. Try adding some dynamic changes throughout, a crescendo to emphasize a build-up and then a decrescendo do emphasize a release.
- It also seemed to be too busy. There was never any time of rest, just a lot of sounds flinging around. That may be good for areas like markets, but if your just walking along a trail for a while, it would get irritating after a while.

Hope that helps!

[Edited by - Ailus on March 4, 2007 6:40:21 PM]

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Hi Robin S. Welcome!

I'll echo what Ailus has already stated and then add this as well:

All of your instruments are in the mid to higher range. There is no depth or low range. I know you're having to use MIDI instruments (and that can be a struggle in of itself) but if you have a deeper, more full orchestration then I think that might give this piece a more mature feel.

I know you're just starting this piece out, but start considering what you're going to do for a "B" section of the piece. You'll need more material because too much of the same melody gets old. Some players take a while to get through areas, so make it better for them with great, interesting music!

Also, the strings might do better with shorter attacks than what they're set at right now. I'd go in the step editor (or piano roll) and shorten those babies up, so the strings have a more staccato feel. I think that would better support the vibe you're building.

Best of luck!

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Thanks for the advice, both of you! I will certainly do what I can both about the texture and quality, and about having some variations in liveliness and so forth. As I mentioned, it was put together rather hastily in Sibelius without any dynamics or sound editing; I think I will work some more on improving the sound of this piece before going onto anything else. I will post again when I feel I have made some improvements.

Thanks again!

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I really did like it and I agree with the range issue stated earlier in the thread. However in the beginning I was straining to hear the strings, and you have the guitar right out front loud plucking away. It's almost like you reversed the roles, I think the strings should of been a little louder and the guitar blended more behind it.

That's just my take on it. The strings were beautiful, I just couldn't hear them that well. =]

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