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"A Formidable Enemy", my first song in EWQLSO.

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Firstly, as usual, your composition is great! Really likable and catchy! Thanks for sharing! It totally makes me think JRPG (as a lot of your work does).

 

My general point of view for working with a virtual orchestra is to put yourself in the mindset of the performer of every single instrument. I'm actually a violinist, so that probably helps me a lot (used to performing). One instrument at a time, think of absolutely micromanaging a performance because that's pretty much what you're doing.

I think you said you use FL Studio. I use Cubase. I'm thinking you'll want to be doing more with the mod wheel to get more realistic sound - it's really not bad as it is, style-wise. But for realism, an experienced performer is going to do more than simply play a note (and a human *can't* really make a plain, machine-like sound anyway).

I think of the mod wheel as "intensity." With a lot of EWQL instruments - I'm thinking strings in particular - that can coincide with intensity of vibrato, for example. Performers will make subtle swells and decrescendos, adjust vibrato intensity, breath/bowstroke, all kinds of things, through the duration of single notes. Someone said to me "your mode wheel line should look like a roller-coaster."  :D

 

Great start in any case!

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Overall, it's much better! This is exciting to see and hear. Now we can get into the meat of production because, even with the very best sample libraries out there, great production really makes the difference. So take my remarks as springboard items you can use to take your piece to the next level:

 

- there's a lack of low end in your work, overall. The bottom end of the piece doesn't have much weight or impact. There's also not a great sense of depth/space in the sound. Listen to big film and game scores for examples of this. Here's one that comes to mind right away:

 

Hear those low drums and the sense of space behind their hits? It's not muddy but it is big. Same with the low brass/strings. Your piece has more top end than low end. Have you tried layering the bass drums with other percussion instruments and perhaps even synth hits? And give them a bit more tail.

 

- at 0:14 seconds, consider giving the trumpet line more shape.

 

It just sits there, pretty flat. Make it crescendo into that next bar. This can be done via automation as well as changing to a different sample that does some kind of dynamic expression (crescendo, swell, sforzando, etc).

 

- consider a cymbal roll then crash going into 0:29 seconds.

 

This section wants to grow and you could do more to prep and build that growth. Right now it's not dynamic enough. You could also do this with sustained notes that are reinforcing the harmonies while continuing to build the texture up. Also in this section, your high strings (violins and violas) are just way too loud. They're fighting for recognition with the melody. Let them be supportive. Push them down at least 3-4dB. Maybe even more.

 

- the change at 0:44 seconds needs more prep.

 

The floor just drops out here and that's a cool change! Nice thinking! But it does need a bit more prep. Making a larger swell right before helps build more contrast which will help build more interest in the music. I love how you repeat the section with the larger ensemble. That's a great touch! But some of the brass velocities are too high in this section, to my ears. You're getting that blatty, harsh brass sample happening and it doesn't really fit the music there. I'd consider pulling the velocities back a bit and getting the larger volume with automation instead. Even just 5-6 degrees of velocity can make a huge difference in which sample is being called.

 

You have a great piece here! And the production is almost there. This is a great skeleton and now what you need to do is work on all of the connecting tissue (the swells, changes, preps, filler parts) that help the piece really have a full presentation.

 

Keep working at it!

Thanks,

Nate

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Firstly, as usual, your composition is great! Really likable and catchy! Thanks for sharing! It totally makes me think JRPG (as a lot of your work does).

 

My general point of view for working with a virtual orchestra is to put yourself in the mindset of the performer of every single instrument. I'm actually a violinist, so that probably helps me a lot (used to performing). One instrument at a time, think of absolutely micromanaging a performance because that's pretty much what you're doing.

I think you said you use FL Studio. I use Cubase. I'm thinking you'll want to be doing more with the mod wheel to get more realistic sound - it's really not bad as it is, style-wise. But for realism, an experienced performer is going to do more than simply play a note (and a human *can't* really make a plain, machine-like sound anyway).

I think of the mod wheel as "intensity." With a lot of EWQL instruments - I'm thinking strings in particular - that can coincide with intensity of vibrato, for example. Performers will make subtle swells and decrescendos, adjust vibrato intensity, breath/bowstroke, all kinds of things, through the duration of single notes. Someone said to me "your mode wheel line should look like a roller-coaster."  :D

 

Great start in any case!

Thanks for the comment.

 

However, adding realism to orchestral samples can be a hit or miss. You're a violinist, so you know that a violin player can play many articulations. A violinist can play detache, legato, marcato, portamento and many other articulations. Some of these articulations are difficult to simulate in EWQLSO convincingly.

 

To get super convincing strings; I would need something like Hollywood Strings; which has true legato. Hollywood Strings also has more samples of playing styles.

 

I have the mindset that; if you can't fool anyone into thinking that a piece was played by a real orchestra, why waste hours trying?

 

 

Overall, it's much better! This is exciting to see and hear. Now we can get into the meat of production because, even with the very best sample libraries out there, great production really makes the difference. So take my remarks as springboard items you can use to take your piece to the next level:

 

- there's a lack of low end in your work, overall. The bottom end of the piece doesn't have much weight or impact. There's also not a great sense of depth/space in the sound. Listen to big film and game scores for examples of this. Here's one that comes to mind right away:

 

Hear those low drums and the sense of space behind their hits? It's not muddy but it is big. Same with the low brass/strings. Your piece has more top end than low end. Have you tried layering the bass drums with other percussion instruments and perhaps even synth hits? And give them a bit more tail.

 

- at 0:14 seconds, consider giving the trumpet line more shape.

 

It just sits there, pretty flat. Make it crescendo into that next bar. This can be done via automation as well as changing to a different sample that does some kind of dynamic expression (crescendo, swell, sforzando, etc).

 

- consider a cymbal roll then crash going into 0:29 seconds.

 

This section wants to grow and you could do more to prep and build that growth. Right now it's not dynamic enough. You could also do this with sustained notes that are reinforcing the harmonies while continuing to build the texture up. Also in this section, your high strings (violins and violas) are just way too loud. They're fighting for recognition with the melody. Let them be supportive. Push them down at least 3-4dB. Maybe even more.

 

- the change at 0:44 seconds needs more prep.

 

The floor just drops out here and that's a cool change! Nice thinking! But it does need a bit more prep. Making a larger swell right before helps build more contrast which will help build more interest in the music. I love how you repeat the section with the larger ensemble. That's a great touch! But some of the brass velocities are too high in this section, to my ears. You're getting that blatty, harsh brass sample happening and it doesn't really fit the music there. I'd consider pulling the velocities back a bit and getting the larger volume with automation instead. Even just 5-6 degrees of velocity can make a huge difference in which sample is being called.

 

You have a great piece here! And the production is almost there. This is a great skeleton and now what you need to do is work on all of the connecting tissue (the swells, changes, preps, filler parts) that help the piece really have a full presentation.

 

Keep working at it!

Thanks,

Nate

There is a lack of low end. But in live orchestral recordings, I usually don't hear that much low end.

 

For instance, Fang's Theme from Final Fantasy XIII:

 

Or the Cloudy Court Galaxy Theme from Super Mario Galaxy 2:

 

I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying the live recordings I've listened too don't seem to have too much low end.

 

I might try layering the bass drums with other instruments like you said.

 

Overall, I'll try to take your advice and improve the piece.

Edited by YoungProdigy

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I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying the live recordings I've listened too don't seem to have too much low end.

 

But you're not producing live recordings of orchestras.  You're producing video game scores and very, VERY often they'll have a lot of low end. They'll also often have fusions of electronic/synth or even EDM elements blended in with the orchestra. Is this true for every video game score? Of course not! Just look at the two tracks you cited above. But there are plenty of soundtracks where this is the case. 

 

And if you want to start writing music commercially, like you've mentioned, then you need to start considering what kind(s) of music you're able and willing to provide to that market. Some devs/clients will want really heavy stuff while others will want lighter touches. 

 

Hope that helps. 

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I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying the live recordings I've listened too don't seem to have too much low end.

 

But you're not producing live recordings of orchestras.  You're producing video game scores and very, VERY often they'll have a lot of low end. They'll also often have fusions of electronic/synth or even EDM elements blended in with the orchestra. Is this true for every video game score? Of course not! Just look at the two tracks you cited above. But there are plenty of soundtracks where this is the case. 

 

And if you want to start writing music commercially, like you've mentioned, then you need to start considering what kind(s) of music you're able and willing to provide to that market. Some devs/clients will want really heavy stuff while others will want lighter touches. 

 

Hope that helps. 

 

That's true. I'm not producing live recordings.

 

At the end of the day; it comes down to the style a composer is going for.

 

I am interested in going commercial with my music. I think I'm going to start out promoting myself as a "retro composer". After I make some money from that; I can sign up for the EWQL Composer Cloud thing and get Hollywood Orchestra. Hollywood Orchestra has true legato, more articulations and seems to be more realistic than EWQLSO. It would allow me to do much more convincing mockups in less time.

Edited by YoungProdigy

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At the end of the day; it comes down to the style a composer is going for.

 

Hmmm, I agree and disagree. It also matters, greatly, what the client is looking for as well. After all, you can compose music that very few people in the "real world" actually want to listen to. Take serialism for example. :P

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