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morrowez

Some feedback on orchestral tracks please

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Hello everyone!

 

I have been reading this forum for quite some time and I'm glad to see a huge support and feedback that novice composers are getting here. 

There are two orchestral tracks I have written recently, one of which is original and the second one is a cover on a well known movie soundtrack with some additions and a new orchestration.

 

Since these are my first entries into the community you have here guys, I will be very glad to have any feedback and suggestions.

 

UPD.

 

A mixed and enhanced version of the first track

https://soundcloud.com/alexey-tarasov-545118274/new-beginning-mixed

 

https://soundcloud.com/alexey-tarasov-545118274/new-beginning

 

https://soundcloud.com/alexey-tarasov-545118274/braveheart

 

There is also some information I would like to get.

The main question is - are these any good for a novice media/game/video composer's portfolio or should I start with something more polished and complex?

 

The second - what styles are most actual for a novice game composer's portfolio, i.e. what should I learn (what styles) to get a job as a game music composer?

Edited by morrowez

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The few submissions I've seen from musicians here have been surprisingly good. And listening to the first track brings me to that same conclusion.

 

However, a casual listen to this submission makes me feel like the sounds are too "smeared". This is probably the reverb. Without reverb instruments are too separate. With too much they blur together. I think that's what's happening in this submission. I don't feel enough separation between sections. Orchesterally as far as the arrangement it's pretty nice. It conveys a very nice sense of urgency. You can almost cut the tension with a knife. I like it. I think it's a very good scoring piece. Towards the end it starts getting a bit repetitive. But overall, I like the tension and urgency in the piece.

 

With the second piece, again the space feels wrong. This is an audio recording thing. Recording is a skill. Sound Engineers dedicate their entire lives to the craft of merely recording. They don't play anything. They don't  arrange anything. They merely record. And that's a lifetime of effort. I think that's where this is weak. The musical composition is impressive. I don't know if this is from the movie or if you composed it, but there's talent in the composition and arrangement. The recording is killing me though. Again, probably too much reverb. If you are using bad samples/instruments that don't have a nice tonal quality, smearing them with reverb doesn't fix that. As it stands, I like the composition. I like the arrangement, it has a nice "game" feel. But the reverb is smearing the instruments that just makes it difficult to hear the composition.

 

I'm looking at the curve of your sound wave and it looks like you may have compressed the life out of this track too. There's little to no dynamics in this track. I would like to have the dynamics back. I don't know if the lack of dynamics is due to too much reverb or compression, but dynamics is an important part of musical expression.

 

I'm giving you my ugliest comments here. I tend to not pull my punches, especially with music. But seriously, you're on the right track. I like what I hear even if it needs a new recording engineer cleaning up the recording. ;-)

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BBeck

 

Thank you for your comment, you've just pointed out what I don't hear yet and this gives me a direction to move towards and learn. Reverberation and compression are the things that surely need to be mastered and they give just a sense of a "right" sound for a beginner like me. From the composition side - I feelt that too, but I made the tracks pretty fast and the sound and feel were the things I tend to learn at the time, but next I will be paying more attention to composition, I promise :) I didn't expect such a detailed comment, you really helped me a lot, thanks!

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The amount of reverb could be an issue or it could be the mix itself. In the Braveheart cover, the background harmonies are covering up the melody. There's a lack of balance. In your first piece, you've created a great mood but then it doesn't evolve much past that first idea. We're basically getting the same idea for 1.5 minutes. Disclaimer: I'm listening on my laptop so I may not be hearing certain nuances that laptop speakers just don't convey well. 

 

Glad you're writing and producing! Keep sharing!

 

[Sound Engineers dedicate their entire lives to the craft of merely recording. They don't 
play anything. They don't  arrange anything. They merely record.

 

Also, I disagree with this blanket statement. I've worked with and met plenty of sound engineers that do play plenty of instruments as well as arrange music. Perhaps what you mean is if you hired a sound engineer, they'd solely be responsible with the recording itself. That may be true but even then, I've worked with engineers who were also the producer on a project. So it can (and does) vary. 

 

Thanks, 

 

Nate

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nsmadsen

 

Thank you for your feedback, Nate! I'm also glad to receive views from people working in the industry, this is a great inspiration. Will continue posting!

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Also, I disagree with this blanket statement. I've worked with and met plenty of sound engineers that do play plenty of instruments as well as arrange music. Perhaps what you mean is if you hired a sound engineer, they'd solely be responsible with the recording itself. That may be true but even then, I've worked with engineers who were also the producer on a project. So it can (and does) vary. 

 

Thanks, 

 

Nate

 

Yes, that's close to what I mean. What I mean is that the function of the sound engineer is merely to record. In music, it's common for a single person to wear many hats. So, an engineer may record, arrange, produce, or even write and play. When I do something, I wear all the hats, but then I'm not selling anything commercially either. (I have an entire room of my house as a dedicated recording studio with a dedicated computer as a DAW and a pretty good selection of recording equipment and software.) (And I might mention at this point that I'm a rock musician, not a game composer, so as not to mislead anyone. The only thing I know about game composing is the part that crosses over with being a rock musician and the fact that I've been into game programming most of my life. I'm here primarily as a programmer, not a game composer.) But what I meant is that you can dedicate a lifetime to just learning how to record and nothing else. Recording by itself is an art. Every "hat" is a lifetime of study, which is why big commercial projects often have one dedicated person to wear each hat. In fact, even sound engineering may be broken up into a recording engineer and a mastering engineer who are two different people at two different studios on one big commercial project. I'm not saying one person can't attempt to do it all (especially in a home studio for example). But what I'm saying is that there's a tremendous amount to learn and no one can master everything. Even being good at wearing several of the "hats" involved in producing a piece of recorded music is a major accomplishment.

 

I think ultimately what I was trying to say to the OP was "Don't worry too much if you haven't mastered all the skills involved. You are doing quite well at many of them. And no one can truly master all of them, although we can always strive to get better. Even mastering one of the skills, such as playing a single instrument or arranging, is a life time achievement."

Edited by BBeck

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I just added a little reworked version of the first track to the initial post, following your recomendations. Didn't really have time to make big amendments, but this is the first time I mixed a track, so it would be nice if you guys listen to it and say if I'm on the right path. Thanks.

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I like the new update, it sounds richer than the first one, maybe cause it's more balanced (better panning and volume control) than before that every instrument (and choir) has a chance to stand out.

What gets to me is the Piano at the first seconds. The piano becomes way too loud for me that it takes over the thrilling strings that it somehow changes the music. I enjoyed the strings and how it brought me in. Then again, this is definitely subjective. :lol:

There's also a little problem in reverb I think? or maybe it's just me. Some instruments seems to have a strong reverb while some others are dry, it is somehow contradict to each other.

You can also play with the volume on 1:09 - 1:10, pushing all the strings louder (and what was it.. french horn?) at the end when you cut them, it kind of give the chill, .. I think! :D

 

All in all it's a very nice composition. ^_^

Edited by Alectora

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The piano becomes way too loud for me that it takes over the thrilling strings that it somehow changes the music.

 

Maybe it's an equipment-related thing, because these two instruments are pretty much balanced in my Sennheiser 558 headphones. But yeah, I look forward to buy some monitor speakers later.

 

 

There's also a little problem in reverb I think? 

 

I think you are right, some instruments have built-in reverb settings and I might forget about that in some cases.

 

Thanks for the feedback!  :)

Edited by morrowez

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