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Are these compositions any good?

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Just thought I''d put these online to see if anyone had any comments on the quality, or lack of it... Track 1 (1.4MB) Track 2 (0.6MB) They''re both in MP3 format, and have a pseudo-orchestral sound suitable for RPGs or the like. Don''t pay too much heed to the filenames, as they''re just placeholders. [ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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First impressions:

Long piece:
Some nice minor progressions, and some thought has gone into the instrumentation. The early theme is OK, but I feel like the most catchy/recognizable theme doesn''t come until about 2:15, which is quite a way into the piece. This music would be suitable for overland music where you spend quite a bit of time hearing it.
Most of the instruments don''t sound that pseudo-orchestral, except the drums. They really stick out and don''t seem integrated into the piece properly. It''s also because of heavy delay and reverb on everything else. I really felt that the percussion became quite annoying. Too many cymbal crashes. I''m not sure how you could fix it, but some parts of the song, like the start, would sound fine without any drums, I think.

Shorter piece:
This is really quite emotive, a sort of desperate sadness. It''s a little typical sounding (sort of "I''ve heard this before someplace"), especially the flute instrument.

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Thanks for your comments.

I think you''re right in that the percussion on the first track can be a little annoying - mainly because it''s not very inspired or varied. But I found it was better with it than without it. (It was the last part to be added.) Ideally, I would redo the percussion. It is difficult to write parts for instruments I''ve never played.

The second piece might sound ''typical'', but that''s probably just because it has a very simple and obvious chord progression. There must be loads of people who''ve written something in descending natural minor like that, so it''s not gonna sound unique. As with the first piece, it''s not designed to stand out all that much, but to set the mood in the background.


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OK, first one.

Agreed, the drums are ok but the cymbols are quite annoying.
Normaly, you would mix down the drums first of all, and work things over the top of that. Perhaps this may be the way to go here?
The sound seems ok, but perhaps you might change the string instrumnets to something else, or get better samples, as the ones you have sound realy flat and expressionless. It sounds more like a buzzer than a real instrument.
The vocal bit at the end seems quite good, but perhaps making the notes shorter and taking out the strings, which drown and even cancel them out on some notes.
Otherwise it seems good.


Second one.

Love it. Again, same problem with the strings, only it dosn''t appear as bad in this one. The flute seems to cut between notes very quiclky, it is not as smooth as it could be (peh, I forget the technical terms). This could be lengthened, as well, and would proabaly be more useful in the game (I assume they are for a game).

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ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
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What software package(s) did you use to create these?

Aside from the cymbals, I like them. Good work.

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Have to agree with what has been said, I think; like the songs, hate the cymbals.

Perhaps a quiet, military-like snare in the background would be better than the cymbals.

Beyond that, I would say the overall sound quality just needs some improvement to justify the MP3 tag. I mean, would not the shorter piece sound just as good as a midi file on a decent soundcard, without the half-megabyte baggage?

Otherwise, I think the compositions themselves sound pretty good.

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Actualy, now that I listen to the second one again, I think that the flute is actualy quite good the way it is. At least the change I mentioned is not going to fix it.

Again, for such a good peice it is too short.

And again with the MP3/MIDI and the bad samples.

Do not meddle in the affairs of moderators, for they are subtle and quick to anger.


ANDREW RUSSELL STUDIOS
Cool Links :: [ GD | TG | MS | NeHe | PA | SA | M&S | TA ]
Got Clue? :: [ Start Here! | Google | MSDN | GameDev.net Refrence | OGL v D3D | File Formats | Go FAQ yourself ]

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Andrew - I think doing the drums first would be very counter-intuitive for this style of music. The music follows the chord structure, and the percussion is just another layer around the edge. And I have often thought about making the 2nd one longer, but have not done so yet as I don''t have any good ideas.

Punchey - I used ModPlug Tracker for these.

Hoffs - I''m not sure what you mean about ''justifying'' the MP3 tag. Basically, the songs weren''t written as midi files, and so I can''t distribute them as such. Sure, they could be converted, but I''d rather get better samples (although finding samples better than what I have already is pretty damn hard) than have something which only sounds good on good soundcards.

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You may want to send them as zipped S3Ms (or another MOD format) instead of MIDIs.

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GOOD JOB! I only had time for Track 1 so I listened to it about 3 times before writing this. Good use of variety and coming back to the main theme every so often. This is a nice example of how RPG music should be layed out I think, especially for the purpose of looping. I thought the cymbal crashes weren''t too bad because at least they are not too loud. Also, good use of vocal chorus. Nice theme overall.




DRC
Megalith Music
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Track one - I personally don''t care if the tune''s a "little ordinary" as long as it has either a good portion of melancholy or a theme full of heroism in it - I simply consider it one type of music - for some certain occasions. This track has both qualities. I won''t stress any more that the cymbals... well yes. The piano part coud''ve been a little bit stronger as well - an octave lower perhaps and just background.

Track two - reminded me of the music you could hear on Grass in Heroes of Might and Magic 2 (sweet memories...). The ending was abrupt, to say the least - just as if the performers got up and left the stage in the middle of the show... The flute was fine, but, yeah, again - it seemed like only the opening theme for a longer piece...

Okay - I''ll admit, I wouldn''t pick either of them for easy listening, but as in another post on this forum asking feedback on some MIDI files, these pieces could prabably have their respective purpose somewhere else(if rearranged a little). Just remember - any music''s good music if it''s your music. You can''t write bad music as long as you write music!

Crispy

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Track 1:

The snare needs more dynamics, maybe some well placed accents to give the rhythm some character.

Far fewer cymbal crashes, and if possible use a lower pitched, longer decaying cymbal.

Great break to piano, I would've like to have seen it go on a bit longer with fewer chords and more melody, also the choir should've either been lowered (or maybe even eliminated) to give the piano room to breathe.

During the 2nd piano part I think you should've broken away from tracing the chords (1,3,5,1,3 repeating) - it felt like it wanted
to go somewhere.

Constructive criticism aside, this was a great piece, I can definitely see it in a game.

Track 2:

Great lute/harp foundation with nice layering, sets up the flute very well. I felt the flute should've stayed solo, adding
a harmony took away from the basic emotion of the piece. At best, harmony should be saved for much later (after the piece is expanded).

I would've liked to see the harpsicord have at least one
subtle variation during the piece. I know it was part of the foundation, but at least one little break wouldn't have hurt.

This was my favorite (albeit too short) track of the two. As has been stated earlier; put some more time into sample quality and mixing, but as far as composition I thought they were both great.




[edited by - Mister Anopo on June 5, 2002 2:49:37 PM]

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Thanks everyone, some great constructive criticism. I may rework them later to take some of those points into account. Just one other thing to answer though - I don''t want to distribute them as module files as they sound different in different players. Winamp can''t handle the ending of the 1st track properly, for example.

Kylotan, perhaps not just a programmer/writer/designer after all.

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