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Boss Battle Music for game, sketch done with EIS notation all over it.

Farkle

Senior Member
Hi, everyone!

So, I'm following Jim Venable's workflow, and composing everything in Sibelius before firing up my DAW. It's awesome. :)

I'm working with Andrew Aversa (zircon) scoring this retro "Final Fantasy 6" style game for Hunt Game Studios in Seattle. I am working on the Boss Battle theme, and I thought it would be cool to show folks how my sketch process goes with EIS.

I used a reference track from Chrono Trigger to get a feel for the form. The piece is short, only a minute long, but it's basically a reduced orchestral score. The bulk of the orchestration will be in brass (trumpets in chords, bones filling in the bass), but there will be woodwinds and strings in secondary roles.

I sketched out the piece in piano stave, and am now in the DAW, blowing it out into full orchestral score. I'll post that when it's done.

There are so many tools in EIS... I started with 9th chords, with resolutions to create some linear motion. At the end of each 2 bar phrase, I dropped into book 6, polytonality, with some split octave and Semi Split Octave chords. Once the main theme started, I made the accompaniment with ostinato in the bass, and then writing a vertical chord structure, and then breaking that apart horizontally and adding leading tones from Book 7 to get a busy texture.

Somewhere at about :40 seconds I didn't know where to go, so I just did an EIS sequence of progressions, which pushed me into a new area. Finished up with a diatonic (Book 5) progression with strings in 3P-H3.

Here is the MP3 and the PDF of the reduction. I really am excited at how fun and "easy" it was to make these musical patterns. And, how much energy this piece has, even with no percussion, etc.

MP3: https://app.box.com/s/hmg05u5kizt6hqyz30b9

PDF: https://app.box.com/s/s928bc7zc2p61m8l35es

If you like classic SNES scores like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy 6, this is in your wheelhouse. I also thought it would be fun for people to see how I start my composition in sketch form, using EIS notes and reminders all around my score to keep me focused and my music under control.

Hope you enjoy it! I'll post the orchestral breakout when it's done!

Mike
 

Conor Brace Music

Home is behind, the world ahead
Cool piece!

If you'll forgive the slight de-rail, I'm wondering what you mean by "Jim Venable's workflow" -- does that mean something more specific than "first Sibelius, then DAW"?
 
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Farkle

Farkle

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Cool piece!

If you'll forgive the slight de-rail, I'm wondering what you mean by "Jim Venable's workflow" -- does that mean something more specific than "first Sibelius, then DAW"?

No forgiveness needed, happy to answer your question.

Yes, it's pretty much what you described. Meaning, I write as much as I can in Sibelius, then play it in in the DAW. I'm not trying to "write" in the DAW, if that makes sense.

Jim (according to a post he did), has a cool rewire thing where he writes into sibelius, and it rewires his notation into his DAW. He then goes in and adjusts the midi controller data to make it fit. That's awesome, but very custom, and I'm not there yet.

What I did take away from Jim' post is how he focuses on writing the notes out first. Which is what I'm doing for this one.

Thank you for the kind words, I'll post the final mockup when it's done! Disclaimer: the client wants the retro SNES sound, so I'm using my old Edirol Hypercanvas VST, so it's going to sound retro. It's supposed to. :)

Mike
 

Craig Sharmat

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it's very cool and for EIS people a nice look inside into your writing/arranging process.

Often in EIS things can get complicated and would be difficult to keep track of w/o a road map like Sibelius first, that's not to say EIS can't be applied straight to a DAW but in many cases it is just about impossible to do it any other way.
 
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Farkle

Farkle

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Hi, all!

Okay, to follow up, here's the (almost) final orchestration of the sketch. There's a transition section that I may change a bit, but this is pretty much it.

https://www.box.com/s/gulgfswpr3nxpjn8vhdh

Again, it's supposed to be a retro score, using the old Edirol sounds, so it sounds like an old SNES game. And, it's not mixed yet, although (go figure), if you orchestrate it well, it sounds pretty balanced as it is.

Once again, great thing about notating the sketch out first; the balance and spread is already there. I don't have to worry about "doubling" or not doubling, I just follow the EIS road map. And, there's a lot of clarity in the lines, despite a lot of busy-ness.

Anyways, I hope you like it! I'll post another piece from the game next week, with the score, etc.

Mike
 

JimVMusic

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I just bumped into this post today so I'm afraid I'm a bit late to this party.

Mike I really dug your piece and Thanks for the shout out. I have ben continuing to compose in this manner, both on the job and in my personal music and have been finding that I am really enjoying it compared to composing to the DAW. I must admit that there are times when the schedule pretty much pushes me back into composing by ear to the DAW for certain cues, and that's fine too. I figure whatever get's me to the music I'm after is great and I try to stay open to as many ways as possible.

I've stated how much I dig getting everything worked out in Sibelius.
I also think there is a certain inspiration one can draw from composing with the particular sound and I will often feel "recharged" when I go back into Sibelius to compose. I find working with the sounds provides me with a sort of ear training-tune up, thats really helpful if I'm going to flesh out all of the parts of a cue before programming it. So Craig, I'm with you, EIS works no matter where you start compose DAW, Notation Software, Pencil and paper etc.

Anyway have a great Day all!

Jim Venable
 

jsaras

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You should just pump this through the orchestral sounds using NotePerformer in Sibelius to hear it in a less cheesy context. If you don't have that plugin I can do it for you (I'm on Sibelius 6).
 
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Farkle

Farkle

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Hi, All!

Jim, thank you for the kind words, I did have a lot of fun writing this piece... even though the sound lib I have to use is a bit... ahem... retro. :)

It's good to hear that you still get good value and enjoyment out of starting with Sibelius. I definitely hear you, with deadlines, sometimes you have to go right into the DAW... but starting in Sibelius is such a nice way to go! :)

JSaras, thank you for the request and the offer! I don't have the full score in Sibelius, I went into my DAW after the sketch. However, I have the midi file from the session, if you'd like to take a gander at using the high end sounds in Sibelius. But, please, don't spend any time tweaking it if it's going to be a time-waster for you.

BECAUSE....

Andrew and I are going to release this game score as an album, and we're doing high-end midi mockups of 3-4 pieces, and I think the Boss Battle will be one of them. So, I'll do this one using HS, LASS, Cinebrass, etc. Should be much nicer! :)

Thank you all again for your kind words!

Mike
 
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Farkle

Farkle

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Hi, all!

Jsaras was kind enough to take my MIDI data from the final file, and run it through NotePeformer. He had to move some data around to make the file work, and did some additional orchestrations. He just posted it up, it's really cool to hear this in a more "proper" orchestral context. Here's the Boss Battle, with mockup and Addtl. Orchestrations by Jonas Aras. Thank you, Jonas!

https://app.box.com/s/k0t8sg0c2qzfsn440o7v

I think this piece will be one of the ones Andrew and I "up-orchestrate" for the album, so I'll post that (and the album link!! :twisted: ) when it goes live.

Have a great morning, everyone!

Mike
 
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Farkle

Farkle

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Hi, all!

Jonas just got the update to Noteperformer, and did one more drop of the Boss theme into it; now with choir, and percussion. I thought it would be nice to share. :)

https://app.box.com/s/69cpmyjfb88p91ibdksg

I definitely learned something about the "big hollywood sound" from this. You really have to have a LOT of brass, voiced (as Scott Smalley says) like a "Brass Wall" to get that big sound.

I actually really like this level of "big ness", it's pretty balanced, the trumped is clarion, without being huge... it feels right for the game.

Thank you, Jonas for doing this!

Mike
 

impressions

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pretty cool. on the avant garde bit because of the EIS harmony, but I like it. I think the fast violins are missing from the choir version.
 
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