Cinematic piece: "The Boy of the Stars"

sekkosiki

Senior Member
Hi all! I finished a cinematic piece, and I was also testing my template, a new mix and layered strings. I'd appreciate feedback about the composition, harmonies, mix, anything really regarding the piece. Thank you in advance! :)



Libraries I used:

Berlin Strings, with a little bit of Ark 2
Berlin Woodwinds
Berlin Brass
SM Trumpets and Horns
Berlin Percussion
 

petec

New Member
Thank you @sekkosiki for putting your piece forward for feedback and comments. I've had a listen to the whole recording.

There's a lot of creative agitation going on there. Many ideas are flowing and attempting to gain attention. As soon as a section comes to notice, another moves in to compete and/or take over.

The libraries used are a nice quality collection and sound effective. If a little too loud overall for an orchestral piece. Loud is great for the emphasis parts, but dainty is also important for that finesse.

The mix is very much 'in the face' of the listener throughout. My own preference would be for it to draw me in rather than pin me to the wall.

There are a lot of hints at melodic possibilities. Though they never really fulfill, or come to the promise hoped for. They seem to disappear in the next immediate idea that presents itself.

Now, the above is not to say that what you have presented is of no value. Not at all. It is full of ideas, and musical bits, pieces and sections that would benefit from further development, organisation and construction. From a thread flowing through, that the listener can follow musically - a melody line to hang on to, with supportive/occasional harmony - with a clear and definite rhythm where appropriate.

In summary, I would say further refinement and consideration of the intended effects on the listener of the piece would be additionally beneficial. Suggestions: The 'Boy' of the title could be a specific instrument/melody. The 'Stars' are already sparkling throughout, just need a hint of gentility/distance and perhaps 'awe'.

I wish you well with further generating that 'cinematic image' you have in the title of your piece.
 
OP
sekkosiki

sekkosiki

Senior Member
Thank you @sekkosiki for putting your piece forward for feedback and comments. I've had a listen to the whole recording.

There's a lot of creative agitation going on there. Many ideas are flowing and attempting to gain attention. As soon as a section comes to notice, another moves in to compete and/or take over.

The libraries used are a nice quality collection and sound effective. If a little too loud overall for an orchestral piece. Loud is great for the emphasis parts, but dainty is also important for that finesse.

The mix is very much 'in the face' of the listener throughout. My own preference would be for it to draw me in rather than pin me to the wall.

There are a lot of hints at melodic possibilities. Though they never really fulfill, or come to the promise hoped for. They seem to disappear in the next immediate idea that presents itself.

Now, the above is not to say that what you have presented is of no value. Not at all. It is full of ideas, and musical bits, pieces and sections that would benefit from further development, organisation and construction. From a thread flowing through, that the listener can follow musically - a melody line to hang on to, with supportive/occasional harmony - with a clear and definite rhythm where appropriate.

In summary, I would say further refinement and consideration of the intended effects on the listener of the piece would be additionally beneficial. Suggestions: The 'Boy' of the title could be a specific instrument/melody. The 'Stars' are already sparkling throughout, just need a hint of gentility/distance and perhaps 'awe'.

I wish you well with further generating that 'cinematic image' you have in the title of your piece.
Hi @petec and thank you very much for the comments. I really appreciate the feedback. About the ideas, could you help me spot a place, where an idea is left without fulfillment? When I listen to the piece many many times, I tend to get a bit lost, and I even thought it's a bit too repetitive.

The mix might need work, you're right it might be a bit too loud. I might have gone too far with the limiter. I should start using volume automation for sections, which would help a lot.
 
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petec

New Member
"...About the ideas, could you help me spot a place, where an idea is left without fulfillment?"

1:21 to 1:37
The main theme is nicely bouncing along during this period. It's a very pleasant section that attracts the listener to follow it and be 'taken' elsewhere for that 'promise' of additional musical excitement/enjoyment.

However, at 1:37 it comes to a change/halt/pause that seems rather abrupt. This next 'bridging section' removes the listener away from the prior momentum of the piece - the lilting melody and rhythmic bounce - to a waiting stance, leaving them hanging. It seems to be a sort of 'waiting point' trying to 'lurk' before the next section comes in.

The momentum of the piece then returns very pleasantly from 1:58 and appears to be building to a crescendo, the hoped-for peak of the song. However, although it does notewise aim for it, the potential spirit dwindles a bit from around 2:15. There appears to be an opportunity here for that maximum crescendo, from which you then lead out in gentler/softer tone to the finish of your piece (and onto the next galaxy).

(See 0:48 for similar 'abrupt' effect as mentioned above)

The second half is clearly not entirely divorced from the first half, yet here we are more than halfway through the piece without having some sort of build/conclusion/crescendo...


"...When I listen to the piece many many times, I tend to get a bit lost, and I even thought it's a bit too repetitive."

Repeated listening definitely dulls the ears - ask any mix/audio engineer. Time out is the cure, even to leaving your overly nurtured 'baby' until the following day. Sometimes the old old trick of listening from the doorway can give you a different perspective.

Having listened to the piece a number of times and in more detail, there is some noticeable repetition. But nothing that some 'variation on a theme' could solve. What you have, is definitely interesting and pleasing to the ear. Irrespective of criticisms. You are near to getting it just where you want it. Persevere and finesse with feeling and emotion. Take each section at a time - from Intro to climax - and judge it by feel/intuition.


"...The mix might need work, you're right it might be a bit too loud. I might have gone too far with the limiter. I should start using volume automation for sections,..."

Mixing and mastering is an art-form in itself. Focus on the appeal of your piece first and then mix to taste. Keep an eye on that meter, especially the one that measures LUFS. (Aim for -23 LUFS for general broadcast/orchestral levels.) You may not even require a limiter, though slapping it on the end of your chain is a good idea/protection for your ears/speakers.

For a sense of volume, I would recommend in the first instance using the Dynamics and Expression in MIDI to control your instruments where you want them (vol/exp) and how gentle/harsh (dyn) you want them to sound.

Then in the mixing/mastering you can set the overall level and EQ of the piece to your satisfaction.


Of course all of my comments are just personal opinion, and others may well look on things differently. This is to be expected when discussing the creative arts.

All the best with your work on this piece.


[Edit: minor corrections]
 
OP
sekkosiki

sekkosiki

Senior Member
Thank you again @petec! Your feedback makes so much sense, and I understand your points from the previous response much better now. I'll go through the piece thinking about your feedback, and I'll repost here, after I've reworked the piece.