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Orchestral music for film "White Day" (Cinematic Studio Strings, Berlin WW, etc.) *updated*


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Hi, guys! At last I finished music for my first short film called "White Day", where I participate as a composer.
It was a very long way to go, because when the director asked me to compose music for his film I was faced with a problem: I had absolutely no clue how to write music for deep, soulful and tragic films. It was a moment of panic, but then I took myself in hands and started to read advanced harmony theory (by the time I did not read the book entirely). So couple weeks day after day I learned this Wagnerian type of harmonization with many chromatisms (sorry, I don't know what's the word in English), complex harmonies, sliding keys and so on. It was a hard time, but then I had an opportunity to explain to myself like 95% of Tristan und Isolde prelude. I checked other beautiful late-romantic pieces to strenghen my view on this kind of music and started to compose. It took me more than two months of hard work, but director was really-really satisfied and I'm really happy about it :D And now film isn't ready yet, but it will be great if you'll listen and point out the problems, so I can fix them to the time of my deadline.
String section (Cinematic Studio Strings + a touch of Berlin Strings)
2 Flutes, Oboe+Eng.horn, 2 Clarinets, 2 Bassoons (Berlin Woodwinds)
4 Horns (Sample Modeling)
1 Trumpet (SM) - I was forced to use it, because Berlin Woodwinds sound didn't satisfy me in the third scene.
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advanced harmony theory
Really impressed by your cues!!! Did you study the elementary harmony book before studying the Advanced harmony book? Or would you say you can study the advanced one without the elementary one.. I'm interested in studying this material
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@JanR yeah, I did :) The most famous russian harmony book called "brigadier book" divided by parts, and, to be honest, I had to learn only the last part, and it was really hard and interesting in the same time.
As I personally think, harmony is the key to everything, so don't delay your studying :)
@JanR yeah, I did :) The most famous russian harmony book called "brigadier book" divided by parts, and, to be honest, I had to learn only the last part, and it was really hard and interesting in the same time.
As I personally think, harmony is the key to everything, so don't delay your studying :)
Thanks a lot for the advise!! :) Couldn't find the brigadier book one, but did find the other book by Ottman. Those Ottman books must be the most expensive books I've ever seen :) Should be way worth the investment though :)
We can hear that all your work of study you put into it was worth of price. It makes me think Shostakovich sometimes.
Moreover, the way you use the modwheel lets the strings breath and it's well done in terms of realism according to me (let the instrument "breath" in successive and felt increases and dicreases looks to be an important skill).

I have two questions:
1°) Can you give some references of the books that helps in harmony studies (Author, title...)?
2°) What was your musical education before this project? :)

have a nice day
You crash course in harmony really payed off! Great opportunity to learn by doing and you really succeeded. Beautifully dramatic music!
Thank you for all your kind words, guys! I'm so happy my work found response in your hearts!
@Svyato my education was a couple of books with elementary theory, 2\3 of the harmony book (it is only in russian), some part of the "Romantische Harmonik und ihre Krise in Wagners "Tristan" by Dr. Ernst Kurth" (very nice book explaining new meaning of seventh, ninth chords and functionality of a modern harmony), one finished and one unfinished composition books (by finished I mean I finished reading it...). All of them, except one by Dr. Ernst, are only in Russian. And many different scores by Williams, Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Prokofiev, Grieg and so on to understand orchestration, harmony and form of the orchestral music. But the harmony books is the most important part, because it gives you an answer how to make similar music material, but not identical. It opens up many opportunities to vary your music material, because the melody can be harmonized in a thousand ways, just change the tempo and rhythmic structure of your harmony and voila! You have your development! So harmony is the key to everything, as I said. And thanks for your words, I really appreciate them.
These really are some pretty special work. I can hear all the effort that has gone into the theory part of the work. They sound amazing, and really put CSS to good use. My one comment is that they sound very similar throughout, which may be what is needed, but it could also mean listeners getting a bit of 'another similar emotive track' listening fatigue.
Yes. Great job on the music. Thanks for the book recommendations.
I will be listening several times in the next weeks and starting to study again.

Curious about the film and how this beautiful music will work in there.
Thanks again, guys!
@markleake you are right about this feeling you mentioned. I thought about my music a bit from this perspective and I think I could do it more varied. Well, I'm just learning, but in the future I hope to remedy the lack of skill. Thanks for the reply!
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Really lovely stuff. It's absolutely fantastic to hear someone writing in an older symphonic/dramatic style like this. Love the harmonies and the overall sound. Really sounds to me like its written (and played) for orchestra as opposed to sample libraries. (I'd love to be able to do this kind of stuff). The section sounds are very good, and sound realistic to me - CSS is shining and also the brass and winds, and lovely production and balance overall.

The only thing I think of that might be useful / worth thinking about maybe, in terms of possible improvements (maybe!, there's not much wrong with this to my ears) - is something that just might increase the "dramatic-ness" of the pieces - is perhaps to play around more with dynamics - create more troughs and peaks, swells - both shorter swells within phrases and longer arcs over the whole piece. - i.e. get really quiet (e.g. at the end of phrases), which will giving you more dramatic/emotional space to get louder/ more intense, vibrato changes etc. (The pieces have dynamics in them but perhaps there could be a bit more - the pieces seem of more of a constant overall volume to me - which reduces the interest slightly - if there were more dynamics it tends to grab you even more? (if there happen to any compressors on, experiment with turning them off). Hope this is helpful, it's the only thing I can think of. Keep it up. Brilliant work.
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This was really beautiful, the compositions are great and the sound libraries do their job exceptionally (that is they don't distract from the beauty of the pieces themselves but are tools for the composer to use). I don't really know what you could do more to enhance them. Maybe, but that's personal taste, the vibrato of the strings could be more intense but I know that this is considered old fashioned these days. Anyway, great job.
Thank you again, guys.
@byzantium I think you are right in your thoughts about those pieces, now I understand what I did wrong - pieces lack longer arcs and some dynamics and material variability. The main problem is I composed them having really similar dynamic range in my head - it has played a cruel joke with me. So yeah, this problem is worth mentioning. Thanks!
One good person above said that they sound really similar and in addition to your opinion the picture becomes clear: I forgot to write material in another dynamic range and with different rhythmic\structural character.
And I'm really happy that pieces sound like they were written for orchestra, because I used strings with divisi and no "one section for chord" thing. CSS is amazing library and you can make divisi by doubling an instrument, then turn its pitch by -2 in Kontakt, and then turn it up by +2 in your DAW.. Kind of improvised divisi approach, but helps a lot.
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