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Went back to a piece that I had started some time last year. I think this is starting to sound pretty good. A few sections I'm not sure about but there's some ideas I think that are quite good. Let me know what you all think
:)
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PeterN

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Is it stock libraries? The composition has plenty potential, but the sound does not sound up to date.

Mind asking what libraries, sampler and DAW you have used?
 

Christoph Pawlowski

Spare Time Composer
maybe projectsam? Or old east west? It does not necessarily sound "old" and probably too good for stock libs. He simply uses no reverb
 
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Duncan Formosa

Duncan Formosa

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Is it stock libraries? The composition has plenty potential, but the sound does not sound up to date.

Mind asking what libraries, sampler and DAW you have used?
The libraries I used are:

Infinite Brass
Adventure Brass
Sample modeling trumpet (for the opening)
Infinite Woodwinds
BBCSO for strings and percussion
Metropolis Ark for some percussion as well

All of these were put through altiverb.

Don't let this piece speak for the quality of the libraries. They sound amazing in the right hands, these just aren't them. I'm no good at mixing etc so my templates a bit whack. Also doesn't help that I'm working on £30 headphones from Amazon either.
 
Duncan, it's a really nice piece. Yes the samples could be better, but who cares? It's much better to be in a position where the composition, orchestration, and structure itself are solid and the samples is so-so, than the other way around. If the member details are to be believed, you're 24 which I think makes this piece all the more impressive. There aren't many people your age who can do what you've done. I know I certainly didn't have my basics down this well when I was 24.

As for the piece itself, I found myself wanting to hear more of the statement at ~2:30. In fact, I quite strongly feel that that part ought to be the opening to your piece. It's a nice bold statement I think if you made the marcs on the trumpets and strings a bit tighter/shorter, it would really work as the opening, and then going into what you now have at 0:18 (so you'd truncate the first 18 seconds of your pieces). I think the contrast between having this bold opening, and then the solo trumpet after it would work quite well, but, ultimately it's your piece of course!

At around 1:52 (after the trumpet trip tongue) you have snares and some low percussion and basses are sustained. Again, this is entirely up to you, but I think you could put a nice rhythm in the basses + cellos instead of having them sustained, probably just the same rhythm that the snares are doing, and with accents where you have the low drum hits. I think that would help create a bit more forward motion.

At around 2:10, I hear what you're trying to do, but it's not really coming across. (Is it G-F-Eb-D?). It sound to me like you're just doing that little fall in the bass, while cellos are doing trems. Perhaps it would be more effective to have the fall in cellos and basses both, an octave apart?


The end at 2:27 can jump right to ~2:40. So, to recap the way I would suggest restructuring this:

- Start with 2:30-2:39
- Jump to 0:18 (you may have to insert one or two bars to smooth out the transition)
- Let play as-is up until 2:27. Add what you currently have at ~2:40 right after what's currently at 2:27

It's just a suggestion of course.

Yes, the overall sound can be improved quite a bit, but you don't really stand much of a chance on $30 headphones. I think the most glaring issue is that your winds and strings sound significantly weaker/more distant compared to the perc and brass. If anything, I'd focus on strings and winds (mostly strings), the perc is fine and the brass at the very least has the performance nailed down already (with the exception of a sudden bump in the release of the trumpet at ~0:32).
 
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Duncan Formosa

Duncan Formosa

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Duncan, it's a really nice piece. Yes the samples could be better, but who cares? It's much better to be in a position where the composition, orchestration, and structure itself are solid and the samples is so-so, than the other way around. If the member details are to be believed, you're 24 which I think makes this piece all the more impressive. There aren't many people your age who can do what you've done. I know I certainly didn't have my basics down this well when I was 24.
Thank you for the kind words, it's much appreciated and I'm glad you enjoyed the piece.


I think if you made the marcs on the trumpets and strings a bit tighter/shorter, it would really work as the opening, and then going into what you now have at 0:18
An interesting idea, I think this could work if I extend it a little, as it is just now it might be a little abbupt for an opening but I'll play around with it. The opening idea came from this piece so I was trying to mimic that feel.


At around 1:52 (after the trumpet trip tongue) you have snares and some low percussion and basses are sustained
I think this is more of a mixing issue. The cellos and violas are actually doing arpeggios. Cellos going up while violas are going down. Normally it acts like a kind of glue so it's kind of like sustains but you feel like there's more motion in it, but I think they are completely burried so you don't hear the accents. The basses are sustains though which yeah, probably should be doing something else to keep the momentum going.

At around 2:10, I hear what you're trying to do, but it's not really coming across. (Is it G-F-Eb-D?). It sound to me like you're just doing that little fall in the bass, while cellos are doing trems. Perhaps it would be more effective to have the fall in cellos and basses both, an octave apart?
Was never happy with this section, but I really wanted that build up for the bad guy so the hero could come out feeling more triumphant. At the moment it's cellos, tuba and I think trombones as well doing the fall and then cellos and basses doing trems at the same octave...which doesn't make any sense. And the reason it doesn't make sense is because when I was writing it I said "I'll do the cellos doing the fall and then have the basses come in on the Eb so I save the big bass line" but then I added the tubas and trombones as well which ended up giving the cellos more bass anyway so when you get to that Eb it doesn't have the punch it needs. Was just trying to do too much I think and completely forgot what I was aiming for in the first place.
Yes, the overall sound can be improved quite a bit, but you don't really stand much of a chance on $30 headphones. I think the most glaring issue is that your winds and strings sound significantly weaker/more distant compared to the perc and brass
Going to try and re-do my template. I tried to balance it using the "orchestra guide" which baisically has a real section playing and the idea would be to adjust the volume of the samples to the recording but I don't think that worked particulalrly well. I also think I over complicated the template as well so I'm going to re-do it. maybe I should have just left the sliders alone cause I didn't touch them for the brass and perc which is what you said sounded fine which I thought was interesting. It's a shame cause the samples do sound good in the right hands and they are super super playable which I thinks even more important.

Thank you so much for taking the time to give me this detailed feedback. Hopefully when I revisit this piece it will start to take shape a bit more, at the moment though it's going on the shelf. My goal for this year is to write as many pieces as possible and hopefully learn a lot in writing them, and then next year revisit them all and hopefully make them 10X better with what I've learned in writing them and from the feedback I've recieved on the forums. :emoji_fingers_crossed:

Thanks again for your help!
 
Sounds like a fantastic goal and mindset to just keep writing pieces and getting better. Good luck!

I took the liberty of doing a very rough cut 'n paste job on your existing piece to demonstrate how it would sound restructured. Obviously the third chord I added in the opening 10s or so is just the previous chord on F tuned down 2st to G, and probably shouldn't be that much of a marcato, but more mellow so as to fade more into the solo trumpet bit that comes next. Anyway, it's the opening and end here that are slightly different, have a listen (I thought this would probably get the point across more effectively than writing an essay on it).

I had this restructured piece in my original reply as well, but I think you may have missed it because the file had 0 views on it, hence me reposting it in this reply. Unless of course you skipped it, which is fine too!
 

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Duncan Formosa

Duncan Formosa

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Sounds like a fantastic goal and mindset to just keep writing pieces and getting better. Good luck!

I took the liberty of doing a very rough cut 'n paste job on your existing piece to demonstrate how it would sound restructured. Obviously the third chord I added in the opening 10s or so is just the previous chord on F tuned down 2st to G, and probably shouldn't be that much of a marcato, but more mellow so as to fade more into the solo trumpet bit that comes next. Anyway, it's the opening and end here that are slightly different, have a listen (I thought this would probably get the point across more effectively than writing an essay on it).

I had this restructured piece in my original reply as well, but I think you may have missed it because the file had 0 views on it, hence me reposting it in this reply. Unless of course you skipped it, which is fine too!
I like the idea of that opening, maybe if I extend it a little. It's also given me an idea. I could potentially introduce the villain theme at the start just so it's introduced earlier and then bring it back later rather than it just appearing out of nowhere. Then I could do something similar to what you've done after that. Try to build up the narrative as "people start to see the bad guy and the army approaching and everyone is terrified, then the hero arrives at the last moment to assess the situation, gives a motivational speach (the solo trumpet part) then launches into battle. This might end up as a 4 min piece if I structure it like that.

I always enjoy your compositions. It's nice to hear something different to epic drums + ostinato + fffffffff brass
Thank you! I really appreciate that, nice knowing there's some people that like the pieces I'm uploading. Least it's not all for nothing!
 
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