Thank you Douglas for the informative and detailed analysis. I really appreciate the time and effort you've put into this.Yo this is a really cool piece! It definitely strikes me as more of a tactical JRPG vibe but quite frankly I love that stuff unabashedly. Besides, as long as you can find someone who agrees with you there’s really no wrong approach haha.
If you really want to know the “right” way to score this I guess we’ll have to see who wins because I missed the mark. I can however offer some opinions on where your piece might be strengthened with respect to itself:
0:00 - 0:26
0:26 - 0:37
- You have a nice theme here! I wish it returned later in the piece though so I could chuckle to myself around strangers thinking “Ahhh yes how profound... but what does it mean? What doesn’t it mean???” They wouldn’t get it, obviously.
- It sounds like the woodwind melody is using a call-response structure like ABBA (not the pop group) where the 2nd B is a copy of the first B and the 2nd A has a little less steam than the first A, losing energy where it should probably be ramping up a bit - I think in part to the center-panned oboe dropping in volume while wider stereo, quieter, less focused winds takeover with pickups to the next part.
- Regarding the structure, a simple remedy might be to change the direction of one of the B phrase endings, either up or down to contrast with the other a bit. And for the 2nd A around :24 try reinforcing the melody by having something join the oboe. You could use just about anything really, like low malevolent woodwinds an octave lower, a swell of horns to add impact to the portal blast, or a tremolo strings crescendoing to an inescapable swarm! Can’t go wrong really, just build that tension.
- I like that you hit the portal blast. I think one more hit on “The Orchestra Complete” shot would help. Regarding the snare, maybe instead of “hit - rest” or “hit - hit” using a “roll —> hit” combo there would work better.
- If you have a more robust percussion library try mixing up those additional articulations - rolls, flams, rimshots for example - in between accents. I often do this as a sort of grace note when I’m programming snares. If you don’t have those articulations no worries, there are ways to program this sort of thing that can still be quite effective.
- I dig that tambourine. It’s a nice little detail and it gives a distinct Uematsu Spanish vibe in this context
0:37 - 1:20
- I like that you’re picking up the energy with the snares
- Working on your percussion programming chops is gonna open up another world of expression, especially when you really want to drive something home. Before long you’ll be like “Oh pshh that’s how they do that!”
- I think you have a solid idea you’re going for here. The ending could be fleshed out a bit more in the low end to give more foundation to the chords and there could be some more counter rhythm in the middle voices for momentum. It doesn’t have to be on this track of course, just experiment often with layering, push it way too far, let it be be sloppy, and eventually you’ll figure out how to dial it back, clean it up, and bring that vision in your head to life with clarity
I hope some of these thoughts are clear and helpful and I REALLY hope they are encouraging at the very least. Once again, nice job and keep at it!