Theme?

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Rain
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Theme?

Post by Rain » February 14th, 2007, 7:11 pm

I just wanted to say that I have very much enjoyed all the music I've heard for Wesnoth up to this point. However, I would very much like to know if I could contribute thematically in some way. :)

I really like the whole fantasy world musical thematic and have been working with it quite extensively in my musical stylings in the past year and a half.

Here's what I got.

http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/rain/Tower2.mp3

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

Ryan

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Post by TimothyP » February 16th, 2007, 6:22 pm

I hear flute, cello, and oboe primarily. This presents problem #1: we're looking for quality orchestra music.

Problem #2: A large chunk of this piece doesn't fit the theme. It sounds like some form of twisted island dance music. I'm really not sure what you're going for with this middle section.

Problem #3: The melody and mood of the piece don't contribute to the appreciation of the world of Wesnoth. It's a bit hollow.

What should you do? The same thing I recommend to everyone. Study up on composition. Study other composers. Listen to good music get an idea of how orchestra music works. We are looking for orchestral composers. When you piece together something orchestrally and compositionally rich, post it and we'll give it a listen!

--Timothy

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Post by Rain » February 16th, 2007, 9:48 pm

I hear flute, cello, and oboe primarily. This presents problem #1: we're looking for quality orchestra music.
I see...as opposed to chintzy, crappy instrumental music that serves the function of providing a sense of contrast? Obviously you are looking for a FULL orchestral score only... Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.
Problem #2: A large chunk of this piece doesn't fit the theme. It sounds like some form of twisted island dance music. I'm really not sure what you're going for with this middle section.
How so? The piece uses the materials all the way through. The middle section is for instrumental contrast.
The piece is more intricate than it seems though likely very ADHD as well
. ;) It is more jazz oriented which makes it a bit brighter and possibly more sporadic and frantic than most typical orchestral music. That I can understand.

Anyhoo, some people like twisted island dance music, though I am probably in the minority.
Problem #3: The melody and mood of the piece don't contribute to the appreciation of the world of Wesnoth. It's a bit hollow.
What, my piece is hollow, or the world of Wesnoth is hollow?
:lol:

In any event, perhaps can you clarify what you mean by 'hollow'? For instance, do you refer to the actual production of the instruments or the actual composition itself? Your description leaves a bit much to the imagination. ;)
What should you do? The same thing I recommend to everyone. Study up on composition. Study other composers. Listen to good music get an idea of how orchestra music works. We are looking for orchestral composers. When you piece together something orchestrally and compositionally rich, post it and we'll give it a listen!
? No offense but that advice is not helpful and/or intelligent. Its a bit of an elitist comment. You are making quite a claim telling everybody that you come across to study up on composition merely because a Wesnoth submission doesn't strike a chord with you at first glance.
You admit to not knowing what I was going for with certain aspects of the music but apparently saw little problem having judged what the pieces wasn't, almost instantaneously. I have been studying composition for years and do numerous score study in my spare time so I don't generally just throw a few chords together and call it a day. If you are referring to the idea that the music of Wesnoth should sound like what you've submitted so far, then your words would mean a bit more to me.

Hope I wasn't overtly blunt. :)

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Post by Rain » February 17th, 2007, 6:25 am

Alrighty then. :) Here's what I got.

http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/rai ... Battle.mp3

There is still considerable development left to do but I tried to keep it short to get a better idea for how it will loop at this point.

Thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks!

Ryan

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Jetrel
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Post by Jetrel » February 17th, 2007, 7:31 am

Rain wrote:Alrighty then. :) Here's what I got.

http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/rai ... Battle.mp3

There is still considerable development left to do but I tried to keep it short to get a better idea for how it will loop at this point.

Thoughts/suggestions?

Thanks!

Ryan
1] It won't loop. Wesnoth uses a "playlist" for most areas, rather than looping a single song.

2] As a result, the major design of this song; which I think it to be a piece that loops nicely, and stays consistent in general pace/tempo, could be radically altered.

It's a design constraint you no longer have to be restrained by - you can make radical changes of "atmosphere" during the song; like pink floyd would on one of their albums. Rather than a song that has to repeat certain elements to "tile" well with itself (not unlike a graphical tile on an RPG's map); rather than a song that establishes an atmosphere, it can be a song that tells a story.

And in fact, it really should be.
Last edited by Jetrel on February 17th, 2007, 10:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

Rain
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Post by Rain » February 17th, 2007, 7:49 am

Jetryl wrote:It won't loop. Wesnoth uses a "playlist" for most areas, rather than looping a single song.
Ah, I see. I wonder how long pieces should ideally be then...hmmm....

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Jetrel
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Post by Jetrel » February 17th, 2007, 8:26 am

Rain wrote:
Jetryl wrote:It won't loop. Wesnoth uses a "playlist" for most areas, rather than looping a single song.
Ah, I see. I wonder how long pieces should ideally be then...hmmm....
Check the above, because I added a major note to it (2]).

Ideally, songs could be long, 10-minute things with separate movements.

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Post by Karo » February 17th, 2007, 10:29 am

Commentary Regarding Tower2
Rain wrote:
Problem #2: A large chunk of this piece doesn't fit the theme. It sounds like some form of twisted island dance music. I'm really not sure what you're going for with this middle section.
How so? The piece uses the materials all the way through. The middle section is for instrumental contrast.
The piece is more intricate than it seems though likely very ADHD as well
. ;) It is more jazz oriented which makes it a bit brighter and possibly more sporadic and frantic than most typical orchestral music. That I can understand.
Intricacy is in the eye of the beholder (or in this case, the ear.) For example, in my mind it provides too much of a contrast, a discontinuity that makes the piece seem more an chimera formed from experiments in different style, as opposed to a piece that's trying to convey something, whether it be a mood or a story. Doesn't exactly bespeak its intricacy, does it? Sure, it's brighter, but the flute continues its melancholy melody, which contrasts strangely with the happy piano and chimes. Also, the bass line is just out of place. It's discordant with the flute, it's discordant with the piano, and it acheives no particular effect, since the discord is constant and the bass is too low in register to properly affect discord, not with the paucity of instruments in the piece. During the "happy stanza" the bass line exacerbates the contrast of melancholy vs. joy. Also, jazz isn't characterized by being brighter, sporadic and frantic. In my mind, it seems more like ska, which isn't my favorite genre.
Rain wrote:
Problem #3: The melody and mood of the piece don't contribute to the appreciation of the world of Wesnoth. It's a bit hollow.
In any event, perhaps can you clarify what you mean by 'hollow'? For instance, do you refer to the actual production of the instruments or the actual composition itself? Your description leaves a bit much to the imagination. ;)
How I interpret it is that it's hollow in that this piece can't really be used in a Wesnothian situation.
Rain wrote:
What should you do? The same thing I recommend to everyone. Study up on composition. Study other composers. Listen to good music get an idea of how orchestra music works. We are looking for orchestral composers. When you piece together something orchestrally and compositionally rich, post it and we'll give it a listen!
? No offense but that advice is not helpful and/or intelligent. Its a bit of an elitist comment. You are making quite a claim telling everybody that you come across to study up on composition merely because a Wesnoth submission doesn't strike a chord with you at first glance.
You admit to not knowing what I was going for with certain aspects of the music but apparently saw little problem having judged what the pieces wasn't, almost instantaneously. I have been studying composition for years and do numerous score study in my spare time so I don't generally just throw a few chords together and call it a day. If you are referring to the idea that the music of Wesnoth should sound like what you've submitted so far, then your words would mean a bit more to me.

Hope I wasn't overtly blunt. :)
You weren't blunt at all. You initially said you meant no offense, then you go and write offensive things. Actually, I would agree with him, but after reading your comments, perhaps you simply haven't honed your talent enough after those years of study, or you simply didn't have enough talent to begin with. It's no shame to admit you aren't too good at something you love despite the work you put into it. Being defensive and playing the "I'm too great of an artist for you to understand my work" card doesn't help if your work is meant to be enjoyable and appropriate for a target audience, but fails in that regard. In your introductory post, you said you like the "whole fantasy world musical thematic," but I fail to see how "Tower" emulates it.

As for how you can improve it... I'd ditch the bass line, replace it with a full string orchestra playing a different countermelody or a harmony, ditch the piano line, add in some brass, playing something akin to fanfare, but in a minor key.

Also, is there any way to make the notes end less abruptly? I'm guessing this was done digitally, so I don't know if your software will allow the sound to blend a bit more. Not too much, but everything sounds clipped right now.

Commentary regarding WesnothBattle

I dislike the solo strings. Is it in any way possible to get a string ensemble sound? Good work on the tympanic and snare lines, though. It's a staple necessary in any battle music.

However, the melody seems more like an odd remix of a Disney fairytale finale in the Nightmare Before Christmas style. I'd remove the staggered arpeggio from the cello line. Yeah, it's pretty much the entire focus of the piece, but... it's what forms my judgement. Also, in battle music, brass should take the fore, while strings provide accompaniment and accents. A good paradigm for battle music is Holst's first movement of The Planets, "Mars."

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Aleksi
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Post by Aleksi » February 17th, 2007, 3:08 pm

If i can add my comment, you say you have studied composition for many years, which is possible. But, it is clear you haven't studied harmony, or not enough to understand its base and usefullness. Many chords are not "balanced" and you seem to try to do a little counterpoint with counter melodies ornamenting you chords but, somehow you seem to be a bit lost in the construction of your piece. Many "passage notes" just do friction with the harmony. And I can't tell where you wan't to go. I just hear a constant melody with attempts of variations but it always stays as a loop form…

Aleksi.

Rain
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Post by Rain » February 17th, 2007, 7:47 pm

For example, in my mind it provides too much of a contrast, a discontinuity that makes the piece seem more an chimera formed from experiments in different style, as opposed to a piece that's trying to convey something, whether it be a mood or a story.
Thats a fair enough criticism and I thank you for it.

Code: Select all

Doesn't exactly bespeak its intricacy, does it?
As you've said, that point refers primarily to perspective and is not applicable in a universal function. At any rate, until someone learns to understand the way something works, it hardly makes sense to assume that it doesn't. ;)
Also, the bass line is just out of place. It's discordant with the flute, it's discordant with the piano
What bassline? I think you are referring to the piano part. The trouble with this is that the piano's bass clef reading has VERY little dischordant notes. What dissonance I do apply is completely functional per using the materials of the main theme but it is always in sequence.
Also, jazz isn't characterized by being brighter, sporadic and frantic.
I didn't say thats all there was to jazz. Try not putting words in my mouth, if you don't mind. The rhythmic motions of the piece along with the polyrhythmic piano function carrying over the main motif are something that are just much more likely to be found in jazz. The instrumentation and orchestration with the main flute is also heavily rooted in basic aspects of 'pseudo' improvisation during the piano section.
In my mind, it seems more like ska, which isn't my favorite genre.
:shock: Wow. I've failed life.
You weren't blunt at all. You initially said you meant no offense, then you go and write offensive things.
'Offensive' is in the eyes of the beholder. To excuse a person's work as being 'hollow' without understanding its application and then suggesting that an artist's capabilities rest within that single piece...(sigh) as well as telling them that whatever study they have encountered over the years simply isn't good enough, is both needlessly caustic, and an ignorant statement to make on top of that. Thats all there is to it.

Now, I didn't say anything nearly as offensive in my reply and was merely being honest. I accept criticism of all of my work and if I can benefit from it, then it is a very good thing. However, criticism which is meant only to criticize isn't quite useful now, is it?
Actually, I would agree with him, but after reading your comments, perhaps you simply haven't honed your talent enough after those years of study, or you simply didn't have enough talent to begin with. It's no shame to admit you aren't too good at something you love despite the work you put into it.
Perhaps, I am not here to prove anything to anybody, least of all to your obnoxious claims.
Being defensive and playing the "I'm too great of an artist for you to understand my work" card doesn't help if your work is meant to be enjoyable and appropriate for a target audience, but fails in that regard.
Being defensive is often in response to being offended. "I'm too great of an artist...?" I said no such thing. I think you are once again putting words in my mouth.

Its one thing to understand and another thing to dismiss.
In your introductory post, you said you like the "whole fantasy world musical thematic," but I fail to see how "Tower" emulates it.
I am sorry, perhaps I could do better to impress you in the future. ;)
As for how you can improve it...
Truth time! I didn't write the piece for Wesnoth. It was for a small ensemble competition. I had many instrumental limitations...none of which prove useful in the case of Wesnoth. I wasn't expecting it to be used in Wesnoth... Just seeing if anyone might appreciate its style. (a whole lot of good that didn't do. :) The bread and butter of the piece lies in its imagination but I agree that certain aspects of the song are too jarring for Wesnoth. As is stands, this piece shall remain in its current craptastic state.
I dislike the solo strings. Is it in any way possible to get a string ensemble sound?
Yes, but it requires a buttload of CPU resources...resources that I may not have at the moment. However, I'll see what I can do.
Good work on the tympanic and snare lines, though. It's a staple necessary in any battle music.
Thank you. :)
I'd remove the staggered arpeggio from the cello line. Yeah, it's pretty much the entire focus of the piece, but... it's what forms my judgement.
Are you sure it isn't perhaps your dislike of the solo strings which is forming the ill formed connection? I think the actual materials of the song are fine and the real problem probably lies in the string instrumentation which still sounds a bit synthesized. I think I just need to sell the melody more with more dynamic contrast in string volume changes and expression. I feel what you're getting at now. I'll work with that.
Also, in battle music, brass should take the fore, while strings provide accompaniment and accents. A good paradigm for battle music is Holst's first movement of The Planets, "Mars."
Oh man, I shoulda saw this coming :D...see...I am not above trying to create something different from the overused orchestral/classical WAR template vernacular that is becoming so common in media nowadays. Not everything has to/should sound like Mars. (Though the Planets is easily one of my favorite works) Its just that it seems that far too many battle songs are starting to sound the same ...because this is because a great and many people assumes that things can only be done correctly in a certain way.

Still, I will see if it can potentially bring anything to the piece.

Thanks.

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Post by Rain » February 17th, 2007, 8:06 pm

it is clear you haven't studied harmony
Your opinion has been noted. I will just inform you that harmony is the least of my worries in regards to this particuar piece. For instance, the instrumental limitations that I underwent when writing the music are not something I am normally familiar with. Also, aspects of instrumentation (such as writing 'breath marks' for the winds) probably provided notable interruption, more than cohesiveness in the overall scope of things. The mix probably makes the composition more difficult to gauge than its worth. However, I will say that the piece is largely exploratory in the harmonic realms. It doesn't necessarily lend itself to old ideas of formality, but I assure you it is still very centric.
or not enough to understand its base and usefullness.
That could certainly be true. However, the piece contains tonal centers and builds off of a particular theme in various forms. The intent of the piece itself wasn't to become defined explicitly by formalism but to only use that premise in cases where I felt they were needed.
Many chords are not "balanced" and you seem to try to do a little counterpoint with counter melodies ornamenting you chords but, somehow you seem to be a bit lost in the construction of your piece...
Lost? Yes. You are assuming I failed in achieving what I set out to do. ;) I understand where you are coming from though. The piece is extremely rough and there is quite a bit more shaping that I can do to make the pieces blend together a bit better.

Thanks for your comments.

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Post by Jetrel » February 17th, 2007, 10:34 pm

Karo wrote:Actually, I would agree with him, but after reading your comments, perhaps you simply haven't honed your talent enough after those years of study, or you simply didn't have enough talent to begin with. It's no shame to admit you aren't too good at something you love despite the work you put into it.
Just to put my cards on the table, I've seen a good deal of rain's other work, and some of it is rather ... intimidating. I have no doubt in my mind that he has "talent" for music in general, and significant training in it. However, the types of music that I have seen him compose before are radically different from the desired category of music which wesnoth is informally slated to have.


What we have here is like a comparison between Neoriceisgood and Jetryl in terms of "fields of expertise". I can do certain things that neo would find very difficult to imitate, but the reverse is also true. But it would be absurd to say that neorice is a bad artist because I can do one thing well that he can't (really absurd - we all know neoriceisgod).

Enough with the sticks and stones; let's be constructive here.
:?

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Post by Rain » February 18th, 2007, 7:49 am

Thanks Jetryl. I apologize if I said anything that seemed a bit hasty. :)

Anyhoo, in regards to my first try on a battle theme for Wesnoth, I filled out the spaces a bit with some brass overlays and some woodwinds and other percussive goodies to give the music less of a synthesized feel and to distract attention away from the solo cello. I think its working a lot better, but additional tinkering this the piece is needed.

http://www.allacrost.org/staff/user/rai ... attle3.mp3

Hope it goes over well. :D

I am brainstorming for the new section and will keep you guys posted on how I am coming along.

Edit: Added an introduction. Its a string quartet. I really worked with trying to alter velocities and volumes, acoustic space...quite a few things actually. It still sounds synthesized but it sounds a crapload better than what I did yesterday. :)

Improvement is good. But there is always room for more.

:idea:

Anyways, I've been at the computer for about 13 hours, so I think I need to get up and walk around a bit.

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Post by Karo » February 18th, 2007, 1:59 pm

Well, in regard to the non-compositional criticism, I meant to be offensive, in hopes that you would tone down the sarcasm. It didn't work, obviously, and I should probably have learned not to fight flame with flame on forums. But in regard to hinting that you might not have talent, I've, well, played a piece by a composer that was... well, utterly unmusical. Not everything in the universe has a "purpose" or can fulfil it. But honestly, I did mean there's no shame. For example, do you tell someone who only draws stick figures they're an equal of Michelangelo? (Hm, probably not the best example, not with the modern art that's in the galleries these days... Then again, they'll probably just stare down their upturned noses at me and say, "You don't understand my work.")

Regarding Tower (and subsequent comments)

To my ears, Tower was close to that in terms of painfulness, its saving grace being the flute. But, that's just my opinion, and it's obvious that piece isn't meant to please everybody. I didn't say it was hollow, but I was assigning an elaboration to TimothyP's comment. Also, I didn't put words in your mouth in regard to your definition of jazz. I gleaned it from your fingers on your keyboard (read your second post in the thread.) I didn't say jazz isn't only characterized by those qualities, either. (Heh, double negative.) Oh, and the bassline I was complaining about is the thing that sounds like a string bass. Maybe it's percussion? Or tuba?

Regarding WesnothBattle (v2)

I like it a lot better. A lot less majestic view of picturesque town/castle and more march. Probably has to do with the added instrumentals. Still could use the ensemble sound, but I assume you're working on that. I think... if you do conjure up an ensemble, the little flute line in the middle should remain a solo line, with perhaps a slightly decreased volume, since it seems to go in its own wandering direction.

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Post by Rain » February 18th, 2007, 3:02 pm

Well, in regard to the non-compositional criticism, I meant to be offensive, in hopes that you would tone down the sarcasm. It didn't work, obviously, and I should probably have learned not to fight flame with flame on forums.
Clearly? By all means...Do as you please. ;)
But in regard to hinting that you might not have talent, I've, well, played a piece by a composer that was... well, utterly unmusical. Not everything in the universe has a "purpose" or can fulfil it.
But honestly, I did mean there's no shame.
That is largely a matter of opinion. For instance, Yesterday I spent 15 hours in front of the computer, both studying and writing music to better myself. Whats more is that I do this most days out of the week, if I can afford the time and have been doing such for the last few years to make up for lost time. I've won a few music awards because of this sense of discipline and for lack of a better word, utter seriousness (which include winning an award from the Kennedy Center for accomplishment in musical playwriting) as well as nominations in a few other arenas as well, most recently for a video game score at Games 2006, an international video game festival in Portugal. I just want you to know that I don't take myself or anyone else's uninformed judgments, very lightly.

So what I am saying is YES, I may have written ONE piece of music which you or someone else didn't like and was briskly written off as a result... as well as told that I better be gettin' maself a' education', ahuck, in lieu of my complete lack of compositional proficiency in all 300-400 of my compositions, ahuck. :twisted: See where there is a flawed logic?

In the case that you are right, its a shame... I wasted all that time writing music when I could've just taken up the glorious art of stick figures...then again, you can't really make very much money sticking 2 popsicle sticks together, can you?
For example, do you tell someone who only draws stick figures they're an equal of Michelangelo? (Hm, probably not the best example, not with the modern art that's in the galleries these days... Then again, they'll probably just stare down their upturned noses at me and say, "You don't understand my work.")
:roll: Good grief.

If someone were to rudely criticize an artist's work without the want of understanding and rush to a poorly formed opinion based upon only a very brief glance, then perhaps someone's nose deserves to be upturned, if you catch my meaning.

Pshew, okay. Moving on.
To my ears, Tower was close to that in terms of painfulness, its saving grace being the flute. But, that's just my opinion, and it's obvious that piece isn't meant to please everybody.
It was an exercise in small scale orchestration. Compositionally, it is an unconventional piece and one that probably won't be appreciated by anyone outside of myself.
I didn't say it was hollow, but I was assigning an elaboration to TimothyP's comment.
....Well, why not just let Timothy speak for himself? I really doubt you love to waste your time arguing about something which didn't concern you in the first place. Also, the fact that I became defensive doesn't automatically mean that you needed to try and assume an offensive position, by default. :P
Regarding WesnothBattle (v2)
I like it a lot better.
Well thats good to hear.
Probably has to do with the added instrumentals. Still could use the ensemble sound, but I assume you're working on that. I think...
You are very right. I am definitely working on giving it all I have. :)
if you do conjure up an ensemble, the little flute line in the middle should remain a solo line, with perhaps a slightly decreased volume, since it seems to go in its own wandering direction.
Funnily enough, I tried this already and it didn't sound very good. I will try to tool with it a bit more...but not today.

I hope it turns out well.

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