Calm before the storm

Create music and sound effects for mainline or user-made content.

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Tlogmer
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Calm before the storm

Post by Tlogmer » October 24th, 2007, 7:57 pm

Hello, etc. :P

Alright -- so, Calm before the storm is a piece I put together awhile ago, but I thought a longer version might be appropriate for Wesnoth. This isn't a drive-by; I'm willing to stay and write other stuff if people like it.

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West
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Post by West » October 25th, 2007, 3:19 am

Hi and welcome to the Wesnoth forum.

I'm glad to see you're willing to contribute, I just hope what I'm about to say won't disappoint or discourage you. I have to be honest though; being nice for the sake of not hurting someone's feelings isn't really a very constructive approach.

- First of all, your samples aren't really up to par. You will need to get considerably better instrument sounds to work with if you're serious about contributing music. Or, possibly, you might have decent samples, only you're not using them the right way. Alternatively, you've done something odd with the mix because this sounds very lo-fi to me. What stuff are you using, anyway?

- Your piece sounds slightly random and unplanned. It doesn't have a sense of movement and direction. Also, playing-wise, instruments appear out of the blue and disappear again. You need to pay more attention to textures, blending, and trying to play the instruments like a real player would, using subtle changes in attack and volume. Most phrases sound stiff and "dead".

- Some instruments are wet while others sound bone-dry and up front. Don't be afraid to use reverb. In fact, you will absolutely, positively need to use a good reverb -- probably lots of it too -- to make your digital orchestrations come to life. No matter what samples you use, it will sound flat and unrealistic without reverb.

- The plucked contra sounds oddly jazzy and out of place.

- The bowed instrument that comes in at 0:56 (is it a cello?) has some pretty crummy samples in the high range.

Please note that I'm not trying to discourage you here, far from it, I'm only pointing out what I percieve as problems with your piece.

That said, I like the flute sound and the dreamy atmosphere. It's very short though. Do you have any other piece you'd like to share, something that gives us a clearer idea of your compositional skills?

Finally, a little tip: for added realism, don't go over the top with tremolo strings. Remember that on a bowed instrument, tremolo is produced by moving the bow up and down very precisely and rapidly, which eventually gets tiring -- ultimately painful. Same goes for prolonged trills. Just something to consider.

Tlogmer
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Post by Tlogmer » October 25th, 2007, 6:16 pm

Alright, thanks -- I'm not very experienced with orchestral-style music, so advice is good.

I'm just using the samples built into Reason. I've uploaded a new version with more reverb and a couple of other changes, but it's still a little messy. Do you still think I should still find some better samples?

My keyboard's sitting out in a temporary practice space at the moment, but when I get it back I'll take some more time to flesh things out.

Tlogmer
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Post by Tlogmer » October 25th, 2007, 9:00 pm

Okay, I've spruced up another piece I made awhile back -- Forgotten Woods -- paying more attention to dynamics, etc. It's not perfect, but it develops a bit more -- I'd be interested to hear what you thought. (It's about a minute long, and designed to loop.)

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jeremy2
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Post by jeremy2 » October 25th, 2007, 10:07 pm

I think that you most certainly need better samples. The "into the woods" was kinda interesting, but the marcatto strings were way too harsh and the solo instruments really weak. You have the beginnings of some good ideas with this one, I would keep playing around with them. I know that West is really good with giving advice, and I can pitch in with a few ideas myself - so keep posting and we'll do the best we can to help you out. If you could bring up the volume on the instruments playing the melody, I could suggest a few more things, but at the moment it's kinda hard for me to hear what exactly you are trying to do with it.

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