An attempt at something

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doofus-01
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An attempt at something

Post by doofus-01 » October 22nd, 2008, 2:50 pm

Hi,

While nothing I do will ever be able to compete with the current mainline contributions, I can at least try to make this acceptable for UMC (specifically, Bad Moon Rising). The production quality needs work, and I'm working on that, but the score is mostly there and I was wondering which direction this should go. Depending upon what other folks are working on, this would either be a theme for a militant, arrogant, loyalist faction or a downtrodden, still somewhat militant, rebel faction (not "Rebel Faction", no elves). West said he was working on a new "loyalists", maybe someone else is working on something similar.

If there's a bombastic snare-drum filled piece on the way, I would make this sadder. If there is a patient fife filled piece on the way, I'd make this more aggressive. If that makes any sense.

Anyhow, here it is:
----link is dead and gone------
Last edited by doofus-01 on October 24th, 2008, 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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West
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Re: An attempt at something

Post by West » October 22nd, 2008, 5:06 pm

You really need to add some variation and nuances to that snare pattern. It gets VERY repetitive after a short while. I think you should also lower the volume of the snare so that it doesn't drown out the other instruments as much. If you're going for a relatively "correct" orchestral sound, remember that the snare and other percussion is in the back, not in the front.

That horn theme is quite nice, though to really bring it out you should try and add a chord progression underneath it, not just root notes. Also, I recommend using a lot more instrument sections. It sounds kind of empty ATM.

Production wise, you need a better reverb and you need to use more of it on the instruments. Don't be afraid to turn it up; it will make the samples sound more alive. Listen to this example. You should also be aware that the song is clipping in a lot of places.

As for where to go with it: does it matter what other people are working on? My loyalist theme is still just a few very short ideas and it'll take a long while before it's finished. I say do whatever you fancy, it's your piece.

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by doofus-01 » October 24th, 2008, 2:11 pm

This is still has ways to go, but I think it's better. More reverb and snare variation, as West suggested. Not many more instruments yet because most of the instruments I can use now sound like crap. I need to learn how to manipulate soundfonts...

---link gone------
Last edited by doofus-01 on October 27th, 2008, 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by Ronan » October 24th, 2008, 11:05 pm

Very nice!

While the drum is cool, and fitting for the theme you've describe, as West noted the drum is too repetitive.

It's good, though. Definitely a start.
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Re: An attempt at something

Post by doofus-01 » October 27th, 2008, 1:39 pm

Thanks Ronan.

I'm stalled and anything I do makes it worse. But at least the drums are less repetitive.

--------link dead--------------

I'll figure it out eventually, I think the problem is in the very middle.
Last edited by doofus-01 on November 2nd, 2008, 7:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by West » October 27th, 2008, 9:54 pm

doofus: I know you said this is intended for UMC so I'm hesitant to critique this piece in the same way I would a mainline submission. So I gotta ask: what kind of feedback are you looking for? The "nice work, keep it up" variety or a more serious analysis of your tune and its strenghts and weaknesses? The reason I'm asking is that I don't want to discourage you, but at the same time I feel there's a number of things you would probably benefit from being aware of.

Simply put, if you're not comfortable with receiving "serious" feedback at this point, just say so. Otherwise I'll go ahead and give you a more or less thorough review.

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by doofus-01 » October 30th, 2008, 1:44 am

West,

Fire away! I do know it sounds bad when I put it next to other pieces that get posted here. I know there are many errors, but I don't know what they all are. If you take the time to point them out, I certainly won't be offended. This won't be that useful, even for UMC, if it stands out like a sore thumb.

Thanks.

EDIT: I should also note that if you don't want this forum to look like the art workshop forum but rather a proving ground for mainline submissions, I'd respect that. Some people (including myself) have posted some strange things up in the workshop. Audio takes more time to consider than does glancing at a .png, so I can see how it would be more of a problem if this forum gets inundated with crap. I don't think this is the audio equivalent of a stick figure, but...

EDIT2: Maybe this gives more data points for major issues. It's basically parts A,B, and unfinished C, not really arranged yet. I'm not sure if it's for Wesnoth (just because I don't know where it would go, even if it sounded OK). -----------link dead--------
Last edited by doofus-01 on November 2nd, 2008, 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by West » October 30th, 2008, 5:21 am

doofus, sorry about not responding. I've been down with a cold for a couple of days now. I'll get back to you as soon as I feel a little better.

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by doofus-01 » October 30th, 2008, 1:03 pm

No problem, feel better.

I discovered something I was doing wrong, it might make a difference.
(I'll post a corrected version when I can).

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by West » October 30th, 2008, 8:41 pm

Still not feeling great but I'm bored so let's talk a bit about your piece.

What strikes me as most problematic with it is that it has precious little harmony. There's a few different melodies accompanied by root notes that, at times, wander off into some other interval. Seemingly at random. This leads me to believe that you either a) know very little about chords and harmony, or b) are trying to "fake" an orchestral sound by just playing vaguely related phrases at the same time. I know it might sound like orchestras do that a lot of the time, but they really don't. And trying to fake something like that is probably the worst thing you can do as a lot of people are going to hear that you really don't know what you're doing.

IOW, I can get no feel for your piece. It evokes no emotions in me due to the lack of harmonies and progressions. As mentioned I think that brass melody you have going is quite catchy (though I think it should be shortened by a few notes; it doesn't end in a natural place), but without an interesting, supporting accompaniment, it's just that. A melody, detached and meaningless.

What I recommend, if you're serious about this, is some woodshedding. Learn the basics of harmony. Learn the circle of fifths. Study chords and familiarize yourself with the sound of different voicings and chord progressions. Learn a thing or two about composition. Listen to lots and lots of good orchestral music (good as in easy to grasp for a beginner, so go light on Stravinsky to begin with). Then, and only then, try going back to writing something in an orchestral style. Right now I think you're biting over more than you can chew, you're trying to do a large ensemble arrangement with percussion and interweaving melodies and that's something I constantly struggle with (and by that I certainly don't mean that I look upon myself as a brilliant composer, only that I have spent a lot of time trying to get a grasp of these things, and yet I find it very, very hard). You have to walk before you can run.

So start out small. Just one single group of instruments to begin with -- I recommend strings, as they have an huge range and immense expressiveness. Do basic things at first, just major/minor chords in various progressions. Then move on to more advanced stuff.

I hope I'm not discouraging you. :/

And BTW, you're not using SSO on that track... are you?

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by doofus-01 » October 30th, 2008, 10:34 pm

Ah well, I guess this was premature or too ambitious. I used to play the piano, and had to do a lot of chord exercises, so I thought I could get by but I guess it was all too many years ago. Off to the woodshed...

No, I'm not using SSO. I would if I could, but I can't use more that one or two soundfonts right now. My DAW is a bit of a joke (a linux laptop with its qwerty keyboard only and some opensource stuff that is OK but not like what you probably use). That's another thing I would have to change if I'm really going to try to be serious.

I'm thinking this was all a bad idea. Still, it was tempting. Even during the day, one can whistle under one's breath and sort of work on a tune when one's mind isn't fully engaged in whatever it is one is doing. Drawing requires you to always use your hands, and if your hands are not available you can't do much. I think.

Anyhow, I'll work on it. Thanks for the advice (and reality check).

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Re: An attempt at something

Post by doofus-01 » November 2nd, 2008, 5:39 pm

This is mostly strings, and I think it's more manageable. Still some mistakes and it's not finished, but I'm tired of clicking pop-up buttons as my system crashes every ten minutes, so I'm moving it to paper to try to work on it there. I think it's better than the last one, not enough to get me out of the woodshed though.

If anyone is bored enough, here it is:

Attempt at something else.

Even though it's a work in progress, I'd still be interested in any comments anyone might have.

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