A Silver Wind (another try)

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IoN
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A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

I thought I'd have a listen to my old work again, and I decided to redo it. In particular, I thought the middle section wasn't very good and got rid of it altogether. I also got rid of the percussion; I'll add it back in later while I tinker with some of the percussion samples from SSO. Here's a preliminary draft of the first section: http://www.box.net/shared/2m1ejt9flh

IoN
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

Here is a somewhat more polished version with percussion. I can't get the cymbal crashes to sound very good, though.

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CheeseLord
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by CheeseLord »

Hi...... haven't listened to Silver Wind before, so nice stuff :wink:
Is there any chance you could convert the file to .mp3 or .ogg .......20mb is a pain to download.

Right, there aren't really any issues with orchestration, as it seems nicely done overall. However, it's the realism issue again... Listen carefully to the strings at the start, and you'll probably see what I mean. The shorter notes is the major issue here, it seems like it's going up in a crescendo and then suddenly cut off by someone. One possible tactic that I've tried in the past is to continue the note slightly into the next note, so it seems more seamless and "cuts" less.

What samples are you using BTW, are they all SSO?

Enjoyed listening!!
Lord of Cheese.....especially Parmesan!!!
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IoN
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

CheeseLord wrote:Hi...... haven't listened to Silver Wind before, so nice stuff :wink:
Is there any chance you could convert the file to .mp3 or .ogg .......20mb is a pain to download.
Thanks. And sure, I actually intended to do that the first time but I completely forgot.
Right, there aren't really any issues with orchestration, as it seems nicely done overall. However, it's the realism issue again... Listen carefully to the strings at the start, and you'll probably see what I mean. The shorter notes is the major issue here, it seems like it's going up in a crescendo and then suddenly cut off by someone. One possible tactic that I've tried in the past is to continue the note slightly into the next note, so it seems more seamless and "cuts" less.
Yeah; you put into words the inexplicable urge to wince I have every time I listen to that section. I'll fix that.
What samples are you using BTW, are they all SSO?
Yep.
Enjoyed listening!!
Thanks again.

PPH
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by PPH »

I agree with CheeseLord. Music is great, but the strings that appear in the beginning have this problem he described. The method he suggests might work, although I think in this case you must fade out the notes when they overlap with the following notes. So, my suggestion is adding some reverb to the individual tracks (if you use reverb already, you might make it stronger). The tail added by the reverb causes the notes to go on longer but with a lower volumes; it's an effect similar to doing what CheeseLord says combined with a fadeout.

IoN
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

I already have reverb; trust me, this would sound a LOT different without reverb. And a reverb that heavy would make the strings sound very bad, and I don't think it could even fix the problem here. I already fixed the problem by extending the eighth notes and delaying the attack on the subsequent half notes. (I also did the same thing two other places in the string section to make it sound a little more human; it was sounding sort of "mechanically rushed" before.)

IoN
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

This was/is intended as a mage theme; hence the incorporation of a touch of the "Over the Northern Mountains" motif (well, this might not be obvious, but I always pictured magical academies or whatever is described in campaigns like 'Delfador's Memoir's' to be located in the mountains for some reason) and the inclusion (in later segments, not in what I've posted so far) of the "Wanderer" theme. But a "Loyalist" motif would be nice too, and I think I read that West is working on a replacement for the current loyalist theme. If that is true, could I have a main theme/motif from that piece? Thanks.

PPH
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by PPH »

IoN wrote:I already have reverb; trust me, this would sound a LOT different without reverb. And a reverb that heavy would make the strings sound very bad, and I don't think it could even fix the problem here. I already fixed the problem by extending the eighth notes and delaying the attack on the subsequent half notes. (I also did the same thing two other places in the string section to make it sound a little more human; it was sounding sort of "mechanically rushed" before.)

Yes, I supposed you did have reverb already (and I mentioned it).

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West
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by West »

IoN, I like this piece, I really do. I remember liking the old version as well, as it has some great melodies and generally a sort of grand medieval feel to it. I love the way you use woodwinds, they move effortlessly in and out of the arrangement, octave-doubling a part here, emebellishing a part with little ornaments there.

But the big showstopping problem with it, the reason that this piece will never end up in mainline in its present state, is the samples. First of all SSO was never finished (nor will it ever be) and ready for prime time, hence the various out of tune woodwinds and other oddities. Secondly, SSO was never meant to be a tool for serious music making. It was intended for beginners who want to try their hands at virtual orchestration without having to invest in a commercial library or having to download every free soundfont in existance and setting up everything from scratch. At most it could be considered a sketchpad library for roughing things out on less powerful machines. Simply put, SSO doesn't sound good enough to be used for more than demo stuff.

Listening to this piece, it's clear to me that you're good enough at this to need better tools. You really need a proper sample library to help you realize your ideas. I know that money might be an issue. It certainly is for me and a lot of other musicians as well, but at the same time you will have to make a choice sooner or later. Do you want to create pro quality (or at least semi-pro quality) music or is the happy amateur sound good enough for you? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying one is necessarily better than the other aesthetically speaking -- hell, some of my fave game music was made with trackers and 8 bit samples -- but having a decent sample library will not only make it more fun to compose, it will make your listeners think "hey, this sounds really good, this guy is serious about his music". After all, it's 2009. Computers are more powerful, the bar has been raised significantly the latest five or six years. After GPO and EWQL Silver put orchestral sample libraries within anyone's reach, it's not as easy getting away with cheap-sounding orchestrations anymore. Not even on a non-pro level.

So my advice is, do yourself a favor and invest in an orchestral sample library. SSO won't cut it for mainline. Of course, if you're not interested in mainline and would just like to make your music available for UMC authors, I have no obejction. I could give you some tips on ways to improve the piece aside from the samples if you want, I didn't want to go into that right now as I felt that the arrangement itself is generally quite solid.
IoN wrote:hence the incorporation of a touch of the "Over the Northern Mountains" motif
Uhm... where?

IoN
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

Thanks for the comments about the arrangement.

And oh. That gave me a lot to think about. Could a sound pro enough for mainline be achieved with a library of various free "happy amateur" samples? I recall there was a list of good free samples posted somewhere in these forums, but now I can't find it. In any case, I don't think it's viable for me to buy even something like GPO right now. If a pro library would be necessary, I would be happy to simply contribute for UMC.
Uhm... where?
In the piccolo ornamentation in the loud strings passage at ~1:20. There's a bit more later on (in fact here's the version I was working on, though it may be moot now).

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West
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by West »

IoN wrote:That gave me a lot to think about.
I hope I didn't discourage you. And you should know that I wouldn't bother saying this if I didn't like your music, and felt it shows promise. To take your composing to the next level, you need better tools to work with.
IoN wrote:Could a sound pro enough for mainline be achieved with a library of various free "happy amateur" samples?
Well, yes. Kind of. Journey's End (now mainlined) was created with free samples only, and I don't think anyone objected against the sample quality. However, Journey's End was *composed* using those samples, i.e. I let the samples I had available dictate how the music would turn out. If I couldn't make a certain idea work, I'd just scratch it and do something else, something that the samples in question were good at. So I'm not sure it'd be a good idea trying to remake Silver Wind with the free samples I used, as you already have a more or less complete arrangement with certain requirements. Not saying it wouldn't be possible, just that it might be a lot of work and you should be prepared to change many things you thought were "perfect".

Also, while SSO was based on free samples, it was also a compromise between sound quality and file size. I wanted it to be a reasonably small download with consistent overall sound quality so I didn't use much of the really high quality free samples out there. Makes no sense to have a cello section that is much higher quality than all the other samples, for example. So IOW, yes, there are pro-quality freebies around.
IoN wrote:I recall there was a list of good free samples posted somewhere in these forums, but now I can't find it.
Here's a few, though some links are dead now, and here's a few more. Me and Tyler have talked about setting up a repository of really good free orchestral soundfonts, so hopefully we'll eventually be able to bring back some of the stuff that's unavailable right now.
IoN wrote:In any case, I don't think it's viable for me to buy even something like GPO right now. If a pro library would be necessary, I would be happy to simply contribute for UMC.
I'm sure a lot of UMC authors will be thrilled :). I think your piece is great.
(in fact here's the version I was working on, though it may be moot now).
Why moot? I'd love to hear it, though it's late here so I can't give you any comments until tomorrow.

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TreizeCouleurs
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by TreizeCouleurs »

IoN! This is really good! I've listened to it countless times now on repeat. :D
Your orchestration is brilliant! I love your little woodwind counter melodies and I love your doubling clarinet. You obviously know what you're doing in terms of instrumentation. Compositionally; I really pay the fact that it doesn't stay the same for too long and that it's not repetitive or boring, infact it's very more-ish, great melody too! To be honest, I can't wait to hear the whole thing.

I have to agree with everything West has said about realism though. Given that you can write music like this, you almost owe it to yourself to upgrade your setup. Things like EWQL Silver are awesome for that, although I think that has been discontinued now.

Also I cannot recommend having a keyboard (preferably weighted) any higher. It makes writing music actually fun :P (as opposed to slowly manually drawing in notes with the mouse). I noticed that your harp "riff" sounded rather robotic, primarily because it played every note at seemingly the same dynamic and played with insane rhythmic precision - something even the best player wont do; and I know first hand having a keyboard hooked up to your computer helps this problem about a billion percent.

IoN
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

I think I'll just finish the piece using SSO samples and decide what to do from there. I think I'll get a keyboard this Christmas, so that will probably help with the quantization.

IoN
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by IoN »

This version is basically done in terms of length - except for the very end. I'm having trouble with this ending; I don't want just a loud full orchestra restatement of the theme - that would be boring. Any thoughts?

Kenpachi
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Re: A Silver Wind (another try)

Post by Kenpachi »

How about the bass holds the tonic (on a fade out) with a very light restatement of the theme over the top... with a flute or something?


In my head I can hear bagpipes at the end, but I'm sot sure if they could play the theme properly to be able to make it work. :|

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