Elven Dance

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

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PPH
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Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

As fabi said short pieces were needed for intros and events, I made this short piece (I have other, more complex and longer pieces coming). It's intended to loop. I tried to make a simple, medieval-dance-like piece.

What do you think? Maybe it's too short?

UPDATE: Removed file, because there is a newer version. See below.
Last edited by PPH on May 29th, 2010, 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Phyreprooph
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by Phyreprooph »

Is this supposed to be a "Dance around the tables folding your arms and kicking your legs" kind of music or is it supposed to be like a "Slow dance" sort of music because right now it's more of the second one. I think you should put it more up-beat. That loud humming sort of sound in the background is kind of hypnotic as well (I wouldn't know the instrument) kind of distracting. I think maybe a tiny bit too short but the main tune is good, maybe a little variation. :)
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PPH
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

Phyreprooph wrote:Is this supposed to be a "Dance around the tables folding your arms and kicking your legs" kind of music or is it supposed to be like a "Slow dance" sort of music because right now it's more of the second one. I think you should put it more up-beat. That loud humming sort of sound in the background is kind of hypnotic as well (I wouldn't know the instrument) kind of distracting. I think maybe a tiny bit too short but the main tune is good, maybe a little variation. :)
Thank you for your comments. I was quite amused. I was actually thinking of one of those not so fast dances in which people held their hands and danced by slowly walking back and forth or to the right and to the left.

The loud humming might be caused by the reverb, or something like that. Or maybe you're referring to the accompaniment (a couple of english horns) I'll check. I might expand it too, but. I had thought of adding a violin at some point.

I'll wait for other comments before I start working on it again, though.
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

New, longer version; doesn't loop and the english horns play shorter notes so that they are not so distracting. Added a different part, played by a violin.

UPDATE: File deleted. See new version in post below.
Last edited by PPH on June 9th, 2010, 10:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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West
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by West »

Not bad! I love the modal melodies and the medieval feel. If it weren't for the rhythm and the mixolydian(?) mode it's almost a bit hymn-like. The frame drum/tamb accompaniment is also really cool because it's so simple and "right". Instant early music feel!

The reverb is weird though. I know you maybe weren't aiming for a concert hall type of sound, but this sounds like an empty gymnasium or something like that. Everything sounds very remote. I think maybe a smaller space would be better, or at least make the instruments less wet.

And the violin is awful. Sorry. :/ Sounds like you're trying to emulate fiddle-style playing using open strings together with fingered notes, but the vibrato screws everything up. Fiddle players don't play with that kind of vibrato (if any), plus that it sounds like there's vibrato on BOTH unison notes. Unless you have real fiddle samples -- preferably a real fiddler -- don't attempt things like that because it just sounds synthy and fake.

It's a nice little ditty but I think it needs a lot more attention to details. More dynamics, more nuances, more... realism, basically. Small ensemble arrangements like this are very hard to get right and you need to have some REALLY convincing samples to work with as the instruments are so exposed.
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

Thank you, West. I'm going to address these issues and then post a new version. I'm thinking about dropping the violin altogether, even though I have other samples. I'm going to have to test several alternatives.

UPDATE: New version available. I replaced the violin with woodwind instruments, reduced reverb and tweaked some tempos and volumes.

UPDATE 2: New version. See below.
Last edited by PPH on June 13th, 2010, 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by EvilEarl »

Interesting, at first it struck me as a cross between the orcish and elvish themes, almost symbolizing the classic warfare between the two factions. But I'm starting to think it fits best off of the battlefield and a sort of elvish court environment, like a cutscene.

And it seems to be in that area where it could be better if the tempo was either moved higher or lower, I just think it's sitting on that line of indecision.
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by West »

Better, but I still think everything sounds too distant somehow. Also, there is something in the part that was played by the violin in the previous version that is out of tune.

Just out of curiosity, why only woodwinds? IMO the chordal accompaniment is really not a good part for woodwinds, because it ends up sounding a bit like an organ or accordion. Have you considered using, say, a harp instead? I think that would work much better. Not only because the melody is also a woodwind instrument and using a harp for accompaniment would mean more variation, but also because the harp is in many ways both a rhythmic and a melodic instrument. Right now the woodwind accompaniment doesn't really bridge the gap between percussion and melody, and I think a harp would do a better job.
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

EvilEarl, the impression you have now (elven court, or elven party) was my original intent. Maybe I should make it faster so that the feeling is not so ambiguous. I'll experiment a bit.

West, I'll replace the reverb. Maybe that's what's making this sound "distant". My first attempt at replacing the violin was just replacing the samples, and when I did, something sounded horribly out of tune. Then I tried with the woodwinds instead. I still found something weird, but it didn't sound that bad to me. I thought the culprits were the english horns that play the accompaniment, but as they didn't sound out of tune when accompanied with the flute, I pronounced them non guilty. I'm going to check the samples (the ones I didn't check yet). Some of them have been converted from their original formats and that might have caused trouble.

Why woodwinds alone? Well, the original idea was to make something very simple, just a couple of instruments (flute and oboe) accompanied by percussion. Then, when I made it longer, I decided to include the violin for variation. When I decided to replace the violin, I tried several options, and the one I liked best was the woodwinds. But of course, now the piece sounds more complex and bigger, owing, to some degree, to the fact that this new woodwind-played part made it more orchestral in nature.

I'm not convinced by the harp idea, but I may give it a shot. Somehow I don't associate a harp with this kind of music, but I may very well be wrong. I could also try with a guitar (or a similar instrument) and plain strings.

Anyway, I'll let you guys know when I have another version.
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West
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by West »

PPH wrote:I'm not convinced by the harp idea, but I may give it a shot. Somehow I don't associate a harp with this kind of music, but I may very well be wrong. I could also try with a guitar (or a similar instrument) and plain strings.
I kinda knew you would say that :)

Actually, if there's one instrument in the orchestra that I associate with traditional/early music, it's the harp. Because it's an ancient instrument that has remained relatively unaffected by technological progress. The flute and other woodwinds are just as ancient, theoretically, but the Boehm system effectively removed a lot of the grittiness of those instruments and made them more exact and less expressive (listen to someone playing an Irish or other keyless flute and you'll know what I mean). And yes, orchestral harps are larger than their more primitive ancestors, and they have all sorts of tuning contraptions that will make it easier to switch between keys. But the sound of the harp is the sound of ages long gone, at least to my ears.

Furthermore, when you say "harp" people usually think flowing arpeggiated stuff, but harps are actually excellent for playing rhythmic chords. Even really complex ones, as a harpist uses all digits except the pinkies for plucking.
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

Well, everything you say is indeed true. Moreover, I was even a little reluctant to include the bassoon because of such considerations, but afterwards I thought it was ridiculous. I'm trying to achieve a mood, not some kind of musical historical reenactment :D Anyway, I did try the harp, and it kind of sounds right. Also, I found that the oboe was horribly out of tune in relation to the flute and the bassoon. I fixed that too. I expect to have a new version ready soon.

EDIT: Here is the new version. I think it's much better. The harp turned out to be the right instrument for the accompaniment. I was reluctant, but then I remembered that lyres were typical instruments in ancient times; some must have been used for this kind of thing, right? So, a harp must be adequate. Besides the changes I already mentioned, I replaced the reverb effect and changed the phrasing of the main melodies. Also, the piece is now a little faster, or at least, in parts where it slowed down a lot, it doesn't slow down as much (except, of course, for the ending.

EDIT 2: I replaced v4 with v5, because I fixed some tuning issues with the flute.

EDIT 3: The flute seems to sound so much better now when it plays together with the other instruments; but when it plays alone (or almost alone, with the harp), it doesn't convince me; it sounds, well, out of tune; but maybe it's because I got used to the way it sounded before. What do you guys think? Anyway, I'll listen again tomorrow with fresh ears.

EDIT 4: The flute had issues, indeed. Version 6 is up.
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ElvenDance-v6.zip
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PPH
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

What about this? Maybe few realized there's a new version because I edited my last post instead of making a new one?
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Luke the Flaming
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by Luke the Flaming »

For what it may be worth (i.e. next to nothing), I find it nicer ("smoother") than version 5.
Keep up the good work!
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PPH
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

Luke the Flaming wrote:For what it may be worth (i.e. next to nothing), I find it nicer ("smoother") than version 5.
Keep up the good work!
Actually the only difference between versions 5 and 6 was some tuning corrections in the flute. That's probably why it sounded "smoother" to you.
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Re: Elven Dance

Post by PPH »

I can't believe this topic is more than four years old. Still, the latest version was never reviewed. Any chance this may end up in the mainline? West?
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