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Author Topic: Echo tries to compose!  (Read 505 times)

Echo

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Echo tries to compose!
« on: August 18, 2016, 07:01:42 AM »

Welcome, NSMers! I've never been much of a composer, but recently I've decided to take my musical interests a bit more seriously, and I figured that my best way of improving is by getting feedback from all you guys!

Composition 1 - Howling Winds
I wrote this piece just the other night. I wouldn't call it complete, but I got to include most of the major ideas I thought of. If you want to think of it as a video game track, I think that it'd fit best as a JRPG battle theme or fighting game theme. It could obviously use some improvement in terms of the quality of instruments/soundfonts used to render it (especially the guitars), but in terms of actual general composition techniques, I'd say my main weaknesses I'm trying to fix for now are how to write fuller sounding guitar parts, finding out appropriate drum beats, and figuring out how to have interesting background parts instead of just writing things in unison or chord harmony without having things sound messy.

Anyways hope you enjoy, and if not, I'd love to hear some criticisms or advice to improve! Thanks for listening!
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daj

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Re: Echo tries to compose!
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2016, 09:21:50 AM »

Electronic music! Oh boy <3

Used some mobile data on this track, no regrets at all! :)

If you don't mind, I'd like to say some stuff about this ^^

Composition 1 - Howling Winds


If this is your first electronic/digital composition ever, wow. I'm really impressed ^^

Off the top, you've got some slightly-cliche but very well-done classic JRPG elements, like a gliss build, falling minor bass, and a bunch of stuff I'll point out if I ever listen again. Stuff that I'll never have figured out on my first track.

The drum beat is also somewhat-cliche, but very effective! :) It creates that forward momentum really well, and yes, it would be a very fitting battle theme. Battle themes are good if they move but don't abuse too much contrast to create drama. So it works ^^

Quote
It could obviously use some improvement in terms of the quality of instruments/soundfonts used to render it (especially the guitars),

i can hear that garageband electric guitar, bwahaha.

Hehe, you've got a good idea of how to use reverb and you know more-or-less how to work with instrumental textures, so that's great ;)

Quote
but in terms of actual general composition techniques, I'd say my main weaknesses I'm trying to fix for now are how to write fuller sounding guitar parts, finding out appropriate drum beats, and figuring out how to have interesting background parts instead of just writing things in unison or chord harmony without having things sound messy.

You know yourself best, because pretty much all that I was going to comment about was mentioned here. Which is fantastic; it shows that you're constantly analysing your mixes and trying to improve, which is awesome :)

You're right - the main weakness of this track lies in the textural side. It's almost always too thin, hehe. You know it. ;)

The simple answer to making anything sound fuller is to fill in more frequencies. Basically, if your parts take up a balanced set of frequencies, the track sounds fuller (and noisier + muddier once you cross the threshold), because the individual notes stick out a lot less due to harmonic smearing and whatelsenot. In the compositional stage, the best way to do this is simply to...well, add parts. "Parts" meaning, simply, notes. Throwing in some ambient pads which just hold chords is a really good start. Writing a piano part skillfully is the next step, and writing with four-part harmony in mind comes after :)

The reason why your music sounds a little thin is because your melody is too distinct. There's a wide frequency gap between your bass and melody which no major parts fill in, and so both those parts really stick out. Throwing a pad part in between the bass and melody (i.e. in the mid range) covers a lot more frequencies and makes everything sound fuller.

So that's the biggest fix you could do - add more parts if you want more beef~



Um, if you'd like we could talk a little more about these thingies, hehe. I'm not too sure if you want to get into the nitty-gritties of mixing yet so I won't touch that bit too much yet, but you've got a fantastic work for a beginning attempt, and it's amazing ^^

Here's a bunch of small fixes you might want to make! Mixing is about subtlety, and I promise making these fixes will help:

1. Your kick is not punching enough: do a small EQ boost (1-1.5 dB) around the 100-150 Hz range, and if you think it should stick out more boost the click frequency at around 5kHz just a little.

2. You think your bass is killing your kick: make space for the kick; cut the frequency on the bass EQ which you boosted the kick with. I considered asking you to boost the bass frequency in the same way you might boost the kick, buuuut something tells me you don't need the bass to cut through that much ;)

3. You think your guitar cuts through too much and sounds piercing: add some reverb; around 10%-15% should be enough~

4. You'd like more snare: ~300Hz boost! Chances are nothing else takes up that frequency (maybe some bass bits?), so yeah :)

5. You'd still like your guitar to sound fuller after you add more parts: check up "unison detuning" ^^



I've only touched on production points because this is a work in progress, and the composition is quite solid! :)

But we've got some great ideas here, we've got lots of creativity and good instinct overall, and it's a fantastic work to open with. Great stuff, much cheers :)

(ps. Drop me a pm if you wanna clarify anything in private! me is open~)

NocturneOfShadow

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Re: Echo tries to compose!
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2016, 03:55:47 PM »

Welcome back I think?
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FireArrow

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Re: Echo tries to compose!
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2016, 11:40:24 PM »

Well I was gonna give some advice but uh, daj said everything I was gonna and more. I'd really like to second the motion about adding more layers. If you think back to when we made those FFA arrangements there was almost always a second layer doing something, whether it be complex polyphony or simply parallel 6ths/3rds. Even if you're going for something more contemporary, polyphony is still a really big part of the genre.
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Dekkadeci

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Re: Echo tries to compose!
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2016, 03:39:38 AM »

The song was giving me a big Sonic (The Hedgehog) vibe at first, which is surprising to me since I can't really listen to half the Sonic songs in Super Smash Bros. (and several of the final boss themes) because they have lyrics (understandable lyrics in songs generally irritate me).

Hehe, you've got a good idea of how to use reverb and you know more-or-less how to work with instrumental textures, so that's great ;)

You know yourself best, because pretty much all that I was going to comment about was mentioned here. Which is fantastic; it shows that you're constantly analysing your mixes and trying to improve, which is awesome :)

You're right - the main weakness of this track lies in the textural side. It's almost always too thin, hehe. You know it. ;)

The simple answer to making anything sound fuller is to fill in more frequencies. Basically, if your parts take up a balanced set of frequencies, the track sounds fuller (and noisier + muddier once you cross the threshold), because the individual notes stick out a lot less due to harmonic smearing and whatelsenot. In the compositional stage, the best way to do this is simply to...well, add parts. "Parts" meaning, simply, notes. Throwing in some ambient pads which just hold chords is a really good start. Writing a piano part skillfully is the next step, and writing with four-part harmony in mind comes after :)

The reason why your music sounds a little thin is because your melody is too distinct. There's a wide frequency gap between your bass and melody which no major parts fill in, and so both those parts really stick out. Throwing a pad part in between the bass and melody (i.e. in the mid range) covers a lot more frequencies and makes everything sound fuller.

So that's the biggest fix you could do - add more parts if you want more beef~
That reminds me of the time I tried arranging a Beethoven work for heavy metal band (no, it's not one of his famous songs--yes, I think Yngwie Malmsteen would have fun shredding the snot out of the piece I picked)--I had to give the rhythm guitar a lot of stuff to do in the middle frequencies. (A hint as to which song I picked: the rhythm guitar was luckily occupied with counterpoint for around half the song, but it's the other half where I had to give the rhythm guitar something to do in order to make it sound like a metal remix.)

AmpharosAndy

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Re: Echo tries to compose!
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2016, 07:39:45 PM »

Really energetic and fun! (Listen to dajwxp) I recommend his comments alongside making the lead guitar a tad quieter because it sounds too overpowering to me. I love the background piano in the first and last bit so I'd make a bit more of it! :D I want to hear more from you ;)
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Some version of this is out so give it a shot cus it looks gud innit
 

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