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Topic: orchestration ( demo song )

  1. #1

    orchestration ( demo song )

    today, I was fuxxed by a anonymous musician, he said that my orchestrating skill is crap, he also mention that I am not sure how to connect string with brass section, does anyone could give me some nice suggest for my song please ?

    ( This song is running on EWQL orchestra set )


    if you are good at orchestration, please also contact me on MSN / ICQ:
    ICQ: 75028254
    MSN: lkthomashk@hotmail.com

    I am just a newbie on orchestration, Thanks for your helping

  2. #2

    Wink Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    Hi IkThomas,

    I was listening to your song and the following points I´ve noticed. My English is a little bit rusty, so I hope my explanations are understandable.

    1) The beginning with the piano-part is quite good. Maybe the rhythmus trembles a little bit too much - this playing could be more realistic. But the strings are fine.

    2) The next section is boring referring to the composition aspect. The background-strings always play a legato chord without any movements. Maybe you can work with some transitions instead of simple chord changes. Try to figure out a second and maybe a third melody, which strenghten the main melody. Make the whole part more interesting for the audiance as well as "for the musicians" which play your composition. Always try to imagine you for yourself are sitting in an orchestra and you´re playing a composition. Would it be interesting to play the composition or is it just an ordinary thing and you want it to be finished as fast as possible ....

    3) The whole sound of your song is unbalanced. I hear all strings from the left side, and the horns also come from the left, as well as the harp. I think your composition would sound better, if you use a realistic seatplan of an orchestra. For example: 1st and 2nd violins on the left side; violas and celli on the right side. In the middle behind them the woodwinds and the brasses and behind all the timpanis and other percussion. Search the www for some good pictures of seatplans ...

    4) I think, the snare-drums is too loud. But this is a matter of taste.

    5) The timing of your instruments are exact enough. Have you recorded the notes with a keyboard by playing with your fingers? If yes, use the "quantisize" - function in your sequencer. But take care, that your orchestra don´t play too exactly. That is unnatural.

    6) Use more dynamics. The melody always plays in one volume-level. That sounds like a roboter. "Put life into your instruments" by using the volume- and the expressive-level.

    I hope that you are not angry about my words. Maybe I could help you that your next work will sound better. Keep on learning. Me for myself see nearly every day things other composers tell me about my work that help me to improve my skills concerning composition.

    Best regards,


  3. #3

    Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    Wow, I’ve heard similar comments from other composers, but take it as a educational challenge to not have that same musician think the same way about your skills twice. Everyone starts somewhere and has to improve their skills in time so in a way, its very good that this brass player pointed out areas for improvement. It also takes guts to put your work out there for musicians to perform - after many years of study, they might forget what it was like to start out.

    Anyway, some specific things I noticed about your piece:

    1.) To my ears, the harmony sounds static and closed were open chords might serve this peice better. Better voicing has a huge impact on making harmony really sing. Try separating the notes to follow the harmonic overtones for each instrumental group.
    2.) The harmony is rather limited in its variety making the music sound somewhat monotonous. Try adding more surprises in the instrumentation, harmony, etc. Variety is good!
    3.) I didn’t hear much in the way of interval leaps that some instruments play well. Try adding some more leaps.
    4.) When you repeat a statement, don’t completely repeat it – change something fundamental about it.
    5.) The big climax at 1:55 didn’t have any premonitions so it didn’t sound like it had the impact you intended it to have. Perhaps a leading tone prior to the impact would help. Study Bruckner for a good example of setting up climaxes. In his 3rd Symphony, he spends almost 2 minutes just building tension to by the time the tonic chord is hit, it is a huge release. He does this by adding instruments, increasing the tempo, increasing the pulse and the complexity of the parts, using more leading tones, etc.
    6.) It doesn’t sound like there is much distinction between what role each player is performing. It sounds like the horn part could have been played by other instruments. Use the instruments in characteristic ways at what they do best. Of course this is very complex and require careful study of successful scores but one quick way at finding out what to do to make the instruments play their parts more characteristically is to speak to the horn player about how they would like to play it. Another quick way is to hum the melody of each instrument – make sure they are both interesting and fun for you to hum. If its boring to hum, it will probably be twice as boring to play.
    7.) Study! I really lived the expensive version of Samual Adler’s Orchestration (3rd edition) with CD roms. The examples he uses are very good and you will learn a lot through this.
    8.) Take his/her feedback as a challenge – it’s good feedback though it might not be tactfully delivered.

    Good luck!

  4. #4

    Wink Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    Hi Karim,

    you are right, my criticism was not very tactful presumably, something like that does not have to be. I excuse with that. But nevertheless nothing changes at the individual criticism points.

    @IkThomas: You must find your style. But you need stimulation and examples of other composers for that. Only if one is occupied with a thing much, one becomes also good in that.

    I request you in any case a lot of success on your way.



  5. #5

    Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    Thanks, both comment are very helpful as I am going to listen to more example now, how many point could I get for my music out of 100 ?


  6. #6

    Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    Take the advice onboard, some of which is very good. I think you will get heaps better with pratice, the more you write the better you get. Also knowing what your samples can do helps out. I suggest listening to lots of music. Also download as many demos as you can find using EWQL. That will help you hear what can be achieved.

    I think you are on the right track. Keep up the good work and continue to write music. IMO it takes years to develop skills of a high standard. The best advice is to keep writing and improving your skills. Also read up on mixing and sound engineering. And learn your software inside out. Good luck.

  7. #7

    Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    Wayne, is that all people need to partice a lot to get a better result ? as that music is my first orchestration music, so it seems crappy....

  8. #8

    Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    Quote Originally Posted by lkthomas
    Wayne, is that all people need to partice a lot to get a better result ? as that music is my first orchestration music, so it seems crappy....
    Hi lkthomas, I am curious, how did you get your very first orchestral piece performed by live musicians? Usually people spend lots of time, effort, sweat, frustration to stumble on a performance of their music.

    - Karim

  9. #9

    Re: orchestration ( demo song )

    it is not performed by live musician, it just EWQL orchestra sample library, what's your question again ?!

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