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Nac Orchestral Contest Results

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Chronamut
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-06 20:43:55 Reply

DavidOrr's reviews:

Now david has said that he wants to write really long in-depth reviews for all the contestants but htat in the meantime I could post his summaries for each contestant so here they are!

Hamstercake

Great work overall - The introduction was especially moving and
well-written. Focus on adding variety to your writing - both in your
musical ideas and orchestration. Don't be afraid to experiment with
woodwinds, bells, and working with smaller sections of each instrument
family!

MrMilkCarton

You have a maturing sound that enables you to create truly moving music.
I think you'd benefit most from paying a closer attention to your voice
leading, and ensuring that the choices you're making strengthen the mood
you're trying to set. It can be easy to get lost in the sea of
instruments that is the orchestra, but that is what makes writing for
full ensemble so difficult (and satisfying). The strongest point of this
piece lies in the contrasts you create - however you decide to further
develop as a composer don't let go of this gift!

XayberOptix

You have a great imagination! I really liked the fact that your
introduction wasn't overly predictable harmonically - it kept my
interest. Unfortunately, you missed out on a lot of percussive
opportunities in the piece. I'd recommend studying orchestration in
further detail to learn how each family of the ensemble fits together.

Cleverhill

You have good control over your samples, which is a skill I believe
every budding composer of the 21^st century needs. Solo string
instruments are especially difficult to replicate, but you did a good
job working with the solo violin samples you have. The weakest part of
this piece was in the chord progression - there was absolutely zero
variation for the entire two minutes and 30 seconds. Look into expanding
your palette of chords, and you'll keep your listeners engaged much longer!

PeterSatera

There were a lot of great things about this piece - the contrast between
sections, harmonic complexity, and range of articulations were all very
well refreshing to hear. There were parts that sounded orchestrally
cluttered. Remember that you can bring back supporting lines in favor of
the main melody. This helps the music maintain its focus and clarity -
which is crucial for a percussive piece like this!

SSB

I applaud your minimalistic efforts! Atmospheric music is some of the
most difficult music to write, and you capture the feeling of being
underwater very well. When you write fewer notes in a piece, the
significance of each one increases. Pay extra attention to every part,
and ask yourself "Is this a crucial piece of the texture I'm creating?"
If not, you can free up space for other parts without degrading the
atmosphere you're trying to conjure.

MJTTOMB

Well written! It was refreshing to hear an entry in a more "traditional"
style. I know there is a lot of repetition in waltzes by nature, but
there were times where I felt you could have created more contrast in
your writing. Consider writing in a key change, or perhaps even a change
in mode would provide the music with a big enough change to keep the
listener engaged. I was impressed with your orchestration - it was clean
and well-suited for the style!

ProudArdvark

Your introduction was well-written, and the thick chords you scored in
the strings throughout the piece created a strong foundation for the
rest of the ensemble. I didn't hear enough direction throughout the four
and a half minutes. That's plenty of time to take the listener somewhere
distant and bring them back, but I didn't feel like I had moved very far
by the end. In soft, lush music like this, a full-ensemble climax can be
extremely powerful. If you're paying the whole ensemble to play your
music, don't be afraid to use every player!

Chronamut
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-06 22:32:44 Reply

NathanAllanPinard's reviews:

hamstercake - His Final Act

Good use of proper voicing in strings, so it's nice and meaty. The song started out great, but then it lost it's edge and started a bit of a PotC vibe, which is fine but it became a bit repetitive after a while. I like the way resolved and ended. My main comment (which is not based on the score) is the music is smashed when it comes to mastering. Lighten up on it a bit.
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Mrmilkcarton - Lost But Not Forgotten

Great beginning. Love the theme, as it gives a very heroic passion to it. The thing that did it for me was the choir. It's not real sounding, but it has a synthetic edge to it. Nice piano at the end, though I would've voiced it differently.
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XayberOptix - Warped Galaxy

Very nice sci-fi sounding score, love the adventure feel. I especially like the lighter parts before the climax, as they different have a familiar classical tone to them.
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Cleverhill - Dream of being best

very nice use of Stormdrum, nice custom patterns your using. This song really could've used a bridge, or some other variation to change the constant looping chord progression.
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PeterSatera - The Superbugs Attack

Really great chaser scene. Very impressed with the overall runs and counter melodies your using, not to mention the awesome deep brass stabs mixed with Stormdrum. The theme at the end is almost tribal, but does lose me at points as I think you could've made it even thicker in the voicing (strings were a bit high at that part chord/octave wise)
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SBB - Sunken City

The ambiance of this song is great. The metallic pads mixed with the pizzicato is a nice feel. You kind of lost me later though. The constant repeating was fine, but the song seemed to lack of bit of structure later on. I was waiting for something a bit more new thrown in as a bridge.
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MJTTOMB - Ballroom, 1899

Great orchestration in this style, you do very well in this, especially in this style. However your key-change was a bit abrupt. I would try moving into it a bit slower rather than right away.
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ProudAardvark - The False Memory

Wow, nice use of strings and voicing, not to mention sound effects. I probably would not have gone so much with the glock, but to each his own. I like the overall happy sounding theme that all of a sudden gets screwed with. Nice colors in this piece.

--
- Nathan Allen Pinard

Chronamut
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-06 22:40:38 Reply

My Reviews:

hamstercake - His Final Act

Composition was very inventive, but the whole thing felt a bit shaky, almost as if a bunch of stuff was attempted to be crammed in to make it sound as diverse as possible - I found the intro to be a bit.. squished in the stereo spectrum - depth was fine, it just could have been wider imo. And then the pirates of the carribeannish music came in - and this is where the percussion could have been a lot more defined - it feels muddy and not clear at all - I can barely even make it out as percussion as opposed to just rumbling. The strings have a wonderful classical feeling though - I just felt the embellishments weren't implemented very well - the whole piece seems to suffer from a lack of production, I expected more consdering all the resources used.

Still from a compositional standpoint it is rather nice, and apart from the percussion it is rather smooth so I have to credit you on that. Still I feel a lot of it was actual reliance on the sounds themselves. Still, not bad.

Mrmilkcarton - Lost But Not Forgotten

Epic but also a bit disappointing. Fortunately that only seemed to be the beginnig. The whole "lion king" slant on things was a nice refreshing change, but I found the percussion could have been raised a little and not been so muted. And then KRATOS COMES IN - the god of war music is rather interesting - however I still fail to see what non-orchestral elements you combined with this song for the contest - as the entire point of this was to take dominant orchestral elements and combine them with secondary non-orchestral elements - it just feels like you just made a pure orchestral song with different orchestral styles - There was a little bit of piano at the end, but admittedly it felt a bit.. forced.. so I will have to dock off points for not being more daring in the combinative dept.
Remember the point was to kinda go out there and combine other elements with your orchestral. I feel you stuck to the safe side.

Still, for what you have, compositionally it's solid on all fronts, but still, points taken off for being pure orchestral.

XayberOptix - Warped Galaxy

Refreshing! I love the whole retro space feel this piece gives, remidns me of the game star ocean, or one of the old star treks. With a bit of that cheesy feel. Yes definitely feels liek star ocean combined with andromeda or something. Short but sweet! You managed to combine a lot of different space elements - and while you didn't necessarily venture outside of the non-orchestral instruments to back your song, you still ventured out of the normal orchestral feel with this. I really like this song :) f compositional standpoint it's completely solid - and I expected no less from you Xay - a little more filtering to ad more realism couldn't hurt, but we aren't judging production here, unless it really makes the song suffer.

Cleverhill - Dream of being best

Nice - starts out sad, a nice change on newgroudns from all the ms to be "battlesque" - classical has tons of different feels and potentials to it. The little fwump was a little odd but moving on - nice choirs - and then the ethnic percussion comes in - which I think was a brilliant non-orchestral element to add to this piece - the violin adds that special militaristic funeral feel to it on the battlefield, along with the low voices - the 2 different percussive styles interwove with eath other quite nicely. Then it sort of turns into a dirge, a feeling of victory, of striving to be the best. Not sure about your choice of horn - I feel it may have been too heavy for a lead-ever - then the song just cuts off - and I feel this is the biggest loss to your song as it had so much momentum and then suddenly.. cut off. I would have liked to see it extended and perhaps either more epicly ended or trailed off.
Still so far out of the contestants I have judged you're the only one that actually added a non-orchestral element to your song - so you should be commended for that. Also your compositional skills are solid - as is your production - a pleasure to listen to :)

PeterSatera - The Superbugs Attack

To be honest.. I wasn't big on the beginning... but I realize it's there for suspense... and then it finally kicked in and was pretty epic.. that part is really written well , and goes for quite a long time changing up and diversifying, always keeping you on your toes - I can pitcure runnign away from hordes of bugs through tunnels big and small - however I felt the choir combined with the horns near the end to be a tad too much, and felt a bit cluttered. Overall very well produced. Not much to critique - you live up to your reputation :) good job.

SBB - Sunken City

Hmm.. right off the bat.. im noticing your bass is rather.. STRONG on those stabs - it's a bit distracting as it seems to be the prominant sound in the mix - I would have preferred to see it more resonant, echoey maybe and maybe a little farther back in the mix. But preferences, thats what that boils down to. It's very much your ambiant reflective style, very minimalistic. It has that nice creeping feeling, and I can faintly hear stuff in the bg but it gets downed out by the lingering bass sadly. *turns down bass volume knob* ahh that's better. Still, I shouldn't have to do that. Still you get props for actually fusing 2 different styles together. Still I don't feel it's your best work - maybe a few fixes here and there would help it along :)

MJTTOMB - Ballroom, 1899

Haha you are most spot on sir - this is by far the most enjoyable piece I have listened to so far - your description of it fits entirely with what I imgained - your composition, aside from a few slight clutterances, was stellar. Everything was pleasant for the msot part to listen to - with that nice parisian flair to it. And your combination of parisian style with orchestral is wonderful. Really I would feel bad if I didn't give tis the score I feel it deserves.

ProudAardvark - The False Memory

Overall I found this one to be a bit disappointing. I mean there was some complex melodies in parts, but It just seems to fail in combining other elements except for pieces here and there like the wailing strings - especially compared to some of the other pieces sumitted. The whole point of this contest was to incorporate other genres into the orchestral song but to make them secondary and the orchestral primary. Also I felt there was too heavy a reliance on chords to fill the majority of the song, which while sounds pretty, doesn't take a whole lot of effort to achieve. You're relying on the sound qualities of the samples as opposed to your compositional skills themselves it seems. Still for a slow mournful type piece it's not bad.. I just feel you fall short for the criteria of this contest - sorry. Still I did like the bell areas and use of harp and the almost lion-king feel to it.

Chronamut
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-07 09:21:45 Reply

only judge results missing so far are maestrorage's and he might just go and review them on his own, still, I'm requesting his reviews as well.

also frontpage submissions are up for the winners, go check them out!

DavidOrr
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-07 19:48:03 Reply

I posted all of my reviews. I spent a nice chunk on time for each one to try and give as much valuable feedback as I could!

The reviews are separated into 3 parts: Composition, Orchestration, and Mixing. Composition assessed the writing of the music (i.e themes, development, harmonization, etc.). Orchestration assessed how you what instruments you chose to use and how you used them. I used the mixing category to assess the overall quality of the midi realization (use of samples, reverb, eq, compression, etc.). I realize these are all blanket categories but I figured some organization was better than none!

My overall score is not an average of the 3 sections. I gave more weight to the composition aspect of the music and less weight to the mixing side of things. I think it's more important to score based on quality of composition, not samples.

Congrats again to all the winners!


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Chronamut
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-07 21:08:04 Reply

At 2/7/11 07:48 PM, DavidOrr wrote:
My overall score is not an average of the 3 sections. I gave more weight to the composition aspect of the music and less weight to the mixing side of things. I think it's more important to score based on quality of composition, not samples.

Congrats again to all the winners!

awesome stuff dude! Yes we tried to focus more on composition in judging than samples and production.

Calamaistr
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-08 13:35:01 Reply

imo MJTTOMB's walz was a million times more enjoyable than that generic 1st place won track.
I also favorited it after a single listen its that good.

Figures though.. even though he made it 2nd place (wich is great).. to state his track is less good than the 1st place winner is incredibly odd.

Technically its way way way better, perhaps this (again) has to do with just that 'some' people tend to think generic.


Original, classical and retro videogame music composer. pm me for (free) hire, depending on your project i will make you a ost.

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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-08 14:28:36 Reply

I thought that the Space Bugs and Waltz were both great, and well deserved.

It might be fun to do more genre-specific contests in the future. I for one cringe every time I see "Classical" and "Jazz" lumped into the "Easy Listening" category in the site drop down. With so much stylistic variation possible in the "orchestral" category it might be nice to narrow things down a bit, like the current old-school space shooter contest is doing. An orchestral dance music contest for example might make for a more apples-to-apples comparison.


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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-08 14:35:01 Reply

I agree, i also think its horrible that blockbuster movie orchestral and actual classical orchestral are both put under orchestral, being real.. thats just completely different styles.

When i heard there would be an orchestral contest i expected it to be classical, and here we are seeing a blockbuster movie type orchestral track coming out on top.. makes me go 'doh'.


Original, classical and retro videogame music composer. pm me for (free) hire, depending on your project i will make you a ost.

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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-08 14:44:06 Reply

At the same time I'm just thrilled that we're *having* official audio contests at all, so I'll take what I can get here :D


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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-08 18:20:14 Reply

I think all of the awards were well-deserved. Everyone worked hard on their submissions, and I know I certainly did.

I'm not bitter in the least over receiving 2nd place. I'm extremely flattered, and to me there's no huge difference between $40 store credit for second and $50 for first. As long as people get to listen to it (which, thanks to the frontpage spot, they are), I couldn't be happier.

Thanks for the support Calamaistr, but I think all of the submissions, even the ones which didn't make it, are valuable. Anything that inspires creativity is a good thing.


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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-08 19:08:03 Reply

Well, I apologise if you expected a classical portrayal of orchestra Calamaistr but we had a competition before doing pure classical, and it recieved so very little contestants in comparison due to it's restrictions. Which is why I imagine this was left so open.

The discussion of breaking up the "Classical" Section has always been disputed here, but at this point in time, it's not really that important now...is it? I mean, we're here out of a bit of fun, not to make an impact in industry.

I'm sorry if you found my piece generic, I tried to work different this time around, with considering every part of the orchestra, taking days to do it. I've had no formal training in composing or anything like that. I create what I'd like to hear, and I listen to a lot of movie scores because thats what I enjoy. First place was an absolute honor, but nobody is saying my track is better when it comes down to it. Our tracks are extremely different, with two very different target audiences. Like art, music is subjective. I was lucky and indeed stunned by the rewards I recieved, especially against so many talented creators.

But please remember, I didn't do this to challenge anyone but myself, to help me improve. Music is a hobby for me, it's an escapism which I use to create scenarios which would take me years to animate. This is why it's my stuff is narrative driven. I appreciate greatly where every composer here has came from, and there drives for participating. To me, this was a very fun experience, and shouldn't be taken so deeply as there is no certified formula that music can be divided by.


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Calamaistr
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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-08 19:59:27 Reply

Its not just your track, all blockbuster movie orchestral music is generic, i think these genres (bmo and true classical) should not ever again both be put under just 'orchestral'. The sound is incredibly recogniceable (bmo) and distinquishable from true classical orchestra. I personally wouldnt even consider bmo to be orchestral, almost always its more like bombastic ambient with as sole orchestral element the horns, hell in bmo the strings have so much reverb that they dont even sound like strings anymore. (speaking in general here not your track). Im not saying your track is bad, i just think bmo is uncomparable to true classical thus this whole contest makes no sense, then my personal taste is what says the no.2 shouldve been no.1. but whatever, in the end it doesnt matter.

And i strongly disagree with your final line but im not going to argue about it, especially not in this topic.

I hope you dont read a angry tone in my post btw, if you do its not my intention, i just talk like this.


Original, classical and retro videogame music composer. pm me for (free) hire, depending on your project i will make you a ost.

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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-09 09:43:22 Reply

don't let cala get to you- he is very oldschool and opinionated on classical - best just to agree that blockbuster isn't orchestral because he's right - it isn't - and a lot of people on ngs focus on that becasue that's all they hear and thus THAT'S what they think classical is, when it's not.

also the other side is true as well - there are BARELY any true classical composers on this site, and a lot of them have left to go pursue actual careers, as let's face it - if you have that much compositional talents, you most likely won't be wasting it on this site (edgen and nathenallenpinard are a couple examples that come to mind, as well as simon-f).

We thus had to make the contest open for any compositino that involved a collective arrangement of instruments in an orchestral-like setting.

---

now for the monthly contests - the goal is to have you all be stitched back together in to the community you all once were - that's why I am using my powers of influence (and the fact I know half the audio portal) to attempt to each month run contests that will allow me to pull specific individuals BACK to newgrounds, and to bring out thsoe users that may be overlooked becasue they don't participate in the forums much, as well as motivate others to put their best feet forward and realyl try hard against some of the audio juggernauts that the contests draw out.

It's all about improvement, making different genres, testing your own abilities, and repairing the community. Because no matter what anyone on this site tells you - it has suffered, and many people have left, due to a) the sometimes snotty attitudes of the af regulars and b) the sometiems flawed system of the audio portal.

I want to remidn everyone that newgrounds is here for FUN - these contests will give the winners the attentino they deserve, and the prizes they crave - because at the end of the day - making 500 sogns for yourself and submittign them here to be zeroed may seem great, but it feels futile after a while. So here's somethnig to lift your spirits :)

also it was about time someone brought these back - and while me not being a mod makes it sometiems difficult to keep the threads clean - we got jarrydn and rucklo who will watch them and clean them out.

also if you haven't guessed by now - brokendeck helps me with the contests by actign as both my PR manager and by helping to spearhead the sweping judge section - while I oversee the whole operation and spearhead the finalist judging process, as well as outside invitations to users who have left the site.

SO HAVE FUN!

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Response to Nac Orchestral Contest Results 2011-02-09 11:02:13 Reply

At 2/9/11 09:43 AM, Chronamut wrote: etc. etc.. etc...

The orch-NAC was originally an idea for a "classical" contest put forth by TheBenjerman. Keep in mind that this was the catalyst for the monthly contests coming back to it's current form as the NACs. I'm just happy to be taking part and being more active in the audio community.

The fact that I'm helping Chronamut is because we're both passionate about the audio portal and the monthly contest format. "PR manager" just naturally goes with the territory. I'm not just here to "fend off Chronamut's obsessive fans", heh, I'm also available to help out anyone that has questions and/or concerns about the NACs or the SNACs.

I would also like to encourage anyone who would like to become more actively involved with the NACs to contact Chronamut or myself. JoshHunsaker is also involved and will hopefully be a steady presence in the judging department. I think we can all agree to him being an excellent addition to the NAC team as he has had loads of experience in the realm of audio production.

Now let's all head off to the Space-Game NAC!

PEW! PEW! PEW!