Hello! This is a review for the NGUAC competition.
I've gone over one or two general categories of issues specific to your song, and one section of things I think also deserve complimenting. I prefer being very direct with my critique, none of it is meant to offend. Thank you for your understanding!
- Hey there, this track makes a couple of fairly common mistakes for amateur musicians, which I'd like to go over to hopefully help out with. First of all, it absolutely abuses reverb. Notably, the high base volume of the instruments and particularly bass, combined with a flood of reverb, results in a really 'blown out' sound that has a wall of sound but... not much detail to it. Think of reverb like a blur tool for image editing. Blur can make colors feel 'bigger' and have them take up more room, but a lot of the time you still need clear and sharp lines to contrast with the blurred colors. Similarly, reverb makes instruments feel 'bigger', but that isn't always a good thing and it can mask errors in composition and sound design. Clear, sharp sounds also should punch through reverb and guide the listener to know what they should focus on. This is typically used for bass (since reverb on bass often causes mixing troubles as well) and lead/melodic instruments, as their melodies need to be clear and recognizeable.
- The second major issue going on with this track is aimlessness. You typically have a decent chord progression going on with the strings in the background, so that would be a great first step to use western classical voice leading techniques and make a decent melody to start you off on a solid foundation. Essentially, the lowest note (the bass) and the highest note (the 'soprano', typically) are the most recognizeable notes in your chord. The middle notes flesh it out and provide a bit of extra context, but aren't what listeners are drawn to. Once you have a chord progression like you do in those background strings, you can write a melody by choosing a chord tone for every single beat where a chord starts. In between those beats, you can add a passing tone to go from one note to another, or an ornament of a note one step above or below the next chord tone. Using the same scale of 7 repeating notes will also help keep your instruments harmonizing as you compose.
Compliments to the Composer:
- This track really does have a solid pumping feeling to it as you go through the 'battle', and it differentiates between sections as well, which is excellent. It's also quite good that you seem aware of having consistent melodies, though don't forget to vary them up as well! Give some good game soundtracks a listen and try to remake them in midi to see how their melodies and harmonies are constructed.
Final score: 3