Orchestral MAC Review
I enjoyed that you weren't afraid to take your time at the beginning. Soft, lyrical passages are brought to life when there is flexibility with the tempo, and you did a good job controlling time to your advantage.
My biggest issue with the piece was with the stagnant chord progression. You can do a lot of things with 2:30 of music. You can modulate, develop themes, alter time signature, change moods, and a host of other things to keep the music fresh and interesting. Unfortunately, the piece felt too layered and lost my interest by the 1:30 mark. Stacking new parts on top of old ones in an endless cycle creates a high level of predictability that is best left for a television or movie underscore.
Here are some ideas for you. Perhaps at 1:22 instead of continuing with the same i - VI - III6/4 - VII progression, initiate a modulation (go to whichever key you'd like). The longer you stick with the same chords, the more difficult it becomes to break away from them because the ear comes to expect them. As soon as you can break away from the mold, you'll no longer be a slave to predictability and you'll have a whole new palette of harmonic possibilities to work with!
For the most part, I felt your orchestration was fitting and well-suited for the piece. The strings were well scored, and voiced appropriately as to not overwhelm the melody. I also enjoyed the percussion, which provided a strong rhythmic pulse to the piece as it built.
Consider using brass and woodwinds to add variation to your writing. From a practical point of view, it's unlikely that you'll find an ensemble in real life that matches what you have. While it's not necessary you write your music with the intention of it being performed live (we can dream though!), you should still be aware of what other instruments bring to the table. A flute, for instance, would be a perfect instrument to take over the melody in a softer, lyrical section, whereas horns and trumpets could do wonders to create a sense of climax as you bring the piece to a close. Know all your options and you'll begin to see new, more effective ways to present your musical ideas!
Your mixing was the strongest aspect of the piece. The strings were very emotional at the beginning, and you did a great job introducing the violin at 1:00. The violin did sound a bit thin for my taste - perhaps a rise in the mids with an EQ would give it more warmth and help it sit better in the mix. Your percussion sounded great on my speakers! Every instrument was tastefully balanced and you set your cymbals at a volume that didn't cause noticeable distortion to the track. Well done!
You have good control over your samples, which is a skill I believe every budding composer of the 21st 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!
This is awesome!
Being in music class for a number of years, this kinda brings me back to those days. I would really love to see this in an animation, although the ending is kind of abrupt, its still an amazing piece. I'd suggest adding a bit of an ending to it. Would make it feel resolved, my suggestion would be just a fading, or on the last note add a reverb effect to make it stick for a few seconds before going silent.
Great job thought. I'd love to hear your opinion on some of my stuff.
I have to say that I don't usually like slow beginnings with only the strings playing slow chords. But it is common, and for a good reason. I imagine it would work very well as some kind of transition in movies.
When the drums kick in, that's when shit gets real. Their contrast gives the chords a whole different meaning. The melody starts playing, and it all starts to make sense. Intensity increases as a choir, which I realize has been in the background all the time, brings on the forte. They sing with all their hearts (sounds a bit synthy though), the whole song has been a buildup to this. And it's great. It even sounds as if a viola takes over playing the melody, that alone makes this worth a 10/10.
Then, suddenly, it's gone. And it feels unresolved to me. But, I realize that the song is exactly what you wrote it would be. You express both the feeling of being best and the hard work behind it very well. Honestly, I haven't heard all the NAC submissions yet, but in contrast to the couple I've heard, this one seems to expresses complex emotions flawlessly. It feels like it's on a different level, not written for the NAC.
I hope you win.
First of all, I was a bit moved by you review - I'm glad and proud such words can describe my work/composing.
Weither I win or not, doesn't really matter. I never thought I would make it to top 8, and if I succeed express emotions through music, I feel like I've already won!
Thank you for your review!
- Dan Cleverhill
I didn't get the feeling of someone who is the best at something. It was an uplifting piece though, so I guess that's pretty close. That bass-y boom effect you added worked well I think, and the fast drums contrasted nicely with the long, slow string melodies. Good work!
Thank you for your review. I appreciate it.
Okey, then I guess we all get different feelings and thoughts when it comes to music :)
I'll check out your uploads as well. Again, thanks!
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.