Setting Out

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This piece represents setting out on a journey. I imagine the music being played at the beginning of a game, and it could probably be an overworld theme in an RPG if I removed the intro/outro and made it loop.

I focused heavily on form and structure with this piece. A lot of thought went into using motifs, orchestral texture, and harmonic progressions to make a cohesive whole. For example, the intro foreshadows the main theme by using melodic fragments that will later come into play. The intro simultaneously foreshadows the middle section of the piece in that it uses some of the same chord sequences and very similar orchestration. There are lots of little things like that in here is you listen for them. :)

I also had a lot of fun with some of the harmonies in here. The harp run toward the end is in lydian dominant. There are also some minor chords with major sevenths (is that just called a minor/major 7?)


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Wondeful, wonderful piece!As soon as the main melody popped in 0:23 my heart just melted, it sounds like it's straight out of an old-school rpg.

Everything sounds so damn lovely.The whole song is very well paced, the progression is dynamic and lively, the instrumentation is perfect.

BlazingDragon responds:

Thank you! I love your themes, so what you mentioned about the main melody means a lot to me coming from you. :)

All I have in my head is the soundtrack to a Miyazaki film (so sad to see he's retiring). It's so adventurous, ambitious and whimsical. One of my favorite submissions to Newgrounds of all time. The song really takes the listener on a journey. I got imagery from this, lots of imagery. Flowing fields, forests, a lone person or a group traveling a lush green countryside with the wind at their backs.

This is such a fun composition to listen to. 5/5 across the board.

BlazingDragon responds:

Thank you so much! Miyazaki is one of my heroes and his films are a major source of inspiration for me. You rock. :)

Hi! I was a replacement judge for NGADM round 1 and this is my review of your track!
I scored mixing and composition/arrangement separately so I'll explain here what score I gave you and why. 8/10 in my scoring scheme is "Great", 10/10 is exceptional. To get 10 the piece needed to go beyond expectations, to have a unique sonic quality and present an original aspect (or several) in terms of composition.
Production (including MIDI programming) 9/10
You did a great job using your VSTs. The piece is lively and rich with a full spectrum of sound. It could have used a little more impact at times to stress the dynamic range more since it feels a little monotonous. This is because the calm parts are almost as loud as the fast paced sections. Despite that you made the most of your tools and I commend your efforts in that regard.
Composition/Arrangement 7/10
Although this piece made me smile I didn't feel it went far enough to get the higher score in this area. The atmosphere or theme is fantastic, the structure worked well and the instruments played off each other perfectly. On the other hand I feel like I've heard this before in games and the like. I also feel you could have worked on giving the piece a little more variation (Krichotomy hit the nail on the head about the structure feeling a little redundant).

8/10, great job!

BlazingDragon responds:

This piece very intentionally emulates the feel of video game and anime music, so I can understand how this would sound familiar. There is a whole lot of personal nostalgia imbued in this along with my own personality. Looking back, I think that if I cut out 45 seconds from this piece it would get rid of the redundancy and help keep things fresh.

Thanks for the helpful review. You made good points, especially about dynamics. :)

Now I think I'm in Felghana. :)

When I am generally listening to this piece and not carefully focusing on chord and note structures, the overall piece sounds like this:
A = Calmer String Part
B = More Driving Part
This is because even with chord and note variations, the "layout" of instruments and the general feeling of the chord and note choices are the same. That is a gripe I have with some classical music. Even though the structure is changing, the new structure has so similar of a feeling (texture?) to the old structure that it just feels like it is simply repeating.

You put a lot of thought and work into the foreshadowing and stuff, but I feel like it does not properly come out in the piece because of what I mentioned. (This could also simply be my inability to properly hear the stuff. Grin.) You probably did this, but I'm going to mention it anyway: To me, the most important rule for music composition is to (at some point) stop thinking, and just listen and feel.

Now that I have described my complaint, I'll move on to the good news. :) This is a very good recreation of that RPG music style, and the "positioning" and volume of the instruments are great. The driving background is particularly well done. I rather like the reed/brass sounding thing in the background that goes up and back down a note.

(Psst, now it's your turn to leave me a review. Remember?)

BlazingDragon responds:

Haha, I like your honest observations!

It's interesting the you broke down the structure based on mood. My own distillation of the form, based on thematic ideas, is more like this:

Intro A B A C A B A D Outro

Part of the problem with this piece, admittedly, is that it IS simply repeating. Within my structure, the first two As are nearly identical repeats of one another, and the last two As are nearly identical to each other. The Bs are definitely exact repeats. Even within an individual section, I could have done much more variation with orchestral texture. This is because I procrastinated and rushed the piece, causing me to overlook obvious weaknesses.

Where the most change happens here is in the background. For example, the first two 'A's have the background strings playing in a (1 2 2 2 1) per measure in which one is the duration of an eighth note. During the second two 'A's, that pattern switches to accents being on (3 3 2). It is subtle but makes for a more driving, forward motion at the end.

I think I spent so much time focusing on the background details that I largely ignored the foreground. x_x

Therefore, you have made very valid and helpful observations! Kudos on your analytical ability. :) I shall try returning the favor with a review toward you. If it is not up by tomorrow, feel free to PM me a reminder. :p

This is an NGADM Round 1 review.


This is definitely one of the strongest cinematic tracks of this round. That was beautifully-composed. Plenty of wonderful harmonies all over the place. I especially love your cadences. You end phrases with such lovely chords, such as at 3:19, and 1:34. Sure 1:34 was that really overused sus4 -> maj progression that I saw coming from a mile away, but it worked so well over there that I forgive you! Your thematic development is spot on. Everything feels perfectly developed, and if you were aiming for making a track that sounds cohesive, then you have certainly succeeded. Your leitmotif is highly memorable. I could go on and on about the little things I like about this track like how you toned all the rhythmic elements down in volume at 0:53, or the pause at 2:33 which led to a very uplifting reintroduction of your leitmotif, but then this review would turn out too long!

What I noticed which kind of ruined the feel of the track at times would be that your foreground orchestration ends up falling apart into blandness at times. You sometimes stick to the same instrument playing the melody for too long, and rarely introduce some counterpoint, layering more instruments or melody-answering by other instruments. 1:07, for example, starts getting bland halfway through because while all your underlying elements are excellent, the foreground instruments just remain the same for quite a while - 3:34 is an example of what I want to hear more; introducing a new instrument to everything to heighten the melody. Moreover, in the quieter parts you have strings playing almost all the time, whereas woodwinds could've worked a lot better sometimes. Some smaller issues; the pause at the very end felt a bit artificial. I wish your approach that wonderful outro was a bit more subtle, rather than stopping everything and then throwing it in. However, the actual ending is nailed.

Your opponent delivered an fantastic track, which is hard to compare with this. His had a few issues, so does yours. Thematically yours is better by far, but his production and originality trumps yours, so I think I'm going to give you both the same score!

Score: 8.6/10

BlazingDragon responds:

Step, you are absolutely the best at giving reviews. <3

Your ability to recognize details is fantastic, and it makes me wonderfully excited when people recognize the little details that I poured effort into. The cadence and 1:34, for example, was one aspect of the piece that I got really pumped up about, partly because that major tonic chord served as a dominant to the coming borrowed iv chord of the next section. I thought it worked well but did not expect anyone to say anything! Thank you for noticing the quieted rhythm and for liking the pause at 2:33. I was expecting someone to say that it disrupted the flow, and I had a whole response prepared about how I employed the pause as a means to bring increased intensity to the reintroduction of the primary theme, but it appears you appreciated it! :D

Your critique section is equally appreciated. I feel you've given me the tools to win the next round. In fact, I distilled your points into a list that I will self-examine my next work with:

-More call and response and use of counter-melody
-Varied orchestration in the foreground elements to prevent stagnation; no exact repeating of sections
-Utilize the full range of orchestral colors available. In particular, consider using woodwinds in quieter sections.
-Avoid abrupt/awkward pauses; make sure you blend sections in such a way that the transition does not feel contrived
-Be mindful of production and originality

All of that is incredibly valuable advice. I normally would have had the foresight to employ some of those suggestions in this piece, but I procrastinated and did not start this piece until the day of the deadline. My ten hours straight of working on this fatigued my ears to some obvious errors, and you have helped point out both those and the subtle errors that I would have missed regardless.

I couldn't agree with your critique more, and I understand the tie. My opponent's piece was indeed different, and we had different strengths and weaknesses. The tie was warranted and dramatic. >:D

Thanks again for the amazing review and for facilitating this whole contest!

Credits & Info

4.81 / 5.00

Aug 3, 2013
10:30 PM EDT
File Info
10 MB
4 min 23 sec

Licensing Terms

Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.