I like it.
I like it.
Wow, this really fits to the story you posted in the description. It's great movie score material, something for like any martial arts film.
Very emotional and dramatic. The flutes and the vocals along with the percussion are what I like the most on this. Well done!
Professional quality, and its original, thank the heavens of the nordic gods and their warbeasts that there are no BRAMMMS in it either. Its also a bit highlandish. I guess that was the aim?
Also, gotta love church stomps. :]]
This is a NGADM Round 3 Review.
First, a breakdown of the score:
Production: 28/30 (Great)
Composition: 23/30 (Above Average)
Orchestration: 13.5/15 (Great)
Originality: 8/10 (Above Average)
Interest: 13/15 (Great)
Total Score: 85.5/100 or 8.55/10 or 4.5 Stars (Above Average).
Rubric (w/ basic judge comments and explanation of categories):
- Virtual instruments were pleasant sounding and used in a way that reflected their strengths carefully.
- There was a clean, clear, emotional arc to the piece.
- Production was for the most part realistic and very solid.
- The introduction and submergence of instruments within the texture was very carefully done and quite seamless. Nothing was jumpy or sticking out both orchestrationally and production-wise.
- Not a lot of harmony or counterpoint in the piece as a whole, mostly just unison or octave lines until around 2:30, then we get a very small bit. The optimal method to counterpoint is motion while one line is stable, so one line moves up to a whole note, then once it gets there, another line comes in and plays around, and vice versa, which you did around 3:15ish.
- The climax was not much of a climax... more like... the track got louder and more busy. The lead in was awfully long, maybe consider having two climaxes or having the lead up shorter and more concise? Also consider how to add more contrast between the leadup and the climax so we really feel it. Probably the best piece of advice: have a key change when the climax gets going in earnest (2:55). Try a few different modulations until one works (up a third, up a step, etc.). This practice of modulating essentially flips over the audience's "getting bored" hour glass, much the same as a very contrasting section would.
- With composition, consider having more variation with your chord progressions. There's a lot of fun things you can do with harmony- using 9ths, 7ths, secondary dominants, etc. I'd be glad to write in more detail about all the fun things you can do harmonically if you'd like, just shoot me a PM or something. Another good thing would be allowing more tonal ambiguity- having major chords in your minor key sort of thing. Getting your father's sword is a ceremonial, proud moment, but here it sounds like your dying, bleeding father is embracing you on a battlefield while handing you his sword and telling you to go fight for your family and kingdom.
- Think of more suitable ways to use percussion. You don't need to create a click track for your string players, they are perfectly capable of counting for themselves. We can borrow from Romantic and Classical traditions regarding percussion for this; consider using percussion not as a rhythmic/textural element, but as a functional, transitional element, like slight little accents here and there to follow the motion of the piece, and then utilize it in a modern rhythmic sense during the climax (starting at 2:55) to accent the change. This will give your piece more emotion and more dynamics. Also consider more varying percussion than taikos. Consider shakers, tenor drums, marching snares, bodhrain, etc.
- Regarding rhythms, consider experimenting with syncopated motifs on the drums. Often times it's what beats they don't play that are the most important of all.
- Brass were too quiet in the mix at 2:55. At that volume, they would have drowned out the entire rest of the orchestra without much effort, from experience. Chants are a bit too loud, even ignoring realism. I'm not endeared to chanting in music, but it can have its uses I guess. I would have prefered maybe some textural tenor and bass sustains going on in the background, like a pedal or something.
If one were looking for typical, modern trailer music, this would be it (albeit ~2 minutes too long). It more or less is exactly what one would expect to hear in a trailer for a game or movie today. If that is a good thing or a bad thing, that is for you to decide. My only advice is to not isolate yourself in one sound, especially if that sound is the most popular one, because all styles are fads and if you just follow the herd, nothing will distinguish you from John Doe who also makes traileresque epic cinematic music. However, it means you will probably have an easier time finding work until this certain style of cinematic falls away. There's nothing wrong to either approach, it's just a fundamental choice you have to make as a musician and as a businessman.
My two cents: think about ways to push beyond cliches and expectations and you will in turn have your own expectations broken as to what you can say musically. If you love this type of music, then don't just embrace it, elaborate and build up on it. Bring in more varied vocabulary. Hans Zimmer didn't get where he is by just doing the "in" thing, he took the "in" thing of the day and put his spin on it. That became wildly successful and now everyone else is doing it too.
Food for thought.
I appreciate the comments, but the more I read form you, the more contradictory I find what you are saying, so it's almost impossible to determine what to take from it.
Harmony wise I had a lot going on, I'm not sure if you just picked up on the lower bass lines and thought they were repeating, but there is a break in the middle. Personally I thought the climax was there, and never just got busy. The voices came in, the percussion changed and strings pulled frontal. I didn't feel a key change would have been appropriate because that eludes to a turning point where my concept was growth and maturity.
I know you seen it as a proud moment, but I didn't want to go cliche. The title is "Your father's blade". The implication in the title is then that the father is no longer with us, and it was made to sound like the son is mourning. So it's not a cliche take. The blade is passed on by someone to his son to take on the burden, who trains with it. That's why it sounds the way it is. It's not a happy moment, and thought that was evident. In fact quite the opposite when our character is forced to embrace a destiny that he didn't want. For reasons above the track isn't full of pride because it doesn't take on the normality you would expect. I didn't think I had to spell it out. The key I felt was in the title, "Your" as it implies the father didn't pass it on himself.
You point out that it could be a trailer track, so then it should conform to trailer track timings and duration. However, later you suggest that i should push beyond cliches, and expectations and to embrace it. You compare my tracks to classic and contemporary practices saying that I could be more like the fundamentals of other musicians and businessmen. Putting them under the Not-so-good. Yet, completely contradicting yourself, you've told me that I've to push beyond cliches and expectations. So which is it?
I know you're still learning and studying. But you've told me that I've to push beyond the boundaries while maintain conforming to those cliches of classic and contemporary. It doesn't make sense.
mmm dat peter satera sound. no complaints on the mixing from me, loving how everything is coming together from a dynamic standpoint. hmm actually the brass in the left speaker is just a little bit too edgy in the climax... some of the eastern winds are a bit on the nose too i think, especially the higher parts with the gigantic glissandos - towards the end the balance seemed really off kilter. would've liked a bit more of a reverb tail on that last note, or maybe have the strings fade a little more gradually. anyway that's all fairly minor stuff.
i like that you've gone for quite a new kind of instrumentation, but it still feels like "just another peter satera track" to me. you've taken these instruments from a very particular setting to tell a story that, in many ways, is culturally specific. the problem is that the writing doesn't place the story anywhere - like, i feel as though you've missed an opportunity to play with some really exotic scales and harmonic content. even if you were going for something more celtic or gaelic it's not really touching on any place other than hollywood. i mean, even in terms of storytelling this feels like it needs more harmonic variation, as it stands it kinda sits on this one brooding emotion and just escalates the level of brooding.
still, really great work as it is. it's AAA trailer material, that's for sure. in retrospect, i was a little too harsh when i scored this a couple weeks ago but at the same time i was quite a bit more impressed with the last two entries. but i don't know, maybe if this was your round entry i'd have given it 11/10 :v
Please contact me if you would like to use this in a project. We can discuss the details.