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A Dream


Author Comments

This song depicts a dream that recalls the final moments spent with a deceased loved one.

I made this in 7 hours today without a break.

For the main strings, I used a combination of Tundra strings, Cinematic Studio Strings, and BBC Symphony Orchestra strings. I love the chilly sound. I also used Sospiro Strings and English Bass by Ben Osterhouse.

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Icon art by Xaolan

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I like the melodies in this one, and the harmony is bitter sweet. It's catchy and the arrangement is good and it's reminiscent of some love themes within a 90's adventure film I've heard in the past. I mean that positively as this writing isn't done in today's cinema. You show moments of light immediately resolving into despair that makes this fit the description accurately. This is tough to pull off in realism. You would have to automate the tempo quite a bit for each motif. Slow down and speed up in a way a string section would play the melodic contours. Moreover, I'm constantly fighting string samples to make them sound more real by automating the volume in the beginning of each note so it doesn't sound so abrupt when they play. There should be a wave in the volume automation for each note as a string player moves the bow on the string when it's a slow piece like this, because it sounds like a producer playing the notes on a keyboard with each note being released as the finger lifts up from the keys. That's what it sounds like for example in the opening lines of the string section. Each note is played the same way whereas a musician playing to your piece would slur these notes a bit more and add vibrato to make sense of the melody. I say this to you, because this is universal among all those that have to deal with samples to create their beautiful orchestral pieces. You kind of have to compose toward the strengths of the sample library as opposed to on paper and trying to make it fit.
If this is a bit long winded, just note that I'm writing to you as if I were writing a journal entry since this is what I struggle with. This is why lately I'm leaning away from bigger orchestral writing as I now just want to write for instruments that I have access to if I were to perform in person. Production and mixing has just a big of a part in the feeling of a piece as the notes themselves. How often I hear a mediocre, uninspired piano piece on Youtube with much following simply because it audibly sounds well. And no one wants to hear Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata via Midi. To the general public, simply having superb production and realism in the timbre of a piece will alone draw an emotional response. The fact that you can convey emotion in your piece here shows how strong the melody and arrangement is. If only we can hear actual musicians playing your piece would we find the flaws in the composition to be beautiful as human.

Everratic responds:

Thank you for the review. I enjoy reading your thoughts about music in general as you seem to have an excellent ability to sense a composer's intentions, and you know a lot about maximizing emotion.

If you recall the name of the film, I'll definitely check it out.

I totally agree with your comments on the lack of realism. I automated the expression on all the legato and long patches, but my efforts are clearly insufficient. Tempo automation is not something I could have done at the time as I was working on a mid-end laptop; fortunately I have a high end pc now, so I can automate the tempo as much as I wish, within FL Studio's limits - I hope to buy Cubase in the near future. The high strings note at 2:09 is the worst offender; I hate listening to it. I imagine it will take a lot of time to master tempo automation, but I think it will be worth the effort.

Due to this problem, lately I've taken an interest in dynamic arc patches, specifically from 8DIO's Adagietto. They evoke a lot of emotion on their own, and I don't have to do much humanization besides changing the start times of each note. These patches are quite limited in use, but can sound beautiful in the right contexts.

Having musicians play one of my pieces is a dream, and one of the things motivating me to improve. I'd be very interested in the tempo variation and vibrato usage.

Thanks again!

Credits & Info


4.83 / 5.00

Aug 30, 2020
6:06 PM EDT
File Info
6.3 MB
2 min 45 sec

Licensing Terms

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