Another one for the personal collection. All comments and criticisms in regard to composition, arrangement, MIDI engineering and mastering are very much welcome.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgVtyhB2kss (If you don’t run videos at HD quality by default, switch it from the 360p default.)


superb piece Jonathan…just superb!!..lot of good stuff goin on underneath the choir which I thought was just a tad loud in relation to everything else, but I suppose that’s how you wanted it…great stuff again…Kevin

Very good and very film-like !! :wink:

very very nice tune, but needs a lot more air between the sound and the speakers.

Hi Jonathan, master piece again, excellent arrangement and orchestration and even better rhythm section. Only thing I miss is a bit of variation and musical phrasing, the whole piece is one long legato phrase whereas I’d like to hear more 8 bar or 16 bar phrases. What I mean by variation, sounds like the whole piece revolve around the 1,4,5 chords and the main theme repeats over and over, not that it is boring, in fact it’s so beautiful but I think it can be even more beautiful to the ear if you transpose it a half tone higher midway through the piece. I really like the intro and in the back ground some electronic sound is running arpeggios, excellent sound !

I admire your skills and I have the highest respect for your work and when I listen to music like this I find inspiration to try and produce work like this !! Thank you for your inspiration. Michael.

Thanks Kevin, MonsterJazzLicks and Firestamper. Yeah, I wanted the choir to be just a tad louder at times, but hopefully it isn’t overpowering on other kinds of speakers/headphones with different frequencies cut/boosted. I have no way of testing that though.

I’ve read your sentence a few times Firestamper and I don’t know what air between sound and speakers means. ;D

Thanks Michael, I’m happy with the percussion that I built up piece by piece. I’d have liked to have some minor variations, but I justified my laziness with that by the fact that non-musicians just won’t notice if it’s looped (minus the dynamic expression changing.) There are breaks in the legato patches at a lot of points, although not always at the same point for all instruments, but I wanted both the A and B section to have a gliding kind of sound, although Butterflies don’t really glide like a flying squirrel, more fluttery, which is why I tried to write the violin/flutes fluttery at 2:05. :stuck_out_tongue:

At 2:00 I did consider repeating the sus chord twice, a whole tone higher to modulate but I thought it felt a bit too abrupt. I also tried a more complex progression at 2:05, but it sounded too Disney-like with the complexities which I felt was alien to the style so I settled to leave it as it is. It couldn’t be transposed much farther either or the bass and sopranos would be out of range. The highest note in the melody is an octave lower for sopranos anyway. The note is in range at the octave higher but it’d be a bit too harsh to try and make live performers sing that and it’s always good to try and think that way when writing. I love those electronic sounds too, although I don’t have many of them, that particular sound is called ‘Sequenced Pad’ and it’s a default Cubase basic or artist 6.5 plugin (I don’t have the full version.)

I am very happy you thought the melody was beautiful though. :blush: The chords I’ve used here are more basic than what I could do, although both chord progression and harmony is something I’ve been trying to improve in general in all kinds of my writing as a priority.

Thanks for listening chaps. :slight_smile:

Hi Jonathan, sorry if I was a bit vague, what I meant by air was that it seemed over compressed and loud ,its nice to imagine you are in some kind of hall when listening to this style and you can almost see the instruments reflecting off the walls .im probably well out of touch anyway so just ignore me. Still it`s a very good tune.Keep up the good work.

I think it’s a little more monolithic than some of your other ones, in terms of chords, and overall sound. But as usual, work that’s way over my head. Always nice to listen to yours, Jonathan.

Aha! I’m with you now, and now when someone says about air between sound and speakers I will be able to nod all knowingly. :smiley: But yeah, I was cutting it very fine on the meter thingy and I went back and forth between where it is and 1dB below trying to squeeze as much volume. I’ll take another look. Cheers!

When I came up with it on piano I didn’t really think longer or more complex progressions fit. I’d love to write a piece in this style with lush sounding jazz chords,I think it’d be very interesting. But jazz is a little over my head for now. I have some jazz books but I have to take it slowly because my piano playing skills are bad. :smiley: Thanks for listening and enjoying Early. :slight_smile:

Wonderful, i really enjoyed this!
Great work! :sunglasses:

Well done I also enjoyed this piece!

Sounds really nice.

Thanks chaps. :slight_smile:

Nice melody and orchestration :sunglasses:

I want to say something, please. This is not meant to incite violence or offend. Rather, look at it as a challenge to those of you who enjoy composing this sort of music. Also… this is not really in direct reference to Johnathon’s piece here, although Kevin’s comments about it brought this to mind…so please, do not be offended.

But… I have heard countless hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces using orchestral sample libraries that are: largely just sequences of sustained chords… heavy on the legato… trite, lush voicings (meaning, exceedingly banal)… and just incredibly prosaic in nature. I could go off on a veritable rant about this (even more than I just did), including assertions as to why I believe this is, but I won’t bore you. Except to say this: it’s really easy to do (IMO). Anyway, my challenge to y’all – and I present this to myself as well – is to sometime attempt more rhythmic and harmonic complexity in these kinds of compositions :exclamation:

Apologies for the essay Twilight but it should satisfy the points you’ve brought up and I’ll have two uploads for future pieces; one public and one private for here so that you can download the mp3 (I read your other rant xD.)

I’m glad you liked the simple melody and thanks for taking the time to listen and comment. Anyway, I have quite thick skin, I never take things in offense and always give my honest opinion to others, even if it is brutal and I respect when others do the same, even the people that throw obscenities. ;D I don’t emotionally attach myself to my music, or rather after I’ve emotionally written it I then detach myself from it. I’ve seen (and I’m guessing you have too) some people throw some right hissy fits when they’ve received criticism. :smiling_imp:

I agree with you about the lack of harmony (although not for this specific piece) and it is something I am working on. I’m a rather stern self-critic and already knew that my biggest flaw is harmony. There are some pieces I write to practice new ideas/skills (the one I’ve linked below was my first with choir and I began it purely just as a short exercise to learn the choir program) and there are some that I just…write, like this one.

By my own concession, harmony in general and in the context of scoring for orchestra are the areas that needs the most work. However, I have to reject the notion of intentionally avoiding doing something just because it’s simpler than one is capable of doing and/or just because other people do or have done it.

I’ll tell you why my harmony is a little behind anyway so that you can see if your assertions were correct or not. I never had a musical education and no one in my family or friends played instruments. I bought my first instrument, an electric guitar at age 16 and began teaching myself metal songs like Iron Maiden, Ozzy and Metallica. I began teaching myself some theory via books and practice and attempting to write for orchestral instruments at age 17, although I still spent more time practicing guitar (acoustic and metal by that point) than composing. When I was 20-21 I spent more time composing than guitar, and by around 23 I’d almost completely ditched playing guitar and began learning some piano songs to help with my composing in a DAW. I used Finale from 17-23 and taught myself how to notate the ideas I heard in my head/played and didn’t get a DAW until I was 23. The past 2-3 years I’ve been focused on getting my production skills to a good standard. There is still room for improvement of course, but in the last few months my priorities have shifted to my biggest weakness, harmony. I don’t know if that was your assertion but that is the actual reason; lack of learning and experience. I’m entirely self-taught in every way and jazz/harmony is the last major flaw that I will overcome with time and practice.

Anyway, in the context of the fantasy album that these personal tracks will make up I thought a smooth legato piece would be a nice change of pace to say; https://soundcloud.com/jonathan-priest/eternal-guardian of which I have several like this and almost none like ‘Butterflies.’ So despite the apparent countless others that write pieces like this, it is quite new to me.

This piece modulates and for the end the strings are scored with divisi in the 2nd violins and violas so that they can play major 7th, minor 7th and add 9 harmonies, so I can of course use more complex harmony than just bland I just didn’t think it was necessary in the ‘Butterflies’ piece to attempt more complex harmony given the melody and I felt too complex harmony would also alienate the target audience. My string library features properly recorded divisi sections (9/7 split for 1st violins etc) but I can’t actually use them (along with other articulations for all instruments) because C6 Artist limits me to 32 tracks, and with an orchestra that is a nightmare. ;D I originally scored it in B minor, and in the DAW decided it sounded a bit thin/weak so I transposed it down.

However, I’d already given myself the challenge to improve my harmony as it’s definitely my weakest skill now that my productions have improved and I’ve bought some jazz piano books some months ago to help improve my knowledge. Jazz is also something that I’ve recently started enjoying more in the past year or so. So hopefully, as with orchestration, I can learn a lot from listening and practicing.