Dance of the Ratchet Set

I recently downloaded BBC Discover Orchestra from Spitfire Audio. This is a full orchestra in a tiny package. It really is amazing for what it is. I gave it a tryout with a piece I wrote quite a while ago, back when I was just learning midi using a Roland Sound Canvas. It was amazing for its day, and I learned a lot by programming that box.

The BBC Discover Orchestra represents a giant upgrade in the sample quality.

I loaded the old .mid file into a new Cubase session, and assigned tracks to the BBC patches. Then I did my best to balance and mix the parts. A couple of things jumped out. First, the BBC Orchestra is dripping in reverb, and you can’t get rid of it. Second, there is no legato articulation, which is a major limitation.

So I was inspired to buy 8Dio Anthology, which was on sale this summer. Massomi was using 8Dio Adagio in some of his posts, which sounded really good to me, and is a part of this library.
In this piece, the legato lines of the violins, violas, and cellos are using the 8Dio string libraries, and the pizzicato lines are a blend of the BBC Discover Orchestra and the 8Dio Anthology libraries. The horns, trombones, clarinets, and flutes are all from BBC Discover.

It was a lot of fun to make my old orchestration come alive, but I have to say it was difficult learning how to work with these samples. I have much to learn, I guess. I found I had to move almost every track earlier in time to make it sound like it agreed with the metronome. I’m learning that this is normal with every sample library. Hoping some experienced orchestral composers will provide a pointer or two.

Anyway, hope you enjoy, and please make a comment.
https://soundcloud.com/incontinentals/dance-of-the-ratchet-set-2020

I liked the contemporary feel of the tune. It is contemporary in a good way, i.e. not too awkward or intentionally difficult.

I think you’ve done really well with the new (and older) sample libraries you have used. It sounds very good to me.

Thanks for listening, hko. Appreciate the feedback!

Nice job ! Downloaded it too but did not try an orchestral arrangement with it ( yet ) .
I think for you modest intro ( first attempt ) it works really well, fits into an movie action scene with a ‘light’ Disney like tone .
Nice arranging and multiple melodies .
So up for a symphony :smiley:

Hi, Thanks, Peter. I downloaded the orchestra, and thought, what have I ever done that uses the full orchestra, so that’s where I started. It’s so nice to have an orchestra at your fingertips!

You did a really beautiful and realistic orchestration. I downloaded also the discover orchestra for free, and has very good quality samples.
Maybe you can make some quieter parts, a little more dynamics I mean, would make the piece more interesting…you can, it’s not compressed pop, it’s classical music

I truly enjoyed it. really good. i agree with worshiptuned : orchestration is smart.

Hi Early21
it was both mysterious and calming with a touch of adventure. the samples are good and realistic . I would say it was a classical soundtrack for a RPG-Puzzler Game and a good one at that. I guess for it to have been closer to a classical piece rather than a soundtrack I was expecting more highs and lows in the song then again you’re more knowledgeable in that area.

Thank you worshiptuned for giving it a listen! You are right about dynamics! I’ll consider how I might write more to take advantage.

Thanks Stephco, it was a fun exercise using the Discover orchestra. It’s really nice to think you have an orchestra under your fingertips.

Thanks for listening and commenting, Masoomi. When you say highs and lows, I think you mean dynamics, right?

well I don’t know what dynamics means in this context… what I meant by lows meant less instruments and thus lower volumes and by highs I meant more instruments and thus higher volumes. kind of like Beethoven symphony 5 or 7 (the famous movement of those two) but then again those are particular classical forms but you are free to fly anywhere in the sky that you yourself have created.

Wow. I have loved playing with the Spitfire BBC Discover Orchestra and have always been impressed with its sounds but this is another level.

Nice one, very impressive to these ears.

Thanks, Planarchist, The BBC Discover Orchestra gave me a basic orchestral sound that I could then alter here and there with better string samples. It’s a really great starting point, which, according to the founders of Spitfire, is why they give it away for free; bless those guys. Dance of the Ratchet Set is the only traditionally orchestral piece I ever wrote, and I certainly was never going to get a real orchestra to perform it, so I was happy with the results. Maybe I’ll use it again. I would like to get their full BBC orchestra, but I don’t see how I would ever fit it on my computer, and the download would take two months!

Very interesting to hear this. I haven’t looked at this forum in a little while, so it’s nice to hear something from someone who’s got so many constructive and nice things to say to the rest of us.
This was definitely a cool composition and seems like a fun exercise for you in trying out your new sonic toy. I look forward to seeing where you’ll next go with this. I liked the pizzicato strings that really kept moving things along and nudging them into interesting directions.

Thanks, Swetch! Not sure what I’ll ever do with it, but nice to have options.

Well the first thing that caught my attention was the title! Comical to say the least but I can def hear the correlation with the track.
The track actually takes me back to what I would hear in an early cartoon. I can see Tom & Jerry unwillingly performing a disjointed dance before all H#ll breaks loose. Maybe your title set the stage for where my head went. :slight_smile:

I’ve always been an avid fan of orchestration so it’s hard to recreate the real thing. There are so many nuances to each instrument.
You def made the best of the instrumentation you worked with and to be able to create a scenic visual with audio makes me say that you got your intentions across. Great job and keep up the good work!

Thanks for listening and commenting, Suprawill1!