Fantasy Orchestral Score

Yet another orchestra score I know xP Little bit LotR, little bit TSFH and a little bit me. Commission from a World of Warcraft player for his guild’s trailer. I love the fantasy genre more than other stuff and I’m also a WoW player :blush:

The major flaw is in the solo instruments sounding realistic and really grates on me. But oh well can’t expect a violins notes being played on piano keys to sound perfect.

Thankyou for your time, I hope you enjoy ;D I don’t own any speaker monitors so comments on the mix/master are always appreciated :slight_smile:

(Oh yeah, additionally I worked to a cue sheet of descriptive sentences in text with 0:00-0:05 event cues rather than the film footage itself. Fun ;D )

Excellent work, Jonathan! EQ2 player here so appreciate the guild theme connection. :slight_smile:

Listening on laptop earphones so can’t really comment on overall quality. Not sure that monitors would tell the tale either, with YouTube’s audio compression lopping off the top end.

For my ears, the bass section in an around 1.10 - 1.30 is harshly intoned, like you maybe used velocity instead of expression or transposed too much, adding in artifacts. The supporting woodwind in this section, however, is beautiful - played and mixed. :slight_smile:

Which suite are you using btw? Sounds too bright to be VSL? Keeping it in house with HSO maybe? Sounds good whichever one it is. Keep it up. Obvious talent there. Just needs to be refined. :smiley:

Thankyou :slight_smile: I have some friends that played EQ2 before but never played it myself.

The Youtube quality sounded fine on my headphones and I always use professional tracks simialr to try get the mastering of the final sound to that quality, although it doesn’t usually work cos I don’t understand the mastering program properly xP I don’t know how it’d sound on a laptop though. My reference track for the final master/mix for this piece was Thomas Bergersen - Immortal, which can also be found on Youtube :slight_smile: But the G0 note in the double bass sounds a lot more bassy than the A0 before it or the D0 after it, so it’s either just realistically how the acoustic of that note would sound in reality or it’s a flaw in the state-of-the-art library xP

About the libraries used: EWQL Hollywood series
(No short way to describe how the velocity etc works so…) It’s a 350gb library just for the string section and it contains 0 pre-recorded loops or material. Every note is individual with many realistic articulations (although I can’t load them currently due to 32 track limit of C6 Artist.)

EWQL Hollywood series libraries uses the CC differently to most libraries btw. For example with the Staccato MOD patches it contains 4 types of short notes and uses CC1 Modulation to control whether the notes written are played Staccatissimo, Staccato, Staccato On-the-Bow, Marcato, which is where orchestration knowledge comes into it and knowing how real musicians perform on their instruments is kinda vital to get a more realistic sound rather than just using any techniques for any passage. Volume is used purely to set the level at the start of the piece and it’s more realistic to not change it since orchestra instrument in real life cannot simply turn up a volume knob they must put more pressure on the string using the bow which will change the whole timbre of the notes, so the tones at higher volume/intensity will change and won’t always have perfect tone. xP Although with mastering you can probably make it sound a lot better if you’re experienced, which I’m not. Velocity controls expression which will change the timbre and tone of the instrument quite realistically as it’s played softer or quieter, so if you want loudness you increase the velocity not volume :stuck_out_tongue: There is 0 transposition in the piece, it only modulates key for the last section after the cymbal hit and it cannot be transposed to a higher key because then it’d be out of range for the vocalist :wink:

In the same library the bow change legato patches for example work by again using CC7 to set the defined volume at the beginning and then it uses advanced cross-fading technology not found in most libraries in the CC11 expression to realistically change not just the volume but the natural timbre of the instrument as the bow pressure on the string is increased, so the tones at higher volume/intensity will change. Other libraries sound less realistic because they don’t have that feature in. Although I’d bet it’s just my lack of mastering skills that I simply don’t know how to make it more refined than it is atm ;D For these patches Velocity is used to determine whether the note transitions are portamento or slurred and the speed at which the slide from one note to the next is played. No library compares to it on the market at the moment for flexibility and realism, I love it xD

Anyway, I appreciate the compliments and criticism and taking the time to listen :slight_smile:

Hi again Jonathan

I listened to your piece on my desktop, played through my Alesis monitors and I owe you an apology. The strings sound perfectly fine over the monitors so it was obviously a failing of the laptop headphones. I’ve played the piece several times now, and the more I hear the the more I like it! :smiley:

Although I have played guitar for several decades, I’m a relative newcomer to keyboards, with limited experience of the various packages. I checked out the soundsonline site and must say that the suites are very impressive (if slightly out of my price range :blush:). I have used LA strings in the past and played with the demo of HSO that came with Cubase. I have to say that you’re right though, the Eastwest have an edge for overall quality.

I’m familiar with the varied articulations that can be achieved with the various programs but don’t quite get what you mean by CC7 and CC11 combination to 'realistically change not just the volume but the natural timbre of the instrument as the bow pressure on the string is increased, so the tones at higher volume/intensity will change. ’ Is the CC7 an on/off pre-select, with the CC11 utilizing the hardware control to alter the further parameters? And how do you control the CC11 input?

Apologies for hijacking the posting of your wonderful original piece with my questions. Like I said, I’m new to this and appreciate that others, like yourself, have walked the path that I’m following and may offer their words of wisdom. I thought it imprudent to reply to your post with 'yeah it sounds good…now can ya tell me how i…? :laughing:

Anyway, keep it up Jonathan. Like I said before, you have obvious talent, which can only improve with more output.

Another nice, if short, convincing piece in the genre. You do really nice work. I suppose the trick over time will be to make yours stand out from others, not based on ability to use the tools, but based on pushing the compositional envelope a little further than others. Keep them coming!

K, no worries. I’ll research it elsewhere. :wink: Best of luck with your future efforts. There are plenty of people posting their versions of famous orchestral pieces. It’s good that you are posting, if short, original pieces. Congratulations for that! :slight_smile:

I really like it man! Been listening to your stuff and its all very good. I really want to get into cinematic production, but I’m still trying to save up to get some decent orchestral plug ins!

Keep it up man!


Hehe, sorry Setanta. Rarely expect me to reply on Saturday’s and Sunday’s :wink: They do lower prices Gold versions of some of the libraries but they are expensive. You can get 8 products for like 700 Euro though on the Complete Composers Collection when they have sales on (there is one ending, or just been on for a huge -75% off the usual price. Requires you to buy all at the same purchase though, but it’s a steal and they have that on a few times per year.) I’, actually hoping for a halloween sale too on Symphonic Choirs so I can afford it lol.

LA Scoring Strings sound really nice and I’d like it for some types of projects, but Hollywood Strings is definitely the more realistic product. But like all of these you need a pretty damn good computer to run them at highest quality, which I’m trying to upgrade to :3

For the CC stuff I just draw it in the the different types of lines, and pencil in the expression track. I can’t record that data in real-time with the mod wheel, just not good enough to get it down accurately enough xD

You’re not hijacking the thread at all, feedback is good however large or small especially with more people interested in orchestra :slight_smile: I’ve actually only ever posted one cover song and it’s an orchestral arrangement of a Snow Patrol song that my friend asked me to do for her wedding. Other than that I hate covering or arranging other peoples music xP Thanks again, feel free to ask questions anytime. I may not check everyday but I will always reply at some point ;D


Thankyou, I may consider doing an extended version when I hopefully get choirs in a halloween sale. But there should be a 1:30-2:00 version of any longer pieces anyway so it’s a nice point to end it for now xP For 1:15 part it should have choirs singing full, and then for the cymbal a lot more soothing. I was thinking to write some lighter percussion parts, possibly tabla or djembe with a faster rhythm and progress it from there but we’ll see! Thanks :slight_smile:


Thanks, glad you liked it ;D I like the production on your stuff too. Cinematic production has varying approaches though. I got my first instrument an electric guitar at 16 playing Metallica etc. At 17 I saw Lord of the Rings and was blown away, so I got a notation program Finale 2001 or 2003 idk, and I started trying to write my own orchestra music. I’m 26 now and I didn’t know sample libraries existed until a few years ago. I was just writing orchestra music because of the enjoyment and had no idea to ever bring it to a cinematic production level or if there even was a goal career back then.

The plug-ins make such a big difference that they are essential, but the base ability of knowing how to write the music as notated score is equally as valuable in my opinion. Theory is required, but I’m no expert. Orchestration is more valuable than theory, because you can just follow your ears to write the melodies and then use orchestration to write it correctly or how you hear it for the whole orchestra in your head. Nothing brings creativity like pressing the keys or physically playing, but at night when I lie down I’ll often score the next part of the piece I am writing in my head.

I love your work, I only miss a nice ending, a long string at the top with a supporting bass, slowly fading our over at least one bar. (I love nice endings ha). Else it is a great piece of music!!

Glad you enjoyed it. There are choirs scored for it, but you can;'t hear them because I don’t own the sample library yet :smiley: So I didn’t really wanna write parts that will get removed. This is technically still a mockup since it’s missing instruments and recording mic positions. It’s using Main+mid mics and the final version will have those plus close and surround mics. Thanks for listening :sunglasses:

Wish I could score strings like that…got it in my head but getting it into the DAW is the hard part…really good work, wish you lived next door to me…Kevin

Sounds suitably cinematic and very dramatic! Nice work! :slight_smile:

I know what you mean about solo instruments - violins etc. In some past orch-pop stuff I did I actually ‘employed’ a couple of violin players and a flautest to play the more exposed solo parts. The biggest issue with samples is the lack of imperfections. :sunglasses:

Hehe, thanks Kevin. When I first got interested in orchestra at 17 I just used the Microsoft synth sounds that come on Windows that the notation program Finale uses by default, I had no idea sample libraries of any kind existed so I was much more focused on the notes than the sound of the composition. So all my practice at writing was done by notation. My orchestration skills progressed this way, but getting Hollywood Strings sample library is what started to change things because you then have to start investigating the techniques players use for certain styles and phrases etc.

I think even just playing the notes in by hand with piano keys you can learn a whole lot. Whichever way the skill is learned it’s all just practice and time :stuck_out_tongue: I’d love to be able to play that cool jazz improv kinda style/sound but I think it’d take way too much time to get any good at it.

Thanks Sherz too :slight_smile: Sounds good, I hope I can to get the point of having live performers someday :smiley: The biggest issue is the imperfections yeah, even adding imperfections it just can’t capture a complete performance, but there is some new technology creeping out;

I’m not sure about the specifics of how but when the same line is played it automatically has tiny imperfections in the performance so two playbacks are almost never the same. Sounds interesting :smiley:

Can’t wait for this new tech on strings…

Yeah, always interesting to see how far the top engineers can push sample libraries :stuck_out_tongue: When it comes to recording individual notes and not looped phrases it’s a lot harder to get a convincing sound. They spent $500,000 recording the library I use atm. I wonder how much they’ll be spending for the next advancement in some years.I think it’d mainly be in the engine and scripting for the next project, but we’ll see!

that sounds fantastic!

you really know your stuff here, out of curiosity how would you rate the halion sonic se that comes with cubase or the ik multimedia philharmonic, these are programs i have access to but would like to achieve better results, no point in getting more expensive software if its user error right!

if you have the time could you listen to one of my previous posts with the title where ever, towards the end of this song i start to use the halion sonic which gradually creeps in until there is a huge orchestral outro, the trouble is the huge orchestral outro aint that huge, not like i had in my head, a few tips would be appreciated.

also at the start of this piece there is what i think is a wind instrument that sounds sort of eastern, what is it, its the instrument i have in my head for a song i’ve just started and i have no idea where to find it, im guessing most of these midi synths have it

so sorry if this is what you call hijacking a post but since you just used the exact sound that i have in my head for the song i’m doing right now i’d be stupid not to :blush:


Thanks, I just have a lot of years practice writing for orchestra using notation. Took a while to get to grips with using a DAW and working on technique using expression etc though! You’re not hijacking at all hehe. I’ve never tried ik multimedia philharmonic or even heard of it actually, but quality comes with price. So you get what you pay for really!

Depends on your goal ultimately mate. If it’s a track with acoustic instruments like bass, drums and guitar then cheap crap like the HALion orchestra will sound very out of place. Likewise for synthy stuff or electronic drumkit etc having such a realistic sounding library will probably sound worse than stuff like HALion sounds.

I’ll find your post and listen and edit it back in here after, or I’ll just post it in that post instead.

The wind instrument is a Duduk and I mainly remember it from the movie Gladiator the most, it sounds really fantastic in a piece from the CD called “Duduk of the North,” I think it’s on the 2nd disc, I have the anniversary copy of the CD, but it’s buried in a box somewhere atm :stuck_out_tongue: If you want a decent sounding one you have to pay the price for the library. Anything in the free or included in DAW ones will sound gash.

cheers for the info, it hard to find this instrument without buying a library though, most of which are pretty expensive, don’t want to spend the cash for something i may and proberly will never use again, i almost pulled the trigger on east west quantum leap silk but quickly gave myself a slap :slight_smile:

does sound good though

you should try miroslav philharmonik…it’s been used on loads of movies and it has everything you would ever need…and it aint expensive, Kevin


are you saying the philharmonic features a duduk, its just because i have that already but i couldnt find it