new song

Hi, Just finished a ballad, starts soft and sort of gets heavier…my first go at serious string arrangement helped mucho by comments from Jonathan…cheers, Kevin…sorry it’s a bit long

Another really good song Kevin. Nice, I like it. :sunglasses:

And… sorry, I’m not keen on your strings. :confused: Sounds like your just playing rather thick legato chords all the way through. I’d personally like to hear a lot more of an actual arrangement with more obvious movement and quite distinct parts. There’s huge potential here for all manner of inter-woven melodies, motifs and short-bow accents etc throughout.

Also, I think you could play around with the vocal melody a little, mix it up a little on the last chorus in particular. I’m also hearing plenty of room and potential for several layers of harmonies/BV’s.


yeah your right regarding the strings but just wanted to use them as chords mainly…wouldn’t too many string bits detract from the song ? you could probably do a better job than me with the strings for sure…
regarding the arrangement…I find that stuff rather difficult and also my main problem is I don’t spend enough time with a song…so it doesn’t get developed to it’s full potential,…got too many songs I want to finish…as always your critique’s are on the money so thanks, Kevin

You sound like you’re in a hurry? :open_mouth:

Well, I guess I was kinda the same some years ago… I was bangin’ out a new song/instrumental pretty much every week. And, around an album a year for the past 12 years! :astonished:

They were produced to the best of my ability at the time I guess, but its been really gratifying for me to go back to some of that earlier work now and give it a “2012 makeover”. :sunglasses:

You know, this is great. The lyrics and your voice fit right in with the music - which is awesome. The chords are unique, and I think the guitar with the choir and stings sounds amazing. I especially love the little instrumentals you have placed, it adds a lot. I would download this if it was available :smiley:

You sound like you’re in a hurry? :open_mouth: say’s Mr sherz

well, you know…your right…again !!! and it’s a good point, why am I in a hurry ?
When I start a song I reckon It’s about 2 weeks before before I become bored with it and have noted down half a dozen song ideas that I want to get started with…I’ts a freakin nightmare really…

Thanks ethansight If you want It you can get it now…I’ve enabled downloads for a bit…cheers, Kevin

Hi Kevin, first of all good job with the overall track but I really have to echo what Sherz said in regards to the strings. That Ozzy song I linked in the other thread is the perfect example. Sometimes sustained pads on strings works, but I’m afraid I have to say I don’t think this is one of those songs it works on. There is so much room for counter-melodies and interweaving of harmonic lines. But like any skill it is something that needs practice to be able to do, but I think it’s something you should invest time into learning/practicing if you’d enjoy it given that you do have some nice song/arrangement ideas.

I liked some of the chord progression, but to my ears I expected some of the chords to be inversions, so my ears just couldn’t feel at ease listening to some of the changes :-/ It flows nicely in parts and also has nice colour, but where I expect the inversions to be it’s like a hiccup in the progression for me =3

I’ve been perfectly happy with how every piece of my music sounds at the time and there hasn’t been one piece I’ve written yet that I didn’t feel I couldn’t have done better. I always look back after writing the next piece thinking just how much better the writing and the production could have been. I do go back to some pieces and re-do them with the newly acquired knowledge or refined skills, and I absolutely hate doing it because it’s such a pain but the results are always worth it. I think you could definitely try an arrangement of the strings in a similar way to that Ozzy song, just gotta ask yourself if it’s a skill you wish to develop more with the time you have :stuck_out_tongue:

I never become bored with anything I write, just stuck xP I have over 5 pieces in progress atm all minimum 1 minute in length and until iZtope’s newsletter said there was a free 10 day trial of a distortion plugin effect called Trash 2 I just felt too stuck with this certain piece because the foundation for the orchestra is synth sounds and they just didn’t fill out the sonic spectrum how I wanted so I couldn’t build it dynamically. I didn’t work on that piece for a good 3-4 weeks because of feeling like I didn’t know how to or couldn’t progress it with my available sound palette.

My point with this little tangent is sometimes going back to pieces can yield some very creative results! Sounds good so far so stick with it, experiment with some different string ideas or come back to it a bit later.

Yeahh…don’t know enough about strings yet to be able to score them…can hear it in my head but getting into the box is hard. I am keeping the projects now after sherz told me off (which makes sense of course) what you said about inversions seems quite obvious now you’ve said it and maybe I’ll go back to it and try to arrange the strings again…as always I thank you for your comments, It’s good to have someone push you to do better, Kevin

Kevin, if this is your first go at sting arrangement then I salute you. The guitar solo is beautiful, do you play the guitar? The beginning of the song is nice and quiet, the piano slow arpeggios are beautiful with the strings. After the first minute you just play chords on the piano and I miss those nice slow arpeggios.

The strings goes nice with this song, only thing I think you can watch out for, is phrasing. It will make it much more listenable. The strings, especially in a slow song like this, should take a half second break or quarter note break at least every 4 bars, playing legato right through makes it sound a little eerie and slows it down more.

You make great music. I’m too embarrassed to post any of my stuff here, only been recording for 4 weeks now.

Hi mfox, thanks for the comments…yes I play guitar but I can’t do all that charging up and down the scale thingy…so I have to play a tune.
you should not be afraid to post your music here, there are good people around who will give you good advice, I’ve been helped a lot on this forum…this is the place to start, we can tell you where your going wrong (if you are) and how to put it right.
regarding the arpeggios I thought it might be boring doing the same thing for too long, but…maybe not, music arrangement is quite difficult, you clearly know more about strings than me and have said something that is helpful, thanks…best to you and put your music up !!, Kevin

While I have no formal training in arranging what I found generally worked for me for creating strings for pop/rock was building up the arrangements in layers, and essentially ‘fishing’ for lines that worked. I typically start with cellos - they often just play simple legato lines, and I just loop the section of the song I’m working on and ‘fish’ until I hear something I like. I then repeat this process with 1st, 2nd violins and perhaps violas as well. But aside from melodies and harmonies etc there’s also short-bow and pizzicato styles etc etc that can adding interesting textures and accents.

As examples of what I mean:

Listen at 1:55

And on this one at 2:05/2:40


I’m not academically taught either and the way I’ve always done it is to first of all come up with the melody for the song (usually on piano) and then once I have the chords defined and the melody I’ll put that in just as a basic chord and melody without many harmonic layers then I’ll play the lines one at a time.

A good example is once again that wedding music on my SoundCloud, I recorded the piano part in as you hear it. Then I just improvised with the 1st violins and settled on those notes at the start after trying a few ideas. Once I’d recorded that part in I already knew in my head that I wanted the cellos to do an ‘answer’ to the ‘question’ phrase that the 1st violins played, so I just kept hitting playback and improvising until I again settled on those notes and then recorded them in and I just continued like that just recording one part at a time. Once I had those parts I started to improvise with the other instruments, while the song would playback over and over until I stumbled across some notes that I thought fit well. I purely wrote every note following my ear, I am used to writing in notation, but for this I didn’t notate it at all when I was writing. It’s all just improvised/recorded and then expression/modulation/velocity etc etc to try and sound more realistically dynamically and in regards to the technique/performance. Practice, Practice, Practice.

I don’t always come up with stuff or write in that way but for that kind of piece it’s just how it happened and it worked. So for your song I’d say start with either 1st violins or cello to play ‘answer’ phrases to the vocal and then start to build it up from there so the string parts compliment and interweave with each other, harmonic layers for the chord should always come last. Something that can have a big effect is to draw subtle curves in the expression in with the pen tool. The right notes can sound wrong without the correct balance or dynamics. Another reason for this is because it makes it sound that little bit more human and with life, because if a string player sustains a note the pressure they are applying with the bow on the string will subtly vary.

Hi sherz and jonathan…thanks again for your input, I intend to follow your advice and try and make strings work more in my next song and got to admit I’m tempted to go back to “I would never know” (which would be a first) to improve the strings, lot of stuff to learn…getting C7 this week so it’ll be head down over Crimbo, cheers guy’s and have a good one !!, Kevin

Didn’t read all comments but, strings are way to much and way too out front sounds like you are playing a piano part on them as opposed to a string part. At end of song they start to move a bit which helps. My thoughts are they should be placed occasionally through track if you need chords underneath I suggest experiment with an airy light pad sound instead, and vary sounds during different sections of tune. Not sure about kick drum very bright and thin to me. This is a good tune and you should defiantly, rethink some of the production. After the build ups bring it down use oohs maybe? or acoustic gtr? Hope you don’t mind my criticism I only do so because you’ve got the start of a great trax here :slight_smile:

Hi kzrider…Of course I don’t mind criticism, I post my stuff here so’s I can get sensible comments from people such as yourself…everything you say is right…got a lot to learn about strings and this weekend I’m gonna go back to the song and re do it taking into account what you…sherz and jonathan have said…I may be gone sometime !!! so your saying after the chorus go back to only piano or maybe guitar ?..cheers, Kevin

Can’t really say which, it was just an idea but I am sure you will know when its right, you have great ears. I’m a fan of strings but they should support track not be main focus (hope I said that right). Jonathan is for sure an expert in that,