Rising Force

As always, critiques of any kind are welcome. I hope the tune is catchy anyway. I’m curious as to how convincing the choir sounds on a scale of 1-10. Staccato notes are particularly hard to get sounding decent with the choir program specifically.


(Download of the 320kbps mp3 is available too! I know Twilightsong wants it :smiling_imp: )


Awesome as always Jonathan, I really need to get my hands on some orchestral vst’s. I probably couldn’t compose something as epic and complex as you can, but they sound so freaking good and add so much drama and epicness!!!

oh hah I already listened to this a few times. The lead violin seemed a bit like… something I would use ( :wink: )… just a bit less authentic than the rest. But other than I can find nothing else worth mentioning. Great track - the drums, choir and strings come together wonderfully!

The choir sounds as real as it can get, 10 for that, even the staccato notes, I took a careful listen and I would genuinely not be able to tell if it is a VST or real choir. Like the strings too and the emphasis you put on some notes to give it that real live sound and make the piece move forward. Would love to know what VST you use. Michael.

If you didn’t tell me then I would think it was a real choir and you have a really big studio to fit them into, the piece is up to your usual technical standards…you’ve done better tunes though…Kevin

I think it is a great sound and theme.

However, I must take issue with your use of solo violin. In a real orchestral performance it would get hopelessly lost as the rest of the orchestra is going hell for leather. Obviously with the tools available in your computer you are able to turn it up as high as you want. Although this makes it audible, it also makes it sound totally artificial. I would recommend thinking about a replacement - either a group of string players, or solo trumpet.

Keep it up though. Very catchy theme. :slight_smile:

It just takes practice like anything man, if I can do it then you can too. :stuck_out_tongue: I’d say your biggest aid in orchestration would be the ability to aurally analyze music. Other than that; practice, practice, practice! :smiley: I’ve never read any MIDI orchestration books, but I’ve read real world orchestration books which I’d recommend too, even if you don’t write for live recordings/concert.

The VST’s I’m using are; EWQL Hollywood Strings Diamond, Hollywood Brass Gold, Stormdrum 2, Symphonic Choirs. The woodwinds are from EWQL Symphonic Orchestra gold, but they sound too unrealistic to want to use them as anything other than doubling other instruments for a full and unified sound.

That’s good enough for me then. :stuck_out_tongue: The choir doesn’t sound great solo, but I guess the unrealistic parts aren’t that audible in the mix. Technically I’ve still got one last thing to do for realism and that’s randomizing the velocities from their relative position, but doing it manually is a waste of time considering it’d take at least 10 hours to do it for every instrument and you can do it in a minute in the full version of Cubase, can’t afford it right now though!

Thanks, although I’m still having trouble trying to find a good way of mastering this stuff. For a live concert recording of an orchestra, you would of course be correct. However, for a studio/soundstage recording solo instruments like that would be either recorded after the orchestra (Two Steps From Hell do it that way for example.) And even more recently, some trailer music companies have been recording each section of the orchestra individually so that they can be mixed differently. Although I don’t actually think that way sounds as good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdeGerMw19U This is one of the pieces where they recorded the strings first to a tempo track with the conductor, with everyone wearing headphones. They then recorded each section in turns (there is a video on Youtube showing part of the recording session.) Sounds decent, and of course samples will never truly compare to real performers either but I do prefer the entire orchestra being recorded at once.

So as to whether or not the recording sounds artificial entirely depends on what the purpose/aim is. These fantasy tracks are supposed to be the latter kind of recording and not a live/concert sound. I don’t think either kind of recording is inferior, just different.

Glad you liked the theme, I always try to write melodically/catchy so your compliment is much appreciated!

Jonathan, thank you for the info on your VST’s. I have to buy some and I’ve read so many review and opinions about the different stuff on the market and my budget is limited, so I must buy the right product first time. I really like the work that you produce and I’ll look into these instruments. Michael.

You can type here or PM me your budget and purposes and I can try and help. Different companies libraries are better for certain things. The ones I use are great for a soundstage/film score. But for replicating a classical piece they aren’t the best, although they still sound great.

This is very good. It’s far beyond my VST manipulation capabilities right now, so I can only really comment as a listener. Nice use of dynamics in the beginning. I didn’t really think about the artificial balance of the solo violin until Mobius mentioned it. I certainly see what he’s talking about, but I also see your point about considering the purpose. If it sounds good (and it does), it’s really more a matter of approach and intention rather than a matter of right or wrong. Thankfully, once you pass a certain competence level, most music is that way. That’s part of what makes it an artform. :slight_smile:

As far as the choir goes, I think… given where it sits in the mix (which is pretty far back) it sounds pretty decent. There are things about it that don’t sound real, and those things would become more obvious if you were to bring the choir more forward in the mix and try to replicate the kind of dynamics and expression a choir is capable of, but since you’re sort of hiding it behind everything else, it actually sounds damn good the way it is. It certainly doesn’t call attention to itself, and that’s the whole point.

Anyway, again, what you’re doing here is beyond my abilities, so … take what you will from my thoughts. It sounds very good, and could easily be thrown into an action sequence of a video game and I wouldn’t think twice about it.

Well, not much I add really, other than it sounds very convincing to me and very dramatic!
Great work! :sunglasses:

Thanks for listening Ian and Scott. The piece is going to be part of an album of Lord of the Rings/World of Warcraft fantasy music, with more of an edge towards the videogame industry (which is where I’d rather work) than film. The album is also supposed to be listenable by the fantasy MMO community so it also can’t be too complex in either orchestration, harmony or arrangement. Although, this piece is one of the simpler arrangements. Some will be more short story structured in arrangement and ones like this more verse/chorus structured. I won’t be going the melodic-lacking, generic trailer music way though. :laughing:

Thanks for your comments on the choir (especially given your own experience and fantastic voice.) The program is seriously a pain to work with the staccato choir (when all velocities are of equal value some words/syllables are ff dynamic and some are mp dynamic. It’s very buggy with it singing wrong words; the first time it sings some jumbled up stuff when it’s supposed to open as “fi-thos” for the first two notes. Oh, and the choir also gets stuck notes if the tempo map is changed at all. If you want tempo changes you need to plan it in advance, you can’t tap in a conductors tempo so it’s more human when using the choir program. Your comments are right on the money anyway.

But these are actually mock-ups for a live recording, probably next year, at Brno, Czech so I won’t spend too much time perfecting every note. For the choir it’s good enough and I’ll just need to write the words down in the brief. So the mock-up has to be as good as possible in this context, plus it’s a good skill to practice, especially since a lot of tracks for the in-game music for videogames uses sample libraries and just the main opening/cut scenes features live recorded orchestra. To break even with the costs of the recording I’ll need to sell around 3000 copies of the album worldwide within a year, excluding any revenue from licensing to TV/videogames/adverts and also excluding Youtube/Spotify revenue.

Yes. The melody is working, I just found myself humming it :slight_smile:

I’ll just throw my 2 cents in and say I’m very impressed with both the composition and the arrangement. You are a master of the vst orchestra (and choir!).

Well done. I like the solo violin. Sounds impressive.

Thanks chaps, I’ve actually just fiddled around with Ozone 5 today and gotten a much nicer mastering template so I’ve updated all my tracks today with that and EQ filtering in each actual project and I’m beat. Don’t have the energy to critique the new music tonight, I’ll catch up in the morning.

P.S. I think I just scraped an acceptable on the solo violin. Synthy, but I’m happy with it anyway.

Enjoyed it very much so. Can’t say anything negative about it!

Very well done :sunglasses:

I have two minor criticisms. First, I think the choir needs to come up, and the orchestra down, because the orchestra is overwhelming the choir. I like how at first the orchestra ascends A - B -C while the choir follows C - B - C - D - E but after awhile I’m wanting some variation, like maybe the brass blasting long sustained notes behind everything, for example. (I concur about the solo violin, it sounds out of place because it’s not something we’re accustomed to hearing)