A score I composed...

vemac575

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 18, 2018
272
93
Hello,

I just want to share a score I composed. It's called 'Holding on to Honor'. Click on the name to listen on SoundCloud.

The final master will be done when I actually use it, or sell it. For now, it will sit like this.

I hope it makes your day, or inspires you, even just for a moment.

The track is for free download (for personal listening, not extended to use in media projects of any kind) but I do accept donations through PayPal (JColumbusMusic@gmail.com) if one would like. Otherwise, I am just happy that you like it enough to keep.

Thank you for listening. Have a great evening, weekend, holiday, rest of year.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: DeepIn2U and mikzn

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,375
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
I liked that a lot more than I thought I would. Downloaded it, which I didn't expect I would. Very well made. I really dig the stereo split and the way the strings and keys interact. It had sort of a Spec Ops: The Line kind of vibe (video game) and the title worked really well with the vibe.
My only point of critique is that I think the initial transient of the keys in the opening could be slightly more powerful or aggressive. Still dampened, but a tad more punchy to stand out just a bit more and give some more dynamic.

But thoroughly enjoyed it and will listen again.

I'd be interested in hearing about your process for making it. Which tools you used and how you used them. Where you started and how it evolved.

I sometimes try making things myself, recording my guitars, and messing about with MIDI. I'd love to get better at making things, and this was really cool :).
 

vemac575

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 18, 2018
272
93
I liked that a lot more than I thought I would. Downloaded it, which I didn't expect I would. Very well made. I really dig the stereo split and the way the strings and keys interact. It had sort of a Spec Ops: The Line kind of vibe (video game) and the title worked really well with the vibe.
My only point of critique is that I think the initial transient of the keys in the opening could be slightly more powerful or aggressive. Still dampened, but a tad more punchy to stand out just a bit more and give some more dynamic.

But thoroughly enjoyed it and will listen again.

I'd be interested in hearing about your process for making it. Which tools you used and how you used them. Where you started and how it evolved.

I sometimes try making things myself, recording my guitars, and messing about with MIDI. I'd love to get better at making things, and this was really cool :).
I REALLY do appreciate your critique and will definitely go in and experiment with your suggestion. Thank you so much for the kind words.

When I have time, I'll try and do a write up listing the plugins. I will also do my best to recall the process and it's evolution. Nobody has ever asked me to do that, and that intrigues me.

Thanks again. I'm glad you like it and am very happy you downloaded it. Hopefully it will pop up in your music collection, randomly, and maybe give you a nice feeling. Enjoy.

EDIT: As to the aggression of the keys in the beginning, the idea is that it's a cloudy, kind of hopeless feel, so I wanted them to be... I guess groggy sounding. BUT, it occurs to me that they can get more aggressive as it progresses.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,375
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
I REALLY do appreciate your critique and will definitely go in and experiment with your suggestion. Thank you so much for the kind words.
You're welcome. And thank you for the track :)

When I have time, I'll try and do a write up listing the plugins. I will also do my best to recall the process and it's evolution. Nobody has ever asked me to do that, and that intrigues me.
That'd be amazing. Thanks a lot.

EDIT: As to the aggression of the keys in the beginning, the idea is that it's a cloudy, kind of hopeless feel, so I wanted them to be... I guess groggy sounding. BUT, it occurs to me that they can get more aggressive as it progresses.
Right. I mean I think you definitely achieved that. It was the vibe I got from it as well. It's totally your artistic choice of course, but I felt like the beginning lacked some dynamic depth so to speak, almost losing interest a bit before the track really got going and gained momentum. Once you know the track, it's not an issue, because it's a build up and you have the internal anticipation and can put it all in context, but for a first listen it feels a tad dull in the opening, so yeah I think try and experiment a bit with the transient attack and see what you find. Again, overall really cool and an enjoyable listen that will probably accompany me on my commute to the university on more than one occasion :)
 

vemac575

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 18, 2018
272
93
You're welcome. And thank you for the track :)



That'd be amazing. Thanks a lot.



Right. I mean I think you definitely achieved that. It was the vibe I got from it as well. It's totally your artistic choice of course, but I felt like the beginning lacked some dynamic depth so to speak, almost losing interest a bit before the track really got going and gained momentum. Once you know the track, it's not an issue, because it's a build up and you have the internal anticipation and can put it all in context, but for a first listen it feels a tad dull in the opening, so yeah I think try and experiment a bit with the transient attack and see what you find. Again, overall really cool and an enjoyable listen that will probably accompany me on my commute to the university on more than one occasion :)
It's an honor to have you listen on your journeys.

Ok, so, I agree with you and that was definitely something I'd considered, thinking "they may lose interest too soon", and I'd decided out of lack of solution, that maybe it was a good thing for the listener to start to lose interest, so the build up is more impactful. So you're absolutely right about that and that is and can be a problem.

I am taking that seriously now and I will revisit it, sooner than I intended, to see if I can relieve that problem by adding some element that can grab one's attention, right before it is lost. As soon as I do come up with that solution, I will re upload, and PM you so you can have the new version.
 

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,375
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
I am taking that seriously now and I will revisit it, sooner than I intended, to see if I can relieve that problem by adding some element that can grab one's attention, right before it is lost. As soon as I do come up with that solution, I will re upload, and PM you so you can have the new version.
Great! Thanks a lot. PS. You have a good attitude for taking feedback :).
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,539
24,720
It's an honor to have you listen on your journeys.

Ok, so, I agree with you and that was definitely something I'd considered, thinking "they may lose interest too soon", and I'd decided out of lack of solution, that maybe it was a good thing for the listener to start to lose interest, so the build up is more impactful. So you're absolutely right about that and that is and can be a problem.

I am taking that seriously now and I will revisit it, sooner than I intended, to see if I can relieve that problem by adding some element that can grab one's attention, right before it is lost. As soon as I do come up with that solution, I will re upload, and PM you so you can have the new version.
Agree with what others say. I'll break it down to two main points.

Good:

- Production is good. All instruments audible
- When the bass and drums kick in it's actually a banger. Seriously, I can't understate this. It's really good.

Bad:

- Aforementioned comments about the structure. Song really too long to kick in
- Piano sound with the low notes is trash. I notice this is generally really difficult to get right. I use the following plugin which is genuinely convincing and the best piano plugin I've ever used: https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/addictive_keys/instrument/studio_grand
- When the strings are playing fast notes it sounds very obviously MIDI. Try to sculpt the attack on each individual note so they 'blend' a little less

Overall: the song gets a lot better and when it gets better, it's really good. However there are some glaring issues with structure (namely a very long intro) and the piano sound (again, most noticeable in the intro) that will make most listeners lose interest before it properly hits. Luckily these are problems that can easily be corrected. :)
 

vemac575

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 18, 2018
272
93
Agree with what others say. I'll break it down to two main points.

Good:

- Production is good. All instruments audible
- When the bass and drums kick in it's actually a banger. Seriously, I can't understate this. It's really good.

Bad:

- Aforementioned comments about the structure. Song really too long to kick in
- Piano sound with the low notes is trash. I notice this is generally really difficult to get right. I use the following plugin which is genuinely convincing and the best piano plugin I've ever used: https://www.xlnaudio.com/products/addictive_keys/instrument/studio_grand
- When the strings are playing fast notes it sounds very obviously MIDI. Try to sculpt the attack on each individual note so they 'blend' a little less

Overall: the song gets a lot better and when it gets better, it's really good. However there are some glaring issues with structure (namely a very long intro) and the piano sound (again, most noticeable in the intro) that will make most listeners lose interest before it properly hits. Luckily these are problems that can easily be corrected. :)

Heyyyyyy thanks for the feedback. I will address the "bad" part of your post.

-I still agree. It IS technically ok because as a score for a part in a film or game, that part has to carry on to a build up, so it's left like that to illustrate that. But for a listener, without a scene, I do have to do something about that and I do have an idea about what to do. You are correct though.
-With this part, I do not agree. I totally agree with calling something trash, because if it IS trash, it should be stated without fear of someone being insulted because they don't like the word. However, that part is subjective because I need that piano sound to give off a certain emotion. So the idea is actually to have a not so pleasant piano where you hear it. That is why it's contrasted by the beautiful high end. It's essentially discomfort, but hope, all in one.

As to the link, I do have and use xln audio grand and addictive keys. Love their stuff.

moving on...

-In this, you are ABSOLUTELY correct. I didn't do any attack modulation on any of the strings intentionally, just because it wasn't a project that had a buyer yet. So it was a sit in. I do know I need to work on them and get them up to par, and now that I have ARK 1 and 2, I will be revisiting them. I am looking forward to getting the new spitfire orchestral library.

As to the "obvious". You are right that to a composer they sound obvious, but to most listeners they do not. I don't expect to trick the composers with those strings. There is still work to be done on this project and I am glad that you can spot things that most would not, but I don't intend to polish this that much, until it has something to be attached to.

I really appreciate your well rounded and up front feedback and critiquing. Being that you clearly know what you're talking about, I would love to hear something of yours, if you do score.

Thanks again.
 
  • Like
Reactions: casperes1996

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,375
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
Heyyyyyy thanks for the feedback. I will address the "bad" part of your post.

-I still agree. It IS technically ok because as a score for a part in a film or game, that part has to carry on to a build up, so it's left like that to illustrate that. But for a listener, without a scene, I do have to do something about that and I do have an idea about what to do. You are correct though.
-With this part, I do not agree. I totally agree with calling something trash, because if it IS trash, it should be stated without fear of someone being insulted because they don't like the word. However, that part is subjective because I need that piano sound to give off a certain emotion. So the idea is actually to have a not so pleasant piano where you hear it. That is why it's contrasted by the beautiful high end. It's essentially discomfort, but hope, all in one.

As to the link, I do have and use xln audio grand and addictive keys. Love their stuff.

moving on...

-In this, you are ABSOLUTELY correct. I didn't do any attack modulation on any of the strings intentionally, just because it wasn't a project that had a buyer yet. So it was a sit in. I do know I need to work on them and get them up to par, and now that I have ARK 1 and 2, I will be revisiting them. I am looking forward to getting the new spitfire orchestral library.

As to the "obvious". You are right that to a composer they sound obvious, but to most listeners they do not. I don't expect to trick the composers with those strings. There is still work to be done on this project and I am glad that you can spot things that most would not, but I don't intend to polish this that much, until it has something to be attached to.

I really appreciate your well rounded and up front feedback and critiquing. Being that you clearly know what you're talking about, I would love to hear something of yours, if you do score.

Thanks again.

Well written response, and I agree with you that it's OK for it to start slow, being attached to something else. Opinion-wise, especially with a tad more dynamic changes.
And yeah, I think the sound of the keys is perfectly fine for what you're going for. The "cloudy" feeling. I've messed with many MIDI piano sounds and it doesn't at all sound like you have a **** plug-in, but rather like an artistic choice. Still dig it :)
 

vemac575

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Feb 18, 2018
272
93
Well written response, and I agree with you that it's OK for it to start slow, being attached to something else. Opinion-wise, especially with a tad more dynamic changes.
And yeah, I think the sound of the keys is perfectly fine for what you're going for. The "cloudy" feeling. I've messed with many MIDI piano sounds and it doesn't at all sound like you have a **** plug-in, but rather like an artistic choice. Still dig it :)
Thank you. I think the key is not to get offended at someone's response. We all have our preferences and objections and there are also very strict parameters for the success of other variables and good musicians need to hold each other accountable for those.

I'm in the project right now and although I know I used addictive keys for that exact part he's talking about, I forgot that I actually used studio grand as well. The think is I took the life out of the low end in both, the plugin and the track's EQ, to give it more of a gray feeling. and then I swamped it with altiverb and valhalla shimmer. Then I rode the low end with a plugin called death piano. THAT, coupled with low end of the intro synth gives pushes the actual piano into the background and makes it feel hopeless. So it's funny that I used exactly what he suggested, without recollection, but intentionally made it sound like crap, but for that very intentional purpose.

I added a brass section at the last 2 measures before the percussion comes in, and I really like it. I'm glad you both pushed me to do that. I think it makes all of the difference.

I'd love to hear something of yours.
 
  • Like
Reactions: casperes1996

casperes1996

macrumors 601
Jan 26, 2014
4,375
2,212
Horsens, Denmark
Thank you. I think the key is not to get offended at someone's response. We all have our preferences and objections and there are also very strict parameters for the success of other variables and good musicians need to hold each other accountable for those.

I'm in the project right now and although I know I used addictive keys for that exact part he's talking about, I forgot that I actually used studio grand as well. The think is I took the life out of the low end in both, the plugin and the track's EQ, to give it more of a gray feeling. and then I swamped it with altiverb and valhalla shimmer. Then I rode the low end with a plugin called death piano. THAT, coupled with low end of the intro synth gives pushes the actual piano into the background and makes it feel hopeless. So it's funny that I used exactly what he suggested, without recollection, but intentionally made it sound like crap, but for that very intentional purpose.

I added a brass section at the last 2 measures before the percussion comes in, and I really like it. I'm glad you both pushed me to do that. I think it makes all of the difference.

I'd love to hear something of yours.
Very true. But when you pour a lot of yourself into a project, separating critique of the project from critique of your person can be difficult at times, because you feel intrinsically linked to your creation. It’s important for creators to learn to take critique that way, but it’s not always easy to just not get offended. But yeah, all critique comes from a good place of wanting to better a product, and everyone just has a different view of what better means under the circumstances. Bouncing those ideas is always good, but for each product a decision must also be made, and that’s when the old proverb of too many cooks spoiling the broth comes in. I feel like I’m on the verge of rambling now though so I’ll leave that train of thought there ;).

Hehe, yeah that is funny. My most used MIDI piano is probably the regular Steinway built into GarageBand and Logic actually. But that’s mostly just because it’s so quick and easy to get to. Will often be changed later, but is great for starting out and trying out things. Though I’m still learning, and can barely even play keys normally. Only really know guitar well. Of course you can always just input the notes without needing to be able to play it live, but I’d like that skill ;).

Cool. I’ll go back to the SoundCLoud a bit later and check it out with the brass.

Regarding any of my stuff, well, all of this is a very very recent hobby for me. I’ve played guitar for many years, but never tried my hands at making anything myself. Got a MIDI keyboard earlier this year and is trying to learn to play keys and messing around with making things of my own instead of just covers and short riffs on guitar, so I don’t yet really have anything proper. - This is also why I earlier showed an interest in your process, how you start and move through the life of the project. I’m trying to learn music theory as well. I have a lot more practical experience with the guitar than I do proper knowledge and musical understanding. I can play any chord on the guitar, really, but it’s not until fairly recently I started learning theory about why certain chords fit together and connecting it all and learned terminology like the tonic chord and so on. So yeah, still very early in the process, though with a weird mixture of knowledge normally considered beyond this stage of learning from a decade of playing the guitar, as well as absolute cluelessness on some basic stuff.
In my day-to-day I’m a computer science student, and my past creative outlet has mostly been in filmmaking as well as some photography.

For music, I only have bits and pieces right now I like the sound of, but nothing very developed.