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wip Reminiscence of Valor (Legend of Zelda:Ocarina of Time)

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This mix is a choral arrangement with lyrics of

with cameos of
and
, sung from the perspective of those who know the legend of the hero of time, during the 7 year gap between Gannon'l taking power and the arrival of the foretold hero.

Remix: Updated WIP: Reminiscence of Valor (WIP) 7_14_12.mp3

Older versions:

Reminiscence of Valor (WIP) 7_11_12.mp3

Reminiscence of Valor (WIP) 7_6_12

I'm looking for some feedback on the arrangement before involving other people for recording of the final piece.

As is, the mix has some notes close to the outer limits of my personal range, and I am considering raising the final version 4 half steps, using female vocals for the higher parts, which would bring it to the key used by the source melody. A different change I am considering is to reduce the tempo from 85 BPM to 75 BPM, while dropping it half a step, allowing for a more somber expression of the same theme while using only male vocals.

I'm specifically interested in any comments on the arrangement, structure and source usage, but will appreciate any other general comments on the piece.

Thank you for your time!

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From what I can tell, the arrangement is pretty nice, and this would probably sound really cool if the performance was better. I have to say though, it takes courage worthy of Link himself to post something like this!

I think you should keep it all-male.

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This is a nice idea!

I think the tempo is fine. Making it slower would probably make it a bit dull.

My biggest complain is the lack of high notes, but you explain that on your post. If you manage to get female voices in the arrangement, it'd be very interesting.

Some harmonies sound weird, but I guess (hope) they are because of the performance. I like how you sing the low notes.

I have a bit of a hard time hearing the sources around the middle of the song too, but I'm not sure if that part is the Requiem or the Serenade.

Anyway, this is cool and I'll be waiting for a second version!

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Thank you for your comments.

The 'hard time hearing the sources' is one of the ares I was hoping for some commenting on. It starts with RoS, which leads into a section which uses SoW as a countermelody, From there, it goes into an original section, then to a section based on the harmony line from RoS (string section), then a second original section, then to SoT+RoS, then a RoS based line with the first RoS section alongside it, followed by a few measures to close it. By my estimate, there should be a good bit over 50% source usage, (60 of 92 measures) but if it comes to it, I would probably be able to convert the 2 longer original segments into something based on the SoW and SoT themes, though it would likely require changing the lyrics in those parts.

I'm working on re-recording the piece with the half step drop, in order to allow the melodies of the higher sections to come across cleaner/clearer. Until then, for comparison, here's the MIDI-fied version of the track I'm recording against. Though soulless, (hand placed notes, with no dynamics, rather than a recording from a midi keyboard) and lacking the dynamics of the word flow, it should otherwise have the arrangement, for analysis of chord progression and harmonies.

One place where I think tempo adjustment could help is in the section based on the RoS harmony line... (1:53 - 2:16). A slower tempo there would help by providing time to breathe between the long and wordy phrases in that section. (The current recording has that section recorded separately, by phrases, solely to accommodate problems with running out of breath towards the end of phrases in that section when taking it in one go. Having to cut together those segments makes a dynamic expression across that section difficult to properly execute)

If you have any advice or suggestions for working around that section, (other than having the separate parts trade off when singing the phrases in that section) I would be glad to try it.

Again, I'm hoping to get any major issues in the piece resolved before involving other people on the recording end. I know some people who have voices that would be great for this, but who may only help through recording the arrangement once or twice. :|

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Word of warning - it rarely takes once or twice to record a piece if you have any standards at all. I've done vocal recordings with people who can sing really well, and I still needed to break the piece down into roughly 20 sections, each of which was recorded at least 5 times (excluding rehearsals, of course). I was hoping to nail my recording (6 parts, 3 people) down in one evening, and it ended up taking weeks. I'm not saying this is necessarily how bad things will get for you, but in my experience (and I've been in several choirs, all of which released albums that took forever to record) you're being dangerously optimistic. So, you're definitely doing the right thing getting the arrangement all done before even beginning recording. Good luck!

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Updated WIP: Reminiscence of Valor (WIP) 7_11_12.mp3

I'm aware of the multiple sessions that are commonly involved with recording. I have been an observer on a previous studio recorded project, and have been part of a handful of choirs over the years. (though never for recording purposes) My comment was not for intended for recording sessions, but for recording iterations, but I see how the words I used caused miscommunication. :-)

This is my first time writing for vocals, and my first arrangement of anything existing. (Most of my previous experiments with composing have been for original midi or keyboard pieces) Because of this, despite reading several of the available help files, I'm still learning the process involved, especially once it comes to the production aspects.

I've been enjoying the music here since the Echoes of Betrayal/Light of Redemption album, after finding the site by accident, so when I had a melody floating which reminded me of the Requiem of Spirit line I, I thought I'd give it a try. Thanks for the comments!

The lyrics for the song are in the MP3 tags, if desired.

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Source usage — I recognize the ocarina tune at the beginning in the unison portion, and I hear the raised tone at the end of the Serenade of Water a couple times throughout, but largely I don't connect this piece with the source material.

I really like the concept of this piece, and I think I like your arrangement overall, but it is a little hard to tell in parts due to the "rough draft" performance of this recording. A couple things you will want to think about if you only have a couple passes at making the recording happen:

1) Tuning — If your singers can't be very precise with their tuning, you will want to experiment with auto-tune settings and see if you can get one that doesn't detract from the piece. The tuning in this recording skews your harmonies, and really detracts from the unison bits. I would encourage a single voice to a unison portion anyway, since you're not working with a multitude of voices to add diversity.

2) Dynamics — This is a little easier to fix in post if you are doing individual tracks for each singer, but you as the arranger can help your singers out by making some very clear markings for dynamics. I think one reason your source material is a little hazy is because those parts aren't being emphasized in the recording. Make sure you encourage your singers to use the phrasing you want for this piece as well.

3) Choral blend — Have a good idea of what you want to get from this recording... do you want a straight tone or vibrato? Where do you want consonant sounds and cut-offs? Do you want high notes to be powerful and soaring, or ethereal and chant-like?

I have some thoughts on your lyrics, but they weren't solicited, and you might be pretty attached to the lyrics at this point, so I'll keep them to myself, but let me know if you are interested.

As I said, I do like this... it is inspiring me to do an a cappella vocal piece myself.

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Thank you for your input on choral arrangement. I hope my current mix helps a little with hearing the intended source usage/arrangement. If not, I'll look into restructuring the section with the alternating Song Of Time/Requiem of Spirit themes and the section arranged from the Requiem of Spirit string harmonies.

As for your notes:

The persons I have in mind for recording are consistently precise, and have been singing together for years, so auto-tuning shouldn't be required. If it does become problematic, I have someone who has a solid toolset that can be used to help in that area.

I will definitely look into the annotation of the dynamics. - I have a few ideas for where I want things at certain points, and am working through where I want it in other places. My current mix should help a little on that end, though there are some sections I am not happy with yet... mainly because I haven't been able to articulate what my head hears. ... I'm considering adding a lyric-less 'ooh' track that covers the main melody line with the dynamics I'd like to have.

For what I currently have, the high notes are typically intended to be more powerful, but with some. As for the note entries/cutoffs, I will want those to be crisp. For an earlier rendition of the piece, I recorded myself using conductor style hand directions, which worked fairly well, but I haven't yet done so since increasing the speed to 85BPM. (Conducting is decidedly not in my skillset, but it worked well enough for my personal watching/singing.) I may do so again for the next iteration of the WIP, now that I have a stronger handle of the melodies after my last significant adjustment.

If you have some thoughts on lyrics, I'd like to hear them. :-D

However, I have a secondary objective for the lyrics of this piece. They are (apart from 2 key proper nouns for setting purposes) constructed in a way that allows them to be dual meaninged, with Link not being the only hero who matches the call for hope. So long as the thoughts don't conflict with that, I'd be glad to consider any input concerning the lyrics.

Again, thank you for your input.

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I'm going to second jnWake's comment earlier about not bringing the tempo down too much. I feel like the beginning of your piece draaaaaags right now. I get your point earlier about bringing the tempo down for some later bits in the piece... there is no reason the entire piece has to be the exact same bpm all the way through, in fact in my experience that would be atypical for a choral work, even one of this length.

Still don't hear Song of Time in here... is it at about 3/4 through with the sentence that starts "Look for the one"? I hear a couple notes in common, but the rhythm and ending of the phrase is different enough that I don't think it really counts as a quote of that melody... maybe I am missing it somewhere in there? In general, if you are working on this for an OCR submission, I don't think you are quoting enough source material for it to pass, but I'm certainly no official judge, and maybe that's not your intent anyway.

However, I have a secondary objective for the lyrics of this piece. They are (apart from 2 key proper nouns for setting purposes) constructed in a way that allows them to be dual meaninged, with Link not being the only hero who matches the call for hope.

Are you planning to change "Hyrule" and "Ganon" around and make this a sacred piece? First thing that came to mind when I read that.

Lyrically, I am trying to remember what my thoughts were, haha. I have listened to your piece enough times now that some stuff that was bothering me no longer does... I know my very first thought the first time I listened was (no offense) "Hyrule is under siege? That's corny." which is admittedly a pretty subjective assessment... but some clarification —

1) "Hyrule" is IMHO kind of an ugly word and doesn't flow well lyrically with other English words. Maybe use something more generic, like whatever you are saying there for the piece's dual purpose? "Our land", etc.

2) The phrase "under siege" connotes an ongoing action, but further lyrics and my understanding of the setting of this piece imply the action's all done — Ganon has already won, albeit temporarily. It's also hard for me to think of people singing this calmly about their home being under siege... your singers are relying on faith and playing the waiting game, but an actual siege should call for action.

That might still be sort of subjective, but since you are opening with a unison of that sentence, you want it to be as strong as possible. Another suggestion I was thinking about making was to use a completely different language, but there are a couple bits here where I really like what you're doing lyrically (in English) and that would probably throw off your dual purpose.

My two cents.

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I think this is fine on source usage. The Requiem of Spirit melody is sang by the low voices for almost half of the song. The Song of Time makes a very brief cameo near the end too. There is only one section (lasting about 30-45 seconds) that use doesn't any source I believe, so it shouldn't be an issue.

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The SoT reference is just a cameo, and is the section you mentioned. Listening again, its connection is a bit weaker than it was in a previous version of the melody... due to the chording applied. I can try working with it to make it stand out more as going between those two sources. (Yes, I am aiming to submit for the panel at some point)

For lyrics, your guess nailed the alternate meaning. (I don't plan to do anything with it from that end, but still...)

As for trying a different language... I actually tried that first, but wasn't getting the rhythmic and grammatical needs to cooperate. When I had english phrases volunteer themselves, I went with it.

As for the comment about the opening line, I understand the need for a powerful opening, but haven't yet found a non-unison arrangement that I felt would work well as an opening. I did consider some generic and completely different forms of the opening line, but I felt that "This/our world/land/home" was too bland as a two syllable opening, while the word 'Hyrule' at least connects it back to the game world.

After experimenting with moving other sections in front of the current opening, (before and after applying lyrics) I found that, for the most part, without the opening starting dark, the rises and falls in the melody have always felt out of place for this arrangement. I briefly toyed with the idea of bringing in the Oath to Order theme (from Majora's Mask) for a heavy role, and exploring more on that route might prove productive... it would still leave the opening 'powerless', but the extra movement that melody has might work to keep it more interesting. Thoughts?

Siege: "a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside"

My take on what little we have of the story between the unsealing in the temple of time and Link's return to set things right are that Gannon quickly sweeps through most of Hyrule, bringing out the monsters and shadows in his wake. ... But he is unable to seal his victory. By the time Link arrives, Gannon himself is in a waiting cycle looking for the Triforce of Wisdom and Courage to resurface, allowing him to finish what he started. Until then, he is doing his best to make things miserable for the remnant, which I see being taken by the people as a fully valid siege, despite the lack of overt military action. (Aside: Can one man single handedly conduct a siege? In the case of Gannon with the Triforce of Power, I would say yes.)

I agree that the typical people wouldn't be singing calmly about their home being under siege. :???: However, those versed in history and lore, who knew the foretelling of the Sages and the Hero of Time... and who had a general populace looking to them for hope in dark times, might. A successful defense in a siege often comes down to relying on pre-established defenses, holding onto hope while waiting for the enemy to give up, or for rescue to come. A leader who could would try to bolster the morale of his people, if possible. (Granted, in this case, singing this publicly would likely make the writer/singers targeted by Gannon as an example... so there's still some Fridge Logic going on...)

With that in mind, the religious leaders (Cathedral-esque reverb on the final rendition) sing of:

1) The acknowledgement of the current fallen state, ('Hyrule is under seige...', 'Though the darkness...')

2) Their assessment of the situation ('this is not the end...')

3) Hope promised and to come ('one - destined to face our fears' including some details to look for 'led by him who controls the skies', 'entered through time')

4) Action for the people to take ('look for the one', 'prepare for a day')

5) And a warning ('Without him acting Hyrule dies', with an implication that the hero could fail without the aide of the people once he arrives... or may fail to act based on what he sees in the people when he arrives)

Wrapping up with a combination of 1,4, and 3 above.

All that said... if the lyrical lines are weak, they may not remain. But now you have my thoughts on the lyrics.

I will likely end up varying the tempo, to help with pacing, but have recently been more focused on the melody before messing too heavily with it, as changing from a steady tempo would remove a crutch that's been invaluable with aligning the different vocal lines.

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One fun trick for using alternate languages is making up fake Latin. Just did the orchestral Zelda concert... almost 100% made-up words for the choral parts. "Fithos lusec wecos vinosec" from FF8 also not a real thing. Experimenting with syllable textures ftw. At this point, though, you might as well stick with English as you've already crafted the words and want to use it for your dual purpose.

I think the opening is fine both melodically and dynamically. I meant "strong" not as a synonym for "powerful" but more an antonym for "weak" — semantics, I know. You can effectively start your piece out quietly and with a single melody, I just feel like compared to the quality of some of your other lyrics here, "Hyrule is under siege" is not your best work and starts the piece off in a less-than-ideal place. I'm not a fan of unison choral bits, but there's objectively nothing wrong with them — although you really need precision in your choral blend to pull it off.

Re: siege — I still feel like it's the wrong word, I feel like by the time of this song Ganon has already won. But it is hard to argue with all the thought you put into it in your last post. Even if it was inarguably the wrong word, it probably wouldn't bother 99% of your listeners, so go for it... your piece after all :mrgreen:

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I've been thinking about it a bit this evening, while driving home after a gathering with friends. Would you consider the following stronger lyrically, and better connected to the scenario? (the phrasing should still work rhythmically and hold its dual meaning)

Foul things invade our lands - We must not surrender

Triumph evades our hands - But there's hope of rescue

Gone are our hopes and plans - This is not the end;

The darkness can't constrain us. (Light overtakes us)

It has no hold, in truth. (Light shows the full truth)

Though we are in the darkness, (Where we see darkness)

The light will see us through. (Light has a plan to make things new)

Where the darkness seems to rise,

Look for him who controls the skies,

But beware of shadow's lies.

Though the darkness seems so well established,

and the wild now is truly savage,

Look how few things have been fully ravaged.

We've persisted through this vicious passage.

Though it seems that we must bend, (although it seems - that we must bend)

Light prevails to final end. (The Light Prevails - straight through the end)

When you look at history's trends, (If you look how - this world begins)

Evil's hold ne'er long extends. (You'll see the truth - Evil can't win)

Look for the one -- Destined to face our fears,

Entered through time -- come to the fated year.

Soon there'll be no more tears. (The land will be healed)

Then comes the peaceful years.

Do not be dismayed - Our hope still surely stands

Foul things invade our lands

Triumph evades our hands

But light always makes new again.

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Yeah, I like the opening to that a lot better. Maybe something more specific than "foul things" — creatures, monsters, darkness, etc. I tend to think "things" is a good word to avoid.

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And now, for something ... significantly... different.

Reminiscence of Valor (WIP) 7_14_12.mp3

This version is a duet arrangement, with new scoring in some sections, using updated lyrics, recorded sans-metronome and having the Cathedral-esque reverb I'm considering using.

So... let me know what you think of this version, and whether there's anything missing in this from the former arrangement that you think should be applied to this version.

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