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Orchestral Original: Remorse Nothing More


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Hello OC Remix!

Back in 2002 I wrote a nine minute classical piece using Noteworthy Composer to coincide with a fiction I was writing. Noteworthy Composer is known as strictly a notation software but would be able to play songs written in it through basic MIDI (e.g. Microsoft Wavetable Synth); thus, the song was written but not produced. After many years of not working on music, I recently bought some music production equipment and FL Studio. I have written a few remixes and original pieces but they have not been up to par with the quality of most remixes on OC Remix. However, I decided to finally produce this orchestral piece. The result is awesome! I also recorded my own clarinet playing. Please take a listen and let me know what you think. Following is the link to Sound Cloud:

https://soundcloud.com/tonal_bliss/remorse-nothing-more-chapters-1-4

I am hoping to further improve my classical/orchestral producing and writing abilities in the near future. I am planning on doing a orchestral remix/arrangement of a video game theme. I'd love to submit that to OC Remix when I'm done. Thank you for your time.

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  • 1 month later...

Hey SegaMon, I remember Noteworthy Composer!

Really cool composition/suite/medley!  I'm surprised no one has given you feedback!

You have a lot of strong qualities in this production, the most being your tenacity to complete such a large scale project.  It really is worth appreciating for the scale alone.

With that said, I definitely have a couple of notes for you:

- Your production isn't quite there yet, some of this is within your control, and some of this (most of this) is not.  The hard part (and simultaneously, the easy part) is that investing some serious dough in your production setup would put this production on the map, so to speak.  It's hard because having and spending money on virtual instruments and the equipment to run them is rarely within our reach.

- You became a better writer as you wrote this.  This is common, especially common in the earlier stages of our advancement through writing, and so the result is that the later sections of the work are actually more engaging and interesting than the early sections.  I think it can be a really great exercise to work on something we started so long ago and to enhance the production, but if I were your teacher, I would be highly concerned of your revisiting a piece over a decade old.

It's important to remember that our work is not precious and to hold it precious is to stagnate our growth--every piece you write is a stepping stone to a greater you, but you cannot grow without the willingness to step on that work and walk away from it.

- The early sections suffer from boring rhythms.  There's no easy way to say this, but generally speaking your motives early on in the work (and somewhat throughout) are really eighth-notey/quarter-notey--very, very straight and always happening.  One of the problems that I've noticed when we are first adapting to writing on the computer (which is not as much a problem when writing on paper) is that we tend to copy and paste and we tend to create in default tempi and default quantization.  Humans are notorious for resisting change and it's really, really easy for us to keep writing in quarter notes or eighth notes once we've set the quantize (especially if you're step-sequencing, which the early stuff feels super step-sequency), but on paper, we don't have this issue because a quick jab of the pencil and we've changed the rhythmic structure.  High repetition on paper feels wrong, we naturally vary ourselves on paper, but on the computer, it's very unnatural to write variations--especially rhythmic ones.

- Study more idiomatic writing techniques.  Unfortunately, you have the tendency in this work to treat the instruments all the same--this egalitarian approach is a nice idea but really tends to sound weird when coming out of our virtual speakers.  Idiomatic writing will do many things for you: first, it will force you to more closely examine the performance styles and techniques of each individual instrument resulting in your own ability to distinguish a convincing MIDI production (phrasing, note enveloping, etc.); second, it will also force you to acknowledge the compositional tendencies of individual instruments and how we actually want to write for the different instruments differently (owing to their individual constructions and methods of performance).

- Study lullabies and popular music.  Outside of the squareness of your piece (the block rhythms), I can't remember any of it.  The motives were too long and wander too much for me to remember them.  We obviously can use this to an affect when necessary, but to have listened to your 9-10 minute work and not remember anything but the final oboe tone?  That's probably not the desired affect and it didn't create a pleasing (or even engaging) experience for me, your listener.  I understand you were trying to tell a story through the music, but where are the characters?

If you want to get intellectual about it, fine, you can go study programme music--but like Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev or some composer who writes solid melodies.

If you were my student, I'd make you study Alan Menken, the guy writes amazingly memorable themes but also brilliant orchestral coloring and beautifully idiomatic arrangements--there's a reason the guy has more Oscar wins than any living person.

- Look forward, not backward.  Stop saying "I want to eventually do..." and start saying "I'm working on..."

Good luck,

- Dan

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Dan,

Thanks so much for your very thoughtful reply. What you said is very encouraging and also very helpful. I especially like how you say that I should be saying "I'm working on..." rather than "I want to eventually do..." This is a change in thinking that I really need to be successful. Being that music is not my career (I'm a registered nurse) I often make excuses why I cannot work on my music. I have always wanted to make music a career of its own and... I am currently working on it.

"Your production isn't quite there yet..." I agree wholeheartedly. A few weeks ago I bought some mid-quality Samson studio monitors. They help to hear what I am writing and producing a lot better which helps. I agree that having the right equipment and virtual instruments will make a big difference. I will buy professional-grade midi instruments as well when I am able to. Currently I am using mostly out-dated but free sound fonts.

"You became a better writer as you wrote this..." This is also true as evidenced by 6:32 through 8:37. This portion of the song is partly new and partly from the original composition. This touches with your other point of always writing new music rather than working with the old. On point. I was considering a remaster of another piece I wrote a long time ago but now do not want to. I need to move on to new music. I need not hold myself back.

"The early sections suffer from boring rhythms." I agree although the simple rhythmic structure ties to something in the story. I like how you say that "on the computer it's very unnatural to write variations" because I agree with that. To achieve variations I have had to create a ton of patterns many of which only have small differences.

"Study lullabies[,] popular music[, and] more idiomatic writing techniques..." You want me to listen and study Menken, Tchaikovsky, and Prokofiev. I will do so. I am quite familiar with Tchaikovsky and I can see what you mean about creating a more melodic and memorable experience. My mom and others that listen to my music have often said that, although enjoyable, my music is not often memorable. For some reason I struggle with this aspect. I have always disliked music that is overly simplistic and, as a result, my music has become too complex for its own good. I have never focused much on melody. When I have tried to make a memorable melody I always have difficulty. Do you have any other advice to help me with this?

I listened to some of your music on your website. Your music sounds really fantastic! I'm glad that you gave me the constructive advice that you did. Now I can change to become a better musician/artist and so that I can listen to your cool music. Cheers! :D

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