Nom

Undertale - Spear of Justice (orchestral remix)

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Hey guys 

I'm Nom and just recently joined this forum. I'm also a beginner in music remix and only just started for abouth a month ago. I really need help with some orchestration. I'm not really satisfied with my work (it's my 1st time doing it). I think it's too messy and need some dynamic but i don't really understand what to do with the orchestra instrument (I don't have any orchestral music background either). 

So, any suggestion like adding instrument or anything ? 

The original:

Undertale OST: 046 - Spear of Justice

Here's my work for orchestration. It's Undertale's spear of justice :

Spear of justice (orchestral)

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Hey Nom, thanks for posting this! I can totally understand where you are coming from. Orchestration can often be the most challenging part of writing music, so I can definitely appreciate the work you've put into this. It's taken me years to get to a level where I feel comfortable with orchestrating and part-writing, so I think it's great that you are reaching out for feedback.There were a few things that I wanted to point out that may help improve the piece:

  • Mixing/mastering: I feel like a lot of beginning composers/arrangers/remixers never use reverb. It sounds like you do have reverb in the piece (which is great!), but it may be a little too much. I think that's contributing to the "muddiness," especially in the drums and strings. I'd reduce the amount of reverb you have applied to the piece, which may help clear things up a bit. It may also help to look into adding some light compression and reducing your levels to prevent peaking (which sounds like it happens when things are trying to get loud.) You should try this step first to see if this helps before looking into my other suggestions.
  • Brass: With the trumpet hits in the beginning, it sounds a little "weak" due to the register that the trumpets are playing in (without a lack of support from other instruments such as low brass or strings). I'd try pairing additional instruments for the hits to give it more foundation.
  • Strings/Choir: Strings and choir seem to be lost completely at some points (example: 0:00 - 0:38). It'd be nice to pull up the strings/choir, and lower the brass.
  • Percussion: Unfortunately, I've never been much of a percussion writer, but I think that the timpani hits also get lost a bit. It may help to implement some snare, especially during parts where there is more action in the percussion.
  • Dynamics: I'm not sure what DAW (digital audio workstation) you are using, but it doesn't sound like there is much dynamic variation throughout the piece. If you have used a MIDI to arrange this, I'd recommend purging the preset dynamics/velocities, and then starting from scratch. Often times these MIDIs would contain artifacts that would totally screw with the dynamics, and it's just best to remove them. 
  • Sampling: The trumpet sampling sounds a little unrealistic, but some of the string samples sound great. I think that no matter what samples you use, if you look into humanizing your samples with dynamic control, you'll find that you have a much better result. This YouTube video helped me gain better control over my samples, and I'd definitely recommend checking it out. (It's a tutorial for Logic Pro 9, but you may find some of the concepts helpful in creating more realistic sounds with your current samples.)

I hope I was able to help Nom! I look forward to seeing more of your work. :)

 

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I agree with what smartpoetic has stated. Maybe I can add a few of my own thoughts, especially with the structure of the piece. I felt as though this song didn't have direction. In other words, the song made me feel like I was wondering around without a destination in mind. Some things that may help is shortening the piece a little, adding separate sections to the music with a different mood, and placing focus on building towards points of climax. I feel that I need a lessened focus on climaxes in my own music but I feel that yours could use it more.

I'm also interested to know what DAW that you are using. Furthermore, finding better sounding instruments will help you greatly. I need much better instruments as well. Search the internet for free instruments. There are a lot out there that will help you to start improving your sound (although they are no where near the quality of paid instruments, of course).

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19 hours ago, smartpoetic said:

Hey Nom, thanks for posting this! I can totally understand where you are coming from. Orchestration can often be the most challenging part of writing music, so I can definitely appreciate the work you've put into this. It's taken me years to get to a level where I feel comfortable with orchestrating and part-writing, so I think it's great that you are reaching out for feedback.There were a few things that I wanted to point out that may help improve the piece:

  • Mixing/mastering: I feel like a lot of beginning composers/arrangers/remixers never use reverb. It sounds like you do have reverb in the piece (which is great!), but it may be a little too much. I think that's contributing to the "muddiness," especially in the drums and strings. I'd reduce the amount of reverb you have applied to the piece, which may help clear things up a bit. It may also help to look into adding some light compression and reducing your levels to prevent peaking (which sounds like it happens when things are trying to get loud.) You should try this step first to see if this helps before looking into my other suggestions.
  • Brass: With the trumpet hits in the beginning, it sounds a little "weak" due to the register that the trumpets are playing in (without a lack of support from other instruments such as low brass or strings). I'd try pairing additional instruments for the hits to give it more foundation.
  • Strings/Choir: Strings and choir seem to be lost completely at some points (example: 0:00 - 0:38). It'd be nice to pull up the strings/choir, and lower the brass.
  • Percussion: Unfortunately, I've never been much of a percussion writer, but I think that the timpani hits also get lost a bit. It may help to implement some snare, especially during parts where there is more action in the percussion.
  • Dynamics: I'm not sure what DAW (digital audio workstation) you are using, but it doesn't sound like there is much dynamic variation throughout the piece. If you have used a MIDI to arrange this, I'd recommend purging the preset dynamics/velocities, and then starting from scratch. Often times these MIDIs would contain artifacts that would totally screw with the dynamics, and it's just best to remove them. 
  • Sampling: The trumpet sampling sounds a little unrealistic, but some of the string samples sound great. I think that no matter what samples you use, if you look into humanizing your samples with dynamic control, you'll find that you have a much better result. This YouTube video helped me gain better control over my samples, and I'd definitely recommend checking it out. (It's a tutorial for Logic Pro 9, but you may find some of the concepts helpful in creating more realistic sounds with your current samples.)

I hope I was able to help Nom! I look forward to seeing more of your work. :)

 

Hi smartpoetic,

Thank you so much for you detailed feedback. It's gonna be really helpful for me since i'm really just started orchestration

 

  • Mixing/mastering: Yeah, i do feel some the drums was too messy. My intention is i wanna give some chillng "boss fight" feel with the drums but it ends up too much. I think i'm gonna try putting it down
  • Instrument: Actually i dont feel quite familiar with the instrument yet so i will give a try with your advice. The main problem is the percussions, that i still dont get the right things. Which part do you think its the most messy part of the percussions ?
  • Dynamic: I'm using Cubase. I do the MIDI from scratch by hearing the original. I think i'm gonna make some change in velocities
  • Sampling: Your video references is so good. It's really helpful. But in my case i can't change the modulation like in the videos. I can only change the velocities. Does the modulation editing only can be one in Logic Pro ?

I'll do my best. I'll let you know for the revision of this song. thanks smartpoetic :-D

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16 hours ago, SegaMon said:

I agree with what smartpoetic has stated. Maybe I can add a few of my own thoughts, especially with the structure of the piece. I felt as though this song didn't have direction. In other words, the song made me feel like I was wondering around without a destination in mind. Some things that may help is shortening the piece a little, adding separate sections to the music with a different mood, and placing focus on building towards points of climax. I feel that I need a lessened focus on climaxes in my own music but I feel that yours could use it more.

I'm also interested to know what DAW that you are using. Furthermore, finding better sounding instruments will help you greatly. I need much better instruments as well. Search the internet for free instruments. There are a lot out there that will help you to start improving your sound (although they are no where near the quality of paid instruments, of course).

Hi Segamon,

I'm totally agree with you. The main reason i post this work is because this song seems so dull that i need some advice to make it more "alive". I think i will take your advice and shortened this song so it doesn't get so repetitive and boring.

I'm using cubase. Currently just using its libraries and using Sonatina symphonic Library for this piece. Like smartpoetic just said, the trumpet doesnt sound realistic. Do you have any advice for humanization ?

Thanks Segamon for the feedback :-D

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5 hours ago, Nom said:

Hi smartpoetic,

Thank you so much for you detailed feedback. It's gonna be really helpful for me since i'm really just started orchestration

 

  • Mixing/mastering: Yeah, i do feel some the drums was too messy. My intention is i wanna give some chillng "boss fight" feel with the drums but it ends up too much. I think i'm gonna try putting it down
  • Instrument: Actually i dont feel quite familiar with the instrument yet so i will give a try with your advice. The main problem is the percussions, that i still dont get the right things. Which part do you think its the most messy part of the percussions ?
  • Dynamic: I'm using Cubase. I do the MIDI from scratch by hearing the original. I think i'm gonna make some change in velocities
  • Sampling: Your video references is so good. It's really helpful. But in my case i can't change the modulation like in the videos. I can only change the velocities. Does the modulation editing only can be one in Logic Pro ?

I'll do my best. I'll let you know for the revision of this song. thanks smartpoetic :-D

No problem Nom! As far as the drums go, I think it's the type of drum you are using at some points. Timpanis are a bit lower, and they ring a lot longer than a snare. I'd recommend only using timpanis for hits, and snare for more moving parts. But as I mentioned, I'm not the best at percussion writing, but I'm sure there are heck of a lot of people in this community who can give more sound advice on that topic. I tend to keep my percussion writing very basic. It may also help to look up tutorials on writing for percussion.

I'm not familiar with Cubase (I use Logic Pro), but from what I can tell you with Logic Pro, you can change velocities, as well as modulation. You may be able to change modulation in Cubase if you have a MIDI controller with a mod wheel on it. (Some MIDI controllers and keyboards have two wheels, one for changing modulation/velocity, and the other for pitch bending.) You may need to invest in a cheap to mid priced MIDI controller to get more dynamic control. As far as humanization goes, this will help out a lot. I also recommend playing your parts by hand on the MIDI controller/keyboard, since that will naturally add humanization (because a real human played it instead of a MIDI).

As far as orchestrating in general goes, this is a topic that is very expansive. In fact, I took a class in college on orchestration when I was working on my music degree. But I don't think you'll have to go as far as taking classes in it, but it may be helpful to 1) read/watch tutorials on orchestration by other composers 2) listen to music by composers to study how they orchestrate things 3) practice, practice, practice! Just like a good cook, an orchestrator will know how to "pair" instruments together, and where to put them in the score. :)

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4 hours ago, smartpoetic said:

No problem Nom! As far as the drums go, I think it's the type of drum you are using at some points. Timpanis are a bit lower, and they ring a lot longer than a snare. I'd recommend only using timpanis for hits, and snare for more moving parts. But as I mentioned, I'm not the best at percussion writing, but I'm sure there are heck of a lot of people in this community who can give more sound advice on that topic. I tend to keep my percussion writing very basic. It may also help to look up tutorials on writing for percussion.

I'm not familiar with Cubase (I use Logic Pro), but from what I can tell you with Logic Pro, you can change velocities, as well as modulation. You may be able to change modulation in Cubase if you have a MIDI controller with a mod wheel on it. (Some MIDI controllers and keyboards have two wheels, one for changing modulation/velocity, and the other for pitch bending.) You may need to invest in a cheap to mid priced MIDI controller to get more dynamic control. As far as humanization goes, this will help out a lot. I also recommend playing your parts by hand on the MIDI controller/keyboard, since that will naturally add humanization (because a real human played it instead of a MIDI).

As far as orchestrating in general goes, this is a topic that is very expansive. In fact, I took a class in college on orchestration when I was working on my music degree. But I don't think you'll have to go as far as taking classes in it, but it may be helpful to 1) read/watch tutorials on orchestration by other composers 2) listen to music by composers to study how they orchestrate things 3) practice, practice, practice! Just like a good cook, an orchestrator will know how to "pair" instruments together, and where to put them in the score. :)

Your advice are very supporting and that was really helpful. Glad there's more people like you out there.

I think i'm gonna just try to apply your advice first and see if i i get better or not. I'll let you know if i'm done revising this work.

Thanks smartpoetic. I'll do my best :-D

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Hey Nom,

There are some other ways to humanize MIDI. If multiple instruments have the same rhythm, you can offset one of the instruments by a very small amount to cause a small amount of tearing. If you don't want to record MIDI notes by performance, then you can also change the dynamics and hit each and every note. Furthermore, even if you can't record every single instrument then you could record one or two instruments to mix into your piece. I can play clarinet so realism is increased when I record and integrate some real clarinet into a piece. Another idea is to use multiple voices for the same instrument (such as two different flute sounds mixed together).

I'm still learning a lot too but hopefully some of what I said will help. :)

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1 hour ago, SegaMon said:

Hey Nom,

There are some other ways to humanize MIDI. If multiple instruments have the same rhythm, you can offset one of the instruments by a very small amount to cause a small amount of tearing. If you don't want to record MIDI notes by performance, then you can also change the dynamics and hit each and every note. Furthermore, even if you can't record every single instrument then you could record one or two instruments to mix into your piece. I can play clarinet so realism is increased when I record and integrate some real clarinet into a piece. Another idea is to use multiple voices for the same instrument (such as two different flute sounds mixed together).

I'm still learning a lot too but hopefully some of what I said will help. :)

Hi SegaMon,

"If multiple instruments have the same rhythm, you can offset one of the instruments by a very small amount to cause a small amount of tearing". I didnt know that so it is new to me. I'm gonna try to revise this piece by also adding you advice. I'll let you know if i'm done

Thank you so much. You already helped me. Good luck for both of us :-)

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