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Meridian Dance (Secret of Mana) Folk/Celtic Style

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This is also from my upcoming album... I definitely would like feedback as this was quite the experiment by taking a battle theme and turning it into a softer sounding tavern-like song. I hope you all enjoy! Thank you all for the feedback for the last one (Dissipating Sorrow) I posted!


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I really like the mood you gave to the track! I'm curious, did you use some really advanced VSTi? Or did you record yourself? Maybe a bit of both? Well, whatever, I find it very authentic. :D 

Some little things I noticed:

  • At the beggining of the piece, you use a cello-like instrument, wich is mostly panned on the right ear. I found it a bit too loud at some point, after the first crescendo, around 20s. More generally it tired my ear to have this low drone in only one of my ear for almost a minute. Note that I'm listening with headphones, so I may be more affected by drastic panoramisation. 
  • I also found your lead high pitched pipe to be a bit too agressive. Maybe turn it down a bit?

I am not good for mixing whatsoever, I'm more focused on composing and arranging (and, in my honnest opinion, you've done quite well on this end, sir!), so take my feedback with a grain of salt.

Have a nice day!

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I kinda agree about the cello; but I don't think it's as much a panning problem as it is a composition problem. I'm hearing basically a bunch of whole notes in a row, which feels droning no matter what, if it's going on for over a minute. Try making a more dynamic chord progression that invites you to write a more dynamic motion for the cello. Right now it's basically depicting a bored cellist waiting until the 1:45 mark to arrive ("okay, when can I stop playing this note? ... oh, right now.").

In general, for atmospheric tracks like this, dynamic chord progressions really help people from getting tired of hearing the same thing for too long. When 1:45 finally comes, I did like the break from the static progression that came before, but the ocarina pattern at 1:45 - 2:41 is playing the same thing over and over again, and it could have a less repetitive part due to its high pitch. I could actually hear Ramos getting a bit tired and losing his breath once or twice (2:05, 2:10). It's a sign that the same pattern over and over again was too repetitive.

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6 hours ago, timaeus222 said:

I kinda agree about the cello; but I don't think it's as much a panning problem as it is a composition problem. I'm hearing basically a bunch of whole notes in a row, which feels droning no matter what...

Going to fervently disagree with you on that.  Irish and Scottish music in general is intensely dependent on drones whether it's an open string being played along with the melody on a fiddle or guitar or built into the instrument itself.  Instruments that defined celtic music also include additions to the instrument specifically for a droning sound to be played against.  The infamous Bagpipes and the lesser known Uilleann Pipes are a great example of that.  That JBarron included some drones to play against for his remix shows a real interest in this style of music so massive bonus points for that. When you look at it, a drone is nothing less than a pedal point that household names like Beethoven made great, almost sickening use of.  In one of his symphonies, i forget which one off the top of my head,  he holds a single note pedal point for about as long as this remix is. So really the fact that the cello part is simple doesn't bother me at all.  

As for the chords, this style of music also requires a lot of emphasis on tonic, dominant and subdominant chords.  The guitarist is most likely playing this in DADGAD tuning which means his chord options are far more limited than a guitarist in standard tuning.  This would be the case for almost all traditional celtic music because Gsus tuning (DADGAD) is practically standard tuning for that region.   So going into something like this you can expect a pretty narrow chord progression. 

Whether the cello is panned correctly or not depends on what Jbarron is trying to achieve with this.  If you are going for an imitation of a completely live performance then the cello can be panned to the side, if not then it would probably be a good call to have it centered.  In either case it does need to be de-emphasized a lot more than it is because it's too noticeable. Like the cellist is having a bit of an ego trip and decided he wants to be heard as much as everyone else. Some light LPF'ing on that cello might do the trick too.  Any instrument that the audience can take for granted can be pushed a lot lower in volume and still be present. As long as it's not grabbing for attention the panning is a secondary concern. Personally, since another drone is introduced in violin at times throughout the remix I would pair the cello with that.  Make sure the volume matches so that one is not overly distracting, then pan one left and the other right for a nice wide double tracked drone.

As I continue to listen to it I think there could be a better sorting of the soundscape. Instruments that are clearly in a supporting role are too up front and in the case of the few that are panned it can get distracting.  The instrument that takes the lead should have most of the freq spectrum in tact.  The supporting instruments that aren't basses can usually take a little lpf'ing to allow them to be heard and yet be heard second to whoever you are putting the spotlight on.   

Overall though I really like it.  Good luck with the album!





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I agree with Garpocalypse on most of his points, including the DADGAD tuning comment (good catch, btw). I've played in a few orchestras and heard enough Folk and Celtic to know that long tones are actually fairly common in this style of music. In fact, I once played a song where I had to maintain a whole note for - I kid you not - 128 measures @ 102bpm. Try that with a wind instrument sometime. Painful.

That being said, the guitar and cello in the beginning (although pretty and moody) are still kind of droning. It may help to reconfigure the mix and have the rhythm a little quieter than the melody; listen to Moonlight City (Lumina) from the Legend of Mana OST. Totally different style, but this track has a similar droning feel to it and it doesn't overpower the melody like I feel this one is in danger of doing.

The flute/ocarina is too loud and kind of shrill; I also think the violin is too quiet in contrast. Needs more bodhran!

Like everyone else, though, I feel that overall this is a beautiful piece. Makes me think of the Upper Land or Gaia's Navel more than the Mana Beast, but a gorgeous arrangement nonetheless. Awesome track!


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  • 1 month later...

First of all,

Thank you all so much for the very constructive feedback! I will certainly look into improving the mix to make it more engaging and less droning. The ocarina does sound a tad shrill and I plan to have some volume adjustments before the track is finalized.

The album will feature more styles from around Europe such as Madrigal style singing, Celtic fiddling, driving Slavic craziness, and much more! The album is pushed back to winter of this year so more time and effort could be spent improving the quality.

I would love to do more music like this as I believe it creates some interesting departures from the originals and makes them more organic. Meridian Dance is more pretty sounding, but I assure you there are some wicked aggressive pieces too.

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