Oneiric

Forced Failure

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Okay, I'm currently working on building up a portfolio of music to use to market myself as a vgm composer. This is the first finished track that I have, a 'bad guys have the upper hand' or 'failed heroic effort' kind of song. I'm just kind of looking for feedback, especially any valid criticism. Even if I don't necessarily agree any valid input helps me improve for future songs.

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Well, the piano and choir are fairly mechanical. The choir is lacking volume swells that a real choir would have, and the piano has mostly quantized notes, so they come off as robotic. What it means is that the note rhythm is too perfect to be human, and the note velocities aren't that varied. Also, the percussion at first was reasonable in terms of the amount of activity it has going on, but at 0:52 - 1:18, there is a persistent resonance in the treble frequencies in the percussion that feels a little grating to me.

I think you did accomplish the vibe you wanted, and I'd say the percussion mostly works, but ultimately, the major issue is that the sequencing of the piano and choir are pretty stiff, and could be improved by varying the velocities on the piano and adding volume swells to the choir. As a suggestion, you might also want to make the choir parts more interesting with more movement in the higher registers.

You may find this a suitable reference track.

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Indeed; as a note, I would say that the strongest notes are usually (but not always) the note that emphasizes the "pulse" of the song, or the note that starts a long phrase. It's not always the first note in a measure, but it can be. I agree though, that having a MIDI keyboard and practicing on it would help you have a better idea of how you can write more realistic velocities. :)

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Okay, reworked quite a bit of what I had. Working with the vocal portions is still fairly new to me, so as I tinker with what i have I may end up reworking them. I'm much more used to a less organic sounding tones when I write. Working with piano and choir has been a learning experience so far.

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Getting better! The piano does sound more natural than before; what if for every 6 notes on the left hand, the fourth note is lower velocity than the first? Also, if you have a more velocity-sensitive piano sample, it might be even better, since each note is simply getting quieter, rather than softer (less 'spiky') *and* quieter on lower velocities.

I actually like the percussion better than before; seems like you fixed that resonance!

When it comes to the choir, basically, the volume swells would emulate the breathing of real people, and one way it can be done is by automating the choir's volume up slowly and then down a little medium-slow for a single phrase.

Other than that, as a hypothetical vgm song, this could work in an OST.

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Thanks for the advice! Unfortunately I do think this was the best piano sample that I had, but there's a few things I can do differently, and I get what you mean with the 4th note going slightly quieter. I'm going to go back and see if I can work some on that when I go back to revisit the choir portions. Will also try experimenting with imitating breath and a more realistic atmosphere to it. 

I knew going into this one that I was a little out of my league, but honestly I'm enjoying the challenge. I focused so much on nailing the actual songwriting aspect over the last 5 years or so that I completely neglected things like production and mixing, so I'm trying to play catch up in those areas now. Again, thanks for listening and for the advice.

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