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Chrono Trigger - "Planetary Parasite" Orchestral WIP


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Hello! This is my work in progress of "Planetary Parasite", a Chrono Trigger ReMix featuring the songs "Lavos Theme", "World Revolution", and "Last Battle".

I'm especially interested on feedback on the arrangement, mixing, and production. So far is this on track to be good enough for OCR or what needs improvement?

Thank you for your time and feedback!

Edit: Link updated 2/11 - added choirs, still need to figure out an ending.

 

Edited by Allusionist
update wip
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For those long trombone notes you will want to add shape to them. You can usually accomplish this by drawing a velocity curve. For these notes you will want to start at 100 and draw a U shape. In regular notation this would be marked fp cresc. The start of the note will curve downward steeply, but gradually rise up to the end.

I don't know if it was intentional or not, but you stumbled upon the opening of Prokofiev's October Revolution Cantata, so I'd say download that score and do what he does with the trombones.

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Thank you! I have a lot of real world orchestral experience so instructions like "fp cresc" are perfectly clear to me. I applied dynamics CCs to the brass as you suggested and made some other edits, as well as getting the rest of "World Revolution" transcribed. I updated the OP with the new link.

Any other thoughts so far?

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Definite improvements on the update! Brass and strings sound pretty good in general, got some nice full chords and hits. At times it sounds like the woodwinds may benefit from being a bit louder, such as when they take the melody at 2:05. 
At about 1:55 I hear some kinda synth background noise, think it's an arp of a pad? At first I thought it was the result of clipping or something. It seems a bit out of place in the arrangement, the sound may not compliment the orchestral arrangement terribly well. Shouldn't be hard to correct!

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On 2/3/2021 at 5:39 PM, Allusionist said:

Any other thoughts so far?

At 1:30 instead of just staccato flutes playing the ostinato you could double them with oboes, and then clarinets and bassoons doubled down the octave. If you're brave enough you can try some other intervals here (3rds and 6ths).

One thing I like to do is double winds with light harp plucks for added definition and color. Might be an option here.

The horn here (or is it a trombone) is kind of lonely. You could double it down the octave with tuba.

The timpani hits could be doubled with cellos and basses playing staccatos in octaves (I often use spiccato patches for this.)

You might start to notice a pattern in my suggestions. While the structure and composition are good, the main focus of orchestration should be on color, in which case unison/octave doublings are your friend.

At 1:50 you will want more of a build to the next part. You could do a brassy swell here in C minor.

At 1:53 the violins are too light. You'll want a marcato patch with a strong attack here.

Here you can also thicken the brass harmonies with some 3rds. Think of these as Bach-like organ chords.

At 2:05 you will likely want this quick melody to be doubled across all the strings and winds, and piccolo as high as it can go.

At 2:25 the doubling here is good, again piccolo should be doubling at the high extreme. If you have bass trombone it could double at the bottom. For definition you can add xylophone strikes. Another possibility is brassier trumpet "stabs" if you have the samples.

At 2:40 the violins should be doubled down the octave in the 2nd violins and violas, maybe even cellos. They can be additionally doubled by winds and/or horns.

The trombone at 2:44 sounds like a solo patch. Do you have ensemble patches? If not I would recommend octave doublings.

An instrument often overlooked in orchestration is the piano. Low piano octaves can really enhance your bass instruments for pretty much the entire piece. They double low strings, low brass, and sound great doubling timpani hits.

Another color you could add is the harp glissando. They work especially well to fill in gaps. For example, at 2:25 you could have A minor glissandos filling in the spaces between the rhythms.

Let me know if you would like more suggestions.

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Sil, I would like to thank you for your feedback on orchestral arranging. I just got a couple sample libraries, and I think your tips will really help out. I feel like a child trying to swing a large sword, I think your advice will help me wield that weapon more effectively:)

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You've gotten a ton of advice on orchestration and I think I'll let that be for now until you drop a newer version. I just want to say that all the suggestions were great there and I second them. I think to add to what has already been said, I would have appreciated maybe a little more subtlety in certain parts. I think one that really stands out to me in right before Lavos' iconic scream. I think maybe a dimenuendo would have been great right before. i guess it depends on your image though! Speaking of Lavos, while that scream is iconic, maybe you could try your hand at making your own sound for it using the orchestra? I've actually been trying to experiment with it and it is well, hard haha. Depending on your VST library you may be able to pull it off.

in the battle section I was actually quite surprised by the synths there. Didn't expect it to be added to the mix. I think the panning you've done with it is really great and the balance seems good enough. I'm wondering though if maybe you could add more effects throughout to maybe hint at the synthetic element being added later on? Depending on how you feel about it, there could be an opportunity to add a little motif here and there. Just something to think about to maybe help connect the two sides of the track some. If I think of anything else I'll be sure to chime in!!

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Thank you all for the incredible feedback! I've integrated most of it into this new update. I've also taken out the synth bass and put in a bunch of pitched percussion, and started transcribing "Last Battle". The link in the OP has been updated.

For reference, I'm using BBCSO Core as my primary library here, plus EZDrummer in "Last Battle". 

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2 hours ago, Allusionist said:

Thank you all for the incredible feedback! I've integrated most of it into this new update. I've also taken out the synth bass and put in a bunch of pitched percussion, and started transcribing "Last Battle". The link in the OP has been updated.

For reference, I'm using BBCSO Core as my primary library here, plus EZDrummer in "Last Battle". 

 

Ahh, that makes sense now. The orchestra samples sounded familiar yet...not like something I've used before. I have BBCSO discover. Despite also having my fair share of other orchestral libraries (Ark, Nucleus, Albion, and Spitfire strings) I still find myself reaching for it a lot! Great product. Look forward to hearing more.

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Updated the link again. I finished transcribing "last battle" and just realized I have NO idea how I want to actually end this whoops :\

I just picked up the eastwest composercloud for a month because I want to try adding choir to this. Besides Hollywood Choirs are there any other EWQL instruments you all think I could make good use of in this track specifically? I've never used an EWQL product before.

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