Orchestral Music

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Orchestral Music

Postby LunchBagMusic » 11 Sep 2012 04:38

Before we begin, I don't pretend to be any further qualified in this than you might be. I'm just an amateur offering up free, unsolicited (and shit) advice. Keep the hate to a minimum, but turn constructive comment and debate up to eleven.
_________________________________________________________________________________

There's a worrying trend among orchestral producers today on MLR, and in the wider, more professional music community. I feel that the subtle art of orchestral music is becoming stagnant and the qualities which separate the genre from other types of computer-produced music (CP Music) are becoming novelties and superficial add-ons.

When people think of orchestral music, they should think of an orchestra. It's not a real orchestra (most of the time), but it's probably a damned good sample set doing a pretty neat job of imitating one. It's a pity that all of this expansive, expensive software that music producers bought(Citation Needed) is going to waste.

The bottom line is this: We've lost all of the beauty and the flexibility of orchestral music to a perceived modern demand for a very specific type of orchestral musicAnd this makes be sad

(More on this later)
________________________________________________________________________________

Bring it Back to Square One

When we talk about orchestral music, what do we mean? I don't think we mean classical music. Modern Orchestral CP Music is a slightly different kettle of fish. The medium is more readily available to composers and producers than it was ~40 years ago. Having an orchestra in a box is a huge advantage (almost borderline cheating) in the production of CP Music, and is the sole reason that Orchestral music exists today.

When you create orchestral music (hell, when you create any kind of music) you are composing. Don't ever for a second think that you aren't composing music. "Writing a song" implies you're sitting there with a guitar pumping out some generic chord progression and singing about how you think you have deep emotional feelings. You're not doing that. You're bringing together multiple voices, different instruments, under keys and cadences, trying to evoke an emotion, an event, or even just as experimentation. Your music making is of a much higher order and requires more thinking than a twelve-year-old and a "Learn to Play Guitar!" chord book.

Some of the music I see around here (and around everywhere) however, doesn't really support that contention.

---

When you start a new orchestral track, you probably start with an idea. You should also start with another thing that other CP Music Producers don't really have to think about as much as you: Instrumentation

An orchestra similar to the one that I (pretend I) work with when I compose is:

Note: "opt." indicates that I only bring this instrument into the mix when I require a very specific sound, and I expect the 'player' to change to this instrument for when it is required
Strings
12 1st Violins
10 2nd Violins
10 Violas
10 Violoncellos (Cellos)
8 Double Bass
1 Harp (Occasionally)

Woodwinds
2 Flutes (opt. Piccolo, opt. Alto Flute)
2 Oboes (opt. Cor Anglias/English Horn)
2 Clarinets (opt. Bass Clarinet)
2 Bassoons (opt. Contrabassoon)

Brass
3 Trumpets
3 Trombones (opt. Bass Trombone)
4 French Horns
1 Tuba

Percussion
Timpani/Kettle Drums
Bass/Side Drum
Snare Drum
Suspended Cymbal
Crash Cymbals
Gong (occasionally)
Percussion Toys (tambourine, castanets, woodblocks, whip, etc.)
Mallet Percussion (Xylophone, Glockenspiel, Marimba, Vibraphone)
Note that I do not consider the piano to be part of the orchestra. This is a personal thing.

You may want to use this orchestra as a guide when you create your next track, or build your own one from your sample sets.

An Orchestra is not just violins up high. It is not just a battery of large taiko drums (or what-have-you percussion fiddly bits). It is not big brass choirs and it is not fast runs on the woodwinds. And orchestra is so much bigger that the sum of its parts. It is the culmination of instruments into one beautiful, unified sound.
________________________________________________________________________________

The Problem is This

It doesn't matter what your initial idea is or where you got it from (I remember Dr Dissonance once mentioned how he got the main melody for a work by bouncing tennis balls down a piano), or how you notate it (Piano roll, traditional notation, using symbols etc.). What matters is how you establish, develop and vary it.

Too often I'll see an orchestral track where people try and create the most intense, ball-crunching sound possible from the orchestra; they're trying for massive war scenes or huge musical climaxes. Too often I'll see the same cliches, often in music where it's (quite frankly) uncomfortable and a poor creative decision. I don't just see this from new producers. I've seen professionals do it as well. Granted, there will be times when you are required to create tracks that sound like this, but you don't have to do it all the time. An example would be the track produced in this tutorial (There are some good tips in that tutorial, by the way, and his end product is very good, but we're shouldn't be aiming for this kind of sound 100% of the time).

The cliches we're trying to avoid:
--Violins & Strings taking the melody all of the time
--Repeating one musical phrase or ostinato for the whole song without changing it at all
--Seeing the sections of the orchestra as sections and not individual instruments (eg "Bringing in the brass" rather than adding a high trumpet call OR "Full string ensemble" rather than subtle viola counterpoint)
--Reluctance to blend unusual combinations of instrument (eg cellos with flute, basson with trumpet and horns, trombone and clarinet)
-Overuse of loud, heavy percussion (eg Timpani, Taiko Drums, War Drums, other sampled percussive sounds)
--Misuse and/or neglect of woodwinds (This is a pet hate of Dr Dissonance - woodwind wrong and suffer his wrath)
--Copy/Paste disease: The temptation to copy/paste a melody/idea/etc. to flesh out a piece rather than to adjust it or vary it slightly.
--Under-appreciation of an instrument's full potential


That last underlined point is the biggest point of them all, in my opinion. Just because an instrument has an iconic sound or motif associated with it, does not mean that the instrument is limited to those sounds. Every instrument in the orchestra is loud and soft. Every instrument is melodic. Every instrument is expressive. Instruments often have a range of timbres associated with them. Strings can be plucked, brass can be muted (in many different ways) and you can use hard or soft mallets on your percussion. You've got a whole universe of sounds out there, why go with what everyone else is doing?
________________________________________________________________________________

Some Last Few Notes

I'm not here to tell you how to vary, orchestrate and instrumentate so that your pieces are unique. To do that would probably triple the length of this post and cramp your style (literally - it would inhibit your musical expression). I'm telling you what you may want to avoid when making orchestral tracks so that you stick out and sound unique and exciting.

Don't think that people only want to listen to a certain type of orchestral music. Don't even think about people. Screw them, it's your music.

I'm not saying that any of the music produced here is bad. Because it isn't. It's pretty damn good. I'm just saying it could be so much more.

Feel free to comment or PM me if anything I've said here inspires/delights/angers/confuses you.

There is no TL;DR for this post.
________________________________________________________________________________

EDIT: Threw in the excellent woodwind guide by Dr Dissonance.
Last edited by LunchBagMusic on 13 Sep 2012 02:12, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Fimbulin » 11 Sep 2012 05:37

Good points for everyone to keep in mind. One thing I found lacking in most of the orchestra music from this community was a great lack of dynamics. If you use good libraries, there are a ton of ways to add dynamics. Look at John Williams' compositions. He likes every instrument to have a part always, but he brings out the main ones through his use of dynamics. It takes a considerable amount of time to do this, but in the end it should be well worth it.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Dr_Dissonance » 11 Sep 2012 08:13

I said this in a less elegant way on Tumblr and got hatemail for it...

It is a very very good point though. All orchestral music resembles electronic more than actual orchestral. And it's not just in the Brony Music community either.

The latest product by 8Dio will be Fr33 Radicals. They released a demo quite recently, which sounds very similar to every other demo they release...besides the weird sounds at the start, which is probably the only iteration of Fr33 Radicals in there...
http://soundcloud.com/8dawn/8dio-fr33-r ... incub8dion

And the demos are by multiple people! Shame really...

But yeah, I have been taught to write for actual orchestras and instruments, so I suppose I have an advantage, but I do think orchestral music (which is in the popular eye) has become a lot simpler than it should be. Simple can be good of course, look at minimalism. But that music is complex in its own special way.

The comment about using things like brass mutes, etc, is interesting. Mainly because, people are limited by what their sample libraries have. If they don't have plunger mutes for Trombones, then there's no point even considering them. However, the idea of dynamics is a huge one, because not only do dynamics change with most instruments, but so does timbre and the large majority of libraries incorporate that now. I mean, listen to a Horn at pp and one at ff. The volume is more and the timbre is completely different. Same with range. A high pitched horn is very different to a low pitched one That's something I'd like to see from people. Inventive use of this.
And less of the trying to make war music everytime a drum comes in. Speaking of which, that orchestral setup looks pretty good. I tend to have percussion as 'whatever the hell I can hit' though.

And with the woodwinds, yes. Use them more. Read my little guide here and you'll see why:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1149 ... plGlw/edit
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Warbalist » 11 Sep 2012 10:50

You don't even need to give the woodwinds melodies in order to use them more and well. *Points at Stravinsky* And you can't make fun, Halloweeny, Danny Elfman-like music without contrabassoons and bass clarinets.

For me, it's a lack of dynamics or a lack of that "human touch." For crying out loud, programming/playing the velocity on your strings is not that difficult or time consuming if you have a keyboard with assignable wheels and sliders.

Of course, I'm happy that people are even interested in classical/concert music. So people are ignorant of the orchestra's abilities and intricacies, that's to be expected when starting out. I'm still a nublet when it comes to producing electronic music, but that's not stopping me from attempting complextro tracks. So I say, if you're just starting out with orchestral music, look up some stuff on composition techniques, orchestration techniques, etc., and study by listening to your favorite classical/concert pieces and soundtracks, and note the orchestration, where the melody is, how long that melody is, where the harmonies are, are there any counter-melodies, what's the low-end doing, how awesome is that bass trombone, etc.

Homework, homework, homework!

Professionals and those who are trained in orchestration and should know better, though....yeah they deserve some face punching.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Stu Beef » 11 Sep 2012 20:28

Great points being made in this thread (I absolutely agree with everything in the OP). My friends that know me well enough have heard me rant about why I generally dislike all orchestral/concert band/whatever music written in the last 30 or so years. That subtlety, that build, that interplay between instruments just doesn't seem like it's really being utilized by a whole lot of composers. Contemporary pieces do tend to feel very song-like: repetitive, very clearly structured, and with a lack of subtle flow and movement. I feel there's some sort of trend or pressure to make an orchestra sound "hip" or accessible to people who don't really have a background in that kind of music, and while I'm all about blending styles and crossing genre borders, the results that I hear coming from this trend aren't what I'd call cool or interesting...in fact I usually find them pretty lame. I could go on and on about this (and why I hate composers like John Mackey (most of the time) and how you shouldn't be allowed to write ostinati without getting some kind of creativity license first) but, to the people of this thread and forum, I will instead offer some insight and maybe some solutions.

The main problem with the output, I feel, is what was input in the first place. If you want to know how to write for an orchestra, well, obviously you have to listen to lots, but I don't think people realize that the best place to listen to one (at least in my opinion) is in the seat of a performer! When you're in the audience, you merely absorb the music; what you understand about it is what the performers are communicating to you. As a performer, you're the one who is supposed to be telling the audience what to think! Think about a particularly impactful moment in your favorite piece; how was that achieved? You can bet that the people who played that were very certain of what the music was asking of them and knew exactly how to give that to the audience. Getting in the performers seat also really helps you think of the different parts that make up the ensemble. As a trumpet, I generally know that I'm pulled out to bring some power, but when I play I have to be aware of everything else that's going on around me, and the role that my part plays in the whole. A good performer doesn't just focus on what he or she is doing, a good performer knows everyone else's part in the ensemble, and knows exactly why they are playing what they are playing.

Really, I could go on and on (and maybe I will...at some other time. I'm sort of running out of steam at this point), but I'll just close by saying that music is an experience. You as a composer has something inside of you that you want to convey to others. You really have to be aware of your own perceptions and how you've gained them if you want to communicate effectively. You also want to be as well versed in your craft as possible, so as to avoid trite or otherwise ineffective writing. Spend more time behind an instrument, behind several instruments, and you will definitely build up an appreciation and understanding for how they are used in the music you love.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby LunchBagMusic » 13 Sep 2012 00:22

Stu Beef wrote:...when I play I have to be aware of everything else that's going on around me, and the role that my part plays in the whole. A good performer doesn't just focus on what he or she is doing, a good performer knows everyone else's part in the ensemble, and knows exactly why they are playing what they are playing.

This.

I moved from bass (imitaing a bass line on the piano) to trombone in my school's concert band, and I play trom and piano in other ensembles as well, and you never really understand or know a piece of music until you play it.

Failing that, there's IMSLP - International Music Score Library Project (Classical only, I'm afraid). I listened to Jupiter by Holst while scrolling through the score; so much more goes on than what you hear.

Also what Fimbulin said about dynamics is paramount.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby LunchBagMusic » 13 Sep 2012 02:24

Dr Dissonance wrote:The comment about using things like brass mutes, etc, is interesting. Mainly because, people are limited by what their sample libraries have. If they don't have plunger mutes for Trombones, then there's no point even considering them.

I would expect any decent sound library to have at least straight mutes for brass, with cups and plungers nice accessories. You work with better libraries than me, is this the case?
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Dr_Dissonance » 13 Sep 2012 02:37

I do have Plunger mutes forTrombones only in Hollywood Brass, but that's literally the only time I've ever seen them in a vst, besides in more jazz orientated ones.

But there is what sounds you have available to factor into how people orchestrate. Still, you can do a lot with the basics!
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby LunchBagMusic » 13 Sep 2012 06:04

Damn. Would have though if you're gonna spend 2-3 weeks sampling an instrument you'd at least try to cover all bases.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby ÜberTriangle » 16 Sep 2012 08:45

Maybe this is not what yo uare looking for but still

Image
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Dr_Dissonance » 16 Sep 2012 10:23

ÜberTriangle wrote:Maybe this is not what yo uare looking for but still

Image


Well yeah, but those are basic mutes. I was more referring to the many many different mutes that you can get that aren't basic, such as Plungers, Harmon (open, midway and closed), Practice, etc etc...
They don't really get much attention, so they rarely get any sample library love.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Warbalist » 16 Sep 2012 16:57

Dr_Dissonance wrote:Well yeah, but those are basic mutes. I was more referring to the many many different mutes that you can get that aren't basic, such as Plungers, Harmon (open, midway and closed), Practice, etc etc...
They don't really get much attention, so they rarely get any sample library love.

Not to mention my dreams of multiphonic, aerophone sample libraries. D:
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Dr_Dissonance » 16 Sep 2012 18:38

Warbalist wrote:Not to mention my dreams of multiphonic, aerophone sample libraries. D:


*coughcough*
They are very raw samples, so need some kneading in order to make them fit in your mix, but definitely good!
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Warbalist » 16 Sep 2012 22:37

Dr_Dissonance wrote:
Warbalist wrote:Not to mention my dreams of multiphonic, aerophone sample libraries. D:


*coughcough*
They are very raw samples, so need some kneading in order to make them fit in your mix, but definitely good!


:shock:
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Makkon » 17 Sep 2012 01:24

I will probably catch flak for this, but I need to get this off my chest.

While this thread is full of some excellent advice and information (wonderful audio tuts tutorial, and for the OP you gave out some very useful information), I do feel that some of the posts here are loaded to the brim with elitism. So were most of the other orchestral composition threads.
I have practically no musical training in comparison to most of you, not to mention that I have zero experience working with an orchestra. Most of the instruments used in an orchestra I've never actually had the chance to SEE in person. So go on and rant about how you hate all the music written in the last 30 years, and how the only way to truly enjoy orchestral music is to be in it; it's actually pretty insulting. I've never had that opportunity, as much as I have craved it my entire life. I didn't have that luxury of being born and raised in a place where that was available.
I don't have a degree in music. I can't even read music. I don't perform in an orchestra, nor do I in a band. I've been trying to figure this stuff out for years and I'm just now scratching the surface. You guys have had the blessing of musical training in your lives that many others have not.

So if we're wanting more people to conform to 'proper orchestral composition,' let's try to make people want to do it by being less elitist and make it accessible. SHOW THEM what the orchestra can do. And if we want to make tutorials, make simpler explanations, show examples, NO GIMMICKS (derpy diologue?), and be straight to the point. If people want to read about how to improve their musical composition, that's what they want to read. No lengthy anecdotes.

Let's also not forget that there is a distinct difference between Orchestral Music and music that uses orchestral elements.

Forcefully restrained furious rant over.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Warbalist » 17 Sep 2012 02:05

Makkon wrote:So if we're wanting more people to conform to 'proper orchestral composition,' let's try to make people want to do it by being less elitist and make it accessible. SHOW THEM what the orchestra can do. And if we want to make tutorials, make simpler explanations, show examples, NO GIMMICKS (derpy diologue?), and be straight to the point. If people want to read about how to improve their musical composition, that's what they want to read. No lengthy anecdotes.

I like this. Tell people what to do instead of what not to do. Kind of reminds me when political parties say what the other party is doing wrong, but don't give any advice on how to fix anything. Also reminds me of all the self-help stuff I'm into. I know better! :oops:

I'll write up some basics concerning automating velocity (my pet issue) as soon as I have time.

Thanks for reining us in Makkon. Though, to paraphrase the OP, it is pretty painful to study this stuff in a hardcore way for years only to hear a bunch of so-called professionals waste away the great gift they have in the orchestra. Sometimes we trained monkeys need to be reminded not to rebuke others for flinging their poo the wrong way, but rather teach the tricks we know of poo flinging to help increase the skills of the group who wants to know.....

...WHAT KIND OF ANALOGY IS THAT?

Analogy level: Time to go to bed!
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby CommandSpry » 17 Sep 2012 02:17

Okay guys, I'm gonna help you out somewhat;

So you're saying Orchestral music is much more like Electronic now?

I did this track with 0% music theory or experience with Orchestral and only doing some shitty Electronic music before, so chances are this is 100% the end result to avoid in order to reach your level of "real" Orchestral music.



So, everything you hear here, you should never do.

Hopefully this practical example will bring some people to understanding? I can't tell, I'm an idiot (no sarcasm) when it comes to music. I don't mean to self promote, I just think it might be helpful, maybe at least to the OP to tell me if this is exactly what he meant?
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Dr_Dissonance » 17 Sep 2012 03:18

Makkon wrote:I do feel that some of the posts here are loaded to the brim with elitism. So were most of the other orchestral composition threads.


Okey dokey, well yes, I personally am known to be a bit elitist. Fair enough.

Makkon wrote:So go on and rant about how you hate all the music written in the last 30 years, and how the only way to truly enjoy orchestral music is to be in it; it's actually pretty insulting.


Dunno about everyone else, but I don't recall saying that. If anything, I love music written in the last 30 years! And I have never ever played in an orchestra, yet still thoroughly enjoy it.

Makkon wrote:I don't have a degree in music. I can't even read music. I don't perform in an orchestra, nor do I in a band. I've been trying to figure this stuff out for years and I'm just now scratching the surface. You guys have had the blessing of musical training in your lives that many others have not.


Fun fact. Did you know that I only started composition and music theory at 17 years old? I started guitar when I was 10, but never actually learnt anything theory-wise until that time. So the 'I've been trying to figure this stuff out for years' part. I have too. A lot of people here have too. I've just decided to dedicate myself to it. As a result, I've learnt more than I ever would have just doing it for fun. I know there's a difference between making a career out of it and doing it for fun, but the amount of time I've been going at this is not enough to consider myself any good yet.
I mean you clearly have a much larger fanbase and people like your music more, so does that mean that I have an advantage because of theory? Obviously not...

Makkon wrote:So if we're wanting more people to conform to 'proper orchestral composition,' let's try to make people want to do it by being less elitist and make it accessible.


Actually, this is probably the opposite of conforming, because I'm asking if people be a bit more inventive instead of conforming to the typical 'epic' sound that everyone seems to do. That sounded very elitist, but I'm going to have to be elitist unfortunately.

Makkon wrote:show examples, NO GIMMICKS (derpy diologue?), and be straight to the point.


Okay yeah, the Derpy idea was a bit silly, but if you actually read and listen to the examples I gave, there's some great starting material in there. I like to make things fun.

I appreciate that it is probably a bit offensive having the 'elitists' being all elity and I am sorry for coming across as rude, or mean, or offensive. I do not mean to be.

But that is how orchestral music is. It is tough, takes a lot of learning and contains a tough crowd.
I know this, as I am a music student. Or should I say elitist. My music is under scrutiny daily, so I guess I'm a bit more numb when it comes to critique. I guess that's why my critique sounds harsh.

If you're doing it for fun, then please, do it for fun. If you want critique, please take it well. If you want help, say so. I have been doing tutorials without silliness. Anyone who comes to me asking for musical help, I've helped. Many fledgling writers have come to me and I've given them advice, many being very pleased with their outcomes.
I've put a lot of effort into helping the orchestral brony community. I may sound elitist, but I do 'be nicer to us less privileged aspiring musicians', as you put it on Tumblr.
Please consider that this is just venting and that many of us actually do help others out.

(I haven't read this through, so it probably has blaring holes in, but oh well)
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Makkon » 17 Sep 2012 03:32

Doc, you know my post wasn't directed towards you. That's why you don't remember saying one of the things you quoted from me; you never said that.
I don't find you to be elitist in the least bit. You're helpful, friendly, and not condescending in any way. You do more good for this community than most. What I posted was more of a rant, directed to the more condescending members of this community that dislike most of it's music based on principle and nothing else.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Dr_Dissonance » 17 Sep 2012 03:47

Makkon wrote:Doc, you know my post wasn't directed towards you. That's why you don't remember saying one of the things you quoted from me; you never said that.
I don't find you to be elitist in the least bit. You're helpful, friendly, and not condescending in any way. You do more good for this community than most. What I posted was more of a rant, directed to the more condescending members of this community that dislike most of it's music based on principle and nothing else.


Yeah, I established that after writing what I wrote.

Athough, I've never heard anyone go "Gah! No woodwinds! I immediately hate it!" :P
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Warbalist » 17 Sep 2012 11:31

Dr_Dissonance wrote:But that is how orchestral music is. It is tough, takes a lot of learning and contains a tough crowd.
I know this, as I am a music student. Or should I say elitist. My music is under scrutiny daily, so I guess I'm a bit more numb when it comes to critique. I guess that's why my critique sounds harsh.

There was one time I was having a composition lesson with one of my professors; he took one look and listen to what I had written and said, "Go write something else." And the lesson was over in maybe 3 minutes. I've seen your critiques, they're actually helpful to people, picking apart the piece instead of the person.

Still not as mean as guitarists, though, whew! You want mean, check out the ultimate-guitar.com forums and comments.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Fimbulin » 17 Sep 2012 13:56

Guitar is a tough principle as I've been finding out. It's taking a lot of my time. Theory class isn't going incredibly for me either, but I know it'll all start to click soon. Serious though people, if you want to learn theory, don't start on a twelve tone method, start on your staff. Even if you're just teaching yourself everything you know, like I did before I started college, find a good theory book or go take a class or something. Falling behind in college is not easy.

I know alot of composers do not have theory training, because they have a good ear for music. Us theory people are learning why that is and fine tuning our own ears so we can produce excellent music. I admire Makkon for his endeavors into music with no training, and I look up to him for that. I look up to Dr. Dissonance for his understanding of the musical system. Both of them write excellent music, but I would not call either of them better than the other (although it is fun to compare themselves to their earlier works).

As far as tips for anyone, just immerse yourself into whatever kind of music you are trying to create. Try copying a track or composition as exactly as you can to get a feel for how you will need to be writing. Listen to feedback. No matter how horrid someone critiques it (as long as they are decent themselves), just accept it and figure out what to do to fix it. I've had people ask for critique and then shrug my suggestions off because they are too lazy to change their track, and then they cry that they aren't on EqD. Please do not waste other people's time if you aren't dedicated.

I don't mean to sound flustered or annoyed, so if I come across that way, I'm apologizing in advance. I'm just writing my rabbit trail of thoughts here.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Habanc » 17 Sep 2012 16:18

I'll put in my two cents as an outsider looking in.

Orchestral music is grand and complex and has the possibility to project any range of emotions. Yet, like others producing EDM, it takes alot of time, practice and work to even sound good. More and more I'm becoming convinced that composing music (regardless of the genre) is one of the more difficult things to do well(After parenting, probably). It's not too hard to get the basics down, but making that jump from sub-par to good is enormous unless you have the luck to be aided by genetics.

That being the case, it is inevitable that nearly everyone will fall down alot, and occasionally fall down hard. I think it's just some people forget this and become frustrated with the absolutely ridiculous steep learning curve that newer composers have to deal with.

This is not to say we should all be music-socialists and give out free passes to everyone who needs it. On the other side, there's a line between a tough critique and an annoyed, "why are you so bad" rant. There still remains a spot where discipline is required. Yet, we should just keep in mind that many people are sounding generic because they haven't developed their own techniques and have to look to others at the moment (Italian renaissance painters were often required to imitate established artists in their first few years of training).

I'll be up front and admit I have never even attempted orchestral composition. Why? Well, quite frankly, it scares me. With other facets of electronic composition, you can utilize all these neat filters and automations to keep your piece moving and fresh. With classical works, you have to rely on more instrumentation, melody composition and all this other stuff I probably have no clue about. Or perhaps I'm even wrong, and it's easier, I don't know. But this is the type of stuff that people entering might see/feel, I'm just trying to give you all a look into what could be happening. I've only been doing this for a year or so, and complexity still frightens me.

I have alot of respect for classical music as a whole, and I've been wanting to learn the cello for years now, but it kinda makes me die a little inside to see some arguments like this. Orchestral is, in my opinion, an awe-inspiring type of music that can quite literally capture any feeling you want. If some people have more guts than I do and want to attempt it, why should we make it harder for them? I understand there are certain problems that do arise, but I feel they could be better handled with a more pragmatic perspective from those who are reviewing their work.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby LunchBagMusic » 18 Sep 2012 01:16

Makkon wrote:A really thought-provoking post

All of a sudden I'm very concerned, and sure, that I'm guilty of the elitism thing. I never stopped to think that this post would have that effect on anyone here on MLR; I was only looking at it from the perspective of the Orchestral Music 'sub-community' and how they could look to improving their music. To be honest (and brace yourselves because I know how hypocritical this sounds) I loathe the elitism thing in classical music. I could rant for ages, but here is not the time.

I agree that not everyone is given the gift of music at a young age. People who aren't given the opportunity to discover music make me so terribly sad, and that I would never seek to block someone from such an endeavour. Makkon (and anyone else), please please please please don't take this the wrong way.

Anyone on this website is musically gifted. Anyone on this forum is passionate enough to want to produce music at least at a semi-professional capacity, be it for leisure or as a career. For that reason the chance or ability to learn music is never withheld from you. I have never played in a proper concert orchestra, and for what it's worth, probably never will. But there is so much more out there in music than what you hear on the radio or on the arts page of your newspaper. Local municipalities have bands that are usually non-audition, come-one-come-all affairs full of people playing their instrument because they're just as passionate as you.

I digress. My point is that as a producer, you already have the core basics. Most music students don't get the stuff you get until several years of study. You have a sense of rhythm and you know how music works, how it fits and functions. How a drop works, what sounds do what to the ear, etc.
Learning to read music is nothing compared to that. Pressing buttons and blowing through a pipe is nothing compared to that. That's why we have instrumental lessons - to learn how to read music and to press the buttons with a better skill than before. The sense of music is the really hard part. And everyone here has at least a semi-decent understanding of what that is.

Makkon, if you have the time, I'll teach you to read music. Heck I could even take a bash at teaching you a bit of keyboard/piano (or even trombone), though I'm unsure how good I'll be.
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Re: Orchestral Music

Postby Raddons » 18 Sep 2012 08:48

Reading everything in this thread is quite interesting. I'm honestly quite surprised that you can't read music, Makkon. Your music is in a league of it's own. I honestly wish I could trade places with you, in the regard of being able to read music. I'm currently majoring in music, and I've been doing this for a while, but I've always been one to favor the pen and paper approach. If I could go back five years and tell myself to use my ear rather than my brain, I would in an instant.
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