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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone! I'm Norbert from Hungary and want to share one of my pieces i was working on recently called "Escape from Robot City". 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1plwbNrJ_LAgKc9oKeu5a0WltstjJyT2A?usp=sharing 

Soundcloud link: 



(Now while i added a little backstory to the score as a guide, you can ignore it and rely solely on your imagination what might happen on the screen if it were soundtrack for a real movie)

Hope you'll enjoy it! 

Edited by ComposerMITA
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How long did it take you to compose this? The interwoven sections must have took a long time. 

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Well i just looked back at my files, and it took approx 1 month to write a quite basic orchestral sketch. That was like version 1 (V1). It took another 3 month to finish the orchestration  (V50) + export all the audio files from Sibelius played by Note Performer to load into Reaper, and tweak the dynamics and everything until i'm kinda satistfied + preparing the final score. Of course Note Performer makes everything easier, but still the afterwork always seem to be much more work, than just simply writing a piece. I can see now why professionals in the industry outsource the orchestration part, the score preparation and mixing parts to different teams/people, it takes like forever for one person. But i like these longer projects one can learn a lot by just writing one of these.

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Job well done @ComposerMITASome things to think about:

1) Strings hate 4ths.  You should write divisi there i.e measure 39.

2) NEVER write the viola in bass Clef. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

3) Don't write "normal arpeggios" for the harp.  Write exactly what you want and take that out.  Also there are times you write two notes in the treble and four in the bass clef.  Do it the other  way. Also, at certain sections, you might want to consider it 8va.

4) NEVER write the viola in bass Clef. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

5) You use the bassoon as a true bass instrument.  Trust me, the tuba needs no double.  The bassoon is more than capable of doing those fluid lines you wrote in the other woodwinds.  Trust me, they'll love you for it.

6) NEVER write the viola in bass Clef. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!

7) In orchestra, they don't stack brass parts so give each brass instrument their own staff.

8.) No need for that cross-voicing at the end.  Keep that 1st violins on top. Divisi in the 2nds, also for the cellos.

9) Did I mention to never write bass clef for the violas?

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Hey @maestrowick thanks for taking the time to comment!  To be honest i'm not really agreeing on most of your points, but at least you took the time to go through the score which i really appreciate! 

To adress your points in order:

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1) Strings hate 4ths.  You should write divisi there i.e measure 39.


According to whom?  Please elaborate. Divisi already implied i no need to write it explicitly at bar 39. But just to be clear its not a double stop. 

Quote

2) NEVER write the viola in bass Clef. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!!!


Now your assumption maybe that i intentionally wrote bass clef to the viola, maybe that's why you seem to be obsessed over that point lol. I can assure you it's a notation mistake on my part. Usually i change the alto clef to bass clef when i'm writing for viola since i'm better at reading that clef because of my piano background, sometimes i forget to change back in the final score. So again, calm down please haha (good catch though). 
 

Quote

3) Don't write "normal arpeggios" for the harp.  Write exactly what you want and take that out.  Also there are times you write two notes in the treble and four in the bass clef.  Do it the other  way. Also, at certain sections, you might want to consider it 8va.


Now i was hesitating a lot on this one actually. I started to notate that part with fast 16ths and write out every note first, but Sibelius decided to stretch the bars to some very unnatural ways and i wanted to keep those 4-5 bars together in every page. I tried to turn the notehads into smaller ones but wasn't satisfied. In the end i decided to just write the chords and write it to "arpeggio ad lib.", i think most people would get the idea what implied here, also in a real life situation i would notate everything out for the harp player. 
 

Quote

5) You use the bassoon as a true bass instrument.  Trust me, the tuba needs no double.  The bassoon is more than capable of doing those fluid lines you wrote in the other woodwinds.  Trust me, they'll love you for it.

Well i take it as a reccomendation, but seriously on most film scores at least the bassoon not doing some weird runs or similar. I agree that it's a very nice instrument capable of much more than just doubling the Tuba or bass parts, but in this score i choose to play a secondary role. 
 

Quote

7) In orchestra, they don't stack brass parts so give each brass instrument their own staff.


Now maybe this was the point i was really confused about. What do you mean by that seriously? 😄 Maybe look at a few score examples i uploaded.
 

Quote

8.) No need for that cross-voicing at the end.  Keep that 1st violins on top. Divisi in the 2nds, also for the cellos.

This was a good point, another scoring error. That happens when you have to write 45 pages of orchestral music, there's always some error that remaining in the final score, i usually listen to every day and follow along with it to find more mistakes but sometime trivial things like that not catching my attention (even after 50 versions lol). Good catch again! 


Again while we disagree on most points, i always appreciate if someone takes time to help to improve a score! 




 

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5 hours ago, ComposerMITA said:

 


According to whom?  Please elaborate. Divisi already implied i no need to write it explicitly at bar 39. But just to be clear its not a double stop. 

 

My wife is a violinist and I've had this point brought up to me several times.  Hate 4ths and she's a professional.  Can they do it? YES.  Do they like it? NOPE!!!  Divisi is never implied! They way you wrote it implies double stops!  

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, maestrowick said:

 

 

My wife is a violinist and I've had this point brought up to me several times.  Hate 4ths and she's a professional.  Can they do it? YES.  Do they like it? NOPE!!!  Divisi is never implied! They way you wrote it implies double stops!  

 

I marked divisi at the very beginning i don't have to mark it on every other page at least i don't see the point (same with dynamics if its stays the same for longer periods). There's no double stops in the entire piece.

Edited by ComposerMITA

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Very good work. I especially like the narrative you put at the top of the page. A little cheesy, but in a good way. I wonder, was this for a school project, or did you come up with it on your own?

The orchestration in the opening texture seems a little off to me. I wonder what it would sound like if you scaled down to a much lighter orchestration (just piano and a few supporting instruments), then brought the rest of the orchestra in at M. 20 in the restatement. I have a hard time imagining all the instruments that are playing in this section holding back enough for the piano to be heard. I know as a former horn player it would be very difficult to play M. 1-19 quietly while sounding good (and without breathing 🙂).

Starting at M. 132, I think you might get greater effect out of the percussive hits in the timpani and low strings if you add some low brass and bass drum. They feel a little weak at the moment, but I think some trombones/tuba in the lower register and bass drum would make them pop out a lot more. 

You use a really cool augmented chord on the last page, and then resolve it quietly to E minor. It might be cool if instead you ended with a big crescendo on that same augmented sonority. I mean, the story ends on a cliff hanger, so shouldn't the soundtrack? 😉 

Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed listening. 

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19 hours ago, gmm said:

Very good work. I especially like the narrative you put at the top of the page. A little cheesy, but in a good way. I wonder, was this for a school project, or did you come up with it on your own?

The orchestration in the opening texture seems a little off to me. I wonder what it would sound like if you scaled down to a much lighter orchestration (just piano and a few supporting instruments), then brought the rest of the orchestra in at M. 20 in the restatement. I have a hard time imagining all the instruments that are playing in this section holding back enough for the piano to be heard. I know as a former horn player it would be very difficult to play M. 1-19 quietly while sounding good (and without breathing 🙂).

Starting at M. 132, I think you might get greater effect out of the percussive hits in the timpani and low strings if you add some low brass and bass drum. They feel a little weak at the moment, but I think some trombones/tuba in the lower register and bass drum would make them pop out a lot more. 

You use a really cool augmented chord on the last page, and then resolve it quietly to E minor. It might be cool if instead you ended with a big crescendo on that same augmented sonority. I mean, the story ends on a cliff hanger, so shouldn't the soundtrack? 😉 

Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed listening. 

 


Thanks for your comment! : )

To be honest i would treat this piece as a movie soundtrack meaning not necessariliy to be performed in a concert hall setting etc. and the orchestration choices i made reflect this i think. For example i would a hard time imagine (but correct me if i'm wrong) that the strings could play those repeating notes IN TEMPO for long minutes straight as i marked in the score. Maybe they could and this would be nice, but i'm really not sure. I would assume maybe they could hold the power and intensity as i marked in the first few pages than they became tired eventually and when an even higher intensity needed for the second comback of the theme at M. 154 (and after) they would fail. But anyhow even if they could play it with the intensity needed through the whole piece I would not risk it, if this was for a real movie i would record those tricky sections separetly for the strings having enough takes until they get it right, let them rest between sessions etc. and just mix in this part with the other sections in the end or just using samples and go for a hybrid mix like many film productions do nowadays for the same reasons (pizzicato lines are usually replaced by samples etc. in the same manner in order to keep the intensity of the string lines but also have the pizz lines stick out).

About the beginning of the piece your concerns are absolutely valid. I'm a former horn player too (i played f. horn for 10 years in the local wind band), and i know i would fail playing the beginning of my own piece haha. Notes would be so glitchy, but i would assume a professional horn player could play those legato lines even they are tricky with enough practise (to be frank the whole piece is not an easy one and it's quite challanging at some parts). I tried various orchestrations for the brass and the beginning, and this seemed like a good blend with the other sections, so i kept it.

Now of course the piano part is very important at the beginning, and this is why i say this piece is not necessarily for the concert hall. In a soundtrack you can have the intensity of the orchestra but also you can emphasize the piano (or other instruments normally wouldn't be heard) to stick out. I like this sound and was tweaking a lot with the dynamics in Reaper until i got it the way i wanted. 

About the section at M. 132 I wanted to emphasize the wind runs (+ Xylo) and the strings, and wanted the accompaniment to stay in the back a bit. So the timpani hits more like giving a bit more power to the Contrabass + Celli but not wanted to overpower with the bass part too much. 

The ending is not results in a great crescendo, it fades away with the E minor chord representing the hopelessness maybe the hero feel after realizing they only made the first step for their escape. 

This project was anyway for Lesson 10 for MITA (music interval theory academy) i'm learning composition now (that's why its in my name also), and it's one of the recommendations for members to write a little story along with the pieces (or before it), that way one can more easily indentify the important emotional points and choose scales/modes and plan the whole piece accordingly. Of course it's not necessary it's just a nice teqnique one can use (even if you not write the storyline on the score at least it gives a good starting point). I can recommend MITA to all of you btw, i learned so many things it's such a wonderful system and there are lots of free lessons and stuff. 

If you are interested in a more "traditional" orchestration you can take a look at my other piece i uploaded a few months ago "Overture no. 1" (shameless plug lol). 😄 


 

Edited by ComposerMITA

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23 hours ago, ComposerMITA said:


Thanks for your comment! : )

To be honest i would treat this piece as a movie soundtrack meaning not necessariliy to be performed in a concert hall setting etc. and the orchestration choices i made reflect this i think. For example i would a hard time imagine (but correct me if i'm wrong) that the strings could play those repeating notes IN TEMPO for long minutes straight as i marked in the score. Maybe they could and this would be nice, but i'm really not sure. I would assume maybe they could hold the power and intensity as i marked in the first few pages than they became tired eventually and when an even higher intensity needed for the second comback of the theme at M. 154 (and after) they would fail. But anyhow even if they could play it with the intensity needed through the whole piece I would not risk it, if this was for a real movie i would record those tricky sections separetly for the strings having enough takes until they get it right, let them rest between sessions etc. and just mix in this part with the other sections in the end or just using samples and go for a hybrid mix like many film productions do nowadays for the same reasons (pizzicato lines are usually replaced by samples etc. in the same manner in order to keep the intensity of the string lines but also have the pizz lines stick out).

 

 

 Even in movie soundtracks, you still have to worry about depthness of orchestration and not rely on the mixing engineer to do the musicality.    Taking those type of breaks are not realistic in a soundtrack setting though. At least here in the states, that would cost you a ridiculous amount of money.  Orchestras are recorded live.  Even in a hybrid situation, you may not want to rely on that.  Write it as if the orchestra is playing live,  My $0.02

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31 minutes ago, maestrowick said:

 Even in movie soundtracks, you still have to worry about depthness of orchestration and not rely on the mixing engineer to do the musicality.    Taking those type of breaks are not realistic in a soundtrack setting though. At least here in the states, that would cost you a ridiculous amount of money.  Orchestras are recorded live.  Even in a hybrid situation, you may not want to rely on that.  Write it as if the orchestra is playing live,  My $0.02

 


I'm not relying on the mixing engineer, this piece is simply not necessarily for the concert hall as i said. It's simple as that. I guess you not really familiar with how some film soundtracks are produced nowadays. There are many techniques like overlaying brass, using hybrid elements like samples, lots of different stuff. Trailer music is a good example for music not to be played in a concert hall etc. there are lots of effects, BOOM BOOM etc. it's simply a mix of an orchestra and engineering work basically. I won't elaborate further because i think i already made my point. "Write it as if the orchestra is playing live" can be a good advice, but not really in this situation, because you make it sound like the whole piece is "reyling on the mixing engineeer" which is clearly not the case. 

Edited by ComposerMITA

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