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The Excelsior Class - Theme

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Alexander Schiborr, Mar 1, 2018.

  1. Hey guys,

    I busted my ass of to learn some typical idiomatic writing and harmony of James Horner for Star Trek. Any idea about my approach?

    I get hard dicks when listening to his music and I did for years but recently a lot in order to get to the next stage lol. It is like a fire of magnitude with that big orchestra and that outer space sounds and all that arrangements he did which was all over the line. I love that shit so much. I love Williams too but I love Horner probably even more because of his clearness and direct in your fucking face. I don´t know.
  2. Well when you write:

    Pretty easy to deduce, and don't really want any part of that scene. Just let you two be in your room

    Alexander Schiborr likes this.
  3. #3 Alexander Schiborr, Mar 2, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2018
    Lol, don´t worry it was just more metaphorical speaking here :D Plus I had a couple of drinks last night which caused a bit more direct speech.
  4. Nice Alex. It's def the right era of star trek for what I think you were aiming for. Even those fluttering horns that build up that's so Wrath of Khan. Totally works for me! The Excelsior Class ships needed more center stage screen time in star trek imo.
  5. Hej Doug, thanks for chiming in. I have rewritten the ending / finale of the track as I felt it was too lazy and didn´t really went to the sky and climax what I intended.

    Here is the new ending:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/8e64gvw97k1sqsk/Alexander_Schiborr_The - Excelsior Class - Maintitle Version 2 Ending.mp3?dl=0

    I am curious how appropiate this work is when performed by a real orchestra. Would it translate similiar? I tried to stay honest with the samples and my rendering and tried the best I can do here..
  6. Thank you Louis. Surerly I always like the spaceship a lot..
  7. Okay, I tried to record myself and it kind of worked, but my mic is a bit crappy yada yada, you know how it is ;)

    I must add, the more I listen to your piece, the more I get it and the less issue I have with it. It's just that coming into it fairly fresh, I wasn't clear on where you wanted my ear to go.

    I also now realize that my comments might be fairly critical. Don't let that discourage you because overall, I really quite like what you've done here and think you're way ahead of me compositionally. Still, I thought it might be useful to get some comment from someone who hasn't heard the piece too often yet.

    Hope it's useful!
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  8. No man, how geat is that? THANK YOU so much for the detailed briefing and the work you put into reviewing my piece and I have to admit a sort general consensus which you often pointed out is the main focus of my lines which are not every time clear which I have to admit that I probably need to wrap up at some points. It was quite challenging me to create the piece and I totally know and understand that I still nead to learn to better the effectiveness of my orchestration. Appart from a few compositional aspects you mentioned of course. I am not sure if that has to do also that I work with samples or if that is just my lack of experience yet. I mean..I try the best I can do with such pieces. And I think your review is perfectly legit and reveals some really great advice which I honestly think I have to practise. It is not easy...boy..:oops:

    Maybe @Doug Gibson can also chime in?

    THank you again. I will safe your review to my files.

    That is what I love on redbanned. The dedication of you guys.
    Matthias Calis and Paul T McGraw like this.
  9. #9 Paul T McGraw, Mar 7, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
    @Alexander Schiborr I have previously expressed my admiration on that "other" website, and you know I really, really like this piece. The composition is exciting and very fresh sounding. I am so jealous of your excellent midi-performance and mixing skills.

    I like the trumpet solo, I like the melodic lines. I like the harmonic language. I very much like the new ending. It has more punch and excitment to it than in the previous version. Both endings would be good in different circumstances. As a stand-alone track, I prefer the new ending.

    As I was playing your track last night on my studio monitors my wife comes in the room and says, "what movie is that from? I love that, it makes me want to see the movie." No lie, that is exactly what happened. Then today I was playing it again when my grown son, who had come to the house for lunch, comes into the room and says, "Dad, I heard you playing that track over and over, did you write that? It is the best thing you ever did." I had to tell him, no, I didn't write it. I wish I had. Great work Alexander!
    T.j. Prinssen and Matthias Calis like this.
  10. @Alexander Schiborr I must confess, I was a little anxious to post my feedback after reading all the nice comments on VIC and here. You see the thing is, when everyone is praising it so much (and rightfully so, it's a really good piece!), I am almost starting to think there's something wrong with my ears when I hear a couple of odd things. The second note is that, the more I listen, the easier it becomes for me to follow.

    I was once involved in a choir project where we performed Prokofiev's "Alexander Nevsky". The first few rehearsals it was just chaos to my ears, but the more I got into the music, the better I understood it. Mind you, this is Prokofiev we're talking about. Some degree of "I can't quite follow" is quite normal on a first listening, I think.

    Final note: all my comments are nitpicky stuff. Another reason I hesitated to comment is because I genuinely think your compositional skill far exceeds mine. Not trying to flatter you or kiss your ass, I just genuinely think this is the case. That's why my comments on your work are rarely about the compositional element and more often about either the mix or the orchestration. If I had to summarize my general advice to you, based solely on my subjective tastes, then it would be: less is more.

    All that said, there's plenty to like about the piece. You know, every so often I feel I hit a new milestone and I think this piece is your latest milestone where you "leveled up" so to speak ;)

    I think you've deserved a beer, huh? :)
    Doug Gibson likes this.
  11. And we are on the way...I mean Doug...I listen closely what he tells me, great guy..without him I would still sit here in the dustbin for sure..

    Short preview:

    Doug Gibson and Paul T McGraw like this.
  12. @Alexander Schiborr very interesting. Thanks for posting this video. For me, seeing the notation truly opens up the music for me. One thing I noticed immediately, were a lot of similarities with John Williams orchestration.style. Also a mark of good orchestration is that it holds up very well with Sibelius playback, as your piece does. More, more, I want to hear more of your music using this style! No beer until you write more! :)

    OK, here is a suggestion for what it might be worth. In your first measure of Trumpets, instead of two eight notes on beat 4, it would be a stronger thematic statement if that was a quarter note, as it is in the next statement of this motive, two bars later. Just a thought, but I think it would be stronger.
    Doug Gibson and Matthias Calis like this.
  13. Now its getting serious !
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  14. Shit man..I know..hehe. :) !
    Paul T McGraw and Doug Gibson like this.
  15. Ahh.... thanks mate ! Who knew I would ever get along so well with people in a forum called "Redbanned". Love is a funny thing.

    Fresh from a total cluster-fuck-thread-derail over at VI-C this is much appreciated.

    It's funny you mention "Dust". I use that word all the time when talking about notation. The idea is: You have a table with dust on it.
    You get the spray, towel and clean the whole thing so it looks sparkling. 2-3 days later, have not touched the table......dust.....dust

    How does it get there ? (rhetorical question btw) Notation is like that. No matter how many times I check, re-check there will be a day after a break form the project where I look back at it and .... what..... how did I not see that.

    Like dust.
  16. I am disappointed that the "Doug Version" of the exelsior theme wasn't some 80's psychedelic rock tune...

    ...but I am very glad to see you around again!
  17. honestly..this is my second home here, but not in order of importance, you know guys :D

    @Mike Verta You did a fantastic job to provide a plattform for all us crazy guys here who want to learn more. much apperciated ..you know what this is here: A training camp for good guys to become great composers :D No shitting. I learned so much in that few months already here. Everybody I think.
  18. Wow.....what's going on here. So much love ! Woodstock time! I still have "knives out" thinking over the VI-C thread so apologies
    if my aura/vibe/chakras is a big FU (in the butt of course). It has nothing to do with anyone or anything here for sure. VI-C can just simply do that at times to anyone.


    M.C.: Perhaps version two will be Devo inspired. :)

    My favorite post ever:

    Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 2.41.15 AM.png
  19. #19 Alexander Schiborr, May 17, 2018
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    We are on the way...takes a bit longer than expected. But I mixed down the orchestral section stems for you guys, so you can see what is doing what. Maybe also interesting for mixing ideas..I don´t know. Side note: Don´t before the overwork and don´t hang me on some midi programming..:D

    Download here:

  20. Alex,

    Let me see if I am clear on the birth of this piece: you did some studying of hand-written scores (and a lot of listening, of course), used what you learned to create a MIDI rendition in some DAW that was driving a template constructed of mainly Berlin series, which you tuned, first by section (strings, winds, etc) and then overall, and produced the MP3. Then, afterwards, you (with help) converted the score to Sibelius which is playing back with Note Performer (perhaps). Just curious, because to transcribe Polychordal from a 'performed' MIDI file into a Sibelius score driving VSL took me many months (!) Seems like you created a score for Excelsior quite a bit quicker.

    Switching gears, let me comment on one of the themes that emerged on VI-C discussion of this piece - the suggestion that, on VI-C, people talk more about gear than about compositional topics. [/Start rant] First of all, I think it is true. But as someone who is building up a set of libraries, creating large templates, determining the best workflow (notation? direct input? mixing?) and all the many other aspects of producing an orchestral piece with VI, I can understand the fascination of "how". A large number of people on VI-C are in "how" mode. For myself "how" mode keeps going because the good-sounding libraries keep coming: CS Solo Strings, Adventure Brass, Berlin ... it's relentless. [I will soon be eating cat food all year due to my library purchases]

    I hope to spend more time in the "what" and "why" modes as my templates settle down and my skill with them improves ... I suspect Redbanned is the better place to be when I get there. For me, that's where the scores come in (the true subject of my rant). No matter what sort of music people are pursuing (for me, I come from a musical background different than film music (never considered studying the music I heard in theaters), and have recently become fascinated with film scores), I suppose many of us are use to reading scores as a way to absorb musical knowledge. If someone says that Henry Jackman uses brass stabs of minor triads across the diminished scale, I can understand that ... but for full comprehension, show me the actual score. Some of these scores can be purchased, many cannot. That's Part 1 .. Part 2 is the "how" stuff of rendering whatever music we care about with our libraries. That's where Redbanned and VI-C people come in ... and, interestingly, lots of YouTube videos hawking products. (I've learned a lot from these videos.) I would encourage those who have done the stylistic studying, the heavy lifting of transcription, the talented work of creating new pieces, etc. and are interested in sharing, to continue to create scores, share their templates, workflows, etc. - it's immensely useful. Alex, you've been a pioneer in doing this. [/End rant]

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