1. Didja accidentally blow through the whole, "We're using our real names" thing on registration? No problem, just send me (Mike) a Conversation message and I'll get you sorted, by which I mean hammered-into-obedient-line because I'm SO about having a lot of individuality-destroying, oppressive shit all over my forum.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Discussion areas for the individual classes are unlocked for all users. Let's see if this makes it any more useful. If not, we'll drop this or organize under a single banner to save space and lean things out.
    Dismiss Notice

Topic Requests

Discussion in 'Info, Requests, etc.' started by Mike Verta, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. I know we're not focusing on production techniques, we're really here to become better composers and orchestrators, and I really believe that that is so important. However, the fact is, many of us will be making our music and doing our projects almost exclusively with digital orchestras. I would love a masterclass on how to balance your orchestral template, and prepare your template for speed composing. I've been trying for a while to balance my template, by playing "combos" of instruments, (flute and xylophone, fr Horn and cello) and checking them to make sure they "blend", but it's been only moderately successful.

    You were able to create a balanced template for Independents' Day in about a day. I would love a class on how to approach balancing a template.

    Thank you, Mike, for this new forum, and all the content coming from it!

  2. #22 Adam Alake, Jul 17, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
    A class on the Matrix score, and a Opera/Musical class - which I imagine would be mostly about writing for voice which could easily get a class of its own.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  3. Maybe this is something I'll understand more after going through other classes, but I'd love to see your emphasis on long form development employed in the context of a game score. I'm not sure it's of any interest to you, but it does seem a worthwhile proposal as game score budgets are growing quite substantially and it's really a different side of the media composition coin, especially considering the sheer volume of games being released and the budgets many of these games have. There are also a lot of terribly generic, forgettable scores in games (following the blockbuster movie trend), and others that I find incredibly memorable and moving (i.e. Skyrim, Bioshock, Limbo, etc), sometimes despite not having played the game (i.e. Journey).

    For a more traditional linear story game I think the application is rather obvious, as it would be for cut scenes, but I'd love to have a more theoretical breakdown of how to apply this in a game where musical pieces narrate particular areas, or situations that occur frequently and often integrate tightly with the sound design of the game as a whole (not to be confused with purely "sound design" scoring). While it's difficult to call some of these scores "cohesive" in the sense of flowing from one song to the next, they can certainly be cohesive in terms of relation to one another. Jeremy Soule (i.e. Skyrim or Oblivion), Jesper Kyd (i.e. Assassin's Creed II), and Garry Schyman (Bioshock series) come to mind.

    I'm not sure if there's enough to talk about to cover a class though, and if this sort of idea has been discussed elsewhere, please let me know (anyone).
  4. Would like to see a "putting it all together pt2".

    Really enjoyed the class probably my favourite so far but most instersting bit (IMO) has been skipped.

    I.e transforming the piano sketch of "the race" into a midi mock up.
  5. Interesting you ask about the Matrix. There's a lot of philosophy in there. Both musically and in story. Just had a webinar with Thinkspace on The Matrix and I loved it. Such a great film and score!
    Adam Alake likes this.
  6. I'm still soaking up, "Orchestration 3 - Presets" but I can't wait for "Orchestration 4 - Woodwinds".
    Paul T McGraw likes this.
  7. Is that a real thing? If so I'm hyped! :p
  8. During the Orchestration 3 class, Mike talked about the possibility of doing an additional orchestration class on Woodwinds.
    If enough people express interest, hopefully he will.
  9. When Mike talks about simplicity, being able to reduce a piece to a two-handed piano part, or writing for the listener, in my mind I'm going to these composers and the absolute wealth of material they have created. What I love about the early game composers is, like the early small studio orchestras for TV, they had to work within limitations and make the most damn enjoyable music they possibly could.

    There are parallels in that "golden age" of game music and film, and today's music has followed the unfortunate trends of film scoring. Mike has called epic music something along the lines of teenager j*ck-off music, so that sound might be appropriate in today's games aimed at teenagers. But games in the golden age had composers who were inspired by the greats of many disciplines, and they knew how to speak drama. At least with Uematsu and Kondo I get something I want to hum, I want to remember. I sometimes feel like there's the need to defend these composers because they are looked upon as "lesser" due to their medium, much in the way that film composers were derided by music education "professionals" as Mike talked about.

    Mike recommends being able to write in many styles, and Uematsu is certainly a testament to that. When I hear Uematsu's music, I hear a real pop sensibility: sometimes the ELP, Elton John, ethnic, and film score influences are obvious. Kondo is brilliant and has written themes that will flood your mind years later. Today's epic music can't hold a candle to these composers. These epic scores seem like such a wasted opportunity to me. I feel like even a half-ass attempt at scoring (by me) would bring something better to the table. So anyway that's why I'm here, and even though I'm not a good musician in any respect I'm getting a lot out of each and every masterclass.

    (Uematsu has said himself that he probably wouldn't have gone anywhere as a composer had he not worked on the Final Fantasy game series. But millions of fans are glad that he found that path. What would film music be without John Williams and other golden age composers?) Some people can't stomach the beeps and the crappy samples, but the composition is what holds the pieces together. That's what makes Mike's masterclasses useful even for someone like me who might never compose for an orchestra. All the principles apply.

    As for a game composer class:
    Mike has shared his expertise on composition, orchestration, jazz, film, etc. I'm pretty sure that Mike isn't the person to teach a class on great game composers. But if anyone unfamiliar wants to hear inspiring themes and ideas, I suggest seeking out more about these composers and others. What would really be a lot of fun would be to hear Mike analyze a few game music pieces and point out what works (or doesn't) and why because a lot of us who love this music share Mike's perspective on composing. I dare Mike to say "your samples are letting you down" to some of these pieces.

    Apologies for the long, possibly eye-roll inducing post. The "Forbidden Warrior" Main Title class is just around the corner. Perfect.
  10. I don't get the impression Mike is overly interested in game music, but I'd like to see this. There are some real gems in old game music, and when you get past the sound restrictions and low-fi approach, there certainly are a lot of parallels.

    While much of game music has indeed gone the same route, there are certainly some significantly impactful game scores from the last decade. Jeremy Soule's scores certainly come to mind, as do one or two of Jesper Kyd's, Garry Schyman's, Austin Wintory's, Amon Tobin's, the score from The Last of Us, etc. Uematsu and Kondo are certainly worth of comparison, in some ways, to Williams (in their own context) in terms of what they accomplished, and while the aforementioned may not be, I'd perhaps put them in the category of Goldsmith, Newman, Horner, etc -- not in their ability to write for a complete orchestra, necessarily, but in the memorability and uniqueness of their scores. I'm sure others may disagree, but there's really no disagreeing with the love these scores have garnered from fans over time and their memorability, as well as their interweaving of motifs and related themes (some). There really have been some interesting scores in games throughout the years, and i.e. the "epic" scores of the Souls series or the like I think carry a great deal more weight and actually achieve the "epic", unlike much of the nonsense in modern film.

    I think the nature of game scores are different than film scores -- not necessarily in essence, in the sense of interrelating, flowing properly, standing on their own, following dramatic structure, requiring motifs and understandable (read: simple) ideas to grasp onto, but in the sense that many games are poorly served by traditional "underscoring". Many game scores end up operating more like concept records (distinct songs that are all interrelated and flow together), which is an approach I've always loved the idea of -- not having to write to cues, but getting to write complete pieces based artwork, atmosphere, etc, or writing complete themes for a character or area. Interestingly, I hear about quite a few composers talking about having much more creative freedom in this field.
    Daniele Nasuti likes this.
  11. I've never worked in games; never earned a single dollar writing music for one. Interested or not, I'm clearly not qualified to do a Masterclass on game music. One thing I don't do in the classes is talk about stuff I don't do, or recommend things I can't vouch for the effectiveness of!
  12. #32 Rohann van Rensburg, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    That's certainly fair, and I certainly respect that. But as much as I'd love to see you teach specifics in that field, I don't really think we're missing out on a great deal; the courses you already have apply more than well enough to any form of composition. I don't really feel like I'm short on info. I'd love to know what you thought of certain scores though and how they compare to Hollywood greats.
    Jake Schale likes this.
  13. #33 Rohann van Rensburg, Oct 11, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017
    He's also a '70s rock/prog fan. I wonder if that's why I've been so enamoured with his music my whole life.

    "Epic" has unfortunately become a four letter word, by nature of pop culture's inane obsession with saturating the use of words until they become meaningless or utterly cliche, despite not having a replacement word for them, resulting in a loss of linguistic precision (think "literally", ironically being used to mean "figuratively").
    Epic, in the true sense of the word, should be reserved for Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Braveheart; it's supposed to refer to The Odyssey, The Illiad, Beowulf; to Daphnis and Chloe, the Ring Cycle. I'm not chiding you for using the term in the least, more just echoing frustration with the drivel that gets slapped with the label because there happens to be 300 instruments on a four-chord track that never goes anywhere -- that has the illusion of grandiosity, whereas the actual writing couldn't be further from it. Couldn't agree more re: masterclasses though.

    Mike, I'd love to see this.

    I know you're also not a big fan of Shore (at least his LOTR score), but I'd love to see you take a sequence or two from that and talk about what you like and don't like and if there are any problems you have with it from a structural standpoint.
  14. I was passively listening to the Bravestorm OST while cleaning my kitchen and somewhere around cue 2m1 I had to remind myself "this is virtual". It sounds fantastic.

    How about a class the starts with how you balanced your template for Bravestorm before composing, then jump strait to how you mixed one or two of your favorite tracks from the score.
    Taking us from raw midi, to finished delivered mix could be insightful.

  15. Oh, yes, yes yes, to the above idea, Gharun, thank you!

    Agreed. I have Bravestorm on my phone, and listen to it about 2-3x a week. Not only is it a great 90's action score (in the style of Basil and Alan), the punch and clarity of the production is exceptional... especially for those Spitfire Percussion samples (which always felt so wet to me). Mike, if you could do a template balancing class, using Bravestorm as your reference, I would be super appreciative!

    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  16. Bernard Herrmann!
    Si Withenshaw likes this.
  17. Awesome idea. As a mixing challenged old guy, I really need this. I also like the idea of a class on how to best balance a template.
  18. Best way to balance a template (from my perspective) is to play in a piece that covers all instruments and dynamic ranges (or, for that matter, instruments and dynamic ranges you have in your template). The key is to play exactly how it's written in the score. If you don't have any scores, there are numerous available to buy. There's also the score sharing place I made a thread about some time ago - you can get some scores there. Once it's all in, compare it to the recording and focus on balances between instruments. How loud are horns compared to strings? At what dynamic marking? Continue AB-ing and making changes.

    Some VIs have compressed volume ranges. You can counter this by manually automating volume once you have your lines written or have it linked to your CC1/Dynamics slider with some scripting and workarounds which makes it much easier as your workflow doesn't change. Some even offer this option in their GUIs (Orchestral Tools).

    Balancing it sonically is a whole different story. Some key areas to look at areclarity in the high end and muddiness in low end. Watch out for bass buildup. A lot of mud can get caught in the 200-500hz area when using close mics (Sample Modeling nightmares).
    Daniele Nasuti and Paul T McGraw like this.
  19. Love this idea as well! Would definitely be an instant purchase for me.
  20. I love that idea as well

Share This Page