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Billie Eilish - Orchestrated

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Mattia Chiappa, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. #1 Mattia Chiappa, Feb 19, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    Hi people!

    For fun I tried to orchestrate Billie Eilish - when the party's over. There are pretty much only 4 chords throughout the entire song and It was hard to keep it interesting without changing too much. I admit I'm not entirely sure if at times I went a little too crazy with some of the chords. Not everything translated well for orchestra, or at least the way I orchestrated it, but it was a fun little experiment and I thought I'd share it with you.


    https://www.dropbox.com/s/30epep0ffp0i9nz/when the party's over_Sketch.mp3?dl=0


    https://www.dropbox.com/s/464gom20y0ugd0r/when the party is over - orch - CONCERT SCORE.pdf?dl=0

    Here's the original version for reference:

  2. Just a very quick observation:

    In general, doing arrangments of popular artists is a great way to get exposure outside of the small circle of composers.
    So I think from an investment of time perspective, and I am guessing you actually like the music, it's a great idea.

    I know nothing about her music. Clicking on the linked video is the first time I have heard her at all.

    Due to my schedule today I only listened to the first minute of yours, and the first of hers.

    Not sure how much feedback you want, but I felt the need to point out the chord at: 48 seconds in your version.

    Some "blue notes" in there. It's not in her version at all, and I think it will alienate listeners.

    Frankly, it just sounds wrong. I would politely say you need to revise that moment. If you wish I can notate out later what I mean.
    But find another voicing there, and check the notes. Something is a miss. ( I don't read piano scroll very well at all)

    But I do wish to send positive energy to you that this will be well received and good for your exposure.
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.
  3. #3 Mattia Chiappa, Feb 19, 2020
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    Hey Doug, thanks! Yeah I know the spot you're mentioning. It's supposed to be an altered chord with the #9 being in the melody but I think the problem may be with the basses taking the maj 3rd. It used to bother me but I thought I could get away with it being a passing chord more than anything else. You're now the 2nd person to mention it. Do you think it's a deal breaker? It'll be a major pain to change that because I exported the audio and mixed it a different project but I'll still do it if it's really bad.


    I've listened to that spot with fresh ears and oh my god, you were right it was really really awful. I'm a bit embarrassed some people actually got to hear that but it's gone now. I've moved a few semitones and simplified it to an Ab min, rather that Ab7#9. Hopefully it should sound better now. There may be some other dubious choices but that was absolutely terrible, thanks for the heads up!
  4. Yeah man. Just sounded plain wrong.

    About 100 times better. So much better.

    I have not listened further. Just check again with fresh ears as you have now, and try and be as objective as one can be.
    Otherwise move on to your next project.

    You are most welcome. I only critique because I care, not to attack.
  5. Hey, nice!

    I didn't realize I knew the song until it got to the chorus. I like the vibe of this, it's very cool and fitting and has some nice harmonic choices. I recently arranged Bad Guy for a brass band, which was a fun challenge.

    Do you happen to have a PDF of the full score or piano reduction? There were a few harmonic things that I felt could have been smoothed out, and it would be easier to reference with a score. But either way, overall very cool vibe and I dig it!
  6. Hey man, thanks. As a matter of fact I have both :) I've attached a couple of links on top. The score is not super neat but I really can't bother to input all the harp pedalling, check timp. tunings, non div. and stuff like that. You'll likely find some inconsistencies but hopefully 95% should be there. The sketch should be alright, just missing some bars of rest here and there,
  7. Great stuff, the score definitely gives me a clearer picture. Now that I can see the notes on the page, I can tell that some of the things I was hearing are more production issues rather than arrangement issues.

    For example, at m31 the A in trombones sticks out rather unnaturally in the demo (at least to my ear). It sounds like a funky sample. It's a nice voicing, though, so I wouldn't change anything except maybe move Tbn 1 up to a B to give them more of the harmony and avoid the unison.

    Also, when the chords get denser or the harmonic rhythm speeds up throughout, some of the harmony gets a little blurry maybe because of legato transitions in the samples and/or reverb tails hanging over through the chord changes.

    The only section I would consider revising is m106-113. It takes me out of the piece for a second, I think because the bar going into this section sounds like a "brute force" modulation followed by simple triadic harmony, both of which seem a little out of place after the beautiful, lush harmony you've used up until this point. Then the G13 Eb13sus Ebm7 progression coming out of it isn't particularly strong. I would try G13 F#13 B13 which still leads nicely to the A/C#.

    Anyways, really beautiful work, thanks for sharing! You've inspired me to try something like this myself.
  8. Thank you @Sean Barrett. I agree with everything you said. The production always leaves me very unsatisfied. Particularly when I try exploring more complex harmony never quite translates the way I imagined it. It's very hard to balance each note of extended chords, I spend a lot time trying to get it right but in end it always sounds dull. I had a really hard time trying to correct brass notes that poke out too much with dynamic eqs and I must have missed a fair few :)

    For that section from 106- 113, I regret doing what I did. Particularly orchestrating that way. it indeed drives a lot attention on itself because it's very different from the rest. I still like the chords coming out of the part though. I thought they would bridge nicely with the more complex harmony happening before, and hinting what's to come, but if I were to change something I would in fact swap that G13 with something simpler.

    Thanks again for listening and your feedback!
  9. I didn't expect to enjoy your orchestration and arrangement as much as I did. Typically I don't care for orchestral arrangements of popular tunes because they inevitably lose the character of what defines the songs somehow. That being said, I rather liked your work. Some adventurous moments with the harmony and orchestration. Nice!

    The only thing that doesn't translate well for me is the silences at the beginning of the piece. I know the original has those silences as well, but it just sounds not quite right in the orchestrated version. Perhaps it is just me. I'm not sure what might make it flow better. I was thinking a bit more ambience, but then that would effect the rest of the piece. I like the high sustain you have, maybe something in addition to that would work. Anyway, nice work.
    Mattia Chiappa likes this.

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