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Symphonic track with classical influences

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Albert de la Fuente, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. Hello everybody! So that's my first post, and I wanted to share this work with you.


    Full score:

    This piece was intended for the opening animation of an imaginary knight-themed game.

    I'm not sure if what Noteperformer does is realistic, so I'd be very interested in possible orchestration issues.

    P.S. As a curiosity, this piece follows a sonata form scheme, like most openings of classical symphonies and concertos. In this case, the first and second themes are swapped in the recap as in Rachmaninoff's fourth concerto.
  2. @Albert de la Fuente your composition is fabulous. I loved your themes and your use of the motifs from those themes. Great use of rhythmic motifs. Nothing beats the use of Sonata form to give the listener a firm sense of beginning, middle, and end. Bravo!

    Judge NotePerformer with your own ears. I personally think it is pretty close regarding balance and overall impression. Will a midi performance with actual samples sound better? Sure. It will. But of course, doing a sample-based midi-performance is very time consuming and much more difficult. With a sample-based midi-performance you have to be very careful with the balance between sections and individual instruments. You have to shape music phrases with each instrument and choose the right articulations for each note. But if you get it right, it can sound extremely close to the original. Here is a direct comparison for you of the Dvorak 9th Symphony Movement IV.

    Here is the NotePerformer version.

    Here is my version using all VSL samples.

    I am absolutely certain that there are many people who could match the real performance with samples even more closely than I did.
  3. Welcome to the forum, Albert! As I started to reply to your post after listening once I caught myself whistling the theme. I found the piece engaging, humbling and inspiring. Now off for a second listen.
    Albert de la Fuente likes this.
  4. @ Paul T McGraw thanks for the info, your sample rendition of the symphony is very lifelike! Amazing wotk, but I guess recording every instrument for separate is a daunting task I don't see myself doing, after all I'm just a hobbyist.
  5. #6 Paul T McGraw, Jan 7, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2020
    Thanks for the compliment! I am also just a hobbyist. Since I am realistic enough to know that I will never get an orchestra to play my pieces, I started to learn to use samples to hear my music as close to reality as possible. Making music with samples has become an absorbing hobby in itself. I gave up playing an instrument about 6 years ago. But creating midi-performances took the place of playing an instrument for me. You obviously have an ear for music, so I am confident that you could master samples.

    I would really like to hear more of your compositions. You and I have a very similar musical aesthetic. I see many compositions on your YouTube channel and played a few. Anything else with full orchestral similar to "The Nutmeg Night"?
  6. hey man welcome! great job. loved the development throughout the piece. reminded me of some old medieval movie soundtracks that I like.
  7. Very nice composition! Thanks for posting. I agree that NotePerformer is very good for this type of composition.
  8. Nice to see a score :) Here are my thoughts on the notation:

    - If one of the flutes are changing to piccolo, best practice is to keep them on separate staves throughout.
    - Since the clarinets are in B-flat but have the same key signature I deduce that it is concert score. Write 'Concert score' at the top left corner to indicate this.
    - Trumpets are below Horns and don't take key signature.
    - Timpani doesn't take a bracket.
    - When you have a hairpin you must have either a new dynamic or a moderator under the hairpin akin to 'poco' or 'molto'. Woodwinds bar 8 must know how much to crescendo.
    - Bassoons bar 7: write them in two voices instead of switching to a2. Same goes for trb3/tb bar 4. But not like trb1/2 bar 12. Separate stem direction (also can you do bar numbers every bar? With this many bars per page I'm loosing track of the numbering every time I want to write a bar number.
    - Bassoons bar 12: do they dim. to mf?
    - Violins bar 1: Even though these look like text book triple stops this is where you need the 'non div.' label. The A in bar 3 should be upstem and I would re-spell the f-flat in bar 2 to e-natural.
    - Strings bar 3 I would simply revoice that so that no section played more than one (maybe cellos two notes – but then div.! You can way way more resonant chords and way more flexibility if you focused on that.) – the placement of div. and other text to that effect should be placed right above or just ahead of the effect kicking in. Bar 16 or so in cellos looks wrong for example.
    - violas, cellos, basses bar 4: the mf should be placed on the first beat, right? Or do you want another dynamic there? I hope you can see, that this bar is unclear in that regards.
    - basses bar 5: if the pizz continues don't write longer values than quarter notes.
    - bar 25: two consecutive cresc. hairpins? Either one long or a dynamic in the middle.
    - bar 31 oboes: wayward mf
    - bar 30 harp: two staff instruments only take a dynamic in the middle (unless the two staves have separate dynamics) No need to restate the mf more than the first time here and after the dynamic you will be writing on bar 31.

    Looking further in your score I see these things repeated over many times, so takes this as an opportunity to level up your notation game and focusing on these things :)

    Thanks for sharing!
  9. Oh....... @Thomas Bryla had to go fuck it all up and had to be helpful and actually looked at your score.

    Damn. I thought I could just say lovely and everything would be fine.

    OK......let's investigatve

    Solid advice.
    Piccolo is usually on stave 2. Don't ask me why.

    Another thing..... I would avoid using the Spanish abbreviations (No offense)

    See you've done two things that look really odd: Thomas pointed out the first, but the other is the short name looks like trumpet to
    english speakers with the trmp. We don't use anything close to that. So putting the Horns in the spot the Trumpet goes, and then trmp is
    begging for trouble.

    She does after I got thru with her! (Sorry, that is a horrible and tasteless joke)

    Avoid looking like an idiot with things like measure 75 in your trumpets. It's things like this that scream out amateur to professional orchestras.

    I would go thru your entire score one looking ONLY at dynamics and hairpins. They often don't make sense. (You don't pay enough attention to note cut-offs. See that whole passage starting at 71 for example)

    yes, and do this a lot. For all doubling instruments. It will make the score so much clearer. Avoid the same stem direction double note unison stuff. It is more complicated than needs to be that way.

    I would re-notate as 8th notes, and perhaps give an arp sign. They cannot sustain all those notes and this looks more like what the string can do.


    Upon listening to your playback: I don't think you actually want what you have notated. This is where the computer is tricking you. To my ears, the opening sounds more "Russian". You have the g covered everywhere, you don't need it on the violins. It's a waste of energy.

    I 100% agree. This needs to be re-orchestrated.

    One thing you did ----- AND IT'S GREAT !!!!!! ----- you have the reduction notated. So you can find your way back easily. BRAVO !!!

    Look at how much extra shit you put in once you orchestrated.

    Here is but one suggestion: The melody is the most important. div. vln 1&2 as follows (You switched directions from reduction to score. This is if you want the strings to double the melody. In the reduction, it looks like a separate layer of music for the strings.) To my ears it's the Eb to D that is most important so I tried to bring that out. (I kept your viola trick of the D on the C string. I don't think it is really needed, however)


    I've run out of time. But other things would be avoid the weird key signature change 118. See all the sharps after. Looks like rehearsal mark B has moved over a measure.

    HARP: Since you are using enharmonic notes delete the key signature for the harp. They don't need it, and it looks weird to see a key with many shaprs and everything is flat. (Measure 103)

    Measure 126 Violin 1 - Should be a G# it has moved up to an A#

    STRING RUNS 120: Dove-tailing is your friend. Use it. Those leaps are not happening. Particularly 127.

    Don't make it harder than it needs to be. The music is straight forward. Give them a little time to prep.

    Attached Files:

    Albert de la Fuente likes this.
  10. #11 Albert de la Fuente, Jan 8, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2020
    @Doug Gibson @Thomas Bryla Thanks a lot for your feedback! It's one of the few times I've actually received useful feedback that wasn't "very nice" or "kys". Some things are just slips because I'm a very chaotic person, like forgetting to trigger the "concert pitch" switch or using names in Spanish (I actually don't know how to disable that). I'm also surprised I didn't forget any F-clefs in the viola part.

    The feedback about the divisi and the dynamics was very useful, I didn't know most of that.

    Thank you all again for your patience.
  11. Great post and advice from Doug here!
    Because it's the 2nd player that plays the auxiliary. It's notated at the top when the composer/engraver goes for the registral order. Both are valid but piccolo below concert flute is the standard.
  12. Ha! Thanks @Thomas Bryla !

    I should have been more clear with my writing. Yes, I know the reasoning. What I really meant was "I am too fucking lazy to write out the explanation for you"....aka........"don't ask me why".

    Notation is an imperfect science. it's a marvel of human intelligence, but that are dozens of things we could all ponder.

    Like why are the basses transposed in concert pitch scores? (that's a rhetorical question only)

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