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Trying the "epic" shtick

Discussion in 'Critique & Feedback' started by Duncan Formosa, Jul 28, 2022.

  1. Not had a chance to write anything in a while so while I had a bit of down time I thought "okay, try to come up with something within the next 2 hours" and came out with this.

    Figured that despite the fact I complain about this "epic" sound I should at least try doing it once.

  2. While I think the complaints are 100% warranted, it's at least pertinent to understand why you don't like something, or why it sucks. I think this was a reasonable interpretation of the "trailer music" sound albeit with less bombastic production, but what's useful here is seeing how relatively little musical content there is when you strip away the fancy production and loud drum hits of typical trailer music.
    Duncan Formosa likes this.
  3. Ah it's like minor 3rd ostinato heaven! I'd say mission accomplished and definitely tick that one off the list. Perhaps more horns? Louder? Choir? Also could you sustain that sound for longer if you wanted to?
  4. The god fart at the end was a nice touch.
  5. Didn't want to go too far out in terms of the bombastic sound. My brother had told me to add more drums on the main melody which is probably what would have happened on traditional trailer music, but I just didn't think it was needed. Was almost trying to do the sound without just trying to chuck everything but the kitchen sink in.

    I thought 9 horns would have been enough haha.

    Was debating whether to extend the track a bit, but it's not the most interesting piece in the world so it felt a bit pointless. Although...having said that, a family member told me it was my best one yet...I don't know if they are saying that to be encouraging but it made me sad haha!

    I had thought about doing that if I had extended it. Put a B section in, then play the A theme with a key change with choir taking over or a solo voice. A bit like some of the two steps from hell tracks.

    Not "epic" without at least 1 god fart
  6. About half way through, I expected to hear some Ennio Morricone trumpets and cowboys whistling.
  7. I think it might be interesting to extend the track and actually do some development.
    If someone of your family says that they like it and it's your best piece then you might have a good tune there (and it sure is easy to remember). And the progression is cool, and makes you feel something.
    So why not take it as a challenge and move the piece on from where you got it.
    Make up a story of a hero who is strong, but then looses all of his powers and has to regain strength (because you can't build from what you already got).
    It's in the style nobody of us likes, but still it's the style of this time. That doesn't mean that it can't be made musical and developed.

    So the way I see it is that you got the listeners hooked with what you already got. That's a great opportunity to show them some new places where it can go. It might blow their mind.
    Duncan Formosa likes this.
  8. The other EPIC thing to do is throw some production in the mix (pardon the pun). Have you tried running the whole thing or parts through a compressor, limiter, saturation, EQ etc? I would look at some of the mixing techniques the EDM guys are using to achieve maximum perceived loudness and fullness. MORE LOUDER. EPIC + EPIC = EVEN MORE EPICER.
  9. Nope, all of it is just the samples straight out of the box. I never do any of that stuff on my pieces cause I don't know what I'm doing haha! Mixing and mastering just completely baffles me. But that's a good tip to look at some EDM tutorials for this kind of track, I hadn't thought of that!
  10. It definitely isn't needed, just like many components of "epic trailer" music. I think this was a more reasonable interpretation.
  11. The "epic" shtick is good for one thing... Honing one's mixing skills. I think doing 'epic' without focusing on the production side of things is half the fun and half the point. Everyone practising the stuff Mike teaches in his classes should be able to compose better stuff than 99% of the trailer style "composers". So let's skip that part.

    I was recently trying to mix something in the manner of the Zimmer/Holkenborg stuff. Let me tell you, Alan Meyerson's mixes are its own art form beast. Holkenborg can mix some epic stuff, way better than I could do it, but when you listen to what Meyerson is doing, it's another level altogether.

    I was specifically listening to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. It's the craziest mixing I've ever heard.
    You will find that contrary to all the trailer music guys, Zimmer uses quite a lot of soft dynamics in his pieces, yet Meyerson can make it sound imposing, spacious, huge and modish, or how to put it. Just by mixing. And when the insane loudness assault happens, he controls it in such a way it blowns my mind. Just trying to figure out that sound is really interesting and like the only part of the epic music that I find fascinating.

    People think they buy some huge percussion libraries and that's it. Go listen to MoS and BvS. You can buy all the drum libs in the world and won't get anywhere near that insane awesomeness.

    Or just try to replicate the small sounds in the mix, the harps from Nycteris in Batman Begins. Try to put them in the same space Meyerson did, then add one, two, three more instruments to the mix. I'm still not satisfied with my attempts, but what a great exercise. Just how impressive that mix is? Soft and quiet but so big, stylish and polished.

    Too many modern epic producers have their mixes just a wall of sound, or plain flat braaam farts + Damage banging. But Meyerson has them way more epic, yet very open, spacious and layered.

    If Zimmer/Meyerson's Nycteris taught me anything, it's you can be more epic with normal dynamics and great mixing and arranging, than with FFFFF dynamics nonsense all over the place when not knowing what you are doing.

    So I think the epic lesson is, more than anything, in the mixing and production. Mike would say it's "pushing faders" and "that's not how the real orchestra behaves", and that's totally the point of it. Making it all larger than life.
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