Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Create music and sound effects for mainline or user-made content.

Moderator: Forum Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
West
Retired Lord of Music
Posts: 1173
Joined: October 30th, 2006, 7:24 am
Location: In the philotic connections between ansibles.
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by West »

Thanks for your comments, Garen Voh.
Garen Voh wrote:That said, the first ten or so measures (until the bagpipes start) seem... synth-y to me.
This is an unusual situation. Normally it's me who accuses others of making stuff that sounds synthy, so now that the tables are turned I'm not quite sure how to react :)

Now, I'm the first one to admit that I don't have the most realistic samples in the world, so my orchestrations can only sound "real" up to a certain point. Maybe this is what you consider "synth-y". If not, I'm not sure what it is you're hearing.
Garen Voh wrote:The trumpet (or whatever brass you've got going there) sounds great.
That's interesting. If there's anything in the intro that sounds synthy to me, it's the trumpets.
Garen Voh wrote:On the other hand it just feels "wimpy" at first, as if it's attempting to sound like a famous piece of work.
I'm sorry, I don't know what you're trying to say with this.
Garen Voh wrote:but the quick arpeggio-thing that leads into the work seems fake. And I'm having trouble identifying what they are, just sounds like synths to me, the "duh / duh duh duh / duh / duh duh duh" etc... yeah, whatever they are, they don't sound right to me.
Um... violins? You know, little hollow wooden thingies, four strings, makes screechy noises? xD

Seriously, I'm not sure exactly what instruments you mean -- I'm guessing you mean the violins -- as there are no arpeggios in the intro.
Garen Voh
Posts: 69
Joined: July 29th, 2007, 2:19 am
Location: Wherever I Am
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by Garen Voh »

Lol, I knew I would have problems describing this. Let's see if I can clarify.
This is an unusual situation. Normally it's me who accuses others of making stuff that sounds synthy, so now that the tables are turned I'm not quite sure how to react :)
It's only the first ten measures or so. :)
If there's anything in the intro that sounds synthy to me, it's the trumpets.
Let's ignore the arpeggio part of my comment for a moment... after the triangle and the rise into the song and before the bagpipes (measures 2-10 ish). I think it's possible you've got two brass things going on. I'm having trouble identifying the second. It's the one in the background, more keeping the beat than anything (could be violins... it honestly doesn't sound like any instrument at all to me, lol). So assuming they're violins... yes... they sound synth-y, but just about everything else sounds fine.

Okay, as for the "arpeggio"... hm... it's been about seven years since I've taken music theory, so let's see if I can describe what I'm talking about. At the beginning there's the triangle, and it "swells" into the music. That short swell between the triangle and the rest of the song... that sounds somewhat hollow, or "wimpy" as I said earlier. Perhaps it is too quick, perhaps it doesn't have enough instruments in it to fill it out. Maybe both. Okay, that's one part.
Garen Voh wrote:
On the other hand it just feels "wimpy" at first, as if it's attempting to sound like a famous piece of work.


I'm sorry, I don't know what you're trying to say with this.
That short "swell" type thing seems to be used in another familiar song. I think it's another Wesnoth song. Either way, fill it out a bit, and I think you can just ignore that point. :wink:

As my first few comments here in the music section... I figure you can probably ignore a lot of what I have to say, especially until I get more familiar to what I'm talking about. It was said somewhere (I can't find it, otherwise I'd quote it) that the musicians here would like more comments from the players, since we're the ones who listen to the music. I'd like to help with that--just might take me a few goes to get into the groove. I'd especially like to see this song in a future release... bagpipes are my friend. :)
I am your best nightmare...
User avatar
Guidrion
Posts: 67
Joined: February 1st, 2008, 10:06 pm
Location: Bruxelles, Belgium

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by Guidrion »

A really nice piece.
It does have a lot of personality and really fit to the Wesnothian world. It would be really nice in a scenario as an open-air version of "frantic"(somehow, i don't like it out of the caverns).

Just a little problem: too short :lol2:
"There is no difference between good or bad but thinking makes it so"
William Shakespeare.
User avatar
West
Retired Lord of Music
Posts: 1173
Joined: October 30th, 2006, 7:24 am
Location: In the philotic connections between ansibles.
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by West »

Garen Voh wrote:Let's ignore the arpeggio part of my comment for a moment... after the triangle and the rise into the song and before the bagpipes (measures 2-10 ish). I think it's possible you've got two brass things going on. I'm having trouble identifying the second. It's the one in the background, more keeping the beat than anything (could be violins... it honestly doesn't sound like any instrument at all to me, lol). So assuming they're violins... yes... they sound synth-y, but just about everything else sounds fine.
Ooh... I'm starting to think you're actually talking about the trumpets, not the violins. Yes, there's a bit of clashing happening there, as the trumpets and violins play in the same register. The trumpets are just playing a root-fifth chord in a rhythmic pattern (babap-bap-bap-bababap), while the violins provide a more melodic pattern. It's easy to figure out though: the violins are panned to the left, the trumpets to the right. The violins are also doubled by the glocken.
Garen Voh wrote:Okay, as for the "arpeggio"... hm... it's been about seven years since I've taken music theory, so let's see if I can describe what I'm talking about. At the beginning there's the triangle, and it "swells" into the music. That short swell between the triangle and the rest of the song... that sounds somewhat hollow, or "wimpy" as I said earlier. Perhaps it is too quick, perhaps it doesn't have enough instruments in it to fill it out. Maybe both. Okay, that's one part.
The word you're looking for is probably crescendo, not arpeggio (which is a chord shape played one note at a time instead of in unison). And yes, you are probably right, it might be a little too thin. It's just a triangle, cymbal and a bass drum roll right now. Maybe it would be cool having some more instruments in there.
That short "swell" type thing seems to be used in another familiar song. I think it's another Wesnoth song. Either way, fill it out a bit, and I think you can just ignore that point. :wink:
It's hardly an uncommon thing in orchestral music, that kind of percussion swell. So I'm not surprised it sounds familiar. It's kind of like a dabadabadabadaba tom fill in a rock song :)
Garen Voh wrote:As my first few comments here in the music section... I figure you can probably ignore a lot of what I have to say, especially until I get more familiar to what I'm talking about. It was said somewhere (I can't find it, otherwise I'd quote it) that the musicians here would like more comments from the players, since we're the ones who listen to the music. I'd like to help with that--just might take me a few goes to get into the groove. I'd especially like to see this song in a future release... bagpipes are my friend. :)
Hey, don't worry about it, your comments are definitely valuable. Only thing I might object against is remarking on instruments when you're not familiar enough with orchestral music to know what is what, which can be confusing. But it's no biggie, stick around here and listen to the music and you'll get the hang of it :)
User avatar
West
Retired Lord of Music
Posts: 1173
Joined: October 30th, 2006, 7:24 am
Location: In the philotic connections between ansibles.
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by West »

Guidrion wrote:A really nice piece.
It does have a lot of personality and really fit to the Wesnothian world. It would be really nice in a scenario as an open-air version of "frantic"(somehow, i don't like it out of the caverns).
Thanks.
Guidrion wrote:Just a little problem: too short :lol2:
Yup, I know. It's not finished yet. :)
User avatar
Mica
Posts: 577
Joined: December 4th, 2007, 5:18 pm

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by Mica »

A small bump, but I cannot wait til you finish this.

It seems a little different than most wesnoth pieces to me, but in a good way. If I'm not mistaken that it IS different from the current pieces, I think this is the direction we should probably head. It's really nice.
Mica says one who cheats, cheats himself.

You are an Elvish Shyde - Beautiful, natural, and helpful, though sometimes under-appreciated.
User avatar
Temuchin Khan
Posts: 1738
Joined: September 3rd, 2004, 6:35 pm
Location: Player 6 on the original Agaia map

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by Temuchin Khan »

Mica wrote:A small bump, but I cannot wait til you finish this.

It seems a little different than most wesnoth pieces to me, but in a good way. If I'm not mistaken that it IS different from the current pieces, I think this is the direction we should probably head. It's really nice.
I agree. Very nice, West!

But gosh, this is the first I've noticed it.
User avatar
furioso
Posts: 51
Joined: September 11th, 2008, 2:30 pm
Location: Kingdom of Mercia

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by furioso »

A very nice piece! It sounds rather dark-ages to me. The only criticism I have is that the glockenspiel (or other metallic percussion instrument) seems rather overused. But then, I'm English, and liking of glockenspiels is not a noted English characteristic...
Anyway, I like it a lot. I wouldn't have thought that bagpipes could be used that tastefully :P
Zerovirus wrote:Sprites for the Sprite God!
Aethaeryn wrote:What about dwarf dwarfs: dwarfs who have dwarfism?
User avatar
doofus-01
Art Director
Posts: 3969
Joined: January 6th, 2008, 9:27 pm
Location: USA

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by doofus-01 »

West,

I hope you haven't dropped this, it's great. I also like what you did with the bagpipes.
(Just trying to encourage, not nag.)
User avatar
West
Retired Lord of Music
Posts: 1173
Joined: October 30th, 2006, 7:24 am
Location: In the philotic connections between ansibles.
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by West »

A small update. It's all still very sketchy but I'm getting there.

Thanks so much for the encouraging words, everyone.
Rain
Music Contributor
Posts: 256
Joined: September 27th, 2005, 4:44 am

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by Rain »

"Sketchy"? Where is this sketchiness that you speak of? IMO, you've outdone yourself completely as it is. Very powerful piece, hummable, melodic and well developed sectionally. Your strings sound far more realistic in this piece than any of your other pieces. And the celtic wind instrument sounds wonderful and intimate. This piece is very folky without being too laid back and 'backwater'.
Very very very nice.
User avatar
jeremy2
Music Contributor
Posts: 157
Joined: July 26th, 2007, 6:04 pm
Location: Utah
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by jeremy2 »

Rain wrote:"Sketchy"? Where is this sketchiness that you speak of? IMO, you've outdone yourself completely as it is. Very powerful piece, hummable, melodic and well developed sectionally. Your strings sound far more realistic in this piece than any of your other pieces. And the celtic wind instrument sounds wonderful and intimate. This piece is very folky without being too laid back and 'backwater'.
Very very very nice.
The song overall is very nicely done, but the last third or so sounds a bit sketchy to me. It might be that there needs to be more variation in the notes; there are several parts that sound very repetitious that might be solved by variance in velocity and volume (especially the supporting notes and rhythms as opposed to the melody lines). As a fellow composer, I can hear the frustration that is going on with the last third part. I would suggest a mindset of randomness while including hints of melodies, harmonies, and rhythmic patterns in previous parts. It can be quite easy to get trapped within the mindset of what has been written before, and it seems like this is the case here. I also think that many of the instruments could use some more reverb - just about everything except for the brass samples. Those seemed to be quite awash in reverb, but I liked the sound. I will follow up with a bit more detail later, but I figured I would give some overview-ish thoughts on the song.
Gold Note Express (Owner) :: IRC name: eltiare :: Twitter profile
User avatar
doofus-01
Art Director
Posts: 3969
Joined: January 6th, 2008, 9:27 pm
Location: USA

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by doofus-01 »

It's good to see you continue with this, it is a great piece of music. High energy, but not at all like a Fox News jingle. It doesn't end quite like I expected, but maybe you haven't reached the end yet.

I'm really looking forward to what you do with this, keep up the good work.
User avatar
West
Retired Lord of Music
Posts: 1173
Joined: October 30th, 2006, 7:24 am
Location: In the philotic connections between ansibles.
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by West »

Rain wrote:"Sketchy"? Where is this sketchiness that you speak of? IMO, you've outdone yourself completely as it is. Very powerful piece, hummable, melodic and well developed sectionally. Your strings sound far more realistic in this piece than any of your other pieces. And the celtic wind instrument sounds wonderful and intimate. This piece is very folky without being too laid back and 'backwater'.
Very very very nice.
Sketchy as in some parts are repeated almost without variation, the playing is sloppy and there's no percussion to speak of. But thanks, I'm glad you like it :)
jeremy2 wrote:The song overall is very nicely done, but the last third or so sounds a bit sketchy to me. It might be that there needs to be more variation in the notes; there are several parts that sound very repetitious that might be solved by variance in velocity and volume (especially the supporting notes and rhythms as opposed to the melody lines). As a fellow composer, I can hear the frustration that is going on with the last third part. I would suggest a mindset of randomness while including hints of melodies, harmonies, and rhythmic patterns in previous parts. It can be quite easy to get trapped within the mindset of what has been written before, and it seems like this is the case here. I also think that many of the instruments could use some more reverb - just about everything except for the brass samples. Those seemed to be quite awash in reverb, but I liked the sound. I will follow up with a bit more detail later, but I figured I would give some overview-ish thoughts on the song.
I think you really hit the nail on the head there, Jeremy. This "mindset of randomness" that you mention is a big problem for me. I seem to have only two ways of composing: either I string together parts of more or less unrelated music (Traveling Minstrels), or I write three or so different parts that I repeat like in a typical pop song (The King is Dead, Mountains). This is why my pieces are often quite short. I can't seem to write in any other ways, and it is indeed very frustrating because I can hear the problem, but I can't really do anything about it. Suggestions on how to move away from this going-though-the-motions way of composing would be very welcome.

As for the reverb, this is just the algorithmic verb I use while composing. When the tune is finished, I'll switch to SIR and the Lexicon impulse I use on the other tracks.
doofus-01 wrote:It's good to see you continue with this, it is a great piece of music. High energy, but not at all like a Fox News jingle. It doesn't end quite like I expected, but maybe you haven't reached the end yet.

I'm really looking forward to what you do with this, keep up the good work.
Oh gosh darnit! And here I've been trying SO HARD to make it sound like a Fox News jingle!

;)

I have reached the end but a lot of it might yet change. See above. And thanks.
User avatar
jeremy2
Music Contributor
Posts: 157
Joined: July 26th, 2007, 6:04 pm
Location: Utah
Contact:

Re: Over the Northern Mountains (Cold :P)

Post by jeremy2 »

West wrote:This "mindset of randomness" that you mention is a big problem for me. I seem to have only two ways of composing: either I string together parts of more or less unrelated music (Traveling Minstrels), or I write three or so different parts that I repeat like in a typical pop song (The King is Dead, Mountains). This is why my pieces are often quite short. I can't seem to write in any other ways, and it is indeed very frustrating because I can hear the problem, but I can't really do anything about it. Suggestions on how to move away from this going-though-the-motions way of composing would be very welcome.
Quite a tall request, but I will do my best to oblige. :D Let me see if I can draw back on some of the things that I've picked up on and advice that I've been given in this regard.

Disclaimer: As always, there are really no hard-fast rules to any of this. I like to experiment and see what kind of rules I can get away with breaking in a piece. Experimentation is king here. I pull examples from my own pieces because unfortunately I don't spend very much analyzing others' anymore unless it's as I'm hearing it on the radio and being performed. Thus I often don't remember what goes on in different pieces. I try really hard not to be an arrogant snob, I promise. ;)

One of my friends who is currently a post-grad composition major in Boston once told me to put whoever I am at the time into the music. The music I write today is going to be different from that of yesterday. The same holds true for tomorrow and today. No matter the setting of the music, always put something of how you feel in there. You don't have to be constrained by the style and/or mood of the music to the point to where it is lifeless. There were plenty of times where I was feeling down when writing Triumph and I would put in a few measure that were a bit melancholy or irritated. Listen for the trombones at 1:13. I was rather irritable, and thought it would be fun to put in a really nasty chord. I think it's a fully diminished chord or something ( I'll have to go back and check, I can't tell the different anymore by listening. ) Of course after I write it I try my best to tweak the song so that it fits - but the chord by itself is quite painful to listen to. For a while all I had written was up to that point, and I had people complain about it all over the place. Not a good place to end. :)

For a few years I had a classically trained piano teacher who also helped me with my compositions. He loves Bach and we spent a lot of time analyzing his piano pieces. Perhaps the biggest thing that I've learned from him was the idea of reusing music in ways that were interesting. You can reuse parts and make them sound like completely new pieces of music. No one will know the difference except for people like me who connect some pretty far dots sometimes. You can do things like take the same rhythms and apply different melodies, invert melodies, switch voices (and octaves), play the same parts over and over while adding new ones with each iteration (see 1:20), repeat parts in reverse. You can go off in random directions at times, but try to bring the feeling of the song back at least a little when you wander. Like at 1:23 when I include the rhythm of the previous part in the triangle right before I go into this part that does not really sound anything like what I had before. The rhythm is then repeated at 1:48 in the timpani. Then I go off on another tangent, but listen for the strings in the background. They are almost unnoticeable but rhythm sounds a lot like the original melody, no? At 2:18, the original melody comes back in full force for a only few measures and also makes a brief appearance before the end. You'll notice that at 2:20 that the bassoon takes over the part of timpani somewhat (though both are playing). At 2:00, a melody similar to that of 0:30 is used. From 2:30 on, the melody takes a bit from it as well but is more random. I was kinda thinking of a John Phillips Sousa march when the flute/piccolo play a counter-melody.

I picked up a lot of insight from a music instructor at a community college in Arizona, especially when he would teach us about jazz improv. From him I learned that people often have this feeling of "home" with music - in a lot of different ways. Any time you get away from this feeling of home, you want to get back to before the listener gets irritated enough to quit listening. Staying at home too much gives that "blah" feeling to music - much like me being stuck at home all day because I work for myself from home. :) Pop music has this feeling of "home" and they generally overuse it to death. Hence those of us who are trained in music get bored very quickly, but most people like the familiar feelings it generates. They use the same chord progressions and the same melodies/choruses repeatedly - but with just enough variation to make it interesting to the masses. Being aware of this tendency will help you in determining what you want that balance to be in your music. I think it also important to note that people bring their own emotions into listening to music, and so it sounds different to everyone depending on their personality and mood at the time of listening.

There are feelings of home with a melody, with chord progressions, with rhythms, etc. A dissidence such as a minor seventh gives a lot tension. By itself it can be quite cool, but depending on the feel that you are going for in your music you probably won't want to have a whole bunch that don't resolve as the listener never feels a release from this tension (kinda like that nasty chord mentioned previously). That's another thing the instructor talked about a lot was tension and release. Most people will not bother to listen to music with very little tension (I like to write things like that occasionally) and a song with too much tension will stress most people out (kinda like all the tension in Vengeful Pursuit - you yourself mentioned exuberant relief for the less tense parts). It's one of the things that gives music its sense of direction. After you get going at the same speed in car in the same direction for a while, it does not feel like you are really going anywhere - at least that's the way it is for me. It's part of my nature to want to do unexpected things, but I've reigned that in a bit in my music to where I occasionally will do something completely unexpected instead of all the time. (see http://gnexp.com/songs/new_awakening.mp3, at 3:17 - you'll probably want to listen from 2:00 on).

Funny enough, it's not just about music theory but also about the psychology behind what the listener hears. We are often not aware of why we don't like something, but the emotional, psycho-acoustic, environmental reasons are there. It's also one of the reasons why studying theory alone is not a good way to be a successful musician. It's also quite interesting to delve into how different musical ideas fit into the world around us and universe (such as the primary tones emitted by the different planets), but that is wa-a-ay beyond the scope of this post. I find it fascinating but I'm no expert on that subject, as well.
Gold Note Express (Owner) :: IRC name: eltiare :: Twitter profile
Post Reply