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Scout's Journey soundtrack - Printable Version

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Scout's Journey soundtrack - kneedeep - 02-11-2017

Scout's Journey is a videogame project. I'm currently trying to create an orchestral soundtrack for it. I'll post my attempts here.

Currently using SSO.





Feedback very welcome.

I have more, but currently remixing. Will it ever stop?


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - Otto Halmén - 02-13-2017

Welcome aboard, Jonas. Smile

The composition sounds good on its own. Where in the game will you place it? Smile

As to the mix, the balance between the different instruments sounds correct, but the reverb is perhaps a little sparse. Especially when the percussion comes in, the space sounds a bit more like a medium room than a scoring stage. While such a setup is by no means forbidden (and may be just the right thing for something like folk music or chamber music), I think SSO sounds like a fairly big orchestra and therefore works best with a reasonably large reverb. Smile


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - kneedeep - 02-13-2017

Hi Otto,

thanks for the welcome.

I will probably place the first part in a scene near the beginning of the game where the main character is introduced. The first violin theme was written with a "cinematic opening" in mind. Maybe a title screen.

The other parts might be useful in various places, the game has quite some cinematic or emotional scenes. Especially the violin melody in the rising part after the harp section may sound good with some swelling chords, to underscore some key moments.

These pieces serve as idea and melody storage, in other words. I have different melodies for different characters. I'll probably chop them up when the cinematics are finished and custom-fit them to the visuals. I also plan to use them in making-of videos and so forth. I sometimes put e.g. level design stuff on the internet for people to follow.

More reverb - interesting. I tend to err on the side of caution with reverb. But I'll try it. Maybe you're right!


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - Otto Halmén - 02-13-2017

In the original Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra Demo, you can hear what I was going for. Take for example the rhythmic passage towards the end. You can hear how the reverberation "hangs" on the percussion hits and the staccatos. This helps glue the notes together and create the impression of an orchestra performing on a scoring stage (or concert hall, if you go with a really big reverb). Smile


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - peastman - 02-17-2017

Very nice! I love the use of dissonance. Whatever you say about not being a composer, you clearly have some idea of what you're doing!

The performance would benefit from more variation in expression. Right now it sounds like every note is the same volume, which gives it a mechanical feel. So try varying the note velocities a lot more. If you want to go even further, you can use the volume or expression controller to add shaping to individual notes: gentle swells, tapered releases, etc. It's possible to get very realistic, expressive performances out of midi instruments, but it takes a lot of work.


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - kneedeep - 02-17-2017

Hi peastman,

thanks for the feedback. I'm really grateful for any feedback I get, because I may have some general musical experience, but I only started doing MIDI orchestration about a year ago. Everything else I did had to do with toting a guitar and shaking my hair. :-s

I only got into classical music relatively late in life. I did appreciate stuff like the Four Seasons and Mozart and Bach and Pachelbel, but I was so focused on rock music. And until a few years ago, it was nigh impossible to do something with a virtual orchestra unless you had quite a bit of money to spare, and I didn't.

I marvel at the fact that my PC can do 30 tracks today. I remember trying to program drums on a crappy Atari in some early version of Cubase. What's possible today is comparatively amazing.

I'm still learning the ins and outs of the orchestra. I only figured out what do do with things like the viola recently. My current WIP actually had all the violin work smack dab in the viola range, and I never noticed... I was like, "oh, I guess I should move that over to the viola. Oops."

I think I'm probably overly cautious with many things still. The reverb is one example, and the swelling chords etc. are another. I've heard some people really overdo that. But you're right, the Scout's theme sounds comparatively dead. I'll have tó give it a work-over. I'm also slightly bumping the tempo up in several of my pieces. For some reason I tend to start out at a lethargic tempo.

I thought it was very daring when I used a ping pong delay on the harp in my current WIP. I was like, wow, I guess I can do that!

Thanks for the tips, guys. It's appreciated.


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - kneedeep - 02-17-2017





Here's another WIP. This one has the daring pingpong echo. Wink

Don't hold back with the critiques.


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - Mattias Westlund - 02-17-2017

(02-17-2017, 03:41 PM)kneedeep Wrote: I'm still learning the ins and outs of the orchestra. I only figured out what do do with things like the viola recently. My current WIP actually had all the violin work smack dab in the viola range, and I never noticed... I was like, "oh, I guess I should move that over to the viola. Oops."

Unless you mean violins playing stuff that's below their actual physical range, the nice thing about the different string instruments is that they overlap a great deal. I don't know if there are any hard fast rules for this, but I've always treated string instrument ranges more as various colors in my tonal palette rather than "this instrument needs to stay in that specific range, end of story". I mean, cellos have a huge range and their high register (which overlaps the violins by, what, almost two octaves?) can sound glorious. Same thing with contrabasses, you can easily let them move into cello territory if that's the sound you're after. It's just a different timbre. Low string instruments tend to sound more full-bodied in the high range,  a sound that violins and violas can't reproduce because of plain instrument size and string gauges.

IOW, strings are more amorphous than other families of orchestral instruments and you shouldn't be afraid of using this either way. I.e. strings can sound like a complete, massive entity or they can sound like completely different instruments, depending on how you arrange them. That's a big part of their appeal IMO.


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - Michael Willis - 02-17-2017

I've been reading a book about orchestration, and it discusses this concept of the ranges of strings sections quite a bit. The general idea that I've gotten from it, and confirmed with my own experiments, is that each instrument's higher range tends to be more bright, and its low range tends to be more dark.

So for example, if you want a bright sounding tenor melody, you could give the part to the cello section. If you want those same tenor notes to be more dark, try it out with the violas.

To some extent this also seems to work with woodwinds and brass instruments. For example the horn range is quite extensive, and horn melodies can have a very different feel depending on how high or low they are. Add the horn's response to dynamics into the mix and there are a lot of flavors you can get out of that single instrument.


RE: Scout's Journey soundtrack - Mattias Westlund - 02-17-2017

(02-17-2017, 06:07 PM)Michael Willis Wrote: I've been reading a book about orchestration, and it discusses this concept of the ranges of strings sections quite a bit. The general idea that I've gotten from it, and confirmed with my own experiments, is that each instrument's higher range tends to be more bright, and its low range tends to be more dark.

So for example, if you want a bright sounding tenor melody, you could give the part to the cello section. If you want those same tenor notes to be more dark, try it out with the violas.

Definitely true, though I don't think it's quite as clear-cut as that when it comes to string instruments. Especially when "bright" and "dark" are kind of arbitrary concepts. What it basically comes down to AFAICT is string thickness and tension. Same as with any stringed instrument. Playing the low E 12th fret on a guitar will give you the exact same note -- frequency-wise -- as playing the open high E string, but the timbre of the notes will be nothing alike due to the thickness and tension of the strings. The low E will have more harmonic content because it has more mass and vibrates differently than the open high E at this frequency. This is why, again AFAICT, e.g. cellos sound richer and fuller in the "violin range". Brightness does play a part but it's more than that IMO.