Bigjoe5's Music

Samples of sound/music, ideas or suggestions related to the development of audio assets for FreeOrion.
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Bigjoe5
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Bigjoe5's Music

#1 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:30 am

I've been composing some theme music for the FO races, which will eventually be modified and adapted to create various types of battle music.

Currently, there are three themes, one of which (Trith) is due to be replaced with something more aggressive, as per the feedback I received. The other two are for the Egassem and the Kobuntura.

My brother is responsible for making the instruments and reverb and whatnot sound good with his music software.

Enjoy (hopefully), and feedback appreciated: Music
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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#2 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:49 am

I felt like the Trith music could have waited a bit before bringing in the strings.... give it some time to establish each bit before adding the next. Also consider a different instrument for the string part... It's currently a bit dominating. Also, I'd have like a few "huh?" moments where a different chord happened than I was expecting... Also, an additional walking (eighth notes) part with something like a music box instrument could be added.

The Egassem theme sounds like it could be a great brassy fanfare with a few more parts added. I've got some MP3s lying around called "Empire Brass Quintet - Cumulous Sanctus" and "Empire Brass Quintet - Amarilli mia bella" that might give you an idea what I'm thinking of if you can find it... Also, look up the Moorside suite by Holst. The basic style you've started with seems appropriate for the description, though.

Kobuntura... uh... ok. Not really getting a particle magnetic web race vibe from that. More like theme for the dopey character in children's cartoon show...? Interesting, though...

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#3 Post by pd » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:01 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:to be replaced with something more aggressive, as per the feedback I received.


Not necessarily more aggressive, but definitely darker. The Trith are IMO nearly driven to insanity(not the just children!).

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#4 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sat Dec 19, 2009 10:39 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:I felt like the Trith music could have waited a bit before bringing in the strings.... give it some time to establish each bit before adding the next.
That was originally my intention, actually, but the trouble is that with music that's meant to be looped, it sounds odd if it builds up too much, the goes back to the simple beginning section. For that to sound good, the piece would have to be a bit longer and more complicated than basic racial theme music warrants, IMO.

Geoff the Medio wrote:Also consider a different instrument for the string part... It's currently a bit dominating.
Would it be adequate if the strings were just made a bit softer?

Geoff the Medio wrote:Also, I'd have like a few "huh?" moments where a different chord happened than I was expecting...
I'm not sure if the level of complexity that would entail would be appropriate for basic theme music, but I'll see if I can manage that without reducing the simplicity/purity of the basic theme.

Geoff the Medio wrote:Also, an additional walking (eighth notes) part with something like a music box instrument could be added.
By "eighth notes", you mean half the length of the piano notes right? Actually, the piano notes are eighth notes, since the piece is in 6/8 time rather than 3/4, but that's not readily apparent.

Geoff the Medio wrote:The Egassem theme sounds like it could be a great brassy fanfare with a few more parts added. I've got some MP3s lying around called "Empire Brass Quintet - Cumulous Sanctus" and "Empire Brass Quintet - Amarilli mia bella" that might give you an idea what I'm thinking of if you can find it... Also, look up the Moorside suite by Holst. The basic style you've started with seems appropriate for the description, though.
I could try adding some more parts, but again, I'm a bit worried about overcomplicating what should be a fairly straightforward theme. Far more complexity should be observed in each race's battle music, for example, than in their basic theme.

Kobuntura... uh... ok. Not really getting a particle magnetic web race vibe from that. More like theme for the dopey character in children's cartoon show...? Interesting, though...
I can see how the Marimba would give that impression; it sounds a lot like a Xylophone. The trombone part might also be contributing to that. I think perhaps a tweaking of the instruments/effects might lessen that impression.

pd wrote:Not necessarily more aggressive, but definitely darker. The Trith are IMO nearly driven to insanity(not the just children!).
Oh. You might not like the second Trith theme then. It's definitely more aggressive, but I wouldn't say it's at all darker. To be honest, I thought the original Trith theme was fairly "dark"; I really couldn't imagine anyone dancing to it - it's more likely to make the player feel guilty about killing the Trith's children than anything else....

Anyway, we'll see how that goes.
Last edited by Bigjoe5 on Sun Dec 20, 2009 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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reference

#5 Post by pd » Sat Dec 19, 2009 11:48 pm

Check out Autechre's Silverside - fits the Trith pretty well I think. Also in general, check out Global Communication's 74:16 - great album, almost like a soundtrack to freeOrion :)

Also also check Amon Tobin's Easy Muffin and Paul Kalkbrenner's Castenets. If you need more suggestions, just ask.

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#6 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Dec 20, 2009 3:25 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:...the trouble is that with music that's meant to be looped, it sounds odd if it builds up too much, the goes back to the simple beginning section.

Good point...

Geoff the Medio wrote:Also consider a different instrument for the string part... It's currently a bit dominating.
Would it be adequate if the strings were just made a bit softer?

Maybe... Something with a less complicated tone to it might work. Like just a cello instead of the multi-pitch "strings" instrument.

Geoff the Medio wrote:Also, I'd have like a few "huh?" moments where a different chord happened than I was expecting...
I'm not sure if the level of complexity that would entail would be appropriate for basic theme music, but I'll see if I can manage that without reducing the simplicity/purity of the basic theme.

It's not necessary to make things more complicated or busy to add some unexpected notes...

Geoff the Medio wrote:Also, an additional walking (eighth notes) part with something like a music box instrument could be added.
By "eighth notes", you mean half the length of the piano notes right? Actually, the piano notes are eighth notes, since the piece is in 6/8 time rather than 3/4, but that's not readily apparent.

The Trith theme? That's a pretty slow 6/8...

Geoff the Medio wrote:The Egassem theme sounds like it could be a great brassy fanfare with a few more parts added.
I could try adding some more parts, but again, I'm a bit worried about overcomplicating what should be a fairly straightforward theme. Far more complexity should be observed in each race's battle music, for example, than in there basic theme.

In this case I don't think a bit more complexity is a concern... I'm suggesting more parts, but they would just make the chords richer, and wouldn't be adding extra distinct fast-moving lines to the overall texture...

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#7 Post by Bigjoe5 » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:59 am

Geoff the Medio wrote:It's not necessary to make things more complicated or busy to add some unexpected notes...
Often, it requires greater contextual justification to add something really unexpected, which means the surrounding music needs to be a bit more complex or less ordinary sounding, but you're right that it is possible for a skilled musician to create interest by adding an unexpected turn to a relatively simple melody, which is something with which I should experiment.

The Trith theme? That's a pretty slow 6/8...
It's 6/8 because while the strong beats are every third note, every sixth note - the downbeat - is an even stronger beat, which means that the strong-but-not-so-strong beats shouldn't be at the beginning of a 3/4 measure, but also shouldn't just be the second eighth note of the second beat of a 3/4 measure. This way, those notes are the primary notes of the weaker group of three in each measure, making them less important than the downbeat, but still stronger than the rest of the notes.

In this case I don't think a bit more complexity is a concern... I'm suggesting more parts, but they would just make the chords richer, and wouldn't be adding extra distinct fast-moving lines to the overall texture...

A new Egassem draft has been added to the website.
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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#8 Post by RonaldX » Sun Feb 07, 2010 6:54 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:
The Trith theme? That's a pretty slow 6/8...
It's 6/8 because while the strong beats are every third note, every sixth note - the downbeat - is an even stronger beat, which means that the strong-but-not-so-strong beats shouldn't be at the beginning of a 3/4 measure, but also shouldn't just be the second eighth note of the second beat of a 3/4 measure.


Kind of off topic, but the way I tell the difference between 6/8 and 3/4 is that just about everything written in 3/4 time sounds like polka.

-Ty.

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#9 Post by Geoff the Medio » Sun Feb 07, 2010 7:47 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:
The Trith theme? That's a pretty slow 6/8...
It's 6/8 because while the strong beats are every third note, every sixth note - the downbeat - is an even stronger beat, which means that the strong-but-not-so-strong beats shouldn't be at the beginning of a 3/4 measure, but also shouldn't just be the second eighth note of the second beat of a 3/4 measure. This way, those notes are the primary notes of the weaker group of three in each measure, making them less important than the downbeat, but still stronger than the rest of the notes.

You may have written it as 6/8, but it sounds like 3/4 to me because the notes are slow enough and the offbeats emphasized enough to make the group of three eights sound like a measure. Trying to conduct in 6/8 at that speed is a bit awkard since the main beats are so far apart... I feel like my hand's just hanging there and should be moving more. That said, it is a fast 3/4 as well.

Edit: Have a listen to Debussy - Valse Romantique and the score. /Edit

Edit2: For the Kobuntura theme, have you considered a different instrumentation for the current low brassy line from the start and the faster part starting at 30 seconds? My initial thought is clarinet for the starting part (raised up a bit) or bassoon, and then flute/oboe or similar for the part at 30 seconds. Then, noting the backstory about specialization, I thought cello (string) for the low part, and a woodwind or group of winds for the part at 30 seconds, so that there's three different sound types doing different, "specialized", things. /Edit2

Edit3: Here's (the start of) what the Egassem theme reminded me of... /Edit3

RonaldX wrote:...just about everything written in 3/4 time sounds like polka.

Most polka is in 2/4...?

Notable 3/4 includes Jupiter from Holst's Planets Suite starting around 1:45 in that video, and waltzes, most prominently starting at around 1:15 in that video.

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#10 Post by RonaldX » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:48 pm

Geoff the Medio wrote:Most polka is in 2/4...?

Notable 3/4 includes Jupiter from Holst's Planets Suite starting around 1:45 in that video, and waltzes, most prominently starting at around 1:15 in that video.


Right.. I meant waltz, I'm not really sure where I got polka from. That's what I get for posting at 2am.

-Ty.

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#11 Post by Bigjoe5 » Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:36 pm

There is new theme music on the website for the Eaxaw.

Geoff the Medio wrote:For the Kobuntura theme, have you considered a different instrumentation for the current low brassy line from the start and the faster part starting at 30 seconds? My initial thought is clarinet for the starting part (raised up a bit) or bassoon, and then flute/oboe or similar for the part at 30 seconds. Then, noting the backstory about specialization, I thought cello (string) for the low part, and a woodwind or group of winds for the part at 30 seconds, so that there's three different sound types doing different, "specialized", things.
I might try playing with the instrumentation a bit, but it's more likely that I'll just completely rewrite the theme music, as I've done for the Trith (though there's no draft of the new Trith music ready yet).

Geoff the Medio wrote:Here's (the start of) what the Egassem theme reminded me of...
Interesting. It's hard to tell though, what this comment indicates about your opinion of the revised version of the Egassem them. Does this indicate approval, a suggestion to add particular parts or lines which are present in the linked piece, or just an observation unrelated to the quality of the Egassem theme in general?

Also, my brother mentioned:

93143 wrote:I object strongly to Geoff the Medio's comment about a multi-pitch "strings" instrument. There are two violin lines and a viola line, all using high-quality section multisamples. No GM patches here, thank you very much...
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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#12 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Feb 24, 2010 5:45 pm

Eaxaw draft has been updated - the electric bass was pitched too low before. I'll probably change the drumline - the bassline should provide sufficient monotony on its own...

Feedback appreciated as always...
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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#13 Post by MikkoM » Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:05 pm

Bigjoe5 wrote:Eaxaw draft has been updated - the electric bass was pitched too low before. I'll probably change the drumline - the bassline should provide sufficient monotony on its own...

Feedback appreciated as always...


Well this new draft sounds a bit more menacing than the old one, but since The Eaxaw are described as "a Race of Evil Amazonian Xenophobic Aggressive Worms" I would definitely expect their theme to be a lot more menacing and aggressive. This current theme sounds a lot like jazz to me, and I don`t usually consider jazz as very aggressive or menacing type of music. Somehow this theme gives me a bit of cartoonish (cartoon like) feeling, which isn`t particularly desirable, if I want to take The Eaxaw seriously as an aggressive, kill them all species. Anyway, this is just my opinion.

By the way, am I the only one who associates the name Eaxaw with earwax? :)

EDIT:What ever modifications you (Bigjoe5) end up doing, please do not loose the original Trith theme. I still think it is absolutely beautiful and should definitely be used for something. Although it might need a new name in the future.

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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#14 Post by Bigjoe5 » Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:49 pm

MikkoM wrote:Well this new draft sounds a bit more menacing than the old one, but since The Eaxaw are described as "a Race of Evil Amazonian Xenophobic Aggressive Worms" I would definitely expect their theme to be a lot more menacing and aggressive. This current theme sounds a lot like jazz to me, and I don`t usually consider jazz as very aggressive or menacing type of music. Somehow this theme gives me a bit of cartoonish (cartoon like) feeling, which isn`t particularly desirable, if I want to take The Eaxaw seriously as an aggressive, kill them all species. Anyway, this is just my opinion.
Interesting. It is partly modelled after jazz, but I was hoping the modulating square wave and the incessant bass/drums would add a feeling of disorientation and monotony that would take away the cartoony feeling of the jazz-style harmon mute trumpet and trumpet hits, and just let the alienness of the harmon mute sound and the aggressiveness of the trumpet hits show through. Apparently this isn't the case? At any rate, presumably it's the trumpets that make it sound like jazz - do you think a change in instrumentation would help, or is the melody just too jazz-like? Or perhaps some more parts that sound very un-jazz-like, using un-jazz-like instruments?
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Re: Bigjoe5's Music

#15 Post by MikkoM » Thu Mar 04, 2010 1:05 am

Bigjoe5 wrote:Interesting. It is partly modelled after jazz, but I was hoping the modulating square wave and the incessant bass/drums would add a feeling of disorientation and monotony that would take away the cartoony feeling of the jazz-style harmon mute trumpet and trumpet hits, and just let the alienness of the harmon mute sound and the aggressiveness of the trumpet hits show through. Apparently this isn't the case? At any rate, presumably it's the trumpets that make it sound like jazz - do you think a change in instrumentation would help, or is the melody just too jazz-like? Or perhaps some more parts that sound very un-jazz-like, using un-jazz-like instruments?


Well for me it is especially the final part of that theme (after 0:28), when the melody seems to change quite rapidly that makes it sound quite cartoon like. I don`t know if I can explain this properly, because I don`t know much about music terminology, but the end of that theme sort of reminds me of a jazz band going all over the place with their music, which greatly reduces the menacing feeling that the first part of the theme has. Now if I compare this theme to the Trith theme, the Trith theme stays quite sad and beautiful through out where as this theme starts out quite menacing, but then turns into a cartoon kind of jazz thing.

I must also mention that while the drums in this theme might currently be quite monotonous, I like the menacing feeling they bring to the theme.

Anyway, as you can probably see from my comments I don`t really know much about music terminology, and only evaluate things as I hear them.

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