Music By Jason
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1  Music By Jason Forums / The Composers' Workshop / Harsh, harsh criticism request… on: November 09, 2006, 11:54:41 PM
For counterpoint, we used a reprint of an out-of-print book.  Don't remember it offhand.

It's the type of thing that I think is much more easily learned with a good teacher, as there's lots of discussion and feedback and, most importantly, listening.
2  Music By Jason Forums / The Composers' Workshop / Harsh, harsh criticism request… on: November 08, 2006, 12:25:27 AM
You said "harsh" twice in a composers' forum.  That's like screaming "FREE GUNS!" at the top of your lungs at the Republican National Convention.

The production values are generally pretty decent, but your high synthed winds (flute? picc? clarinet?) sound nasty.  (without the second harsh I'd have said "out of place")  I think that not having the octaves doubled, or at least not so widely spaced, would temper this effect significantly, because I think the uber-high mixed with mid-range, on your synth, clash especially badly.

Before I hit start, I knew for a fact that I would hear a timpani and cymbal roll followed by some modal brass chords.  You did not disappoint.  It's ultra-cheeseball, I hate it with a passion, and 95% of your audience will completely eat it up as "epic."  Some counterpoint would serve to break it up quite well, as would more harmonic variety (I guess that's not what you're going for, but I might like to, at the very least, hear a different chord or at least a different voicing at the end, signaling that something new is on the way).  At the very least, lay off the crescendoing rolls, or do them in a less expected way.

The middle wind/string section is refreshing, and slightly crunchier harmonically than I might have expected.  Was glad to hear that it wasn't all "epic" chords.  However, here, especially, the percussion rolls sound really out of place.  You have the whole wind section at your disposal.  Put some trills, noodles, runs, arpeggios, etc. in instead to build tension and/or volume.  The moment of silence is nice, but you only hear it once.  Its return would be most welcome, even if, rather than complete silence, there was just a drone in the back.  You *almost* do that, but you put a cymbal in, which is not nearly as effectively surprising as a wind/string breath.

I really like the roll-on-an-instrument-that-is-not-cymbals-tam-tam-or-timpani into the last section.  The material for the last section, while also a bit cliche, is pretty nicely handled.  The melody might be a bit too busy for my taste, but whatever.

The ending is abrupt... I'm guessing it's coordinated to video?  I'd have liked that last section to continue, maybe with some inner lines.

In general, it's the inner lines that I think could use more work... that is, there aren't much.  You have melody (sometimes doubled in octaves), chords, and accompanying percussion.  More presence and variety of the less-memorable middle material, I think, could do a lot for this.

I appreciate the lack of driving Planets/Mars-inspired percussion/brass thumpery.
3  Music By Jason Forums / The Round Table / Jason's "Night Elf" themes used in Anti-Buddhist D on: October 08, 2006, 02:10:07 AM
Wow... just... wow...

Something about a pot and a kettle come to mind.

Oh, and apparently Steven Seagal is in on the conspiracy...
4  Music By Jason Forums / The Round Table / Favorite Game Themes on: September 12, 2006, 08:10:22 PM
Quote from: "AltaSilvaPuer"

And I can't forget my roots: The Age of Empires series by Ensemble Studios.

You've just succeeded in making me feel very, very old.

5  Music By Jason Forums / The Composers' Workshop / Silly Music on: September 04, 2006, 01:08:44 PM
Ah, the wonders of PDQ Bach!  Saw him in person a year or two back.  Great stuff!!

My stuff is rarely incredibly serious.

Links under "Recital Recordings" on the main page.  Especially Super Legend Quest Fantasy III, which is inspired by the experience of playing old Nintendo-esque games (with things getting progressively more glitchy as time passes).  Runner-up silliness awards go to Melicape and All Right!

My writing tends to be very tricky to play... I'm working on that.

The silliness factor will be cranked up several notches when I finish my current project.
6  Music By Jason Forums / The Round Table / Video Games Live returns to the Hollywood Bowl! on: August 29, 2006, 10:08:59 PM
Went last year.  Was great fun, though I wish they'd played more classics.  It was mostly grand, majestic themes from a bunch of very recent games I've never played.

I didn't know anyone could be that bad at Frogger.

Hopefully the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra can do the Mario theme justice (LA Phil will never live that down in my book... though if all you see is the sheet music and have never heard it, it's fiendishly hard to play) Tongue

Is it the same program as last year?
7  Music By Jason Forums / The Composers' Workshop / Inspired to write!...crap. on: August 27, 2006, 02:23:45 AM
I wouldn't trust an automated translation system for any sensible accuracy, especially for lyrics.

Then again, if you just want it to "sound like it's cool in latin" and it doesn't need to make all that much sense, go for it!
8  Music By Jason Forums / The Composers' Workshop / Thinking about trying and compose on: August 22, 2006, 03:59:52 PM
The drum roll followed by NOT something louder and more intense is the best part of the piece.  Very unexpected, very unusual, but somehow not at all awkward.

It's really easy to throw in all the bells and whistles for something like this, and you haven't done that.  I find this very effective.

I also like the sense of cadence.  It breathes well.

It ends very abruptly, I'd like to hear more.
9  Music By Jason Forums / Game Music Discussion / Ballabile - a good or a bad thing? on: June 26, 2006, 02:21:37 PM
I'd love to hear more dance rhythms in game music.  Heck, most of my favorite game scores are at least somewhat danceworthy.
10  Music By Jason Forums / Q & A / What's your normal plan of attack? on: June 21, 2006, 07:44:52 PM
A graphical representation of the music.  Hold off the notes for a while.  Perhaps draw a couple motives here and there if you want to show where they'll be used.

This really helps to get a feel of where the piece is going, and how things will come together.
11  Music By Jason Forums / The Composers' Workshop / Inspired to write!...crap. on: June 19, 2006, 10:10:22 AM
Set out to write crap.

Really.  See how absolutely horrible you can make a piece of music.  You might surprise yourself.
12  Music By Jason Forums / Q & A / What's your normal plan of attack? on: June 18, 2006, 07:51:03 PM
I said paper specifically because it's NOT a notation program.  

For me, going straight to a notation program causes a significant, noticeable drop in quality.  In lots of music I play, it will be painfully obvious that they composed it in a notation program with little work on paper.

As for a roadmap, get some paper (graph paper is best), draw a line from left to right at the bottom, then draw a line of the general contour of the piece (e.g. high for lots of energy, low for quiet or unimportant or slow sections).  Label where in the piece certain things will happen.  Erase and redraw frequently.
13  Music By Jason Forums / Q & A / What's your normal plan of attack? on: June 13, 2006, 10:04:18 AM
For me, paper.

And if you still have trouble with that, try drawing a roadmap of where the music will go.  Graph paper is especially good for this.
14  Music By Jason Forums / Q & A / Aspiring Game-music-writer on: June 08, 2006, 10:38:34 AM
Learning any instrument is probably the best way to start on the road to composition.  The choice of instrument is a big decision to make, though you can switch or add instruments at any time (with a new learning curve, of course).

Perhaps the biggest difference is between piano and band/orchestral instruments.  Piano allows you to realize a greater wealth of harmonies by yourself, and as a composer you should have at least *some* piano chops.  However, as an instrumentalist in an ensemble, you become more quickly aware of how instruments interact with each other, what sorts of lines they each play, what colors go well together, etc... that is, how to make the kind of sound you want.

In essence, I'd suggest to plan to eventually learn both piano and an orchestral instrument.  Start off with one, so you're not overwhelmed.  I'd personally recommend an ensemble instrument first, as it's a more social, interactive experience.  If you're having trouble deciding, perhaps find out what instruments are in high demand in ensembles in your area.
15  Music By Jason Forums / The Composers' Workshop / Good things do happen in this world... on: May 16, 2006, 09:15:29 AM
What kind of forum, exactly, DOES spam suit?
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