Mixing orchestral movie scores - help me with my tune

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I've got a vision.
Member Since: Dec 05, 2008

First of all - hello guys! Just registered, hope to get some insipirations here!

Second - I did read all 'new post' forum conditions and I find this forum most adequate to my need, hope I've choosen the right one.

I'm a beginning composer and I have this luck to earn money with my music, which was used in a few short documentaries. Now I'm going for something bigger and the request was for something dark, heavy and orchestral. I've managed to come out with one tune but I'm totally unsatisfied with the result - it sounds 'dry' and I don't know how can I breath life into the mix. I'm using MUSE by SoniVox but I just can't find correct tweaking (totally green with mixing procedures).

If You have experience in mixing strings/brass/woodwinds or You're just willing to help me with Your enthusiasm I'd be really really thankful!

Here's where You can find this tune (40 seconds):
www.myspace.com/topti - The Melt (2nd one)

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Since: Jan 18, 2003

Dec 05, 2008 06:04 pm

hey man, i like your score-like stuff. i don't have much advice to give on what you call the dryness, other than to suggest investing in a more advanced string package maybe? i didn't think it sounded so dry, except for maybe a bit on the bass instrument, whatever that is. you probably tried adding more reverb, no?

how did you get into getting your stuff into movies? like, what was your entry into that?

Since: Nov 27, 2007

Dec 05, 2008 06:24 pm

yeah, i would put some reverb on the bass notes along with a stereo delay of sorts, should smooth it out a bit and make it sound more flowing.

sounds cool though man, i like it.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Dec 05, 2008 11:39 pm

Topti, I have and still do work for game, film and commercial. I'll give your stuff a listen tomorrow and get back here.

Welcome to HRC by the way.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Dec 06, 2008 07:50 pm

Well, my first suggestion would be to add a bit more elements from say the piece called Creepy in the player there.

Some lower register instrumentation will always add to the darkness. You will find that you can really add a darker feel with something very low in the register that will drone in and out of the piece as the drama builds and subsides.

Using a large open reverb but only adding a small bit of it to a few key instruments in the mix will take away from the dry feel you hear.

The dark feeling will be conveyed by using slow moving, evolving parts that intertwine with each other. One bringing the next into the movement.

As the piece evolves from movement to movement you can use some mid register instruments to add a dramatic feel to it.

I like the small bit of The Melt. I would like to hear more of what you are doing.

You can upload an mp3 here by going to you profile and choosing the manage music menu.

I've got a vision.
Since: Dec 05, 2008

Dec 08, 2008 09:54 am

Thanks for all the ideas guys, I'll try them soon and let You know the results.


Fortymile: like I said, it was luck. When I started meeting my girlfriend her dad was already a respected journalist, scenario writer and radio redactor as well. She's my fiancee now and not so long ago he applied for a new job, this time in television. He got it and nowadays produces historical documentaries. Soon I was on the board, since he knew I'd been writing music at home with no real chance for publishing.

BTW You're right with the strings, they aren't very good despite the $ Muse cost me...

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Dec 08, 2008 03:18 pm

An IN is always nice to have.

Keep us posted on your progress for sure.

I've got a vision.
Since: Dec 05, 2008

Dec 10, 2008 07:40 am

Posted new version of "The Melt" on myspace and also on HRC - few notes here and there (slow drones in the middle

) + reverb to the brass.

I've been listening to Horner's "Braveheart" lately and it seems movie score (especially orchestral one) doesn't always have to sound crystal clear, like everything is happening in the front. Am i right? Anyway I guess I'll leave it 'floaty' until I learn how to mix and compress properly.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Dec 11, 2008 09:19 pm

Hey dude, to upload here go up to the My Account button and in the drop down menu go to the Manage your Songs link. That will take you to the page to upload you music.

I'll try and catch The Melt redo in a little bit. Otherwise it will be tomorrow evening.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Dec 12, 2008 08:06 pm


The drone really gives it the dark feel. The brass with the reverb adds a great jump or tension to the piece. It sounds great and creates the deep feel with that low drone building and subsiding.

As for crystal clear, not it doesn't always have to play that way. Mass confusion can sometimes work to an advantage depending on main leading instruments that it would follow.

I'll love hearing it as it evolves.

And honestly, Soothsayer is probably the best Buckethead tune on the face of the planet!!!!

we prefer "percussionist"
Since: Jul 21, 2004

Dec 13, 2008 02:51 am

I'd also suggest broadening the harmonic content - instead of having single note lines, harmonize the melody line, either through direct harmony (stacking notes in the same rhythm), or through counterpoint (using different, interlocking rhythms)

Also, with string sounds it's nice to double/triple/etc. the parts with slightly different sounds and some "randomization" on the timings - an orchestral string section has 10-15 people playing each part in unison, so it fills out the sound a lot. That can help negate the "fake-ness" of the sound a bit.

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