Abandonment - String Arrangement Contest

As usual, I have too much going on, but I ran into this little idea improvising on the piano last Friday, and I decided to turn it into a classical inspired waltz for three violins, viola, cello, and double bass.

Creative vision essentially boils down to “expressive melody over interesting chord progressions; melancholy with a glimmer of hope,” and all in all, I think I landed pretty close to my original vision.

Unfortunately no time for learning and recording any actual violin parts here (it’s all Spitfire Solo Strings - which keeps surprising me by working better than I expect for this kind of stuff), but at least I used the violin for improvising, and verifying that things are somewhat playable.


I like the realism of the violin and very beautiful the melody.

Great composition

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Amazing piece David! :slight_smile:
Did you use any “special” devices for creating the expression and playing styles, such as your Touché, Leap Controller, Breath Controller?

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Thank you! :slight_smile:

@Mikael, actually, this one is more “traditional sequencing” than usual, relying exclusively on Bezier automation curves for the expression! Closest to expressive controllers this time would be trying some bits on the actual violin, to make sure the shifts and slides aren’t entirely nonsensical.


Wow Dave. I knew you would broke it :joy:
I could listen to it all day long. :clap: :clap: :clap:


Well Olofson you make me say over and over again. King of string. You are where I want to be when it comes to composing for strings. And you master the art of mixing too. Great piece, great arrangement, great job. Congrats.

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Thank you!

Sometimes, it feels like it’s just dumb luck when I get it right, but I’m starting to see a pattern lately… :wink:

Seriously though, it’s only a matter of time - but I don’t think you’re far off anyway. You certainly have the ear and feel for this, and with that, it’s just a matter of studying and practicing. Competitions and challenges FTW!

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These contests are so far the only I’ve entered. Do you have any tip of others one can join to put some self pressure at performing?

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I used to participate in the occasional competitions held by 8Dio, Spitfire etc, but at this point, my only (somewhat) regular events outside of the Professional Composers ones is 2HAC (create track from scratch in two hours; occurs at approximately 3 month intervals), and two yearly album-in-a-month events:

None of these are dedicated to any particular genres, though, and there’s no competition element, or mandatory review/feedback processes or anything, so they’re mostly about the social and motivational aspect.
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Thank you I’ll look into this.

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Excellent David! You definitely are good with the classical style and sound. Amazing how you get the level of expression. Are you using a breath controller of something? I can’t get my Spitfire libraries to sound anything like that–of course I find trying to get samples to be expressive is counterintuitive for me since I use the mod wheel in the manner of where I’d put dynamic markings on the score sheet, and it doesn’t work that way. :sweat_smile:

Great job!

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Thanks! :slight_smile:

Actually, I rarely use controllers with traditional samples - and even less so after I started playing real and modeled instruments. In this case, I literally drew all dynamics automation using Bezier curves in the sequencer, because that’s smooth and fast in Cubase, especially when one starts to develop an intuitive feel for what the basic curves should look like.

The problem with sampled/scripted instruments is that they are pretty blunt tools, compared to real or modeled instruments. They only roughly approximate what you’re playing, and typically with substantial latency at that. To make matters worse, there are usually non-linearities and inconsistencies in the response. That makes playing these instruments “live” a bit like trying to play a violin that constantly creeps out of tune - difficult, annoying, and extremely unhelpful when trying to learn.

So, while you can certainly record, draw or copy around some basic curves to get in the ballpark, the key to actually getting what you want is to “edit by ear,” tweaking the curves until you get the desired result, without paying too much attention to what the curves look like.

If you’re really picky (or run into problematic instruments), you may even have to use the “wrong” articulations, play extra notes that aren’t actually heard, or resort to printing and editing the audio. Anything goes. We’re already in the “wrong” here by not playing real instruments in the first place, so what we’re doing here is really just trying to correct the issues to get more realistic end results. :slight_smile:


Absolutely agree with above. My main reason for using mod wheel is that for me it saves me time to get a starting point with a curve that I then can tweak to satisfaction instead of writing it from the beginning. I’m not there yet that I can write them from scratch since I switch library depending on project. My different library also needs different value in the curves.
And yes for me depending on library sometimes marcato are more like sustain and sometime more like staccato for example.


Outstanding composition and mix. Spitfire tends to release these amazing libraries and we get so caught up in the meat and potatoes that we neglect the garnishes and sides that make it a full meal.

A find a well crafted digital composition is a mix of natural physical expression with controllers or midi as well as true to life automation. That’s where the sweet spot is. I look forward to more music from you!


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You did a wonderful arrangement David The big Contrabass may be a litte loud but the solo is magnificent Hope you could visit me at youtube and be part of my subscribers I will definitely be yours This is my page I have 45 of more arrangement and composition and also contest entry Thanks https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClNZtpGsfMXMaIkU9m-rWIQ

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