Departing Starbase 1-Majestic Music Contest

Whew! Didn’t think I’d finish this one. Here is my entry for the majestic music contest. As you can see, I did a tribute to Star Trek. This is my own original composition in my own style and not intended to sound like any of the great composers from the Star Trek franchise.

First thanks to @Mikael for giving me a bit of inspiration to do this one, since I was in a bit of a dry spell. Thanks to @Geoffers as well for some advise on some harmony aspects.

This piece is in the key of C major and basically stays that way for the entire piece, but I focused on a lot of C and G based harmony to give it an overall G Mixolydian sound—hopefully I accomplished that. There was no modulation strictly speaking, save for a phrase that suggests G major and some cool sounding chromatic stuff at the end which used D and A to Amin to get back to an authentic cadence of F G7 C. ( in experimenting a bit, I found that a dominant 7 with an added 9 sounds really cool!)

Tempo-wise, I start with a nobilmente at about 90 with a short rallentando going into the 1st theme, l’istesso, and then increase to 100 for the second string theme. for the outro, the tempo slows to a maestoso 70. The time changes through out, but starts 3/4 then 4/4 for the main parts and to 2/4 on the outro.

Traditional orchestral setup: 2 flute, oboe, English horn, 2 Bb clarinet, bassoon, 4 F horns, 2 Bb trumpets, 2 tenor trombone, bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (bass drum, snare, glockenspiel, splash/crash cymbal), celeste, harp, piano, strings.

Written/playback with Dorico Pro 3.5 and NotePerformer
Mastered in Studio One 5
waves J37 tape emulator
Ozone 9

Departing Starbase 1


Nice job Matt. Excellent inspiration using ST and it is great to see you writing in Dorico / NotePerformer. Is there a score that you can use for your videos for our enjoyment? :smile: While I think your tools work well for you for writing, the instrument sounds are a bit midi sounding to me. I’m not familiar with Dorico so much, but you might consider a way to use higher quality sample libraries.

My feedback for your arrangement would be to watch the use the piano for doubling melodies and chords. The piano, while great as it’s own instrument voice in the orchestra, I find can detract from the unique qualities of other instruments (ie. solo flute). I mention it here, but I have heard other examples this month with the same technique. I think piano doubling works at times as a colour or an effect, but done too much sometimes lessens the impact in my opinion. An exception to this might be if the piece is a piano feature.

Nice work, some great writing, and I’m glad you made the deadline! :checkered_flag:


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I think this one is taking the majestic route. I found the opening part stretching into a bit too many directions and thus ending up somewhat unfocused. The tune gets more focused as it goes on. At places I felt a bit like different motifs were lined up after one another without a clear plan where to go next. With better samples and careful mixing the tune could wade further into majesticity.

Thanks Brandon. You can map other sample libraries to Dorico, if it supports them, like BBCSO, which I do not own. I personally think NotePerformer sound pretty good, not the highest quality, but I like the AI playback since it creates a more realistic playback than me editing modulation automation for hours :laughing:

The thing that I’ve found with NotePerfomer is that all the instruments are situated as the should be seating wise and don’t require a lot of editing for panning or levels either. The only drawback is it performs the way it does, meaning some “players” will play a bit louder/softer/harder than maybe what you have written, so maybe this is its “humanize” scripting?

As for the piano, there are places where I did want it to come out a bit more noticeably but it I agree it was too loud for the outro and took away from the delicate strings I was going for. Ill need to go back and reduce the dynamic marking to mezzo-piano instead of mezzo-forte.

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Thanks for the comments Harri. There are two themes,; the first is the brass theme, the second is a string theme and then a return to the brass theme with variation before the famous “Star Trek” melody on the outro. If you listen again, the cello at the beginning is playing a variation of the brass theme–it’s shortened and uses a different interval set to provide a bit of an intro into the full theme. All other “melodic” bits are just counter melodies to fill in rests in the main themes.

I agree it would be nice to have higher quality samples to work in Dorico, but I don’t own any that can be mapped. I think NotePeformer actually holds up well compared to my other sample libraries like Cinematic Studio Strings and Brass. One thing to keep in mind is that most other sample libraries sample 4 horns or 3 bassoons for example, so whenever you play them you always have 4 horns or three bassoons. o, if you’re wanting to harmonize the parts, you technically get 8 horns playing, whereas Dorico let’s you write/playback with only the four horns or whatever, so it’s much more realistic.

Matt - you might check out the StaffPad app for writing and playback. Same notation/playback concept as NotePerformer but higher quality sounds as I understand. The biggest difference will be not being able to use a keyboard for note entry. This seems like a downfall, but in reality I find makes me use me “ear” vs my finger muscle memory. Anyways, something to check out.


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Definitely interested in StaffPad, but I don’t own an ipad, only a Kindle, so I’m not sure what the investment would be, plus again, my highest quality libraries are CSS and Areia.

Nice Job, Great music. The picture ist also great. but it sounds a little bit dry to me.

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Thanks Klaus! When I write these types of classic film music, I like to use scoring stage reverb emulation, so it does sound s bitt drier, but it would’t sound too film score-ish to me if you’d use deeper, hall-type reverbs.

One thing I’d like to try, unlike bigger budget films, many TV scoring uses smaller ensembles, like 8 violins, 4 violas, 2 celli and one double bass and this gives it a more “cinematic” sound to my ears and then the smaller ensemble can generate more reverb.

I love it. :+1: :+1: :+1:Great MATT. Good majestic emotion. Only one remmark. In the main phrase, the harmony becomes leaping and complex, and it decreases the majestic feeling in my opinion. A clear and direct melody is fundamental for me, in this case.
One of my top, sure.

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Thanks Vicente! Quite right, the melody leaps from C to B, a maj7 and is dissonant. This gives the impression of Cmaj7 and the horn part moves in parallel 4ths/5ths with the melody. The harmony remains stable though, since it’s not constant parallel and the overall tone is G Mixolydian. Normally you don’t want to leap that high unless it’s one note and you resolve down by step (appoggiatura) I think that’s right :smile: