Lost Memories - forgotten moments of time

This is the first time I’m uploading a music track on this forum. For me, music making is still a process of learning and trial and error to find out what sounds ok and how it can be made attractive for listening time after time.

The genre for this track is ambient/emotional, based on orchestration with strings.

Creative Vision for the Track:
I had no specific vision for the track, but it all started with a pleasant chord progression which I played on piano. I’ve converted this progression to a strings orchestration, accompanied with some subtle vocals, piano and other sound effects. The original title for the track was “Daylight”, but after finishing it with the video part, I changed it into “Lost Memories” because this matched much better with the slight emotional character of the track.

Composition Details (Tempo, Key, Main Chords etc):
Tempo: 75 bpm
Key: C, with a short key change to Cm in the last part of the track to introduce some nice flat chords. Most chords are the typical major and minor chords in the key of C, with some inversions of it to create a smooth voice leading.
The strings were divided in separate parts for violin, cello and bass. For the violin part, the first section was played with Con Sordino articuluation and a separate Pizzicato part, and it ended in a more sharp Flautando playing style.

Main Instruments used:

  • Spitfire essentials Epic Strings, Intimate Strings, Cinematic Piano;
  • Heavyocity Vocalise and Natural Forces;
  • Free Orchestra plugin from ProjectSAM, used for the percussion sounds.

Here the link to the track on YouTube:
Lost Memories

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Hi, Hans! Thanks for sharing your composition!!

Right off the bat don’t apologize for “trial and error”! We’ve all been there. I continue to get my mail there!

The piece was very calming and smooth. Was it conceived as an underscore to a soothing visual as well? I’m assuming from your description that the music came first then you found a video clip you felt complimented the music. Am I correct? If so it was a good combination of music and picture.

As a free standing piece I found my attention wandering a bit. Why was there a military drum cadence in the middle of this pastoral music? (e.g. Is something about to happen and should I be concerned by that?) The pizzicato strings and percussion also reminded me of rain … should I be concerned that I didn’t bring an umbrella?

How might you be able to control when and what the listener is “concerned” about? My initial thoughts are, first, by adding controlled dissonances (e.g. a Lydian voicing on a IV or I chord, a major seventh on a minor chord) in specific, emotionally significant places. Something that builds some tension that can be released by how you resolve the tension. Don’t shy away from dissonances! Lean into them and use their energy to move the listener forward in a direction of your choosing.

Second, add a protagonist. There were good melodic motifs. I was hoping for something I could join on a journey. Someone to root for and make me engage in the piece a bit more.

Overall it was a sweet, beautiful piece of which you can be very proud! Again, thanks for sharing your music with us! Please continue to write and share!


Hi Stan, thank you very much for your detailed review and tips for future projects.
You are correct about the combination of music and video…first there was music, later there was a complimentary video. Sometimes I make music and after listening it a few times, I will “feel” the direction this music is pushed to.

The percussion part was meant to be a tension build in a way it will attract your attention, but this time the attention could be a little bit confusing. And you was a bit confused because you was a little concerned to bring an umbrella or not :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Your vision on the technical aspects of the piece are very useful for me. I’ll make a second edition of the music, but now enriched with the way you were looking at it. A few months ago I’ve started with learning more about music theory and this will be a very good and interesting practice of this matter.

Greetz and thanks again,

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I’m glad my comments were helpful! Reach out anytime!

I happen to be working on a project that might be a good example of how and where to use and control emotional dissonance. Here’s a quick listen to my MH (Melody/Harmony) sketch of the A section.

The first statement by the piano alone is my “protagonist” melody. Other than one rogue Ab toward the end it is entirely in C major.

On the second pass I add harmony. I used a pad underneath so the chords linger a little longer in the ear.

The first, third, and fifth chords are all C major triads. The ones in between are where the dissonances lie! To my ear it’s important that I return to the consonant sound of C major to clear the ear and offer some resolution between the more dissonant chords. (Not sure I like the word “dissonant” but prefer “rich” chords.)

The second chord is is voiced with a D in the melody, an Ab in the upper harmony note, and a C in the bass. It’s an Ab Lydian voicing (the raised 11th degree of the Ab scale is the characteristic sound of Lydian).

The third chord is an Eb Lydian, and the fifth chord is back to an Ab Lydian.

The final shimmer at the end is C-G-F# voiced top down. I wanted to leave the cue with an unsettled, “Pensive” feel.

Hope you find this helpful as well.

“Pensive” - Stan Bann (WORK IN PROGRESS)

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Thanks again, Stan. I’ve listened to the linked music, and I’ll use your detailed information to analyze why the separate parts sounds this way. For me it creates an extra chapter in learning music theory and apply it in a piece of music to train my ears on how music can sound and to play more and more with consonants, dissonants and harmonies.
I feel more inspiration coming up…time to dive in new projects, starting from a modified approach with new insights :notes::tada:

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Yay for new projects!! My hard drive is littered with them! Getting time and focus to finish most of them … well that’s another story. :wink:

Speaking of which I thought I’d close the loop on the last clip I posted for you. This is the orchestrated version of my original sketch. I have a couple thoughts on mixing / managing the dissonance and tension:

First, the clip:

“Pensive” - 1st Minute Orchestrated

French horn carries the melody. The first statement is mixed with heavy reverb for distance. There’s still a bit of tension even though it’s diatonic to C major due to the wide intervals.

The second statement the horn is supported by low strings and clarinets. I contrasted the metal/brass instrument with warmer wood based instruments. That helps separate the consonant melody and the chromatic mediant and lydian harmonies. It also helps the horn stand out even in a lower register.

The final shimmer (the C Lydian cluster above the horn’s final note) is scored with additional flutes and piccolo (adding a bit more cold and harsh from other metal instruments to the warm strings and woodwinds), triangle, and harp glissandos.

The harp glissandos are strictly a digital construct. One would need three harps to play what I’ve written. Rather than use the tired whole note scale (which could be used for a single live harp as an alternative) I used the glissando FX from BBCSO Core with each glissando starting on the notes of a D major triad (which make up the 9th, #11, and 13th of a C major chord). I use the ambiguity here to modulate into the key of D in the next section.

Probably more than you wanted to hear but thought I’d follow through on the promise to provide more details. Hope you find them helpful!


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Hahaha…you don’t know how welcome all the details are…I’m absorbing them like a sponge :laughing: They match perfectly the stuff I’m learning and are great to apply in less or more extent to some phrases in my music, to find out how this will sound.

I read your detailed description, listened to the music clip, and re-read the description…it sounds so smooth and tranquil…great !