"Majestic" competition entry by Brandon Walker

“Majestic” is my entry for the Professional Composers “Majestic Music Contest” (October 2020).
The piece is written for large orchestra for your audio panoramic tour of a grand and soaring majestic landscape!

Music and conductor score was produced using StaffPad for iOS, using a mixture of CineSample, Spitfire and Berlin libraries.

The form of the piece is essentially: Introduction, AABA, Ending.

  • The Introduction, ambiguous (Ab - Bb/Ab) builds into…
  • The first “A” theme in C major with bold French Horns carrying the main motif. Soaring strings and a triumphant trumpet take over from the horns with the second melodic motif.
  • The second “A” section is given new life, back in “Ab” but this time presented by a spritely large woodwind section and splashes of percussion. The strings again present the melodies sub theme however this time in a more tender, contrapuntal arrangement.
  • The “B” theme presents a mysterious and ominous contrast, in Ab’s related minor key of Fm. The brass sections take turns presenting the minor version of the original theme while the tam-tam, alto flute, contrabassoon, bassoons in high register provide some exotic colours. Violas playing “col legno” provide the ticking rhythm to keep things moving to our…
  • Final and largest “A” and section now in F major.
  • Bombastic Percussion brings us to a stop while the final melodic theme brings us to a grand close with harp glissandos and celeste chimes.

Brandon Walker


Well, this I do find majestic in a great way: really well put together, varied parts and the samples sound very realistic. The ending is great.

Thank you Harri for the feedback. Good to have some new composers here!

You are great at writing for orchestra! The sounds are great and good use of instruments. The melody sounds so close to Jurrasic Park that it seems more like an arrangement rather than composition.

Thanks Justin. I agree there is a similar majestic optimism tone shared with the JPT. Can you be more specific as to what melodic part you feel is so close as to be an arrangement?

At 0:13 you have the notes F (dotted eighth note), F (sixteenth), E (eighth), C (eighth) and D (half). Instead of FFECD you could do something like FEDCD so it doesn’t sound like your copying the JP theme. It does sound cool the way you have it though.

wow your score is amazing, sometime i sound like alan silvestri in back to the future, very great job
what is your writting software ? finale or sybelius ?

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Appreciate the comments Florent. The audio and score are both produced in StaffPad App for iOS. The score output (how it looks) is probably 75-80% of what you can do in Finale. But the best thing is, after I input a piece using the app and Apple pencil, I have a decent conductor score for various uses. This used to take me WEEKS to do before from midi so it has been a really good thing for my workflow. If I want to create a more professional score and parts output, I export to Finale for detailed work.


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Aha - thanks for clarifying. Yeah, that one phrases sounds a bit borrowed. Since JW does that a fair bit as well, I don’t feel so bad. :flushed:

Speaking of borrowed… I’ve been listening a lot to Holst’s “The Planets” (Mars) this week. It is sooo good. Hard to believe written a 100 years ago. I wonder how many film sores would not exist today if it weren’t for that piece!


As announced, I have listened to your music several times and seen it in the score. I just want to say great job. It sounds amazing. You managed to create a good instrumentation between brass woodwinds and strings. In many cases, they complement each other and prolong the idea of ​​the previous one. The key change is well done between C - Ab - F. I agree with the other commentators that your music sounds a bit like Jurassic Park, but that’s not meant to be a minus point.
Although I appreciate your piece of music very much and I want to see the score for private purposes, I would like to address some other points. A celesta is a very quiet instrument. It does not penetrate the orchestral sound. A trill of the oboe ?! can hardly be heard on C4. That’s pretty deep for an oboe. The horns are great. Sometimes I can sense or feel the double bass. A harp has a hard time playing against the trumpet. All the beautiful runs in the violin, cellos or Woodwinds are wonderful to hear and sound very good. All together a wonderful piece. I wonder if I should be able to see the score. Finally, I would like to express my doubts as to whether it is more of a fanfare than a majestic piece of music. It’s a nice crisp and catchy melody. Maybe it’s on the border between majestic and fanfare I don’t know. My ideas are a little different in this regard. Still a great piece of you. Thank you for sharing

Great piece again Brandon! I’d say you hit that Golden Age of Hollywood sound that I love and trying to write myself. Very majestic sounding and I liked the woodwind part contrasting with the big brass; haven’t found the right formula for mine yet. Were the woodwinds from the Berlin library?

Thanks Matt! The Woodwinds are mostly Spitfire Symphonic Winds. I used CineWinds for second chairs (ie. flute 2). I find for big cues, the WWs do best with flirting melodic bits vs constant pads. If they do play the main melody, likely will be in octaves (maybe thirds) for the strength.


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Thank you, Klaus. I really appreciate the detailed listening and notes that you have done.

Celeste was used more for subtle colours. You are right, it doesn’t penetrate. In this piece, I wanted it for a B section colour or some particular instance I don’t remember where. Once it was in the lineup, I went back and added throughout the piece. I think it worked well at the end with the strings to bring warmth - but yeah, for orchestration for a realistically sized ensemble, I might make it optional or omit it.

Same concept for the alto flute part (3rd staff). This is the trill on C4, not the oboe. Again, was a colour I wanted for the B theme and then went back and added across the cue. In our virtual mockup world, we can have these luxuries! But in a practical score for a typical orchestra, I might omit or make optional.

Through these contests (ie. Sad Music, Majestic contest, etc) and with listening to all the great submissions, I’m learning that there is more than one shade of a style. My first go at a brass quintet piece for this contest, I rejected as it sounded too “jovial”. But I’m listening back to it now, and I think it actually does have a majestical nature to it as well. There was one minor key submission this month, that strangely sounded majestic to me as well. That’s pretty cool to have this variety of “majestic”.

Thanks again,

I agree there are a lot of ways to make music and different ways to express a style and what it means to develop your own ideas. It is a great learning process and advantage for me by listening to all submissions. It is defenitely a great experience to get rid of all fixed pattern in my head. Thanks for your reply and I hope too you will get some great ideas in next challenges again.


Thanks. I’m thinking of getting Spitfire Studio Strings, as I think a lot of smaller budget film/game scores are done with smaller ensembles, but trying to find the right woodwind ensembles to compliment is hard–solo’s of each maybe?

I’m not a big fan of the Spitfire Studio Strings and the other Studio series. I actually regret buying the whole set and go back to SSS, SCS, or BBSCO. The reason being the sound, lack of articulations across all of the string groupings (divisi), and the lack of RR for some instruments. Some people like the drier sound of the series (and Bernard Hermann library) but feel thin to me. I think it’s the room that makes the other series that I mentioned sound magical.

Here is a piece I did with SCS, which is a small ensemble. I did this in StaffPad but have the Kontakt version as well.

Spitfire WWs are the best I have found so far.

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Great again, Bandon. It sounds very “western movie” for me :joy: It brings me some passages from well known soundtracks, but it is great to use estructures that worked well before. It is fantastic when you can use your notation skills directly on your software. In my case, after many years of an hybrid style of writing notes, I need to use all systems together (notation, by ear, and piano roll editing). :crazy_face:
An amazing song Brandon. Thank you for sharing.

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I just got Sample Tank 4 and got Miroslav Philharmonic too. Nobody ever mentions these but I think they have everything a person could need. Have you checked them out?

DJ - No, I will have to check them out. I’ve stopped buying DAW / Kontakt libraries since I moved to StaffPad, however.

Thanks, Vicente. My wife thought it sounded “western” too. I guess I could have gone with an “American Frontier” type theme as well but wanted to stay away since we did Morricone last month! :cowboy_hat_face:

The scoring output is one of the great things about StaffPad. It used to take me a month to go from ProTools to Finale, etc It was so boring editing and quantizing midi rolls and data to get something half usable. Now, when I’m done writing the score, it mostly all completed! I still use Finale for outputting final parts, however.