New Music - Hope - Orchestral

The overall vision, at the time was during this whole situation with COVID-19 - and thinking back to how, in a different time, this all happened before, but with even worse outcomes. There’s always, hope, though, and that’s what drives us forward to a new day. Alternatively, someone I shared with said it reminded him of background music from a kung fu movie as the master practiced in nature. Who am I to judge? There’s a school in literary thought - Reader Response - where it really doesn’t matter what the author intended, but it’s what the reader takes away. That’s how I view music as well. Who cares if I’m thinking death and plague and another person thinks kung fu? Anyway, plugins used - Spitfire Originals for Strings and Woodwinds, Sonuscore The Orchestra for Horn / Trumpets.

I do not do very well at mastering, I’m looking more for mixing, structural tips - I’m a hobbyist looking to hone the craft. To be honest, I don’t spend a huge effort mastering, or really have the ear for the nuance. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure I’m going to get the link attached correctly! Apologies for the long-winded, first post. Thanks!


Hi Troy,

this track is awesome. Its exactly the style of music i like most. Long Strings and Brass. Is there a harp in the middle?
Try to play with some EQ and Widening.
If you want you can add some percussion too.
Keep Going, maybe we could help each other, as i am only a hobby composer too.
When did you start composing?

Keep safe,

Well done. I like reverb, maybe a little more?
I totally recognize myself in what your saying about mastering. I usually let my friend do it cause I just make it worse.
I think your track sounds nice. I´m just a hobbyist too.


Hi, Fredrik. Thank you for your feedback and time. To be honest, I added no extra reverb at all - just whatever was stock within each instrument. I may try turning them off within the instruments and adding it to the master out. But, man, do I really dislike the tinkering and fidgeting when it comes to mastering. If anything, I become a master butcher - and that’s the problem, I can’t hear the nuance. I’ve tried those exercises where you put things to max, then bring it down - I still don’t hear it unless it’s drastic. I am light-years behind in that area.

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Hi, Michael - thank you for your time listening and responding. I grew up playing Alto Saxophone from about 10 to 18. Then, I stopped, but I was able to retain a lot of that knowledge. For about a decade I did nothing music related. About 14 years ago, I discovered Finale and the amazing, realistic sounds that were out. So, I started hand-composing in Finale for quite sometime. Just recently I finally got to grips with using Reaper, and got some updated sounds for inspiration. I have been trying to learn piano as well, although I am not that good at it. That’s what a lot of this piece was - forcing myself to use keyboard to play the chords and right hand melody, and then listen and record the other components using keyboard. I found that always difficult, but I needed to prove that I could pull it off.

Yes, you are correct, there is a harp in there - it is Sonuscore’s Harp. I forgot to mention it in the writeup. Oh, and EQ / Widening - I feel sometimes I make things worse when I fiddle with that stuff. I’ve never been able to really get that down. Oh, and percussion is another achilles’ heel. So, I got a lot to do to push myself further!


Hey Troy,

EQ and percussion are also my problematic fields. But i always keep trying.
ATM i am working on a track where percussion will be in the focus but im not sure to publish it.


Wonderful track. If curious, as an exercise one might try to change this minor key composition globally to its major key. Sometimes the result is pleasantly surprising. This is something I do from time to time.


Hi, Thomas. Thank you for the suggestion. I will try this - I’m rather curious now that you suggest it!

This piece has a lovely ambience/tone with some nice phrasing on both brass and strings.
Well done! :+1:

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I like it a lot. I am trying to compose some more score/classical music myself lately. I do not like percussion on them on the moment like you say. Do not master it either, just put a limiter on it to make it a bit louder.
I made dance tracks for over a year, but the drums always make it difficult, specially the kick. So I went to score/classical, just to get rid of the drums. I understand this composition and the no need for percussion in it. Good job!

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Hi, Jimmy - thanks - I’ve always thought to do a dance/club/techno kinda thing, and while I do like that genre - hearkening back to my too many late nights out till 3am with my ears being overloaded by bass - I do not think I have it in me. I prefer score/classical/videogame genre. Unfortunately, I still don’t have the percussion side of it.

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The more you work/practice, the better you will become. It can take a long time to master everything. I just decided to have fun again with making music. I tried doing what other suggested on forums but lost the fun in making music. They mostly contradict themselfs too… what one likes is not what another likes. In the end making music should be about having fun. And as long as you have fun, you are doing a good job.



A lovely, warm, reflective piece! Congratulations!

You captured the mix of sadness and hope well. The warmth of the string section was very effective. They blended nicely.

My word of caution is to make sure the overall effect doesn’t become more of a keyboard playing string voicings rather than a true, acoustic string section with individual lines, etc. Did you play the parts in one at a time or use block keyboard chords?

I come to the electronic / DAW work with more of a pencil and score paper mindset (I am a low brass player primarily). There is an entirely different talent and ear that mix engineers seem to have. I’m working towards cultivating those sensitivities but there is so much to learn before even considering the nuances of the craft.

I’ve found Mike’s way of approaching mixing and DAWs from a composer’s perspective very helpful. I’d rather speak in musical terms!

Again, very nice work!


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Hi, Stan. Thank you for the good words! Yes, you are absolutely right, it was played as a block chord on keyboard using Spitfire’s Original strings, so I did not get too in depth with individual string lines. It was really a labor of love, as I’m not great with keyboard - in past, I would compose note-by-note – but that takes me even longer. My reference point is Alto Saxophone, but it’s been nearly a quarter century since I played. So, a lot of it is by ear, and not so much theory. With a single instrument I did not get exposed to chords; it was more technique and individual scales. So, that is another hurdle that in time as I do more of this hope to overcome. Thanks again, for the tip and nice words!

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You’re very welcome, Troy!

As wind players we both tend to think in terms of line which, to me, is often more important than the chords. An incomplete chord will sound fine provided the line and counterpoint makes musical sense. I love Bill Holman’s writing for that very reason. It sounds natural, flowing, swinging, and linear. Big fan of Bill’s line writing!

Ear versus theory is a whole other topic, too!

(Personal views / opinions follow.)

To me the ear is the final arbiter. Theory is used to explain what has worked in the past and can be used to achieve similar results going forward. It’s when we deviate from theory that interest is added, new ideas are explored, and theory is rewritten.

Theory needs to be studied so we can develop our musical language. New, creative ideas should not be discarded because theory hasn’t caught up with the ear yet.

Take care!



Beautifully developing piece, Troy! Enjoyed listening very much.
My suggestions would be to bring those picolos/flutes right to the front (If they have a close mic, that’d work great) and give them more of a boost to make the listener sit up and take notice - They are well done, but too low in volume. Then, give the horns more of a reverb to put them further back to give atmosphere, but still at the same level. A tiny bit of panning here and there (as suggested by another post) to make it wider, and you’re golden.
But overall, a really great job!

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Great Comp Troy! Very specific in intent and engaging. I normally feel like long evolving pieces can lose their way, but I think this a great “HOW TO” piece of music. I especially liked the winds and horns countering and combining as the piece heads toward the end.

My only critique on this would be to fill out the bottom end with some double basses or cellos in lower octaves. I felt like the highs were fighting each other for musical expression. You pull it off well, but that’s about it. Great Job man! Looking forward to more tracks.


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Beautifull piece Troy. Welcome to the gang. My tip: consider upgrading your knowledge in EQ and mixing and all that stuff that is supposed not related with the composer (nowadays it is :wink: ). In my experience, if you face this road with hope and patience the results will came soon and you will feel that your works will carry your emotions and the listener to a new level.


Thank you, Vicente. I am working on the EQ with this piece, along with quite a few of the other invaluable suggestions provided by forum members. But, definitely, the EQ is my hardest struggle. I’ll likely update this post with a link to the new (either improved or slightly butchered) version in the future. Thanks, again!