Sad Music Contest - Crossroads

From SoundCloud:

I had a really hard time with this competition theme. This is my fifth attempt, and the first idea that didn’t just end up depressingly uninteresting. Unfortunately, I didn’t come up with it until the weekend before the deadline, so I only had two days, but that’s enough for a piece like this, once there is a proper idea to build on.

The vision behind this piece is rather abstract… “Where do we go from here?” I suppose that’s how I feel about life in general right now, but not exactly in a way that inspires creativity, which is probably why I had such a hard time with this.

Could have used some more time to clean up some themes, and maybe make a more sophisticated arrangement, but I came up with this idea yesterday, and I don’t have time to work on it tomorrow, so this will have to do. :slight_smile:

Cubase Pro 10.5, Kontakt, TC VSS3, smart:reverb, StereoSavage, Pro-Q3, Ozone 9
Spitfire Solo Strings, Spitfire Chamber Strings, Spitfire Symphonic Woodwinds

Bonus strings programming tip: “Slide” articulations may not seem very useful at first, as straight one-finger slides are not a commonly used technique, at least not in classical music. However, the slides can be used for implementing audible shifts, by first sliding corresponding to the hand movement, and then playing a fingered note corresponding to new finger.


Hey David,
this is an awesome composition. I love that classical style. It sounds really like played on a funeral maybe 300 years ago. Such a perfect work.
Well done, and I wanna say, that it makes us human, having multiple attempts in which we are failing and finally figure out something, that we can live with. Thank you for telling us, that you had no clue at first and coming up with such a masterpiece.
Good luck in the contest,

Sincerly yours,


Thank you!

Indeed; this is something one has to accept and learn to deal with. I haven’t been doing orchestral composition for very long, but judging by other fields, these “Do I even know what I’m doing!?” moments will keep coming until you settle and stop making progress. If you always succeed, you aim too low. :slight_smile:


Great job David.
Very moving piece. Perfect evolution and composition. I really love it. One of my favourites. :clap: :clap: :clap: :+1:
It is not how much time you put on it, but to put the correct moment. :v:


As I said before Mr Olofson, always a pleasure to hear your classical compositions. Especially when there is a solo violin or cello in there. I´ll tell you, if it sounds like this when you´re not quite satisfied imagine how it will sound when you´re having a good day.

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Thank you very much!

I suppose my hands-on with the real instruments is starting to pay off, even when using virtual ones. It’s easier to juggle articulations and automation if you know exactly what you want to achieve, as opposed to searching for that elusive “sounds good.”


I already had an idea in the previous contest to give actual feedback and Eurovision type of scoring to my favorite entries after the voting. As you can imagine, all the excuses with time and stuff… No excuses anymore and better late that never I guess.

3rd place and my 8 points go to David! From production wise, my favorite. Sounds full and clear. Every instrument has it’s own place and can be heard clearly and it fits on the theme.

So why this isn’t my number one? I actually tried to figure it out in my head without any reasonable explanation. Maybe I would’ve wanted some simple main melody, maybe? On the other hand, all the songs doesn’t need that at all. Maybe it just comes to the point that for some weird reason we or I just feel that some songs are “better” than the others. It’s a really weird feeling because I can usually rationalize my “decisions” pretty well.

Still, it’s really nice to see how wide your “output” spectrum is. I also loved your action music track which was really synth heavy comparing this one going very “organic”.


Thank you! :slight_smile:

Indeed; these things are of course very subjective - but I think there are technical reasons why this piece didn’t quite reach the level it could have. I only had the last weekend to write and arrange it (my first few attempts just didn’t work out the way I intended), so the actual composition is kind of like a pencil sketch; mostly there, but a bit diffuse, and some notes just follow my default improvisation habits, rather than fully expressing the underlying idea.

I have a few of these “unfinished” pieces now (some from two-hour challenges), and I’m thinking about reworking and finishing them, and release an album or something… I’ve been in the “beginner honing my skills” mode for quite some time now, so I guess it’s about time to do some work outside the competition/challenge context. :smiley: