Solo Viola/Cello Composition: "Many Journeys"

Mood: Wholesome/Achieving Goals/Coming Together

Creative Vision: (*and this is vague, but made with feel-good videos in mind) Created as an inspirational piece, I envisioned several stages… characters in separate locations, in deep contemplation to start, followed by setting off on a journey, showcasing their individual skills and talents. Then, building or collecting things before meeting with communities and people, smiling, working together… Finally, all characters would come together to collectively create something awesome.

Composition Details: 100 bpm - I don’t read music at all, so no idea of the chords lol… If it sounds good, then it’s good! :slight_smile:

Main Instruments used: Solo cello and viola from CSSS, some Stacc strings from Spitfire’s Epic Strings, EastWest piano and horns, and a celtic harp from Forest Kingdoms 2 along with other support instruments.

Love to get an opinion on this as it’s something I want to submit to a music library and would like your opinion on whether it’s up to standard. Thx, KJ


The drum that’s hitting on the down beat and then on the and of 2 seems like it needs to be quantized. Also, it’s got a nasty clacky component around 3-4k hz, maybe even as high as 5k. You’ll want to pull out that frequency and emphasize its highs up at 10k for a more expensive, cinematic sound.

Love the throbbing bass.

I think I’d do a mastering job on this. A-B it with something big-time and slick. Always master with a model for comparison.

Hi Everett. Thanks for taking a listen and I’ll look into those frequencies for sure. Is it all the way through or more noticeable at certain points?

Also, not sure which drum you mean that needs quantising?

Appreciate the advice :+1:

I love this piece! I think it is amazing you can do this without any music-reading knowledge. You seem to have mastered the art of using simple melodies in a very effective way. I always overthink my melodies - I think due to my classical background.

I’d use maybe some more variation in volume, other than that I think this would be a superb submission to a music library.


Thank you so much, Randy.
Yeah, I kinda decided to look at composing semi-properly after I created my first, finished track. It had a terrible mix, the brass section would be dead though lack of breathing and the timing was hard to grasp when I didn’t know how to quantize lol… But the basics of orchestration and creaing a melody were there for me and it made me want to get better.

I’d love to get some more classical training some day, but I’ll keep working with what I’ve got for now. Thanks again :blush::+1:

Good job Derek. It sounds well for a music library. Maybe the drums need some work. They sound not really well mixed with the rest of the instruments. In tempo (quantizing is required) and to my ear drums sound with lack of “density”. Perhaps a subtle delay or adding a new line with bright hats playing sparkling quiet beats. I don,t know. Just drums need to be enhanced.

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Thank you, Vicente.
Yeah, definitely the drums need to sit better in the mix for sure. Appreciate the help :+1:

Gonna see what I can do with them tonight and re upload.

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Again, nice work, Derek!

The piece had great motion and direction. I think it would play well under a visual.

Since you brought it up in the topic title what role did you envision for the solo instruments? I was about halfway through listening when I recalled the “solo” word in the title. The cello seemed to be working pretty hard to push it’s way through.

From an orchestration standpoint I may recommend using independent solo lines at the beginning and building to the full ensemble work that’s the majority of the posted piece. Perhaps start them over the pulsing rhythmic percussion and building a crescendo by adding instrumentation.

I’m far from a mix engineer (which is largely why I’m here … I have a lot to learn!) but I’m wondering if a little side chain compression might help the ensemble duck under the solo lines in the thicker places. Random thought. Use or discard freely.

Keep up the good work, Derek!


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Thanks Stan.

Yeah, the solo instruments I used were new (csss) so testing them out. I’ll get more used to them and their use. I’ll be looking at playing a simple line or two of main melodies in the future, so a little solo would work well.

Getting my head around side chaining at the moment too, so definitely take that point on board :+1:

Thanks again

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I really enjoyed listening to your piece! The gradual build up with the meandering string melody is very effective, to my ears. I was reminded of the scifi series Firefly and its music. You captured my imagination, which is always a plus, in my books. The listening experience seemed pretty good through my speakers. Perhaps a little more top end clarity/presence would give it a crisper more epic feel?
Well done!
Regards, Adrian