May I have honest critique of this song?

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Sonomi
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May I have honest critique of this song?

#1 Post by Sonomi » Mon Mar 06, 2017 9:03 pm

Hello. If you don't mind, could you please listen to this song and tell me what you think? :) You absolutely won't hurt my feelings. If there's anything strange, interesting, or just wrong, please let me know. The feedback you give doesn't have to be lengthy at all, and you don't have to be into music making to comment. I'd really like to hear your unbiased thoughts because I'm doing my best to improve my skills. "Here Right Now" - Sonomi

Feel free to use any one of the following formats:

"I liked...X."
"I really didn't like...Y."
"You should try doing...Z next time."

Other ideas for critique:
x what you thought of the intro/outro
x things that were too loud or quiet
x if it got annoying after a while (let me know why!)
x if the drums fit the rest of the song
x if you can hear the bass
x if it felt like a wall of sound coming straight at you
x on creativity, if you think it's too generic
x general commentary

Thank you so much for your time!

(If you happen to be a composer, I would greatly appreciate mixing, panning, EQ, or any other tips that you would be willing to share.)
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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#2 Post by Limabaen » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:19 am

Some thoughts while listening (unfortunately I can't give any technical advice because I'm not a musician):
- I feel like it doesn't really...go anywhere? Like it just starts, there's no build up and then it quickly ends.
- It seems kind of suited to an action/cyber vn. The piece sounds rather urgent, esp. because of the astringent guitar(?) sound and fast beat. In fact, it almost sounds like a boss battle theme for an RPG. But at the same time I can't really picture myself reading to it for extended periods of time.
- I like the little patter of drums around 2:23.
- I looped it several times to get a better feel of it. It's not annoying the first few times but it does get old after around repeat number four because of the harsh twangy kind of vibe it has. As stated above, it's rather intense action-y and I feel somewhat exhausted after listening to it a few times.

What kind of scenario would this music be used in? Tell me if my observations are way out of left field, e.g. if you plan on using it once for a sudden, high-intensity battle sequence in which case please ignore everything I've written.

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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#3 Post by Yunou » Tue Mar 07, 2017 2:03 am

So, I don't know much about music besides listening to it, but here are my thoughts.

I really, really liked 00:29 - 00:56, and 1:26 - 1:53 and the the 02:53 outro. Fantastic!

The intro seems very abrupt to me and it startled me a bit. It seems like it's trying to ease into the main part of the song, but the easing in period is only like 1 or 2 seconds. I think it might be better to stick with either elongating the easing in period or just start it abruptly where it begins at like 00:02ish. It just feels like it can't make up it's mind how to start.

I do really like the main rift (?) part of the song that starts at the beginning and 00:56. It's a really catchy tune. At first it seemed a little dated-sounding but I like it. I think the instrument itself makes it sound a little dated but it's still good nonetheless. I like it.
Limabaen wrote:What kind of scenario would this music be used in? Tell me if my observations are way out of left field, e.g. if you plan on using it once for a sudden, high-intensity battle sequence in which case please ignore everything I've written.
I agree with this as well. I don't know what you are using it for, but when I was listening to it, I pictured a scene in which the MC has to book it out of a situation or is being confronted by a group of guys who want to fight him. A scene that wouldn't take an exceptionally long time to read, but that would need to have a sense of urgency.

Anyway, hope this helped with what you were looking for in terms of feedback! It's really catchy, overall, and I feel like there is a lot of depth to it.

Also - I liked the drums.

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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#4 Post by Mammon » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:35 am

I'll have to agree with Limabaen and Yunou, the astringent guitar (Oh thank Buddha someone used the proper term, I could only refer to it as guitar-whine) doesn't really fit that well. Not because it feels like it has to be in an action scene, but because it will distract the reader. I can already tell that if I'd be reading something with this in the background it would be as distracting as vocals, and will therefore negatively influence the story. If there's little to no text then yes it'll work, but in most scenes of a VN it's best avoided. The rest sounds good though!
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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#5 Post by Sonomi » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:39 am

Limabaen wrote:Some thoughts while listening (unfortunately I can't give any technical advice because I'm not a musician):
- I feel like it doesn't really...go anywhere? Like it just starts, there's no build up and then it quickly ends.
- It seems kind of suited to an action/cyber vn. The piece sounds rather urgent, esp. because of the astringent guitar(?) sound and fast beat. In fact, it almost sounds like a boss battle theme for an RPG. But at the same time I can't really picture myself reading to it for extended periods of time.
- I like the little patter of drums around 2:23.
- I looped it several times to get a better feel of it. It's not annoying the first few times but it does get old after around repeat number four because of the harsh twangy kind of vibe it has. As stated above, it's rather intense action-y and I feel somewhat exhausted after listening to it a few times.

What kind of scenario would this music be used in? Tell me if my observations are way out of left field, e.g. if you plan on using it once for a sudden, high-intensity battle sequence in which case please ignore everything I've written.
Thanks for the feedback!

1- Yeah...the intro was made last, and I didn't really know what to do with it. :oops: I felt like it might be too short or abrupt! I will focus on making it longer next time around. You mentioned that it didn't really go anywhere. Perhaps I could add different guitar riffs as the song goes along?

2- Oh, nice observation! I am working on a post-cyperpunk story. Although I didn't consider what type of scene this would fit in advance, I also think it might work with an action sequence. I tried reading a scene with this particular song. In truth, I don't know yet...

It's a guitar sound, yes. I've done work on RPGs, so this style might be an unintended habit.

3- Me too. I thought it might help bridge onto the next part.

4- Harsh and twangy. If I had to describe it, that would actually make for a perfect description of the main riff. :) I can't listen to it several times over without feeling somewhat drained as well. At first, I thought that was because I heard it upwards of 100 times while making the song, but as it turns out the tune really is exhausting! Haha...sorry about that. So I really need to work on making the music easy on the ears long-term. I call it a "loop-ability factor", and it appears to be on the lower end of the spectrum.

Your observations were right on the mark, by the way! It looks like I have a lot to work toward.
Yunou wrote:So, I don't know much about music besides listening to it, but here are my thoughts.

I really, really liked 00:29 - 00:56, and 1:26 - 1:53 and the the 02:53 outro. Fantastic!

The intro seems very abrupt to me and it startled me a bit. It seems like it's trying to ease into the main part of the song, but the easing in period is only like 1 or 2 seconds. I think it might be better to stick with either elongating the easing in period or just start it abruptly where it begins at like 00:02ish. It just feels like it can't make up it's mind how to start.

I do really like the main rift (?) part of the song that starts at the beginning and 00:56. It's a really catchy tune. At first it seemed a little dated-sounding but I like it. I think the instrument itself makes it sound a little dated but it's still good nonetheless. I like it.
Limabaen wrote:What kind of scenario would this music be used in? Tell me if my observations are way out of left field, e.g. if you plan on using it once for a sudden, high-intensity battle sequence in which case please ignore everything I've written.
I agree with this as well. I don't know what you are using it for, but when I was listening to it, I pictured a scene in which the MC has to book it out of a situation or is being confronted by a group of guys who want to fight him. A scene that wouldn't take an exceptionally long time to read, but that would need to have a sense of urgency.

Anyway, hope this helped with what you were looking for in terms of feedback! It's really catchy, overall, and I feel like there is a lot of depth to it.

Also - I liked the drums.
1- I appreciate the compliments. Getting things to sound okay was a mildly painful process.

2- Ah, I'm so sorry for startling you! I didn't quite...intend for that to happen. I mentioned it earlier, but I was a little unsure about the intro and did a quick build-up, but based on the advice here I also think it's better to go longer or not at all next time around.

3- That dated sound might be the result of a filter I was playing with. I'm glad you think it's catchy despite that! 1 234, 1 2345, was the general idea of the main riff and I think that possibly contributes to the feeling you experienced. Although...I have no idea how to explain that with musical terms. ^ ^

4- A high energy action scene would likely be most appropriate for this one. I'm not currently using it right now for anything, but some of my other music is similar. I love the creative scenario you thought up for the song. :) In short, if I were to ever use something like this the scene should be paced accordingly.

Thanks for your feedback! You helped me a lot. The drums are my favorite part of everything actually.
Mammon wrote:I'll have to agree with Limabaen and Yunou, the astringent guitar (Oh thank Buddha someone used the proper term, I could only refer to it as guitar-whine) doesn't really fit that well. Not because it feels like it has to be in an action scene, but because it will distract the reader. I can already tell that if I'd be reading something with this in the background it would be as distracting as vocals, and will therefore negatively influence the story. If there's little to no text then yes it'll work, but in most scenes of a VN it's best avoided. The rest sounds good though!
This is the highest pitched lead guitar I have on any song to date, and I think it may have been way too loud. I can see how the riff itself would be difficult to fit in a visual novel context, especially given that it has to loop over several times as others have mentioned it's not easy to hear more than a few times in a row.

Another thing I just thought about after reading your reply is whether I should be using guitar riffs at all. Personally, I like the idea of using distorted guitars but this particular case hasn't exactly gotten great feedback. The thing with distortion is that it's almost inherently exhausting...I don't want to break immersion with heavy-handed use. Okay, probably not inherently. I didn't use it very well, I feel.

There are various types of guitar in many of the songs I've made thus far; I think I might revert back to techno/EDM for most of the soundtrack (with nothing set in stone, because I can't make up my mind on these things). Or unless I'm convinced otherwise. The thought is on the table now, at least.

In terms of vocals, that's another story entirely. 8) They probably won't be used...so no worries?

Thank you, Mammon!

-

I'm going to google the term "astringent guitar", because I've never heard that term before it was mentioned earlier!
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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#6 Post by Mammon » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:03 am

Sonomi wrote:Another thing I just thought about after reading your reply is whether I should be using guitar riffs at all. Personally, I like the idea of using distorted guitars but this particular case hasn't exactly gotten great feedback. The thing with distortion is that it's almost inherently exhausting...I don't want to break immersion with heavy-handed use. Okay, probably not inherently. I didn't use it very well, I feel.
There are various types of guitar in many of the songs I've made thus far; I think I might revert back to techno/EDM for most of the soundtrack (with nothing set in stone, because I can't make up my mind on these things). Or unless I'm convinced otherwise. The thought is on the table now, at least.
In terms of vocals, that's another story entirely. 8) They probably won't be used...so no worries?
I meant that the distorted guitar as used here can be distracting one from reading, using vocals as a comparison to the same effect. Reading with someone singing in the background can be distracting, and so was the guitar in this case. Dubstep could've been used as an example instead of vocals here too. (But yes, sparse to no vocals would be a good rule of thumb for everyone.)

Distorted guitars can work as background music probably, but keep in mind that it has to stay in the background. In this case it was demanding a front stage position while the other instruments stayed in the background as they ought to be. Something can be good music but not good background music, if it's too distracting or swaying it can be amazing music but just not fit for a VN. Maybe you could listen to the song while reading a book and see if it's distracting you from the words in front of you. If there's a note that de-emerges you in the story, that note needs to be softer.
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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#7 Post by Laurence L » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:26 am

I like it a lot. It has a slightly intense atmosphere to me. I think the guitar works, and I wouldn't necessarily change any of it, depending on what you're using it for.

I wouldn't worry at all about it "not going anywhere", it has different sections and it's a kind of minimalist loop which works fine in game music.

Improving your craft is awesome, but if you poll people about what they thought you will end up with many conflicting answers ... probably better to go with your instincts which, based on this, to me sound perfectly valid. If you don't mind me asking how long did it take you to come up with, and do you have any other tracks you could share?

(Btw, this whole VN music "shouldn't be distracting" thing, I disagree with, and I think it's like saying the art or writing shouldn't be distracting away from the music. Surely it's all part of telling the story.)

I certainly wouldn't mind playing a game and hearing this (or hearing it without the game) - nice one! :)

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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#8 Post by Nekomata19 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:18 am

Honestly, the first thing I thought of when listening to this was some sort of sci-fi rpg type game. It would work well, I think, if it was playing in the background of someone running around a ship/space station/lab or other sci-fi type area.
Maybe it wouldn't be so great if there's a lot of text to read. But maybe that would be a volume thing. An action sequence or just wandering around would suit it better.

The beginning was a little abrupt, but it wasn't too bad. I certainly enjoyed listening to the whole thing and if it were playing on a loop I don't think it would annoy me.

Over all, I'd say it's pretty good. ^_^

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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#9 Post by Sonomi » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:22 pm

Mammon wrote:Something can be good music but not good background music, if it's too distracting or swaying it can be amazing music but just not fit for a VN.
Okay! I'll try to mellow the distracting bits in future compositions. I'm glad I posted it here, because I don't always know the difference when I try to read along with my own music.
Laurence L wrote:I like it a lot. It has a slightly intense atmosphere to me. I think the guitar works, and I wouldn't necessarily change any of it, depending on what you're using it for.

I wouldn't worry at all about it "not going anywhere", it has different sections and it's a kind of minimalist loop which works fine in game music.

Improving your craft is awesome, but if you poll people about what they thought you will end up with many conflicting answers ... probably better to go with your instincts which, based on this, to me sound perfectly valid. If you don't mind me asking how long did it take you to come up with, and do you have any other tracks you could share?

(Btw, this whole VN music "shouldn't be distracting" thing, I disagree with, and I think it's like saying the art or writing shouldn't be distracting away from the music. Surely it's all part of telling the story.)

I certainly wouldn't mind playing a game and hearing this (or hearing it without the game) - nice one! :)
Thank you very much!!

I could definitely spice up the loop by building upon the parts instead of repeating them, but minimalistic might also be good in the right situation. It's interesting how video game music can vary between genres.

On the conflicting answers, it's totally fine as long as I can learn from them. I'm extremely grateful that people are even listening. :oops:

What I usually do is spend several hours on any given song before I'm ready to make a new one. This one took around 7 hours start to finish.

If you'd like to hear more, I would be more than happy to upload a few other songs. Though I'm not entirely sure if it would be appropriate to post in this thread or elsewhere.
Nekomata19 wrote:Honestly, the first thing I thought of when listening to this was some sort of sci-fi rpg type game. It would work well, I think, if it was playing in the background of someone running around a ship/space station/lab or other sci-fi type area.
Maybe it wouldn't be so great if there's a lot of text to read. But maybe that would be a volume thing. An action sequence or just wandering around would suit it better.

The beginning was a little abrupt, but it wasn't too bad. I certainly enjoyed listening to the whole thing and if it were playing on a loop I don't think it would annoy me.

Over all, I'd say it's pretty good. ^_^
Hi, thanks so much for commenting!

The spaceship idea sounds cool. :lol: Maybe I could use guitar tracks when a CG happens. That way, it's guaranteed to last for a short period of time and captures one specific moment, like a fight scene or escape.

Haha...yes. The intro escalated way too quickly, I can agree!
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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#10 Post by Oracle » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:26 pm

I like it. It has a nice flow. I especially like how it transitions between parts with lots of instruments to parts with few. It sounds like it would be from a game.

One thing that I feel needs improvement is the fact that it was too repetitive. You had the same two motives play over and over again. It didn't seem to develop or build up to anything.

Keep up the good work!

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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#11 Post by Sonomi » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:03 pm

Oracle wrote:I like it. It has a nice flow. I especially like how it transitions between parts with lots of instruments to parts with few. It sounds like it would be from a game.

One thing that I feel needs improvement is the fact that it was too repetitive. You had the same two motives play over and over again. It didn't seem to develop or build up to anything.

Keep up the good work!
Hi. Thanks so much for the feedback!

Repetition is something I definitely need to work on. Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus can get to be underwhelming without minute changes happening in between. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and I think I can try Intro-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Etc.-Outro where each uniquely named bit has a different melody. :)

It's all a learning process. I appreciate the compliment, by the way! I will do my best.
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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#12 Post by TyberAlyx » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:51 am

Late reply! I listened to your song and from how I see it, it really have great potential! Each musician have their own style so this will be my point of view if I were to change things but ultimately its up to you so I hope my opinion helps:

- Usually when I make a song, I keep it a point in my head where I am gonna use the music. From how I listened to it, it feels like it should be used for a battle scene or high energy scenes. If this is your goal, you nailed it perfectly!

- Although you got the feel, it doesn't feel memorable. From how I see it, maybe its because of the chord progression. Its gritty, the pattern is unpredictable, and its a bit uncomfortable (and it should! cause you are in peril or trouble in a scene) but this can also be attained with chord progressions that are more memorable, specifically minor key ones. Some quick examples from google:

Common chord progressions in A natural minor
i - iv - VII Am - Dm - G
i - iv - v Am - Dm - Em
i - VI - III - VII Am - F - C - G

Why am I elaborating on this? Cause legendary osts like final fantasies and rpgs are very memorable. You can hum them in your head cause they stick. I believe learning this would be a great setup for your next songs to come.

- The guitar sounds to blaring, like a siren. Its really cool though if its mixed properly but possibly a different voice could easily fix it so it doesn't sound to artificial. Manually adding tremolo (simulating the finger shaking the string for the wavy sound) could definitely add more realism to it.

- Your rhythm with the bass and drums is perfect. You nailed having rests and gaps in between really gives it a punchy feel.

- Play around with dynamics! (If you didn't know what dynamics are, its the power when you hit a key. For example a light tap in a snare drum sounds different with a strong tap, not only volume wise but how the instrument responds). Dynamics really helps with realism. If you are using virtual instruments, most VSTs have different voices for different dynamics. Usually just go crazy and randomize them (If you have a good vst, some midi editors have a thing called 'Humanize' look for that feature if you have it)

Applying what I just taught here just a quick rough example I made if it makes sense:
https://soundcloud.com/tyberalyx/quick- ... mi/s-N9dkF

I would like to help out more if you need some advice. Just pm me :)

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Re: May I have honest critique of this song?

#13 Post by Sonomi » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:20 am

TyberAlyx wrote:Late reply! I listened to your song and from how I see it, it really have great potential! Each musician have their own style so this will be my point of view if I were to change things but ultimately its up to you so I hope my opinion helps:

- Usually when I make a song, I keep it a point in my head where I am gonna use the music. From how I listened to it, it feels like it should be used for a battle scene or high energy scenes. If this is your goal, you nailed it perfectly!

- Although you got the feel, it doesn't feel memorable. From how I see it, maybe its because of the chord progression. Its gritty, the pattern is unpredictable, and its a bit uncomfortable (and it should! cause you are in peril or trouble in a scene) but this can also be attained with chord progressions that are more memorable, specifically minor key ones. Some quick examples from google:

Common chord progressions in A natural minor
i - iv - VII Am - Dm - G
i - iv - v Am - Dm - Em
i - VI - III - VII Am - F - C - G

Why am I elaborating on this? Cause legendary osts like final fantasies and rpgs are very memorable. You can hum them in your head cause they stick. I believe learning this would be a great setup for your next songs to come.

- The guitar sounds to blaring, like a siren. Its really cool though if its mixed properly but possibly a different voice could easily fix it so it doesn't sound to artificial. Manually adding tremolo (simulating the finger shaking the string for the wavy sound) could definitely add more realism to it.

- Your rhythm with the bass and drums is perfect. You nailed having rests and gaps in between really gives it a punchy feel.

- Play around with dynamics! (If you didn't know what dynamics are, its the power when you hit a key. For example a light tap in a snare drum sounds different with a strong tap, not only volume wise but how the instrument responds). Dynamics really helps with realism. If you are using virtual instruments, most VSTs have different voices for different dynamics. Usually just go crazy and randomize them (If you have a good vst, some midi editors have a thing called 'Humanize' look for that feature if you have it)

Applying what I just taught here just a quick rough example I made if it makes sense:
https://soundcloud.com/tyberalyx/quick- ... mi/s-N9dkF

I would like to help out more if you need some advice. Just pm me :)
Oh...wow. I'm grateful for both the advice and the fact that you even made a song for me (*cries*). And better late than never!

I tried to apply your advice, especially when it comes to dynamics, because I did not know about that. The explanation about chord progressions is something I'm going to need to study more closely, on the other hand.

While I do play guitar, I don't know what all the chords are called nor do I remember many scales. :oops: But the guitars in these songs are VST, so it's absolutely a matter of learning how to tweak settings, I agree. I think I mentioned this before, but recording my actual guitar is actually a work in progress. Maybe I'll get to use real instruments eventually!

So in the new song, I toned down the guitar, attempted to vary dynamics, made a longer intro...and added strings. The guitar might still be loud, but it's hopefully showing a bit of improvement. I made my best effort to transpose what I played on my amp to the VST guitar.

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