View Full Version : seeking criticism and comments

Leah Kardos
03-15-2009, 06:00 AM
Hello there,

this is not a composer trying to peddle themselves, I'm actually quite busy with a few huge projects at the moment (and my first feature length coming soon, too - argh!).

I just want to get better at what i do. I've been writing classical-styled music for a long time and only recently have I begun experimenting with film seriously (having discovered I really get a kick out of the whole process). I figure you guys would know a good score when you heard one, this forum is probably a goldmine for great advice.

Anyway, to the point... 2 weeks ago i spent three nights on this short horror film soundtrack (8mins). It was zero budget so the producer couldn't hire real players, therefore all the sounds are sample/synth based. I personally think it turned "ok", but I want my next score to be perfect.

03-15-2009, 09:45 AM
I watched the film and apart from it being a bit too similar to the ring it still held my attention. The soundtrack was like a blend of evil and sweet haunting melodies, but you obviosuly know your stuff and the soundtrack is fine for the film. In some parts i would have rather heard a really dark evil theme then the piano. But the score was quite fitting. I'm not a great composer, my main field as a student is directing camera and editing and sometimes i have a go on reason but one of my favourite parts of film is the music. Like i said the soundtrack i believe was the most professional part of the film.

03-15-2009, 10:06 AM
I have no musical background, but as someone who really enjoys music, I'll offer my opinion, since I'm sure you probably want non-musicians to appreciate your work as well.

I only got to listen to the first piece, and I liked the basic melody, sound, whatever. The only criticism I would give is that, the piece starts off slow and gets slower. At one point 20 or 30 seconds in, there was a point where I expected another, stronger range to kick in, but instead it all slowed down.

I don't know anything about notes, but I can play the music in my head, and I can hear your piece right now, only I've added that building element as it goes along and gets more powerful. I think if you add that in, the piece would go from being good to extremely good.

Leah Kardos
03-15-2009, 02:22 PM
thanks for the comments, I will take everything on board. I am a pianist and definitely think i should try to compose for different sounds more often.

I found this film slightly unusual since there is hardly any dialogue - it's difficult to not be 'intrusive' with the music, if you know what I mean!


03-30-2009, 02:45 AM
Hi Leah,

First of all nice job on the music. I really like the "innocent" beginning. It really sets a good mood. The soundscapes in the movie are functional. Only point I had problems with was around 1.50 - the sounds stop all to sudden in my opinion. Silence is a strong feature (very strong), but I had the feeling you missed the spot there.

A few other suggestions

- try to make your piano music somethimes less rhythmic and try to search also for some flowing moods without falling back on the "michael nyman" like structures. My suggestions would be to listen to some of the piano works from classical composers such as Ravel, Debussy and Olivier Messiaen.
- the piano parts could somethimes use some sort of counterpoint. Not with other instruments, but also with the piano
- think about blending the piano more with the soundscapes. In other words. Connect them by for example creating strange mix effects on the piano (distant echo distorted piano's just to give an example)
- go nuts and wild on experimenting with the mix. Its one of the best, but far too often neglected features of film audio.

Overall I really like what you did!

Leah Kardos
03-30-2009, 05:20 AM
thank you very much! That was really helpful :)

04-03-2009, 06:09 PM
I thought all the music was great. But, I actually go against the grain as most of the others.

While I think the opening piece was excellent, I thought the tempo and use of 16th notes went against what I was watching. The only time they truly blended was when you see the first shot of Morgan's fingers coloring. The tempo and notes blend nicely there. But, the shots and transitions don't really match. Also, there should have been something "Big" (yes I am a musician, and the best word I can think of is big) when the title appears and the song should have ended.

All the other mood music and placement of the piano melody are excellent.

But, in the end. The piano in the beginning is so pretty that it doesn't ruin anything and I can see why it was used.

Leah Kardos
04-04-2009, 06:19 AM
I know exactly what you mean about the opening not really working - the goal was to give people the wrong idea about the movie, and at the end of the day its the single part of the whole thing that I wish I could change. It's too fast..

Cheers for the wonderful comments - so valuable!

04-04-2009, 10:03 PM
I really like the piano parts.

The rest was okay... nothing bad; just didn't stand out as well as the piano bits.

I know bugger all about music, but that's my opinion.

04-06-2009, 07:09 AM
The Music:

The music was good. I really have nothing bad to say. It was well done and followed the story well. I wish I could give you more, but I just don't see any issues with it.

The Movie:

I thought it was very well shot, I thought the lighting cool, the sound design was solid, and the acting was good.

I do agree that the evil girl resembled The Ring a bit...I instantly made a relation, which might have been considered.

There were a few lighting inconsistantcies between shots...but they were minimal, and didn't ditract from the overall picture.

The ending was a little uninspired. I would have prefered that the girl vanished and that's it. The Dad shouldn't have been killed. He should have just lost her forever.

Good short.

04-06-2009, 01:28 PM
I did like it over all. The only thing that stuck out to me was the volume of the piano to the rest of the sounds. To be honest some times I was distracted from the film because of the piano. Now that could just be me because I too am a composer and I often find my self paying closer attention to the music then the film.:lol: Considering nobody else mentioned anything about it, I wouldn't worry much about it. The quality is great and I think it goes well with the film. I am curious if your music covers up a lot of the ambiance or natural sounds going on in the film or if there is just a lot of silence in the film before you added music. When there is no natural sound (footsteps, floor squeaks, cars driving by...) then it is common to get the sensation that the music is out of place or too loud because there is nothing to compare the volume to. You often get an over dramatic sense because of it. If I had to guess I think there was a lot of silent parts in the film prior to adding your music. But that stuff is not your fault. I have done some projects with a bunch of silence and my music sounds way too dramatic because of things like that. But the composers job is to add music, not sound effects (usually.)

Over all, I liked it.:yes:
I cant wait to see more things you have done.

04-06-2009, 01:50 PM
I also wanted to add (sense I to am a pianist) that one instrument in particular that you need to use in conservative moderation is the piano. Because it is the most versatile instrument it often becomes a dominant part of the experience of watching a film. Its velocity is extremely variant and its mood can be overbearing because of this. But overuse will certainly bore a good amount of the audience because the range of its sound spectrum is so evenly distributed.

This is just a suggestion, sure there are a lot of great scores with piano and rules are really there to be broken. But (as hard as it may be) if you utilize and rely more on the other symphonic instruments you will see that the variety of emotion you can portray will widen greatly. Especially when you bring in your terrific talent on the piano, the audience will have a more dominant feeling of emotion.

If there is one instrument in the world that everyone can relate to, it is the piano. Use it like a secret weapon.