Composer Cloud

I recently realized EastWest libraries offer a subscription service for their (otherwise very expensive) sample libraries called Composer Cloud, so I subscribed and have been experimenting with what their libraries have to offer. Here’s a short piece I recently wrote completely with some of their libraries (mainly Hollywood Strings, Hollywood Brass, Symphonic Choirs, and StormDrum):

I still have plenty left to experiment with, but so far I really like their Hollywood Strings, Hollywood Brass, and Symphonic Choirs libraries (though I doubt I’ll have the patience to use their word builder any time soon; ooh’s and ah’s are fine with me for now). And of course StormDrum has some great film-score-ish percussion available. They’re hard to resist playing with, even though I fear they may sound a bit cliche and generic these days. Oh well, too bad, I still want my turn to play with them! I’m not so impressed with their woodwinds, though; they sound pretty bland to me. I haven’t installed Garritan Personal Orchestra on this new computer of mine yet, but I hope to. I definitely prefer GPO’s woodwinds, which sound much more lively and real to me. Same goes for GPO’s harp. I also need to put my Bela D Media Celtic Winds on this computer so I can try mixing in some Irish whistles perhaps, or uilleann pipes.

Anyway, hope to write more music soon! I’ll probably write more pieces around the two minute mark. It’ll allow me to experiment a bit more, plus two minute tracks have a greater chance of being licensed I guess.

By the way, I hope you appreciate my harmony in the above composition; it may be subtle, but I tried some techniques I’ve never tried before, like going from a G# minor chord to an E minor chord for that eerie (perhaps cliche) film score-ish sound. I also use some suspended and augmented chords somewhere in there too, albeit rather subtly. Trying to expand my harmonic palette. You should be proud of me.


12 Comments

LanthonyS · March 2, 2016 at 10:11 PM

Have you picked up GPO5 yet? 🙂

S P Hannifin · March 3, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Ah, I didn’t even realize it was out! (I must’ve expired from their email list or something; I never got an email about it.) I’ll have to check it out.

    LanthonyS · March 6, 2016 at 10:42 PM

    It’s pretty good! Especially the new “orchestral strings” category. Lots of new techniques. I’m currently re-assigning / mixing all your Free Daily Melodies I orchestrated years ago, for practice with GPO5 :p

    P.S. Do you happen to have the midis of those first 42 melodies? I always regret that I didn’t save them so I could do a comparison between the base melody and the orchestration.

S P Hannifin · March 7, 2016 at 1:56 AM

The demos sound quite good… I think I still prefer EastWest’s strings though, however GPO has always been much more user friendly so I’ll probably invest in it at some point. (Not sure if I qualify for the upgrade price or not since I was a beta tester for GPO4 and so never actually had to pay for it…)

I’d actually love to get the Cinematic Strings library at some point, but it’s really pricey… but I really love their sound; I think it’s the best I’ve heard in regards to strings. Although I still have yet to hear a library that really captures the more “classical” sound of strings, at least without a lot of finessing from the composer. (I want to spend my time composing, not finessing!)

Re the 42 melodies: Yep, I’ve got ’em! The website no longer works, but the files are all still on my server, at: http://wizardwalk.com/freedailymelody.com/melodies/

If it’s more convenient, I’ve put them all in a zip file here: http://wizardwalk.com/freedailymelody.com/melodies.zip

LanthonyS · March 8, 2016 at 8:25 PM

Yeah, they’re better than GPO4 for sure, though sometimes a little variable quality. I think they might actually have been a bit lazy when putting these demos together. The Beethoven’s 5th one has some places where the strings shine, and other where they break awkwardly or sound a little fake. (But as you say, you don’t want to do a ton of finessing/sequencing when composing anyway.) Cinematic Strings sounds pretty cool from their demos! Even that might be more control than I’m willing to put in the work to figure out most of the time…

Thanks for the melodies!

S P Hannifin · March 9, 2016 at 5:59 PM

The strings in GPO5’s Tchaikovsky demo sound particularly fakey, but that’s the sort of stuff that’s the bane of sampled strings; the notes just don’t blend and overlap together the way they would in a real orchestra (at least, again, without finessing). Also, I think a lot of composers forget the importance of good reverb, which can add a lot (or destroy a lot). That can be a bit subjective though, but sometimes I think just getting the right reverb settings would add a lot to an otherwise synthy sounding piece.

LanthonyS · March 11, 2016 at 12:56 AM

Indeed, indeed.

For your curiosity, here’s an original FDM:

http://unfamiliarplace.com/fdm-10/

And here it is after about 15 minutes assigning new instruments, using some tasteful convolution instead of swimming in reverb, and adjusting volumes:

http://unfamiliarplace.com/melody-0010/

Still not the best orchestration (nor my favourite of those melodies), but it sounds a lot more presentable to me 🙂

LanthonyS · March 11, 2016 at 1:47 AM

Or with strings (again, not a bang-up job, but just a few reassignments):

Old http://unfamiliarplace.com/fdm-11/

New http://unfamiliarplace.com/melody-0011/

S P Hannifin · March 11, 2016 at 4:32 AM

Seems the links don’t work… I only get a notification about your website being remade…

LanthonyS · March 11, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Oh… right! WordPress creates “media posts” rather than direct links to files and hence they’re replaced with that page as well… Here are the direct links:

Old: http://unfamiliarplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FDM-10.mp3
New: http://unfamiliarplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/melody-0010.mp3

Old: http://unfamiliarplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/FDM-11.mp3
New: http://unfamiliarplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/melody-0011.mp3

LanthonyS · March 11, 2016 at 11:02 AM

Woah… listening to the new strings one without headphones on, it sounds quite muddy…

Leave a Reply to S P Hannifin Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

*