Air - Emotional Film Score

This is one of my originals. Intended for the Wuxia genre.
Composition is called “Air”

Please let me know your thoughts. Arrangement, flow, mix … anything. Thanks in advance!

Finalized after feedback: (subtle dynamics, stereo spread)


I think it sounds good. I think it could use more dynamics. There’s plenty of spots where you could have let those strings swell both in volume and in range quite a bit without losing the feel of the song.

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This is a beautiful sound that flows smoothly and holds my attention. I had to look up ‘Wuxia’ so I learned something! Sound tracks are kind of baffling to me. They can’t upstage the visual content but they often must be ‘epic’ and overpowering which is difficult to reconcile. As a musician I usually focus on music and visual content separately which defeats the purpose of a soundtrack so I miss the point entirely. So when I hear this piece I think of things to add to it but they are unnecessary because it is already complete. Thanks for posting!

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Sounds pretty and melancholy. I like it !
Good job!

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Sounds great! Good strong melody and instrumentation…

My only slight criticism is that all the ear-catching high-mid focused elements seem to be over on the left side of the stereo spectrum, so it feels like the whole production is slightly “leaning” that way

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I changed a few things and added some automation in certain parts to create some ebb and flow without overpowering the sound stage. Most parts in the arrangement were played live so left those dynamics alone where I could. Just enough dynamics to leave room for dialog. I posted the revision in the original post as well. Thanks for the tip!

Thank you for the vote of confidence!

It hovers in the neutral zone of happy and sad. Thanks for noticing!

likely the way I had them seated. I had the first violin chair and second chair to the left , the french horn was centered and double bass was to the right. I wrote the piece with a solo french horn playing sparingly. The french horn also only comes around 2min 4sec …so the piece ended up a bit empty and slightly skewed for the most part.

I added a bit of stereo spread to even the frequencies a bit without losing the depth though. I automated the panning for the solo french horn so it weaves LR near the center. The center band needs to be a bit empty on purpose for dialog.

Thank you every one for great feedback and encouraging comments!

Wish I was good at helping. Here is what I hear in these old ear in cans. Late right ear 25 sec. too loud left 33. Piano seems too far out in front in places like 18, 34, 42. Nothing to base this on except swaying back and forth enjoying this lovely peace. Movie ending. Good work :slight_smile:

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I think I heard the second version. I assume that all of the instruments/choir are not “real”, but they sound plenty real to me. It was a nice and relaxing song. No advice from me.

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Thanks Aaron! The real instruments are cello, violin, double bass and french horn, the electronic ones are choir and piano. The string players are my friends from my quartet group. I have been working on a smalll scoring room with a goal of getting more personal and cohesive sounding, simple scores from the ground up. Playable by 4 or 5 people at most.
Sounds are recorded in separate takes from the seated position with a central mic and a rear mic, then processed with effects such as doubling, eq etc.

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No wonder it sounds so real. Most recordings like that nowadays are all software.

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I prefer to use real instruments to play my scores over software ones unless there is an obvious unavailability or a time crunch. In my opinion the electronic versions or software versions are often “too clean” and lack the cohesiveness of the real ones which are often unclean and gritty. However, even today some people prefer the unclean over the super clean and crisp electronic counterparts.
We often find ourselves trying to mimic the real environment by adding analog characteristics or by fiddling with a lot of settings.
In another instance (See clip below) I wanted to create a bit more sparkle for a fantasy scene in a similar Wuxia context:

I use the electronic slow strings on my Yamaha keyboard paired with a real cello(playing in the right ear) and a real flute. You can tell the difference in the high strings from the clarity and crispness vs the real instruments damp and gritty. It is hard for the ear to feel that they are in the same space. It works though, as a soft background for a fantasy scene.

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I put this piece on while I was working and it completely relaxed me. I love it beautiful melody and the mix was spot on. Great listen.

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No advice, Michelle, the revised version sounds exquisite. I can imagine this in a soundtrack, Wuxia or Jane Austen historical drama. The melody is quite fetchingly melancholy. Your ensemble of friends is so fortunate to have your composition skills, and likewise you to have their performance skills at your disposal. Together you guys have been kicking musical ass!

I admire real instruments, but I equally admire the use of virtual instruments, and I doubly admire the ability to combine them so beautifully. In this case, it all sounds real. In another you might want to expose the digital because it has its own unreal quality. That gives you a fantastic palette to work with.

Thanks for sharing! Very uplifting today.

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Very beautiful and sad (in a pleasant way). I only listened to the revised version and there is nothing I feel I can say to make it better. Interesting to hear how you blend real and virtual instruments too. :+1:

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