Oh Holy Night Orchestra

I’m practicing my orchestration stuff still, and one of the better ways I’ve found to practice is to take existing songs and try to come up with an arrangement for it. So here’s the first half of Oh Holy Night. I originally wanted to keep it really slow and soft, but I think it was too slow and ended up being kind of boring.

I want as much bashing as possible. bash the arrangement, bash the programming, bash the mixing. If any of the instruments feel like they’re tripping over each other, I want to know. If any of them sound fake, I want to know that too. Any timing issues that are annoying?

I need to finish up the second half, but I want to make sure I’m at least on the right track before I move on.

Sounding great!! Were you utilizing this software for the strings?

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About 10 seconds in it sounds like that brass is scraping at my ear drum in the high mids, but nothing sounds fake to me. I’m not a classical connoisseur so take that with a grain of salt.


no, I didn’t use that. The strings are the NI/audiobro strings. It’s the first time I’ve actually used them in a song. I usually have a hard time with them, but I do really like the way the midrange sounds, especially with the smaller section sizes.

That would be strings. And yeah, they are pretty harsh. I’ve eq’d out a lot of the high end from the strings, but could probably do even more. I tried bringing those down an octave at the beginning, but it didn’t sound quite right.

Or are you referring to the oboe?

I’m more of a novice at this stuff than you but I’ll try. Really the best info on this stuff is the virtual instrument forum but you probably know that.

The arrangement and timing sound good. The dynamics (swells) are very good. The opening instrument is a piano? It doesn’t sound realistic to me. The oboe sounds too big (wide?), oboes are small instruments that are need space to be heard, they can’t carry a tutti melody. I hear lots of bass/cello volume at 1:34 , they’re usually harder to hear in an orchestra.

Take this with two grains of salt please, my ears are bad and I’m new to virtual thing!

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The piano struck me as fake, but not overall. You talked about taking out the high-end, I think it might have been too much. Kinda sounds like there’s a blanket over the speakers, but it’s performed well. Maybe it’s just a case of wiping the high-end out of the right instruments?

Boz on.

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I’m guessing the fakeness of the piano is probably due to the fact that it’s highly quantized. I’ve been using it as the metronome, so I didn’t want any variation in it for that. I guess when I’m all done with everything, I’ll have to go through and play the piano part and it should hopefully sound better.

You could always call up Bruce Hornsby as a session musician, he hasn’t done anything in about 30 years. He’ll probably pay you to play.

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He did a great job of extracting that casio sound out of that Steinway. Pretty impressive.


Also impressive is the bass player playing the synth part (at about the 30 second mark) lol


Well they show the casio player in the video, it’s not like they were trying to fool anybody. Had you even heard of him? He wasn’t a very big star save that one song in 1986 so it’s possible that this is the first you’ve heard of him.

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Instead of piano, maybe use a harp or celeste at the begining?

You know what, I think I figured out what was wrong with the piano. The velocity was just way too high. I brought the velocity down and changed pianos, and it sounds ton better.

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nice work boz. I always dreamed of creating an orchestral piece from the ground up just like what you did. That alone is an achievement congrats. on the intro (trumpet lead i think) the background music could come up just a tiny bit just to be noticed. Also the percussion section may come up a bit with more energy… not sure how to do this though… maybe compression on those parts only… I always notice that orchestral pieces sound crisp and brighter which i think may come in handy in this mix. those are just my 2 cents. I hope this helps and congrats! cheers!

I’ll be back to bash on this later.

I just caught a bit of this so far…Sounds like movie music.

Hmm, it’s hard to describe it but it sounds fake. The better picture I could get is it sounds like one keyboard player did everything using his MIDI keyboard and not a full orchestra with lot of different players, musicians playing and knowing their instrument and how to play them.
At times, it sounds like you used a typical Roland expander to do everything… like all parts are liveless and played with wide chords…

What I found odd is the none realistic attack, life (w/vibrato at time) and release of each note on most of instruments. See, a violin player has a way of playing a note, how to play piano or forte, how to do a vibrato, how to end that note… and it’s not the way a piano player does… and that’s the big part of what I found fake…

I hope it could help, and it doesn’t mean it sounds bad.
Nice job anyway!