My MIDI-tracks for Doom & another games

On 11.12.2017 at 9:49 PM, RaphaelMode said:

Good music! Simple, but in a good way. I alraedy found a good use for at least one.

Thanks. I think you will enjoy them.

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Hello! As a composer it always intrigues me when new folks show up to share their stuff. :D


I'm going to offer you some critique, and try to balance the positive with the negative. I've got a pretty keen ear for quality, having been a composer for this community for over a decade now. (geez...)


Overall I think you've got a good handle of melody and song structure, and I think these songs are definitely of adequate length for Doom maps - but your mixing and instrument choice might still need some work. Additionally I think you might need to find a middle ground between harmonic simplicity and complexity - some of this feels like you tried to do too much, and some of it feels like you could've done much more.


Detailed critique incoming!




BLACK: Got to say, bagpipe is an ugly instrument in that octave - I'd definitely swap it out for something smoother like Synth Strings. The melody and harmony flow nicely here, with a simple chord progression that doesn't outstay its welcome. You build the percussion nicely here, too. The rhythmic use of the Choir Aahs at the end makes it kind of sound like it's performing a vocal line, which isn't bad per se, I just wonder what you were going for here, is all. The line gets a little bit chromatic right at the end, with the use of F and F# together in the key of E - this struck me as a bit off-key, so I'd urge you to check which key signature you're working in and be certain of which sharps and flats you want to stick with. :)


DEMON: Nice bassy intro, although the use of the two separate bass voices together muddies them a bit harmonically. The use of String Ensemble makes me think of TNT MAP20's track, and I like it. The organ-only interludes could probably be spiced up a bit somehow. From what I can tell the track repeats its main idea three times, though I couldn't quite tell the difference between the first and second repeats. The New Age synth in the third repeat is a little questionable, as it seems to be "doing its own thing", irrespective of the harmony you've established in the two prior sections. I think you could outright axe that "ti-tika ti-tika ti-tika ti-tika" thing that it does when it first comes in - it adds nothing particularly fresh.


EARTH: Started out promising - the shuffle beat is something we don't see as often in Doom-ish music. Once the track kicks in, it really loses something, though. I think everything's just a bit too high-pitched - the bass voice has no power in the octave it's in, and I think you have a little too much stuff going on in the upper register. When the low strings come in, you get some of the balance back in, but you also pitch the Charang down into the same octave, so those two instruments are fighting for harmonic space. Definitely play around with the octaves these instruments are working within, and see if you can strike a slightly better balance. There's a really good track lurking in here somewhere. :)


REVENGE: Quite a frantic change of pace, this one. The banjo-like rolls on the guitar bring some real excitement forward. I'm not really a fan of the bells, though, or really much of the percussion here, I'm afraid. The track as a whole isn't weak per se, but I struggle to think where it could fit in Doom. Can't think of much else to say, sorry! D:


SUNRISE: Hmmm. Here the Pizzicato Strings are far too repetitive, as is the percussion, I think. Some of the melodies certainly work, but they're not really working together enough - every melody is given a bunch of repeats, then it's onto the next one. The strange chord right at the end kind of suggests to me that you were running a bit low on steam here. I have to thumbs-down this one, as it really doesn't do much for me. :(


WALTZ: Not bad, but I think it needs more variation, particularly in the bassline and percussion, which remain fairly static throughout. I can totally see what you were going for though, with the inclusion of piano and brass like the French Horn, and the saxophone, and certainly that could be an interesting blend of instruments in a track like this. Definitely listen to some jazz and lounge music and I'm sure you'll pick up on their stylings.




ANOTHER: Straightforward but quirky chord progressions. Wasn't overly fond of the first guitar solo, but the second one is pretty solid. Unfortunately gets a bit cacophonous and confused towards the end. I think there's a bit of an over-reliance on transposing the first few ideas into different keys (which is known as parallel harmony), without much regard for a more diatonic style of harmony. The bassline is perhaps an octave too high, and then a lot of the instruments end up reaching quite high towards the end.


DEMON2: Could probably do with some volume balancing. The staccato chords on the guitar are a little too loud against everything else and the drums are a little muddied. The chords themselves once the track gets going end up feeling quite "busy" and entangled, and I think you need to decide on whether to have a sharp or natural C in this song's key signature. You have the melody using the sharp C, but the chords have a natural C, and this causes some confusion for the ears. I mean, polytonality is a thing, but that's something to save for when you want to get super technical and advanced with your music - here it seems like you were just a little indecisive - no offense!


The song has a good flow and structure to it otherwise, and the fadeout works nicely. It actually evokes a pretty interesting atmosphere, overall.


DGATE: Nice guitar work on this one. Again, I think your chords could stand to be more diatonic rather than employing parallel harmony (simply transposing a single chord up/down a set amount), although here there's a pretty clear divide between these two approaches (at 1:00, to be precise), so I think for this track it works fine, for the most part. The underlying bass voice at the beginning cuts out when the guitar comes in - I'd have kept this going, personally. The percussion is super understated here, but that works in the track's favor, for sure. The Chiff Lead I probably wouldn't have gone with, though. Not bad, this!


HERETIC: Demented pitch bends at the beginning and end. I think again there need to be some volume adjustments, the guitar seems a little too loud, and high. Not much to say about the composition here, I think the track's structure is pretty sound. The detuning effect at the end is kind of curious, and I can see how this'd loop the track nicely, so points there for thinking of that.


KURYOKHIN: A kinda cool chord progression, kind of sullied by how unadventurous the lead guitar is, leading to a track that really doesn't seem to do much. The orchestra hits kind of come out of nowhere, and I don't think they lend much to the track. The high-pitched Sci-Fi lead at the halfway mark sounds like a horrible alarm and it just repeats so much. Thumbs-down for this one overall, sorry. :(


LOSTMY: Funky start. You have a good handle on stuff like this. The bassline feels extremely static, but the upper melodies for the most part do their bit to make up for it. The key change halfway through is welcome. Not much else to say on this, as it doesn't really seem to branch out into much else.


MYDAD: Cool sense of harmony in the beginning section, even if the melodies themselves are a bit lacking. Good key changes at the halfway mark, but again, the melodies don't really pick up much pace - I think you have a lot of literally-one-note melodies - nothing wrong with simplicity, but I think here it doesn't support the track. Towards the end the ideas do change up, especially with the introduction of the Brightness lead, but again I think you might need to solidly decide on a key signature to work within. It's not too bad, but yeah, definitely aim to get an ear for diatonic harmony, brush up on the theory behind it, whatever it takes to get the idea.


NOMORE: Quite a few layers going on here, despite the song being a little downtempo, which keeps it interesting. The key changes are cool, very Prince-ian. Even the descending chromatic stuff is in a similarly inspired vein, and I don't think I mind it, even if it's still a little out of left field. The track has a subdued section at the end which wraps things up nicely. Not bad at all, this one.


SAMPLE: Ah, now this track honestly makes pretty fantastic use of diatonic harmony. We start in D Dorian, then go to E Phrygian, then to C Ionian, then to B Phrygian, and eventually A pentatonic. That's five different modes of harmony you've employed, while using only one sharp note (F# in the B Phrygian part)! The ideas are a little disjointed, and the transition points are a little out of nowhere - perhaps due to the song's shorter length - but I really like the overall sound of this one, gotta say. I'm not super sure about the Seashore effect during the A pentatonic part, it doesn't really provide much for the track's rock-oriented atmosphere.


THEDREAM: This might be the most evocative track out of all of them, at least at first. Very cinematic and uplifting in terms of the chords used, and the introductory flourish is particularly nice. It's balanced mix-wise nicely, too. Good use of dominant seventh chords. Unfortunate, really, that the melodies don't seem to do much beyond simple arpeggios, and it becomes very apparent after the repeat of the main phrase that the track isn't going to do much else. The change at the 4:00 mark comes way too late, I think. You had a really nice idea with this track, but I think the repetitive nature kind of sours it.


It's definitely salvageable, though, and I'd love to see you work on this a little more, maybe shorten it and gradually ease in new elements as the track progresses through just a couple of repeats of its main phrase, then you can bring in the guitar-based B section, then have one last repeat of the main phrase with all the elements coming together very strongly in a dramatic climax - then you can have your repeat of the intro, which is of course how the track currently ends (effectively, I must add!). Heh, hopefully that all makes sense.




In the Universe Dreams: Here's an example of a track that starts out sounding nice and balanced - you have the Muted Guitar and Finger Bass occupying a different octave and hence working well off each other. Nice piano, too! The instruments in the upper register play off the lower ones nicely, and that guitar enters at just the right time too (though some of the notes are a little off-sounding, have to say, especially the crazy-fast licks). I do get the odd feeling that some of the notes are off a bit, timing-wise - maybe it's worth quantizing everything to the 32nd note, just to be certain. Good work with this one, probably my favorite of the bunch.




Honestly all these tracks do have good points and I can see they have a character to them as well, one that you're still working on developing. Can I ask what you've already heard in the community's roster of musicians? There's smatterings of Prince in there, of course, for sure - but I'm wondering where or whom you've pulled your inspiration from. Either way, it's working nicely for you - I can see your improvements between Music Pack 1 and 2, and "ItUD" is a good song with just a few tiny little foibles that you can easily iron out.


Thanks for sharing these! I hope I've not been too mean on ya. D:


Edited by Jimmy
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@Jimmy thanks for the critic. I'll try harder.

13 hours ago, Jimmy said:

Can I ask what you've already heard in the community's roster of musicians? There's smatterings of Prince in there, of course, for sure - but I'm wondering where or whom you've pulled your inspiration from. 

I'm just a music lover and I was inspired by many musical compositions in many styles. Something I wrote from scratch but something I created as a cover to famous song.


For example:


DEMON DEMON2 are based on The Cure - Kyoto Song


NOMORE is inspired by The Stranglers - Nice 'N' Sleazy


KURYOKHIN is the cover version of Sergey Kuryokhin's  "The Tragedy InThe Style Of Minimalism" (so I called it in honor of the author of the original composition)


DGATE is based on Dio - Straight Through The Heart


At the moment I'm listening to the punk-rock, new wave, post-punk, coldwave and indie.


P.S. Some midis, like a DEMON2HERETIC THEDREAM sound pretty under XG, not GM, because I created them under XG.

Edited by BJ34
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1 minute ago, NinjaLiquidator said:

Cool, I can totally imagine those in Doom maps

You're welcome. Please enjoy it.

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