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Topics - FierceDeity

Alright, so I have a couple of ideas for the next contest. I'll update this post as more ideas are suggested/any consensus is reached.
Spoilers added because oops this turned out really long (to nobody's surprise but my own)

Idea 1 - Take A Sad Song And Make It Better

So, this one's kind of a natural progression from a couple of our previous contests, namely the bossification and the...spookification (?) ones. We've focused a lot on making pieces less peaceful and less joyful, so why not try the reverse? The criteria for this would simply be to take a melancholy, scary, and/or intense piece and make it "happier". Think Ordon Village or Green Greens. Obviously, pieces like the ones I mentioned would be off the table for originals to base this on. It would likely be judged similarly to the "spookification" contest in that considerable departures from the mood within the piece would result in a lower criteria score, even if the majority of the piece were still cheerful.

The drawbacks of this one are that it limits the pool of pieces one can choose from a bit more than usual, and has a somewhat vague goal (I'd have gone with "hometown theme" or something like that, but that just seems too specific, imo). On the other hand, though this means that despite the lower amount of freedom in piece choice, arrangers might end up with a greater amount of freedom as to what they do with the original.

Idea 2 - Limited Orchestration

Most contests, we have a pretty similar thing happen: A theme is suggested, and while people are pretty successful in portraying it, they do it with such drastically different instrument setups that it's pretty difficult to rate them against one another. I'd never try to qualitatively compare a Basie chart to a Mahler symphony, or, a more thematically appropriate comparison, a NES soundtrack to a nextgen soundtrack. So, what if the theme for a contest were instead very broad, and the focus were on how you deal with a prescribed orchestration?

My initial idea for this is to limit everyone to a quartet of monophonic instruments (i.e. no keyboard instruments, and likely no guitar). It'd be kinda like the solo contest we had a while back, just with a lot more freedom for typical writing styles. On the one hand, I'd thought of making it more limited to, say, a string quartet, but that gives unfair advantage to people more experienced in that area. On the other hand, I'd also love to open it up to combo arrangements with guitar and piano and such, but polyphonic instruments really stretch the definition of 4-part writing.

This is obviously limited in that it doesn't warrant that much of a change from the original piece, especially if it already contained a similar amount of voices. That could partially be resolved by arbitrary rules such as "no instruments that were in the original piece" or "write for a different emotion than that present in the original" (the level of difference then being valued in the creativity scoring), but still, eh. This idea truly is more of a brainstorm, as I'm really just intrigued by the idea of how everyone's pieces would compare if limited in this way.

Also, I have a couple of thoughts on some of the judging criteria:

- I love this one conceptually, but historically it's kinda just turned out to be a pretty universal "I love your choice of instruments!" with an occasional "...but this isn't that realistic of a part for [some instrument]." Arguably, this could be because everyone who submits has a pretty good grasp overall on how to write for the instruments they chose, but it could just as easily be an attempt to remain fair and objective on a very subjective scoring criteria. And, as evident in the scoring of them's last time, for example, there's quite often a disconnect between what works best for the instruments in real life, and what might be ideal in the digital interface in which we ultimately experience them. And while this has the potential to be a great experience for people to learn about the inner workings of instruments, it could also be a time to learn about what additional liberties we can take when we're not just limited to what real-life players can accomplish, as well as when and how realistic portrayals of instruments can still be beneficial in that new space. Part of this thinking came from me doing more work with purely electronic sources that don't even have a basis in real-world instruments, such as 8-bit chip sounds and synths, which would be both interesting to see in this context and a bit blurring of the current lines we have set on this criteria. Just some food for thought; is everyone okay sticking to a strictly acoustic approach to this, or would anyone like to see some more digitally-minded judging? And if we were to keep the same "attemptedly objective" approach that we have been, would anyone be interested in seeing its weight lowered?

- I feel like for this one, my only concern is that it's historically been the least transparent of the judging criteria, even though it's the main focus of the contest, and should therefore have the most codified set of rules you have to follow. So, as we're discussing these ideas, if y'all have any thoughts on what considerations should be included in the scoring for this, let me know. I'm talking ideas like
QuoteIt would likely be judged similarly to the "spookification" contest in that considerable departures from the mood within the piece would result in a lower criteria score, even if the majority of the piece were still cheerful.
only I'd try to make that clear from the very beginning.

- Not just saying this because I've historically done poorly on it, but more because most people have historically done much more poorly on it than the "This should result in easy points." description would suggest. My thoughts are that we should lower the weight of this criteria, say, to 5 points. It isn't, and shouldn't be, the focus of these contests, especially considering the medium we're working with; maybe if most games had the funds or style required to work with live musicians, it'd make sense, but they don't, so it seems silly to work as if we do. The majority of us are never going to have these pieces read, and so long as the score presented allows the judges to adequately understand what's going on in the piece without a need for aural skills, I don't see why it should play such a huge part in somebody's overall score. Hell, if we change it, you can even change it back to normal weighting for any future contest that I participate in; as a judge, I just really don't want to have to say "Your piece was great! You did exactly what was asked of you! Except the imaginary players you won't be working with might find the score a bit unseemly. 10 points from Slytherin."

(As a learning experience, we could still point out what changes would need to be made if working with real players, it just wouldn't have nearly as much impact on the overall score.)

- I think this criteria is fine preserved the way it is. (get it? GET IT???)

- Arguably the most important of the criteria we have, as well as the most undervalued. This really should be what we're most encouraging; this shouldn't be training to be a better arranger by the NSM definition (which is really more of a transcriber + engraver), but more in the vein of Percy Grainger (ideally with less anti-semitism). So, my thoughts are that we could weight this category higher and/or divide it into multiple categories, like so:

Creativity - Like the current definition; how much change is made from the original?
Variety - Within the piece, what kinds of techniques are used? Is much headway made throughout the piece to maintain interest, or does it remain static, and to what extent do these qualities suit the arranger's apparent goal?

Obviously, none of this is set in stone (including me being the host, for that matter), so please let me know what your thoughts are on any of this.
Music / Orchestration Topic
January 28, 2015, 12:26:40 PM
Hey guys,

So it's come to my realization recently that not every composer here is necessarily entirely familiar with all of the instruments they'd like to write for, and I think that's a shame, because orchestration is really such an important aspect of composition. And I thought, hey, we all have different backgrounds here, and a lot of us could probably benefit from the experiences of others! I, for example, am still pretty foreign to a lot of techniques and writing conventions for piano; it's part of why I rarely write for it in any context other than arrangements for the site.

I am, however, pretty comfortable with the majority of orchestra-related instruments, particularly winds. I've been playing brass for 9 years, of which I played euphonium for all 9, (tenor) trombone for 4, tuba for 2, and trumpet for 2. (I also played percussion on and off for a total of about two years.) I have a lot of experience playing in wind band, big band, and chamber ensembles, and a decent amount of experience giving private lessons, directing rehearsals/sectionals for the aforementioned groups, and playing in orchestra. I've taken a couple years of practicums and orchestration classes for all four instrument families (strings, percussion, brass, and woodwinds), during which I dabbled in most instruments I didn't already have experience playing, hopefully enough to get a general feel for what works and what doesn't.

Now, the point of this autofellatio-in-paragraph-form isn't (just) to stroke my ego in front of you all, but to let you know, if you think this experience would be valuable to you, feel free to ask any orchestration-related questions you have that you think I might be able to answer.

I'm also far from the best musician on this site; if any of you who know something about your instrument(s) (or any others) that the rest of us might not (which, really, is most of you! Almost everybody who's worked with music has something to bring to the table), feel free to post here like I have, so that other people know what resources they have available to them. My hope is for this to become an open forum where we can all benefit from one another's unique experiences with music.
PC / Steam Sale Topic
December 22, 2014, 12:15:55 AM
I just realized that we don't even have a topic for this, yet we talk about it kinda frequently. Make your steam sale-related recommendations/inquiries/comments/haikus here.

As for myself, I just bought the Binding of Isaac collection for 66 cents. 90% off, baby.
I feel like this issue never actually got resolved before the last topic got locked.

Let's not get caught up in the exact criteria that constitute whether something is spam or not. Because, in reality, no matter what definition we give it, it's the end result of said spam that matters. Let's just consider the pros and cons that arise when somebody requests a lot of songs.

-Arrangers looking to do requests are given many more options as to what they'd like to arrange, especially when it comes to difficulty of arrangement/how much they like that individual song.
-Arrangers may be informed of songs that they, too, would like to see on the site, but hadn't checked to see if they were already there or not.
-That requester has a higher likelihood of having songs that he/she likes to be arranged, allowing them to play more of their favorite video game songs on piano, which is the point of the requests board.

-An arranger might have to go further into the requests board to find your individual request (which can be resolved by a simple bump).
Quote from: FierceDeity on September 23, 2013, 10:01:20 AMHow dare he want to play many songs from his childhood?! CURSE YOU, APHRODITE, GODDESS OF DESIRE!!! *shakes fist at Mount Olympus*
-Nothing else really comes to mind.

Obviously, this list is rather skewed toward my own opinion on the matter, but I sincerely want to know what everybody considers to be the actual ramifications of such "spamming". Again, the term doesn't mean anything. The end result does.

Let's try to keep this one civil, yeah?
Music / NSM Community Chamber Ensembles
November 26, 2013, 07:43:03 PM
So, I love Maestro's idea of taking the different instrumentalists that we have here on NSM, and writing a piece for a community performance. However, I think that the massive instrumentation he's including (i.e. everybody on the goddamn site) is a little more than I and most others on here can handle/have time for (whether Maestro himself can has yet to be seen; ball's in your court ;)).

Anyways, I thought this would be a nice place to keep a list of available instrumentation, and to discuss future projects. If you want in on this, go ahead and let me know what instruments you play, and I'll try to organize them into a coherent list. Don't worry too much about when you're going to have access to these instruments/the ability to record, because the idea here isn't to have a set deadline, but a general forum for organizing such things, at which point any limitations can be discussed on an individual basis.

Maybe this'll catch on, maybe it won't, but personally, I'd love to see the arrangements performed on this site to expand beyond solo piano.

(I may make a score order list of instruments and people who play them later, if more people "sign up", so to speak. For now, I'm going to do the reverse of that, since we have far more instruments than players :P)

Available Players
  • Olimar12345: Bass Trombone
  • MasterProX: (Electric) Violin
  • JDMEK5: Piano, Harmonica, Acoustic Guitar (Steel String), Electric Bass, Cuatro
  • FierceDeity: Euphonium, Tenor Trombone
  • K-NiGhT: Violin, Piano, Vocals (Bass), Euphonium
Home-Made Compositions / FierceDeity's Compositions
November 11, 2013, 01:42:03 PM
So, as seems to be the case with many, many people on here, my goal is to score games for a living. About to go into my junior year in undergrad, studying composition with a minor in game design. As I gradually finish more and more compositions that I'm actually happy with (a rare, yet increasingly frequent, occurrence), I'll put them on here. The genres are going to be pretty varied, as I'll be balancing friends' projects with things for school and things for myself, but I like to think there's at least some game music influence in most things I do.

Without further ado, here's some stuff.

Where The Heart Is

Anismack Intro

EDIT: It seems that the soundcloud plugin isn't working for these, even though for the one that's private I shared it via the private link; but it should work if you follow the links to soundcloud itself.

old, unedited stuff
Calm Before the Storm - PDF   MUS   Audio File   SoundCloud

The idea here was to write a static, peaceful piece to portray a starting town/village in a video game. I varied as little from the tonic as possible (for the most part using it as a pedal), to create a kind of stable environment for the game to begin with, before there's any sort of conflict.

Chaos Incarnate - PDF   MUS   Audio File   SoundCloud

For this one, what I was essentially told to do was to make up a mode other than the seven inherent in the major scale, and write based on that. So, I started off with the two chromatic triplets (A A# B, D D# E), and eventually followed the pattern to include all notes in the chromatic scale (except for C, which is covered during the transposition near the end). Then, at the end, with all of the chromatic notes covered, it explodes into what I fondly refer to as an intentional clusterfuck. I'm a lot happier with it than I thought I'd be, given the premises.
Oh, and I know that it's not actually an original mode, as that can't really exist anymore :P

Descent into Madness - PDF   MUS   Audio File   SoundCloud

For this, I was told to write based on any mode (at which point I could have just said "fuck it" and done Ionian :P), so I wrote in E phrygian. My instinct in this piece was to follow the contour of the scale without indicating tonal harmony (because it wouldn't really be modal then, would it?), so I focused on the interval of the fifth a lot. I haven't really workshopped this too much (or at all, really), but I'm still pretty happy with it.

Let me know what you guys think!
So, season 1 of Attack on Titan is now over (and the finale was sooooo goooood), and now that the whole season is online, I thought it was a good time to start this thread. If you've watched it, now's the perfect time for us to discuss it. If not, it's the perfect time to catch up. It is such a ridiculously good anime, possibly my favorite (although I've noticed I tend to think that about whatever one I've watched most recently), and if you haven't watched it, I dare you to go watch the first 5 episodes and not want to barrel through the rest of the season in one night.

Anyways, there were so many good things about the last episode, but there's one thing that stood out the most to me (actual spoiler right here):

Oh, and if you haven't watched it yet, here's a good place to do so. They don't have the last episode public yet, but you can just google "attack on titan episode 25 english sub" and you'll find it.
[PS1] Legend of Mana

Title Theme
PDF     .aiff file     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Cliff Town Gato (On Site!)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube Link (for reference)

Pastoral (On Site!)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Places of Soul (On Site!)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Hometown Domina
PDF     MIDI     .aiff file (better audio)     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[SNES/PS1] Chrono Trigger

Battle Theme 2
PDF     MIDI     .aiff file (better audio)     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Burn! Bobonga!
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Corridors of Time
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Crono and Marle - Far Off Promise
PDF     MIDI     .aiff file (better audio)     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[SNES] Earthbound/Mother 2

A Flash of Memory
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

Apple Kid's Theme
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Bed and Breakfast
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

Super Dry Dance
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

Winters White
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[N64] Mario Party

Full of Danger (per request)
PDF     MIDI     .aiff file (better audio)     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[SNES] Megaman X

Sting Chameleon
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

[GBC] Pokémon Pinball

Catch 'Em and Evolution Mode in Red Field (On Site!)
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

Field Select (On Site!)
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

Pokédex (On Site!)
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

Red Field Theme (On Site!)
PDF     MUS     MIDI     Youtube link (for reference)

[3DS] Pokémon X and Y

Emotion (NEW)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[N64] Diddy Kong Racing

Fossil Canyon (per request) (On Site!)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[NES/DS] Final Fantasy III

Eternal Wind (On Site!)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

Nept Temple (On Site!)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[NES] Kirby's Adventure

Vegetable Valley (Grasslands) (Reviewed in Live Feedback)
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[Wii] Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Wing Ceremony Victory
PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)

[GEN] Sonic the Hedgehog

Invincibility Theme (per request) (NEW)
Original version:     PDF     MIDI     MUS     Youtube link (for reference)
Chordal version:     PDF     MIDI     MUS

I hope you guys like them; let me know how I did!