Orchestral (&) Dubstep

Hey folks, new to discussing on any forums about music production, i have recently gotten into Orchestral Dubstep when producing because i enjoy both, epic orchestral and not too brutal dubstep/drumstep. Haven’t found that much of tracks from other folks in that particular genre, there are a lot of tracks from Instrumental Core and then mostly i have seen some individual remixes or singles. So are there anyone here interested about the category? i would like to hear some stuff and discuss about it.

I have mostly just practiced on my own and watched some videos on youtube about sound design on Massive to produce what i have done so far and here is my latest close to christmas example:

Care to give opinions or something? I can answer questions also. And i have made more similar music already which can be heard from my soundcloud profile or youtube account

Has anyone succeeded on making rather full epic orchestral tracks without the dubstep? I find it extremely hard to create long enough full orchestral compositions since it should not be too boring and repetitive, well i really enjoy making those beats and growly basses on the tracks so maybe i have found my main genre to produce although not only because i enjoy lot’s of genres


Liked it more than I thought I would.

Thank you, i’m planning on making more similar dubstep, i really enjoy making those guitar leads and also using violins a lot, Growls have been harder than expected to create and when i’m trying to make Drop worthy stuff. Massive is the plugin for sound designing basses, melodies and pads (sometimes Sylenth1 for melodies and leads) but Kontakt 5 is important on virtual violins and other instruments usually from Native Instruments such as Action Strings, Emotive Strings and Session Strings and also Action Strikes for orchestral hits which one shows itself on my other tracks, that electric guitar lead is from Nexus expansion pack, For beats i use basic kick snare ride hat combo which ones i search individually from Vengeance Essential packs and then try to build them to fit for the compositions

Although i have listened to a lot of orchestral stuff nowadays and got couple of projects hanging unfinished that i have all intentions on working further, basically for example Dark Knight theme somehow gives me chills so i shall try to make similar brass heavy orchestral stuff on my own

Well not so many Orchestral Dubstep enthusiasts here eh? nor on producing or even listening? at least deducting by the activity… well just finished my next track of such sort and would not mind opinions:

What ya think of da drop? what about mixing and mastering, sound about right? build? well gotta keep working on my skills always

uploaded an shortish video on how my previous track looks like in Fl Studio playlist:

just basically showing rather quickly what plugins i use and stuff

1 BigUp

Good production all around, i’d say it needs more bottom end for that hit and could do with some level dynamics. Listen to Varien https://www.youtube.com/user/varienofficial as he is a successful orchestral electronic producer and he’s signed to monster cat and has done multiple film projects etc.

1 BigUp

Hey thanks for the advice, awesome stuff by him, and yeah i have always had huge lack of skill on the mixing and mastering, EQ sound levels part as in making my tracks sound clear and professional so build ain’t the only problem for me. What hit do you mean by that? as in the slow beat kick or faster beat kick? orchestral drums? and do you mean just boosting the bass in around 80hz?

Sent this to Monstercat as a demo just to try if i could start to get serious about music:

They were not interested… too bad… well most likely this ain’t to their standards anyway, noticed couple of small errors afterwards such as the intro brass was ever so slightly compressing other sounds more quiet at the peak volume and also the second verse had some sidechain errors and the drone bass sound was too quiet on it, and also had to prolong couple of violins on chorus so this ain’t even the version i have now but all an all that was the best i could do with my current skills and plugins at least minus few things i could have made more into it such as try to make a cool guitar solo.

What you guys think of the track?

Made an orchestral heavy intro, but then rather melodic dubstep verse and more harsh brutalish chorus with growls and a screech and for second verse and chorus, a faster beat than the first one

deffo an interesting direction to take things, and i’m digging where you’re heading. Read up on traditional orchestration and instrumentation, to learn how different instruments generally work together or play off of each other. Knowing the abilities of all the instruments within a given family (e.g. strings) will ultimately allow you to move beyond simple harmony and into a realm of textural subtlety.

Bear in mind I’m not implying your harmony is simple—merely that harmony shouldn’t be your final goal.

Modulations are one thing, but how cool would it be to begin that modulation through a different instrument playing notes that imply a common chord?

even just knowing which instrument is soprano, alto, tenor, and bass in each family gives you superpowers :slightly_smiling:

1 BigUp

Thanks man definitely planning on heading mostly into Orchestral direction (as longs as i can have proper virtual instruments at hand), although also want to produce Dubstep Drumstep DnB styles (and even electro house dance or glitch hop or stuff like that, maybe even this future bass category that seems to be popular now although i am not so fond of it myself)

And yeah i should most definitely read up and watch some training videos on proper harmony orchestral melody creation, for example if someone says that a symphony is on C major or D minor or something like that, i seriously don’t have any idea what it means because i have never learned chords or reading music sheets and stuff like that, as in music theory in general is not familiar to me even though i have practiced producing over 3 years now, so far i have done everything i do with only my note ear as in what sounds almost correctly good to play, it is almost not that hard to notice when the keys are really off while playing multiple notes at once but still i don’t have any idea about proper music theory so if i wanted to be a professional musician i should know more about making orchestral harmony/symphony stuff, i checked if there were any musician schools nearby but there ain’t… so i think i should seriously start browsing internet since basically it’s full of lessons on music theory and i have time now because i am unemployed, just got to find the right ones, any suggestions on any good websites?

good call bud :grin:

if you wanna learn yourself, musictheory.net is a decent place to start. when you’re more comfortable, check out “Counterpoint” by Kent Kennan. deffo a classic, but that shit is like musical math problems so buy a hardbound version that can handle being thrown against walls.

also make sure you’ve got strong walls.

consider that most instruments in a given orchestra are monophonic, and it’s a family of instruments that allows for the realization of any given chord. to play a nice fat Cmaj you’ll want at least a violin, viola, and a cello, depending on the registers you’re using.

if all the violas played different notes in a chord, theres a potential for things to get muddy, unless you want that sound!

instruments in an orchestra are relatively constant and limited, so you don’t have to give it as much thought as, say, synths, which can occupy any frequency. Use that limitation to your advantage, and next time your reach for “string ensemble” in your sampler, instead make 4 tracks, one for violin, one for viola, and one for cello and one for double bass. play with basic chord ideas and you’ll find your strings sound fuller than if you were to play the same chord with one “string ensemble” sampler instrument.

thats why people are willing to shell out a shit-ton of dinero for vienna instruments. Hell I’d pay a grand for a damn good solo violin kontakt instrument with articulations that go beyond arco and pizzicato. if they’ve got sul ponticello or other extended technique articulations, then fuck yes!

listen to the following:
Krzysztof Penderecki - threnody for the victims of Hiroshima
Gyorgi Ligeti - Métamorphoses nocturnes

gives you a damn good idea of extended techniques available to strings. If you hate the music, keep listening until you know why.

1 BigUp

Thanks man for the advice, checked out musictheory.net yesterday and learned major chord scale on piano (C major, E-flat major and D major) in a matter of minutes (it’s cool how i can have Fl Studio open in the background and play virtual piano with my midi controller while browser is open), did not have the patience to keep studying yesterday about music theory but basically does it mean that if there is a symphony in let’s say the easiest C-major, it only contains/follows those CDEFGABC notes during it’s playthrough and does not include any flat notes for example and is mostly playing C note in all sounds?

And by the way yesterday was a really big breakthrough on realizing one of the major problems (no pun intended) i have wrong with basically all of my productions, as in i have always boosted (EQ, fattening up) everything from inside the project i am working on and tried to master it from there to sound loud and bright, which made the track so fat it was basically peaking all the time with every single sound and it could be seen from the waveform itself. So while i was introducing myself to ozone 6 i had to start to seriously dial down everything on mixer from within the project itself and try to add more subtle fatness to everything, especially afterwards with the audio file.

So same track but worked all night to make it sound more soft and also fixed few things on build:
What do you think?

Yeah, gain structure is important! generally my drum bus/sub mix/group/etc doesn’t have any transient peaks over -12dB - just to give you a good reference point.

If a piece of music is in Cmaj, it won’t usually stay in Cmaj. Any musical piece that is written to maintain listener interest will change keys throughout it’s duration. These key changes are referred to as “modulations” and there are too many ways to cover how you can modulate from one key to another, or why you’d want to, and what you want to achieve.

If a piece is in one key, it’ll have notes in other keys throughout - these are called nonchord tones or nonharmonic tones. There’s quite a few different types, each one has a name, which defines it’s function, and you’re probably already writing them in your tunes without knowing it!

Most important thing to know about music theory is that it’s not THE RULES™, but a way to study the history of how composition has changed over the course of time. Breaking the rules has been called many names, like “Minuet & Trio”, “Romanticism”, “Gesamtkunstwerk” “Jazz”, “The Second Viennese School”, “Blues”, etc…

lol you get it. Gotta know rules to break 'em doe.

since your aim is something orchestral, i can’t help but focus on the chord progressions. you gotta end on the tonic note (note the key is currently in) in every phrase, however long you want those to be (4, 8, 16, 32 bars). right before the drop it sounds like you’re not ending on the tonic, so there’s no sense of finality. If you want to add a sense of anticipation then that’s another story, but yeah, this all seems like arbitrary bullshit but producers do it whether they realize it or not, just like anyone writing music does, and if you’re not doing it, then it’s gonna sound ‘wrong’ because our imperialist western brains have been conditioned to expect certain patterns in music, and you’re not gonna challenge those without sounding like noise—trust.

seems like you got a good start on an arrangement, but play around with adding an extra two bars before a drop, or some sort of polyrhythms, just fucking with time in a way that’s unexpected, but still delivers after the fucking-with has commenced.

I’m not gonna bore you with details. learn which notes are in each key, and check out the circle of fifths to begin understanding how they’re all related.

Course, you could just make tunes with minimal drums that have a dope groove, and massive bassweight. then you don’t have to worry about this shit as much :badteeth:

Ok cool, have to focus especially on the chords properly and good use of virtual instruments and build because i truly would like to create good enough of orchestral parts on my tracks indeed if not full on orchestral because i really enjoy especially playing all sorts of virtual violins, cellos… strings in general on my tracks, not just only make simple beats and some heavy bass lines, and i should also focus on the breaks and creating some tension type of thingy yeah, which would bring more of an anticipation.

Even though i have practiced creating more heavy stuff with growls and such on sound design part, the drop still sounds weird and it is caused most likely by two main reasons, the silent break thingy or the build up before it is not good enough if i have even added one and/or maybe even greater reason might be that when i compare the intro, verse and drop parts i made, they don’t always kind of ‘match’ with each other as much as it is all on one track.

Maybe i should simplify some stuff on my tracks for example make an track with an intro which does not include any beat but rather somewhat almost rising melody, lead or piano part (all of them) which would then directly build up to the drop that would include the first kick drum pattern. But then again… i don’t know… got to listen pro tracks, think, practice and study music properly, there’s lot’s of stuff to consider and do when producing/composing my own stuff and sometimes laziness and the lack of motivation takes over me and i tend to start gaming, watching movies/tv shows and stuff which is a really bad habit if i want to make music properly and in larger scale. The lack of motivation for me seems to be caused by the expectation of failure in everything no matter what i do or how much i put time or effort into stuff which could be fixed by just not giving up too easily, but laziness… it’s just me being an asshole… so got to work on my psychological mood shit too, not just knowledge

You know yourself better than most, and that’s more valuable than technical knowledge. I’ll suggest that it’s not laziness, ambivalence, or apathy—but like you said, the expectation of failure, or thinking about the big picture instead of just ‘doing’.

I have that same problem, and I don’t win every battle, even though I’ve been producing music in some form since 2000. If I could recommend one book about personal motivation (gag), it would be “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.

Get it, steal it, read it and take note—The muse always favors the working stiff. To make something that others perceive as effortless, chances are you’ll be working like a mule. There will always be days that art feels like work, and days that you lose track of everything else but the work.

Start before you’re ready, Act before you think about it too much, but break down your work into discrete tasks. Recklessly, yet soberly, burn through each task—but treat yourself as though you would treat a friend.

We usually teach that which we need to learn the most, so i’ll let this serve as a reminder to me as well :Dsmirk:

1 BigUp

Indeed, thinking sometimes about some kind of an ‘goal’ on how i want to succeed somehow in music industry can only make it worse, at least if i start rushing things to finish caused by the stress of running out of time and not relaxing at all whilst truly creating and practicing more with patience and more time. But then again if i didn’t have any ambition on succeeding, would i ‘work’ at all? Well yes i would because making music in Fl Studio is bloody fun activity to do so it does not feel like work. So there is a fine line between just enjoying what i do and truly having another purpose for it.

Expecting something suddenly happening with what i have done already isn’t a good way to think. For example on music, i am truly still an amateur producer only hoping to get better at everything as i go along.

And thank you for the book advice, i actually have heard/read that book title from somewhere already, but didn’t give it a second thought at the time. I have in fact just started at least trying to read more (laying off video games and stuff more) since in books, there is more wisdom than in ‘shoot it all up’ video games, although some video games do tend to give some strategic problem solving and reaction time enhancements, aside from the fun. And also harder video games teach patience of not giving up at first failure.

By the way, finished another project yesterday:

Really fun trying to create combination of many styles rather than focusing on producing a single rather cliche style of music, it’s how i like to do it

oh I’ve been trying to explain to my parents how video games improve reaction time since i was 8, so I’m right there with you! producing music is like a video game, but you have something to show for it when you’re done! I’ll gladly attribute some of my monome abilities to mega man 2.

Sitting in front of a sequencer knowing you have to ‘make art’ for money is an entirely different animal, and you’ve gotta differentiate between music or sound ‘work’ and personal ‘fun’ projects.

IMO You’ve got the right attitude on trying to learn everything you can about this—because you’ll get to a point where you’ve got the ‘basics’ your process becomes so self-referential that you get bored. I gotta figure this is why artists who have a reasonably long career reinvent themselves so often—out of boredom, and to discover a new aspect of the discipline they’ve dedicated themselves to. Keep learning new shit, always have the humility of a student, and you’ll continue to find aspects of production that excite you.

The war of art is hard to get through, because you get so psyched after reading a few pages you throw it down in a ‘fuck this’ manner and get to work :joy:

dig the build up to your drop, man. The way you’re playing with pitch is dope. If you’re gonna have growls in there I’d suggest making the drop a little bit ‘harder’. Sometimes the best way to do that is to remove musical elements you’ve introduced in the…er… intro, and bring them back slowly after the initial drop. Your frequency spectrum is really full at the drop, so take some of the melodies away for 8 bars or so and you’ll have more room available for some massive drums and snarly bass. proper bassweight and it’ll be heavy!

Granted, I’m not as into the trope of “dubstep=growls”, as for me some of the heaviest tunes will always be the most understated unless you hear them on a big system (cyrus, pinch, etc).

I dig making growls though, and I can appreciate what you’re doing, so keep it up!

I’ve found the community at OC Remix to be pretty awesome at coaching through the process of building a solid orchestral score. You should definitely check them out.

1 BigUp

I’m not that much into making too heavy stuff, kind of… which might cause rather boring vibe on my tracks for some people, because there ain’t anything only “filthy” and heavy in there… well the lack of sound design and build skills might add it up, but still it really isn’t my style to make only growls and drones on a chorus for example, although haven’t tried only making them that much, i tend to always add some melodies or leads or orchestral instruments or something like that. I don’t know, just have to practice more… Should try to imitate some pro artist at some point exactly as in making an remake of some track for example and not only try to make my own style since it doesn’t seem to be interesting to anyone but myself. I guess consumerism demands what it demands and everything new is way out of the question as usual or at least my own taste/opinion is way different than majority’s.

Checked for the book you suggested, can’t borrow it because libraries don’t have it, can’t buy it either because out of money, Have to wait and see if i can afford to order it from online at some point when i get some monetary. edit. mom actually suddenly sent me some money all of an sudden, didn’t ask or anything, just ordered it, in a week or so i shall have it and hopefully get some motivation or useful information from reading it.