Topic: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.  (Read 1554 times)

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Z_A

[Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« on: June 22, 2017, 09:26:02 pm »
Hello to all who came across this thread! I'll probably be posting some of my arrangements here. Here goes...

https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/headless-hunter

[old info]This one has a rather long history, being the first real Touhou arrangement that I made. I just happened to notice how two compositions had the same tempo and started thinking of a way to fuse them together. It finally turned out like this, combining the heavily modified guitars, both rhythm and solo, and drums (also re-worked) from one composition, and the bass/lead lines from ZUN's Dullahan under the Willows, and some parts of it also got transferred to the rhythm guitar line. The strings are mine though, probably the only part of this composition not borrowed from elsewhere. While keeping that in mind, I tried to make my further arrangements more "personal", so that I could truly call them my own - this one is actually more of a remix thing than a real arrange, even though it was translated from the midi that I made, not using the sounds from the original tracks like it's usually done with remixes.

This arrange is the most ZUN-ish among the, admittedly, scarce amount of my works so far. It even loops like any Touhou composition would. Listen till the middle, if you like - the second half is the same.  And, well, no fade-out, no nothing. Ah, this post is getting way too long. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that this piece was probably just a training of sorts for me, before I'm ready to make real music and my own great compositions and arrangements. I just don't like the idea of making something half-heartedly, even if it's just for training, so I did my best (I have slightly more experience now than I had back then and I still think it's okay). The last thing that I changed in this composition before posting it here, after getting helpful recommendations from Mea and Waluigi, was the soundfont used to render the midi. With the default Windows soundfont it sounded, well, not exactly bad, at least to me, just somehow cheap. I can't really put that feeling in words. The soundfont used this time is Arachno SoundFont, and I am not ashamed to show it to people anymore ^^ so, please, listen and comment on what you heard. I would especially appreciate some detailed criticism, so that I knew where to improve. I'll post my other works too, as soon as I'm done with finalizing them - changing the sound, like I did with this one.[/old info]

The updated description here.

Remastered version:
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/headless-hunter-remastered


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https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/yy-the-chosen-one

The really long explanation goes down below. Read it if you like, also, please listen and comment.

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https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/chaos-dial

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https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/hardcore-youkai-shoujo

Another piece with some magnificent description attached, which you can read below.

Remastered version:
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/hardcore-youkai-shoujo-remastered

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https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/flower-land-of-the-past-present-and-future

Let's rock! Also, the story, as usual.

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https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/end-of-daylight

An arrangement... eh, I don't even know what this style is called, do you? And the various issues with it.

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https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/dreams-and-phantasms

Some more ska, and a bit of story.

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https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/pristine-lead

You're here to listen, not to read, right? Or are you?

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Non-Touhou:
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/the-final-page
« Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 12:57:10 am by Z_A »

GenericArrangements

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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 07:05:40 am »
dangit it's your first one and it's already so much better than my mixing

I like this. Just a thing or two though:
 - Your mixing of drums is... interesting. Snares, hi-hats, crash cymbals, etc. are generally equal in reverb (just spread out), while kicks are very dry (toms are also dry, but not to that extent). You have the crash fairly close, but the snare is hidden too far into the background. The bass drum's reverb is alright, but some prefer a bit more impact (I personally don't mind). For a rock/techno song like this, drums should be vital.
 - The piano was a little bit jarring when it first soloed (there's a sudden change from thick texture to thin texture). I'd suggest having the piano play incredibly quietly a few moments before, with a slight build-up. Possibly also increase the volume in other parts during that solo only slightly.

Nothing much else. Me like.
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Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2017, 09:01:16 am »
Oh boy, my English was so bad there =_= so sorry about that, I just got tired after a long day. I hope it's at least comprehensible.
dangit it's your first one and it's already so much better than my mixing

I like this. Just a thing or two though:
 - Your mixing of drums is... interesting. Snares, hi-hats, crash cymbals, etc. are generally equal in reverb (just spread out), while kicks are very dry (toms are also dry, but not to that extent). You have the crash fairly close, but the snare is hidden too far into the background. The bass drum's reverb is alright, but some prefer a bit more impact (I personally don't mind). For a rock/techno song like this, drums should be vital.
 - The piano was a little bit jarring when it first soloed (there's a sudden change from thick texture to thin texture). I'd suggest having the piano play incredibly quietly a few moments before, with a slight build-up. Possibly also increase the volume in other parts during that solo only slightly.

Nothing much else. Me like.
You probably don't need to worry about that at all, my arrangement is fairly complex, but on the other hand you are able to makes yours daily, while mine usually take me half a year or so. Talk about efficiency.

-As for the drums, in this situation I do rely a lot on the soundfont. I felt the drums were a bit fake in some aspects, after I changed it, but I wasn't sure how I should go about it. Or even whether this was possibly the right sound that I just hadn't been used to. I'll try to pay more attention next time, so thank you!
-That's a break, not a solo ^^ at least that's what I intended it to be. I noticed that too: the piano just rings much more than it should, an undesired effect from the soundfont change as well. I don't even know the proper name for that sort of sound - feedback or sustain or... Well, it's not even a bad thing, it just doesn't exactly fit this composition. So, the problem lies deeper than just the volume adjustment. I did try to fix it somehow, but failed. Next time I'll really use a DAW and hopefully I'll be able to solve problems of this kind.

Thanks for listening and for the explanation! I'm really glad you liked it.
« Last Edit: June 23, 2017, 09:05:47 am by Z_A »

GenericArrangements

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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2017, 07:56:45 pm »
-That's a break, not a solo ^^ at least that's what I intended it to be.
oops

I noticed that too: the piano just rings much more than it should, an undesired effect from the soundfont change as well. I don't even know the proper name for that sort of sound - feedback or sustain or...
Yes, that echo is caused by the sample itself. I know Arachno's Grand Piano soundfont is very echo-y, which is why I prefer to use Timbres of Heaven's piano.

Thanks for listening and for the explanation! I'm really glad you liked it.
No problem!
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Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2017, 03:12:05 pm »
I just wanted to post it sooo much, I had to finish it in a hurry... No, really, in my case that's considered "in a hurry" indeed ^^

https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/yy-the-chosen-one

The story behind this arrangement is not as long as the first one's, but it's somewhat more exciting and eventful (the "events" being mostly various fails on my part). To begin with, I accidentally came across this Akiyama Uni's tune: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H9QvWA8JgY, and I was like "waitwhat, touhou and ska are compatible!.." I had really liked ska music for quite a long time, but for the last several years I almost completely forgot about that. This song reminded me of it, and naturally affected my decision to make a ska arrangement. Choosing the composition to base upon was a captivating process in itself, considering the VERY specific requirements of the ska genre. Well, what came out isn't an authentic ska tune, since, uh, the accordion is most certainly not a traditional instrument in ska music. Neither is the Akiyama's theme really, but close enough. I was somewhat inspired by the aforementioned piece, although only the last part sounds quite close to Akiyama's style, the rest of the composition much less so. As for the accordion... I have to admit, it's devastatingly hard to make a ska song without vocals; it's basically required, and the singing parts usually have only the guitar, bass and drums playing - totally non-melodical instruments in ska genre, and that doesn't work for Touhou at all. I supposed having just a single instrument play the main line all along was really boring, hence this form of alternation.

The parts of the original composition were rearranged, loosely based upon the other version of Necrofantasia from Magical Astronomy, which I like much more. Compared to the original song, the parts order follows like this: 2-3-4-1-2-3-4-5 (fading out). I just don't like the 5th part, it's too simple, so I chose to leave it for the fade-out on purpose, and ironically, the way I arranged it really made it resemble Akiyama Uni's style the most. The 2nd part was the intro in the Magical Astronomy version, so here I had it play first. All in all, I tried to follow the general ska guidelines as much as I could, I even did a bit of a research to avoid the largest portion of fail, and this composition probably ended up much less complex than the first one. It should be noted, however, that I did have not one, but two pieces available to base the first composition upon, also, in this case I only used the main melody from Necrofantasia, and added the rest (drums, guitar, etc) as I saw fit, thus pursuing my goal to make a more "personal" arrangement, as I had said before. Hope you like it, and please tell me if not, whether entirely, or just certain parts: I really strive to improve my skills, and your feedback is essential for that.

Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2017, 10:21:47 am »
An update over that silent update! Now I know how to use EQ and compression, so reuploading the Headless Hunter again. The long history of this composition becomes even longer and more complicated than before, but... well... this one would be the 5th or even 6th version of my track, and now it's significantly different from the first version, like if I had made an arrangement on my own remix. The important thing is - I think it's the first time that this song carries some kind of emotional contents, and needless to say, I like it much more this way. I'm still learning certain ways of processing sound in DAW, as well as testing various soundfonts, so this is most likely still not the final version, but if it's better than before, then, hey, why not post it right away? As always, feedback is appreciated.

Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2018, 09:26:51 pm »
And now, for something (slightly) different!

https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/chaos-dial

There's really no story about this arrange, I just had an idea, and I tried to realize it. Though it wasn't so easy, since this time I needed much better guitar sounds than those I managed to find in soundfonts (like I stated before). Eventually, I figured it out, and finally rendered this piece. Didn't take me as long as the former ones, so... that's sort of a progress, I guess? Albeit the arrangement itself is pretty simple. Hope you listen and enjoy! In a fashion similar to the Headless Hunter, it repeats twice, so, you might listen to just one half. Also, please post your feedback - it helps people grow!

GenericArrangements

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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2018, 10:06:05 am »
I can't say too much besides the simple fact that I really like it. I need to know where you got that rock guitar soundfont because it is really good.

(Hopefully) Constructive Criticism:
 - It's really nice but it's a tiny, little bit empty-ish at points where it should be more full. I feel like a quieter, significantly less important layer of sound would work really nicely to fill it in more, although I'm honestly not sure what kind of instrument would go there.
    - At the same time I might be saying this because of the way you panned your instruments (to the far sides), although the panning itself is not a problem at all and sounds really nice. It just leaves empty space out at the front.
 - On that note you should probably do something a bit more in the 6/4 (?) section. It's a lot emptier than the rest of it. One idea would be to make the drums do more fancy stuff.
 - As much as I'd say you need more fancy guitar tricks, it is a soundfont, so that would be harder. I believe it would still be possible to have a downward glissando or two somewhere, but you don't need to add any if you don't really feel like it.

tbh I still don't like Luna Dial as a song but I really like this arrangement.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2018, 10:56:36 am by GenericArrangements »
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Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2018, 01:04:26 pm »
That was fast!

Quote
I can't say too much besides the simple fact that I really like it. I need to know where you got that rock guitar soundfont because it is really good.
Thanks! I'll send you a PM.
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- It's really nice but it's a tiny, little bit empty-ish at points where it should be more full. I feel like a quieter, significantly less important layer of sound would work really nicely to fill it in more, although I'm honestly not sure what kind of instrument would go there.
I kind of borrowed several structural ideas from another piece (non-Touhou), that's why. I actually thought of adding some strings padding (pun intended), but I guess it doesn't go quite well with the genre.
Quote
- At the same time I might be saying this because of the way you panned your instruments (to the far sides), although the panning itself is not a problem at all and sounds really nice. It just leaves empty space out at the front.
It's nice to be able to place the bass track in that very space, to make it audible. It's actually a sawtooth synth bass, so it would conflict with most instruments, unless left alone. I just reeeeeeally like saw waves~ Anyway, the conflict is obvious in the solo part, where both guitars sounding at the same time occupy the whole frequency bandwidth, and so the bass is barely audible. It's annoying, but there's probably little to be done about that.
Quote
- On that note you should probably do something a bit more in the 6/4 (?) section. It's a lot emptier than the rest of it. One idea would be to make the drums do more fancy stuff.
Maybe, maybe not. It's supposed to be a break, hence less sounds. I'll consider it, though - fancy stuff with drums never hurts.
Also, I didn't change time signatures there, it's still 9 bars of 4/4, with plenty of 3/4 and 6/4 notes :P
Quote
- As much as I'd say you need more fancy guitar tricks, it is a soundfont, so that would be harder. I believe it would still be possible to have a downward glissando or two somewhere, but you don't need to add any if you don't really feel like it.
It's not entirely a soundfont sound, but... I'm still only learning on piano roll capabilities (it's still piano roll), so I'm not sure if it's actually possible to apply complex guitar tricks in it. That would probably liven up the composition, so yeah. I'll try to look into it, thanks.

Thank you for your feedback!

Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2018, 02:48:52 pm »
I wonder if anyone bothers to read those "exciting" stories behind my creations =P anyway, another piece incoming!

https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/hardcore-youkai-shoujo

So, as I had stated earlier in my "silent updates", I really didn't have the means to properly render my second arrangement (chronologically second, anyway, after the Hunter) until just recently, when I found a way to use more or less decent guitar sounds in my DAW without actually owning and/or playing the real thing. Other than that, the story behind the arrangement is somewhat weird - again, like in the Headless Hunter, I decided to put together a Touhou piece and one other composition (which I probably didn't have the legal right to do), so I was faced with two problems - how to reasonably convert the Hartmann's 7/8 to the more common 4/4, and how to mix the typically rich Touhou melody into a very plain punk/hardcore tune. The latter took me about half a year to figure out (just place it in the bass track ftw, man), and just a couple of days after that to complete the arrangement. And only years after that I have finally learned some necessary techniques to convert the midi arrangement into an actual tune. So, here it is - feedback, as always, is very much appreciated.

Also one non-Touhou-related piece please listen to it as well it's actually nice or maybe not whatever
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/the-final-page

Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2018, 03:52:29 pm »
This one is kinda worth reading, trust me =P very inspirational, etc.

https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/flower-land-of-the-past-present-and-future

So, this one time I sent Yuuka's theme to a friend of mine with a comment like "Hey, check it out - great rock tune!" or something along those lines... Wait. What do you mean, it's not rock? Dude, it is so obviously rock that idunno lol. Well maybe the instruments are not very common for rock, but if they were to be changed~ that's right, I totally need to change the instruments and make an arrangement! It took me a really long time to find the midi, and it even failed to open in my midi editor, so I had to do all the work in DAW. It didn't turn out all that bad, actually, I even found that using piano roll to edit the drums is much easier than the way I did it before. Indeed, the drums in the original composition appeared so surprisingly simple and boring, that I even had to verify myself, whether that was really the case, or just insufficient quality of the midi. Hence, I reworked them quite a bit - you expect something more exciting in rock, right? Well, this arrange is probably as eclectic as everything else that I've made, not proper rock. Having two synth players in a rock band is rather unusual... Still, it turned out quite well, I think. Other than changing the instruments and fitting all the necessary lines into fewer tracks, I also increased the tempo just a bit. I suppose it makes the song slightly more agressive - the original, even being a very special boss theme, is still so calm and soothing, such is the nature of this amazing game. I hope you enjoy listening to it, and if you have any ideas on how to make it resemble rock even more - please share it with me! Any other feedback is appreciated as well.

GenericArrangements

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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2018, 10:09:34 am »
I can really see something great forming from your work. Please keep it up!

Concerning this piece specifically, I have a few things to mention:
 - The start was really nice! It gets a really nice vibe going. The main problem though, is that it loses interest as it progresses.
 - This is rock, so you should be really showing off more with the rock guitars. It's good in parts, but there's a very long time where the guitars continuously play this simple offbeat rhythm. It gets very boring, which most certainly the opposite of what you want for this. It would be good to experiment with the accompanying layers in various parts based on each section.
 - More on accompanying layers, the drums aren't really focused enough (mainly the volume; it's too quiet). Continue to experiment with drum patterns more, because it's a greatly important part of most works you'll end up making.
 - Really I'm not sure how much the song has been developed to fit a rock song better, although I do see elements of it. It may come back to my first point though. Just needs more interest.

Otherwise a nice arrangement, and I think you're improving a fair bit.
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Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2018, 05:50:04 pm »
A pity I'm not that fluent in English to properly reply to that :smokedcheese:

First of all, I'm touched by what you said about where I'm going with all this and how I'm progressing, as I'm not sure myself, whether any of my work even makes sense; that's why I'm so eager for feedback... Thanks.

Next, about the boring parts. I guess I really messed that up: I tried to come up with some sort of riff to replace those offbeat notes, but I failed, so I just left this part from the original composition.

As for the drums and the volume - it might be just a matter of personal preference. I never try to make the drums stand out. Enough if they're audible. Also, when I'm trying to arrange the drums, I usually try to imagine, how a person would play it IRL, but I have so little experience with it, that it becomes very hard. I should probably do something about that.
Quote
Please keep it up!
I most certainly will! And thank you very much for your comment!

Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2018, 09:59:37 pm »
Well the thing is... I was actually going to post two arrangements, but it's been a month since I finished the first one, and I haven't really made too much progress with the second, so I guess I'll just post one atm. I'll try to compensate with the story though (;

https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/end-of-daylight

Did I mention that Story of Eastern Wonderland has some awesome tunes? Not too many though, but this one (the original, I mean) is actually pretty great IMO. Especially this moment in the middle, where the "bells thingie" plays high-pitched notes over a layer of very fat bass and a pad... it does give this feeling "lotsa things happen at night, so be wary" - and then comes the crescendo part, as if those scary things are really starting to appear! (= also, in fact, I made it at night, and only made several necessary corrections the day after.

So, about the arrangement... I think I really like to play around with various padding instruments. At least, that's what I did in the Headless Hunter (and enjoyed it) and in The Final Page, where I enjoyed it even more, because the original there is very minimalistic in nature, and I had the urge to add some "completeness" to it. That's why I decided to try and make some arrangements approximately in the same manner, as this might actually be my "thing" =) Also, I'm not sure whether I should credit the author of the MIDI that I based this arrangement upon, but just in case - I took it here. It's actually mostly wrong, compared to ZUN's original (though maybe it relates more to the "upgraded" version by Romantique Tp), but I only found out after I posted the arrangement, and while I felt kind of sorry about it, a number of people told me that my arrangement is very nice, despite being half an octave off, so I let it stay that way.

It turned out so that I, for the most part, changed only the instruments... and the volume... and slightly modified the rhythm... and added a layer of padding, as I saw fit =P so, basically, yeah, it's an arrangement) it still very much resembles the original, but it has a completely different feeling to it. Something nostalgic and calm, maybe? I think it has a "nightly" touch as well, but in a different way from ZUN's tune. Hence the name, and I hope you enjoy it! There'll probably be more like this one - the other arrangement that I was going to make was Himorogi, Burn in Violet, but the name kind of implies that it needs to be made metal \m/ it's part complete, but atm it critically lacks the growling vocals and I have no idea where to get it, I am no singer and most certainly not a metal singer! So I put it aside for a while, and currently I am working on another one, but in the style of The Final Page and this arrangement as well. Actually, it might be the easiest way - I don't have complete notes, but fiddling with the padding leaves my hands untied. Anything that sounds good fits, basically. I'll be sure to post it here, so look forward to it!

GenericArrangements

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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2018, 09:23:24 am »
Did I mention that Story of Eastern Wonderland has some awesome tunes?
It does indeed have some really nice music. My favourites are Complete Darkness and Himorogi Burn in Violet, and End of Daylight has a really nice atmospheric feel to it too. My personal interpretation of the piece uses more strings and less synth (it's still there obviously, just not the whole focus), but I do really like yours too!

As for real suggestions though, I'd say your ensemble demands more focus on percussion. I think what really strikes to me is how the bass doesn't really suit the percussion lines. I know it's the original bass, but for accompanying parts (especially the bass) it's much better to redo it based on the arrangement, treating your arrangement more as your own personal interpretation of the piece, instead of a transcription-based interpretation (if that makes any sense at all). Besides this, I enjoyed the music. Keep it up.

Also, I'm not sure whether I should credit the author of the MIDI that I based this arrangement upon, but just in case - I took it here. It's actually mostly wrong, compared to ZUN's original (though maybe it relates more to the "upgraded" version by Romantique Tp), but I only found out after I posted the arrangement, and while I felt kind of sorry about it, a number of people told me that my arrangement is very nice, despite being half an octave off, so I let it stay that way.
Ah the classic problem with using someone else's MIDI. Being half an octave off isn't too much of an issue; it's just a key change really. As for notes, don't trust a random transcriber from the internet unless it's clear they have great experience in it. The best strategy really is just to move from a simple transcription-based arrangement into something more original. Sometimes it's nice to have adaptions of synth pieces though (particularly famicom chiptune or PC98 stuff).

the other arrangement that I was going to make was Himorogi, Burn in Violet, but the name kind of implies that it needs to be made metal \m/
Haha yeah. It's really got a rock feel to it, and I can't wait to hear your interpretation/arrangement.



On the subject really, I think it's important to distinguish between interpretation works and full unique arrangements. I'd call this more of an interpretation work as it continues to use many similar parts with the same structure as the original. Interpretation arrangements are pretty fun to make really, and I have a few HRtP ones lying around (was going to do the whole soundtrack but got lazy. Maybe some other time?). I think it's really enjoyable to see others' interpretation of a synth work.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2018, 09:48:08 am by GenericArrangements »
Please read my posts as if I'm not taking them too seriously.
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Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2018, 09:17:00 pm »
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/dreams-and-phantasms

Another ska piece. The name though... really, "Dimension of Reverie"? Come on, there are ice blocks and other sh!7 literally falling on your head >_< anyway, here's the story (as usual).

This little thing has actually been lying around for some time while I was arranging other stuff. Reason? I wasn't sure what to do with the second part. The original, having a cool off-beat, already had the ska vibes, but the calmer second part was asking for something else. Initially, I was considering violin, but that would be another genre, right? More like something along those lines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKVlHGppsvs. Still good, but not what I had in mind, really. They do use the hammond organ in ska though, so eventually I decided to take that path and completed the arrangement.

This arrangement is probably closer to what Akiyama Uni does, which is what I tried to do in my other ska piece (the Necrophantasia arrange), and it's actually much closer to ska. I wonder if I arranged the last part okay... I mean, ZUN uses those paired notes all the time, when he arranges the trumpets or whatever, but I couldn't really grasp the whole concept. Both notes should fit the scale, that much I figured, but why is it a third down most of the time, but occasionally a fourth? In the end, I think my arrangement for the last part seems a bit too dull and rather plain, compared to how ZUN usually does it, but somehow it also has some Russian flavor, which ZUN really does not do. This is kind of weird, but maybe it's just as well. As for the mixing, I started using the limiter on drums, so they're actually audible here and, hopefully, in my future arrangements as well. Hope you enjoy this arrangement, feedback is still (and forever) much appreciated, please comment if you feel like it (=

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It does indeed have some really nice music. My favourites are Complete Darkness and Himorogi Burn in Violet, and End of Daylight has a really nice atmospheric feel to it too. My personal interpretation of the piece uses more strings and less synth (it's still there obviously, just not the whole focus), but I do really like yours too!

As for real suggestions though, I'd say your ensemble demands more focus on percussion. I think what really strikes to me is how the bass doesn't really suit the percussion lines. I know it's the original bass, but for accompanying parts (especially the bass) it's much better to redo it based on the arrangement, treating your arrangement more as your own personal interpretation of the piece, instead of a transcription-based interpretation (if that makes any sense at all). Besides this, I enjoyed the music. Keep it up.
Thanks! I'll consider it.

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On the subject really, I think it's important to distinguish between interpretation works and full unique arrangements. I'd call this more of an interpretation work as it continues to use many similar parts with the same structure as the original. Interpretation arrangements are pretty fun to make really, and I have a few HRtP ones lying around (was going to do the whole soundtrack but got lazy. Maybe some other time?). I think it's really enjoyable to see others' interpretation of a synth work.
Yaay, this one is an interpretation work as well, like most of the stuff I've done so far. Also, like I stated, I used the material from other, non-Touhou songs here and there. In the Headless Hunter and in Hardcore Youkai Shoujo I really just merged two songs into one arrangement each, and in Chaos Dial I borrowed most of the structure and many parts of the drum lines from another song as well. But yeah, it is fun, and the fun is doubled when using two songs.  Anyway, the promised Himorogi arrangement is still missing the vocals, and the other thing that I'm working on is not yet complete. It's kind of like my Opus Magnum (first of the many to come), it's HUGE and I haven't done anything of such scale so far. Hopefully it will end up good and worth the effort.

I think my mixing has improved, which is why I'm also going to post the fixed versions of some earlier arrangements soon.

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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2018, 01:10:43 am »
Another ska piece. The name though... really, "Dimension of Reverie"? Come on, there are ice blocks and other sh!7 literally falling on your head >_< anyway, here's the story (as usual).
I like me some ska. This is nice.

This little thing has actually been lying around for some time while I was arranging other stuff. Reason? I wasn't sure what to do with the second part. The original, having a cool off-beat, already had the ska vibes, but the calmer second part was asking for something else. Initially, I was considering violin, but that would be another genre, right? More like something along those lines https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OKVlHGppsvs. Still good, but not what I had in mind, really. They do use the hammond organ in ska though, so eventually I decided to take that path and completed the arrangement.
Ah, the classic situation of having one section that just doesn't work entirely with the original idea. I like the strumming you put in that section. The section itself doesn't sound very ska-like, but it still sounds nice. That organ is kinda loud though and right in the listener's face, if you get what I'm trying to say. Using reverb or EQ or even stereo merging might help make it a bit less prominent.

This arrangement is probably closer to what Akiyama Uni does, which is what I tried to do in my other ska piece (the Necrophantasia arrange), and it's actually much closer to ska. I wonder if I arranged the last part okay... I mean, ZUN uses those paired notes all the time, when he arranges the trumpets or whatever, but I couldn't really grasp the whole concept. Both notes should fit the scale, that much I figured, but why is it a third down most of the time, but occasionally a fourth?
The reason it's occasionally a fourth is because of the scale really, and also because of the specific chord underneath. For example, in C#m, you would usually put a G# underneath a C# to make a fourth, however if there's an A chord underneath then it's better to put an A underneath that C# to make a third. You probably get this already though.

As for the mixing, I started using the limiter on drums, so they're actually audible here and, hopefully, in my future arrangements as well.
Yep, the drums are quite good here!



As a side criticism, I feel like you should find a new soundfont for the brass (and saxophone?) stuff. The way you used the melodies and parts with these instruments was cool and interesting, but it's a little squandered by the sounds themselves. I feel like I've heard better sounds for these instruments, though they can be hard to find sometimes (especially brass, and I don't know why it's that one specifically but it is).
This is a neat arrangement, though I feel it might be good to have more varying sections.
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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2018, 03:14:54 am »
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I like me some ska. This is nice.
Thanks!
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That organ is kinda loud though and right in the listener's face, if you get what I'm trying to say.
Ouchie. Sorry about that. I didn't really expect that it could become TOO loud.
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Ah, the classic situation of having one section that just doesn't work entirely with the original idea.
That should probably be alright, considering it's an interpretation arrangement, which means it should retain the lines from the original in every part. Even if it's incorrect from a stylistic point of view.

Even then, I'd still say it's more ska than the last time.
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The reason it's occasionally a fourth is because of the scale really, and also because of the specific chord underneath.
Ah, this makes much more sense now, thank you! All those dyads vary very subtly to the ear, so having an actual system to rely upon will help improve both the speed and the quality of my work.
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As a side criticism, I feel like you should find a new soundfont for the brass (and saxophone?) stuff.
You've mentioned that before T_T among all the soundfonts that I use (Arachno, Omega, Airfont, Musyng, SGM for most of the instruments, and several more for specific purposes) I believe SGM has the best barisax, and some of them have more or less decent trumpets and trombones, but none that I really like. I picked the two sounds that seemed alright to me. Maybe if you (or anybody, really) could suggest something of a better quality...
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(especially brass, and I don't know why it's that one specifically but it is)
I think Adam Neely mentioned it somewhere that recorded brass and wind instruments sound bad altogether, but since my stuff isn't going to be performed live anyway... we'll have to make do with what we have =P
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I feel it might be good to have more varying sections.
I even have an "extra" section compared to ZUN's piece! Doesn't that count? :)

Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #18 on: November 06, 2018, 07:10:59 pm »
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/pristine-lead

Hope the story doesn't actually bore you to death. Indeed, this arrangement turned out about twice as long compared to my other works. Having finally completed it... would I still call it the "Opus Magnum"? Well, perhaps not, but there is a smaller concept - I'll count this as my nigredo (the first stage of Opus Magnum in alchemy, associated with black). Which is surprisingly fitting, since this tune turned out dark enough to get people asking whether I was making this for Halloween. I wasn't (= that was not even an option, considering I started working on this arrangement almost immediately after I finished End of Daylight (early June), which means it took more than 5 months to complete it altogether. And I don't often plan that far ahead... Its unfinished state has been bothering me very much lately, so I was in a rush to finally get this over with, which is a necessary lesson to me: working faster in the beginning will help avoid eventually getting sick from it later, because doing things in a rush feels bad. Maybe if I took more time to think, I'd have come up with some better ideas for some of the last sections. Or maybe not, but we won't get the chance to find out now.

Would you look at that, we have ourselves a fancy jazz lady here! But, seriously, the character design is so amazing. And it's very nice to have an actual musician in Touhou (well, not that we didn't have before... the Prismrivers, for instance). I kinda really wanted to do something with her theme for a long time, but I guess I wasn't ready back then :) so, about this arrangement... Like I said before, I allowed myself a lot of freedom to modify the lines in order to achieve an interesting sound. I also used quite a lot of instruments (I only have more in the Headless Hunter, and it didn't work out quite well there). I tried my best to come up with some ridiculously complex chords here and there, but since I am new to this, most of those are just 6, 7 and sus4 chords with weird inversions :) Also, this time I wrote the drums myself, they're fairly simple, but I think they work well with the melody. I changed the rhythm of certain parts as well, to put more focus on the lead rather than the beat, and that's the reason for the name.

I just couldn't leave out my fails, could I? The thing is, I didn't really manage to figure out the scale that ZUN used in this composition. Is it some variant of A minor? Not that it really mattered, but at some points I had freaked out: why does it sound so good, yet the scale is so unfamiliar?! A lot of music in Kishinjou sounds rather creepy, so the people asking about Halloween probably had a point: the original piece is powerful, but creepy as well, and I removed most of the power, so the creepy remained... I kinda like that. In the process of arranging the piece and referring constantly to the original, I couldn't help but wonder about some of ZUN's mixing - he really should have done a better job! Next, I finally noticed (and at the very last moment too), that the aforementioned limiter spoils the sound of the drums, so I had to replace it with something else, and with that, the rendering time increased dramatically. You really need to use the VST in moderation! The SoundCloud now has a reminder to upload the files in the highest quality possible, but I only had an mp3 ready, and anyway, I don't feel like posting gigabytes of .wav - my tracks are almost all downloadable, and while the quality is higher, I wouldn't want to bother people with ridiculous filesizes. Maybe next time I'll render in .flac. So... I hope you like this piece! It was, in a way, the hardest for me so far. I'd appreciate your feedback, as always.

PS panning: circular vs triangular => triangular. ONLY triangular. Please.

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Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2018, 09:38:58 pm »
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/pristine-lead
Ooh this piece. This is an interesting arrangement.

And I don't often plan that far ahead... Its unfinished state has been bothering me very much lately, so I was in a rush to finally get this over with, which is a necessary lesson to me: working faster in the beginning will help avoid eventually getting sick from it later, because doing things in a rush feels bad. Maybe if I took more time to think, I'd have come up with some better ideas for some of the last sections. Or maybe not, but we won't get the chance to find out now.
Yeah, in my experience it's usually better to do most of it earlier on. Often I finish the mixing part in 2-3 days max, otherwise I never finish it (mainly because of losing motivation lol). Different scheduling works for different people, so soon you'll get an idea of what really works out.

Would you look at that, we have ourselves a fancy jazz lady here! But, seriously, the character design is so amazing. And it's very nice to have an actual musician in Touhou (well, not that we didn't have before... the Prismrivers, for instance).
Raiko is the best music touhou honestly (also one of my favourites in general).

I kinda really wanted to do something with her theme for a long time, but I guess I wasn't ready back then :) so, about this arrangement... Like I said before, I allowed myself a lot of freedom to modify the lines in order to achieve an interesting sound. I also used quite a lot of instruments (I only have more in the Headless Hunter, and it didn't work out quite well there). I tried my best to come up with some ridiculously complex chords here and there, but since I am new to this, most of those are just 6, 7 and sus4 chords with weird inversions :) Also, this time I wrote the drums myself, they're fairly simple, but I think they work well with the melody. I changed the rhythm of certain parts as well, to put more focus on the lead rather than the beat, and that's the reason for the name.
I feel like there may still be too few instruments in some way. If you want to sound like you're using a lot of instruments, you need to use a few with rhythmic patterns that fill in the empty spaces for each other. I find this is one of the harder things to do.
I think the chords generally worked well, and I can't point out any particular problem spots.
The drums are simple, but hard to hear over the lead parts (I only just noticed the cool kick rhythm), though the lead's apparently what you're trying to focus on.
Personally, I find that this piece is all about the rhythm (which makes sense because of the character), so the original lead lines generally aren't as interesting as others (except for that one recurring part). Focusing on the lead part feels like a rather strange idea to me.

I just couldn't leave out my fails, could I? The thing is, I didn't really manage to figure out the scale that ZUN used in this composition. Is it some variant of A minor? Not that it really mattered, but at some points I had freaked out: why does it sound so good, yet the scale is so unfamiliar?!
It's actually ZUN doing his weird chord modulations in Am (with the middle section in Cm with a bunch of E naturals appearing everywhere). He tends to do this stuff when making more chaotic pieces, and there isn't really ever a specific "scale" that he follows when he does it.

A lot of music in Kishinjou sounds rather creepy, so the people asking about Halloween probably had a point: the original piece is powerful, but creepy as well, and I removed most of the power, so the creepy remained... I kinda like that.
It's interesting. I believe the original has plenty of chaotic vibes to it, which also disappears here for that more creepy idea.

In the process of arranging the piece and referring constantly to the original, I couldn't help but wonder about some of ZUN's mixing - he really should have done a better job!
Haha yeah I've always thought there was something a little off about the mixing in the piece, though it does create a wide sound that is pleasant in some ways.

PS panning: circular vs triangular => triangular. ONLY triangular. Please.
Kinda want to know what this means.



Ok so for overall feedback, this is an interesting arrangement, but is lacking rhythmic variety and maybe variety in tone as well (the sections are distinct, but similar, if that makes sense). The lead lines are a bit loud (particularly that organ) and although it's what you were trying to focus on, it shouldn't take away from everything else. I find the ensemble was what made this arrangement interesting, and I particularly liked the way the strings were used in some sections. When mixing, I feel like you should consider space - pretending as if everything is actually being played in some kind of room (but only to some degree). I only mention this because the organ really fills everything up in its sections. Again, stereo editors can help shrink it down horizontally.

I feel like in this piece you may not have had a full idea of what you were going for (based on what you've written below it), and I can kinda hear that. It's much easier when you have a full grasp of the idea that you then start to get everything going (although for some ideas this is kinda hard anyway - maybe including this one). Though, maybe you did have a full idea, and I'm just not fully understanding of it.

It's an interesting arrangement, particularly concerning the ensemble.
Please read my posts as if I'm not taking them too seriously.
1cc Normal: EoSD, PCB, IN, PoFV, MoF, SA, UFO, TD, DDC, LoLK (P.D.)
1cc Hard: IN, MoF, SA
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Z_A

Re: [Music] Touhou music arranged by Z.A.
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2018, 12:51:31 am »
Remastered something (as promised).
https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/headless-hunter-remastered
The drums are now audible and the mix became cleaner in general. Probably.

https://soundcloud.com/user-595154314/hardcore-youkai-shoujo-remastered
LOUDER. Especially the drums. Maybe even too much so...

Thanks in advance for the feedback. A new arrangement coming soon (most likely).
 

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