hi there. just kind of wandering around looking to share random opinions, so why not?
I’ve been creating and mixing synth sounds for just a few months but it has been educational.
Is your composing very formal, like you went to school and learned about orchestration?
I didn’t, but I used to play violin in an orchestra, teaching myself about composition and paying attention, so I have some observations.
I had the privilege of attending a concert by the Emerson String Quartet recently, the first time I’ve heard live music like this since learning how to mix. And I had this wild thought: they are eq-ing and compressing themselves! I could hear every note, tell who was playing which part, and it all blended together and sounded more perfect than I could ever have imagined a real time performance could sound!
Part of it is the somewhat conflicting waveforms created by the players’ inconsistencies but they work together to use those to good advantage. Adjust pitch, playing technique etc. by micro increments that most people would never notice.
That’s never going to be possible with samples, so one thing to try is saturation on your tracks. Rough them up a bit so they sound more full individually and they’ll take up more space in the mix. Synths is a fantastic idea: lots of complexity in saw and square waves and a subtle low end boost will change all the harmonics in the mid range very easily. (Something I’m often trying to undo because strings swallow vocals in a mix.)
Also mixing different instruments is the historic way somebody like Mozart got his mixes to convey in a large hall. A tuba and a bass violin section playing unison will sound more full than either of them alone, even at equal volumes. Flutes and violins often share parts. Composers combine different instruments to create the effects for their compositions.
My knowledge is imperfect, I only just read parts of one orchestration book recently, but it was enough to provide me with the general concept.
Dig up few scores or watch some stuff by this guy and it might give you some ideas. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSt_ZRe_mla4tRgYC_GNElQ
Some advice from a friend, long time electronic music composer, render the midi files to audio and mix as if they were audio, i.e. more eq, compression, reverb balancing panning etc. That will also help create a more full and finished product. Although I may be tell you something you already know! I only just learned it.
I love it that someone else is thinking about this stuff! Thank you.