I did not originally intend for this piece to sound so sad. That all changed when I started playing around with Cinematic Studio Series’ new Solo Strings library. They naturally have an expressive and emotional sound (heavy in vibrato) which definitely helped inspire the somber, bittersweet mood in the music. After finishing the piece, I struggled to pick a name for the music. I almost named it ‘No More Pain’ or ‘Solitude’, but ultimately decided upon ‘The River’ after discovering one of my father’s photos which I felt really resonated with the music.
‘The River’ is an exploration of various string libraries combined together to create a unique sound. Each instrument has its own unique timbre which made mixing and mastering the track a bit of a challenge, and ultimately took about a week to finish (I wrote the piano part in one day, and spent several days orchestrating, mixing, and mastering).
One of the biggest challenges was trying to bring out specific voices without those voices sounding too harsh. Sampled solo violins are especially difficult to make sound convincingly real, so doubling with full strings or other instruments is sometimes necessary. However, one must be careful not to overdo the doubling or add in too many voices at the risk of muddying down the mix too much, which would cause some voices to be lost in the mix. Removing reverb and adjusting panning, volume, and equalization can all help create more head room in the mix for more instrumentation.
Ensemble string libraries used:
LA Scoring Strings (cello + bass)
Cinematic Studio Strings (subtle background)
Hollywood Strings (violins)
Solo string libraries used:
Cinematic Studio Solo Strings (quartet)
LA Scoring Strings (subtle violin doubling)
Other libraries used:
Pearl Concert Grand (piano)
Hollywood Brass (solo horn, 2 horns)
Sample Modeling Brass (solo horn)