Opus 3

I’ve made my decision. My third composition will be ‘Follow Me’, an orchestral/New Age piece with themes of leading, following, and trust. (And yes, that is the official title.)

My reasons? I listened to the melodic ideas I’ve saved over the past few months, and I realised that I’ve accumulated more material for ‘Follow Me’ than I thought I had. Also—and this is quite important—I have this gut feeling that this is the right time for this piece. It fits the emotional phase I’m going through, and I recently discovered some music which I think will serve as good inspiration. ‘Follow Me’ is begging me to take the plunge and start making it.

I just created a new project-file in Reaper. Opus 3 is officially in production!

There are plenty of boxes I have to tick before I can hear even a ‘bare bones’ version of my third piece, though. Despite the considerable amount of melodic material I currently have, there are still gaps which need to be filled. Also, I don’t have a clear vision of how this piece will be structured. With ‘Into Winter‘, I knew what the beginning, middle, and end would be very early on, before I opened my DAW. That’s not the case with this one. Maybe the lack of a pre-defined structure is a good thing and will allow for more originality and flexibility. Maybe not.

I’m off to do some musical ruminating (again). Personal growth is just around the corner. I can smell a composing adventure in the air.

Opus 3

What I did today:

  • I finally took the time to track down and follow all the people I know on all the platforms they use. It’s something that I’ve been reminding myself to do for a long time.
  • At about 2 a.m., I had a sudden onslaught of musical ideas. The good news is that I got some free ideas. The bad news is that none of those ideas seem to expand on any of my pending compositions. It’s really hard to complete an idea for a piece purely through inspiration; toil is essential.
  • I visited reddit for a week in a row. I’m really spending a lot of time there now. It’s become a habit of mine to just drop in and see what other redditors are talking about on music-related subreddits. I’ve discovered a lot of juicy tips by doing this.
  • I compiled a list of the most useful articles and posts that I’ve found and put it on a new page titled ‘Advice for composers‘.
  • I hesitated over which piece I’ll compose next. I keep wanting to make the one themed ‘forest’ which is insane because I want that piece to be really, really good. Actually, I’m leaning towards the one based on ‘leading’ as well. Maybe I’ll choose that one after all, after I’ve spent a chunk of time making it sound less similar to ‘Into Winter‘. We’ll see!

Opus 3

What do I compose next? ‘Into Winter‘ is, for the moment, finished. I mentioned a long time ago that I feel like a cashier serving a long line of shoppers. I have too many ideas for compositions floating around in my head; I can count five for orchestral music and two for J-pop, making for a total of seven.

I’ll delay the J-pop songs because I don’t have the right VST to produce them. After receiving some feedback assuring me that my orchestral compositions are indeed improving, I’m not in the mood to spend time and money taking a detour into pop-song territory. I want to continue my winning streak in orchestral music—I’d like to place myself on a roll, see how far I can get.

So which orchestral piece do I choose? Being a great lover of soundtracks, I have themes or settings for all of my music. For my second piece, it was ‘winter’; the subjects of my pending orchestral-compositions are ‘forest’, ‘leading’, ‘seashore’, ‘sword fight’, and ‘Roman senator’.

‘Forest’ is based on ideas I’ve had for a long time, and I want it to be spectacular. I won’t do it yet because I lack experience. ‘Leading’ would be my choice if the main melody didn’t sound similar to a part of ‘Into Winter’. If I chose to compose it now, I’d only be plagiarising myself, but I’d prefer not to do that for reasons of pride. I’ll wait and see if I can think of a way to change the melody while keeping the emotion.

‘Seashore’, ‘sword fight’, or ‘Roman senator’ it is, then. Unfortunately, none of these three ideas are complete—that means that I don’t know how they’ll sound in their entirety. I’ll do some musical ruminating to see which one is most willing to let me fill in its gaps; after that, I’ll make my choice.

Opus 2 ‘Into Winter’


Into Winter

Date of completion

16th June 2017, KST

Behind the title

I titled this piece ‘Into Winter’ because when I listen to it, I see a team of brave adventurers heading into a land of eternal winter to face the dangerous Snow Queen (the real one, not the fake Disney one). Cheesy, I know.

I chose this title after dismissing more outlandish candidates such as ‘Winter’s Realm’ or even ‘The Lair of the Snow Queen’. I’m trying to maintain a streak of making tasteful titles for epic music.


Various orchestral-music composers, such as Thomas Bergersen and Shikata Akiko.

The two cracks at 1:16 and 1:57 were taken inspired directly by the Reunion Tracks version of ‘One-Winged Angel’, composed by Uematsu Nobuo.

What I learnt from composing it

  • For the best results, compose slowly and thoroughly.

  • I like my second piece much more than my first. I hope that means that I’ve grown as a composer.

  • When composing the left-hand notes of a piano part, less is more.

  • I need to expand my knowledge of instruments.

  • Effort can’t give a composer everything. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, certain notes will refuse to sound perfect, and you’ll have to settle for second best.

What I’m most proud of

  • The middle and climax (from 1:16 onwards) actually sound pretty good to my ears. Or at least they will until I become disillusioned with them!

  • I’ve already said this in a blog post, but ‘Into Winter’ represents where I stand as a composer, for both good and bad. Unlike with my first piece, ‘Onwards‘, I’ve given this composition my all.


If, for some reason, you’d like to read about the whole sordid journey behind this composition, please use the following links (ordered chronologically):


© 2017 Mirinae.
All rights reserved.

Opus 2

As I did before, I turned out to have underestimated the amount of time it would take to finish my track. I thought all of the arranging was done, but then, I listened to my rendered track on my phone and realised that my mix sounded horrible.

I’ve spent a good 6 hours over the past week adjusting velocity, trying to get the mix to sound loud in all the right places. The velocity changes are done, but ideas for new changes keep popping into my mind. They say that women are fickle; I certainly am. Now I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to loathe ‘Into Winter’, and I haven’t even uploaded it yet.

I could ignore the suggestions for improvement that pester me and upload the mix. Or I could struggle some more. I wouldn’t mind choosing the latter option if only I wasn’t such a slow composer. Six hours it took me to adjust velocity, mind you. I try so hard not to be a perfectionist, but once I sit down at my computer, something else seems to take over.

The only consolation I can take away from this is that the ‘final’ mix of my second piece sounds better than that of my first. It’s not ideal, but it’s a step up—maybe several steps up. At least that’s something.

Opus 2

Why is The Witcher 3 soundtrack so brilliant? I know this isn’t related to my composing (or if it is, then only vaguely so), but it has to be said. I can’t believe this soundtrack was published for two years before I heard of it. Shame on me. I obviously haven’t been googling hard enough.

It all started when I browsed YouTube for background music that I could read and study to. I discovered a video of tavern music which had some tracks from the Witcher 3 soundtrack in it. The rest, as they say, is history.

I’m completely hooked. As I said on Twitter, this is the worst soundtrack addiction to hit me since I drooled over Final Fantasy VII‘s music. Just when I thought that my listening life was getting dull, too.

The best thing for me about the Witcher 3 soundtrack is that it’s non-Western music which is of an extraodinary quality. (The music is European, but it’s Polish.) I have nothing against Western music, but after thousands of listens, it does all tend to blur together. This soundtrack is exactly what I needed to invigorate my ears and my enthusiasm.

It appeals to me as an Easterner, too. It’s all very odd because my homeland (the Republic of Korea) has no historical connection with Poland. But something about the way the vocalists sing and the musicians play in the music just reaches into me.

I became so obsessed with the game’s soundtrack that I bought the books that the games are based on. I’m enjoying them, too. I’m feeling so fond of them that I’m even considering buying the games which the books inspired, a first for me. I must be in love or something.

As for ‘Into Winter’, my second piece, I am close to wrapping everything up. Just a few more hours in it, and it’ll be done. I’m so proud of this piece. I can hear the imperfections in it, but unlike with ‘Onwards‘, I’ve tried hard to deliver my best. ‘Into Winter’ represents where I stand as a composer right now.

Opus 2

To all visitors: a few days ago, I had the idea of making a visitors’ book where you can introduce me and other visitors to your blogs, SNS accounts, and music. It was a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. I have nothing against self-promotion—if you’re visiting my website, please consider reading the rules of the visitors’ book and leaving a comment.

I went to the fourth concert of my life yesterday. I think I’m over the awe of being at a concert now. Throughout the event, criticisms such as ‘Maybe East Asian violinists really are inexpressive’ kept popping into my head.

Opus 2

A quick list of developments in my composing life:

  • I have started using reddit, and I am in love.
    It’s only been a day since I started using it, but I’m getting so much interaction. On Tuesday night, I posted a question on reddit. When I woke up the next morning, I saw that it had 55 comments (excluding the ones written by myself). I learnt so much from reading the replies. (If you’re curious, the question was about the necessity of conductors in modern orchestras.)
    I like the privacy and personalisation that WordPress.com offers, but this isn’t the best place to meet lots of musicians and composers. If you’re hungry for music-related conversations, head over to reddit. There’s a useful guide for musicians new to reddit which I discovered courtesy of Wil Forbis.
  • I’ve started using YouTube, too. Before, all I had was a channel, but now I’m actually taking the time to log in, watch videos, like videos, and leave comments. I even got a reply from the uploader of a video to a comment I left. Yay.
  • ‘Into Winter’ is finally coming together. I think the arrangement is about 80% done; all that’s left to do is tweaking. I can’t wait to listen to the finished track—it should be available before June.
  • I decided against making ‘Into Winter’ longer. I listened to it again and again, and somewhere along the way, my ears started believing that ‘Into Winter’ sounds fine the way it is length-wise. Perhaps I’ve just gotten used to its length. Or maybe I’m more of a conservative composer than I thought was.
  • I have a logo now, if anyone’s interested. I made it ages ago and finally got round to uploading it.
    I like the design, but I’m thinking of changing the colour. You can see it on the page titled ‘Profile’.

SoundTeMP – 월하연서 (Wolhayeonseo)


An Oriental ballad with a strong melody and epic undertones. Used in the trailer of the Korean RPG 천랑열전 (Cheollangyeoljeon).


Pop ballad and K-pop.


Lush, romantic, and Oriental.

My favourite part

From 0:52 to 1:19, especially the last few notes near the end.


I don’t like the instrumental introduction. It sounds cheesy and fake.

Similar music

None. I can’t think of any songs similar to this that I actually like. There are plenty of Oriental-themed pop ballads out there, but most of them have subpar melodies.


  • only available for streaming on YouTube
  • not available as a digital download, free or otherwise
  • not available for purchase as a CD
  • Don’t you hate it when this happens?

Opus 2

I’m in the middle of a dilemma: I can’t decide whether I should make ‘Into Winter’ longer or not.

At the moment, it’s about 3 minutes long, and it has a clearly-defined introduction, middle, and climax. As always with epic music, though, the middle and climax feel too short—this genre of music is all about giving the listener an energy rush which makes him go hunting for the replay button. It’s why there are one-hour versions of epic-music tracks on YouTube; everyone wants more of the middle and the climax. Epic-music introductions are only functional.

I know that if I was a stranger listening to ‘Into Winter’, I’d listen to it from start to finish the first time and repeat just the middle and climax the second time round. I’m an impatient listener, and I don’t see the point in abstaining from replaying or moving on once the fun part is over. But something—probably the meager composer’s instinct I’ve developed over the past half-year—tells me that ‘Into Winter’ is best left as it is. The three-part structure is in place, and it works; dragging out the piece even further would be in bad taste.

But how much taste do you really need when you’re trying to make musical adrenaline? It seems silly to worry about over-repetition and poor composing when I’m making epic music, yet I know that my favourite epic pieces are the ones that have at least a modicum of structure. I don’t like the under-revised pieces, like the ones by E.S. Posthumus.

Of course, I could just leave my second composition as it is, and if any epic-music fan liked it enough to replay it, they’d make a one-hour version of it and put it on YouTube. That would make the question of adding another minute to ‘Into Winter’ moot, since the one-hour version would be all that people want to listen to, anyway.

In any case, the most important task at hand is to make the arrangement spectacular. Nobody will care if it’s three or four minutes long if it isn’t actually good.