Walkthrough of Judging Process

2014-04-15 23:37:12 by samulis

In case you got one of my reviews, first, I'd like to apologize. I'm being brutally hard for this. This post is a basic walkthrough of my judging process and what everything means in the judging form I provide. Note that the rating I give you is NOT the official AIM judgement, it's just MY piece of the puzzle! I am only one of several judges.

How I Judge:

  1. I pull up your track and the image. Read your description, then listen 1x through without stops with the image up. With this pass, I judge the most surface things- how it feels, how it fits, how it flows.
  2. Listen a second time, taking notes of more specific things.
  3. Start writing things down, listen a few more times while I write to keep the song fresh.
  4. Complete the rating form (below). Post results in review. Publish revew!

Example form:

My ratings:
Originality- -/10
Relevance- --/30
Composition- --/25
Instrumentation- --/15
Mastering- -/10
Emotion/Interest- -/10

Total: --/100 (NG: - stars)

Originality: How unique is your musical interpretation of the art piece? How do you set your piece apart from what I would expect of you and/or the genre you are writing in?

Relevance: How well does your piece connect with the art? Note that this is a highly SUBJECTIVE category. There's always the chance I just don't get the connection from your piece even though you do. If a piece has a high score in this, it means to me the art piece almost seemed to move before my eyes with the music and take on another dimension (figuratively speaking).

Composition: How interesting are your chord choices? Do you use variation or just repeat the sampe thing over and over again? Are there transitions and how effective are they? Is the melody effective and used effectively? Is the form of the song easy to descipher and fitting?

Instrumentation: Do your choices regarding the instruments in the piece make sense? Do you use instruments idiomatically? Are there any unique or creative uses of instruments? Did you make an effort to simulate a live performance or actually record live the parts? Is there a good ensemble texture and balance?

Mastering: How effectively do you use processing to bring out the best parts of the song? Is the type and level of reverb fitting? Does the piece SOUND good?

Emotion/Interest: Most subjective category- does the piece really "pull me in"? Is this something that I would put on loop for an entire evening and browse the internets in the throes of melodic and harmonic ecstacy? A 10/10 is "oh mah fuggern gerd dis is awesumz!!!"


If you want to get a certain rating, send that amount of money to me and I will happily oblige. :3

Big (and small) words I might say:

  • Ostinato/Ostinati: A repeating melodic pattern (could be an arpeggio/arp).
  • Balance: How the track sits between the left and right channels. Too far to one side and it is irritating to the listener.
  • B Section: A contrasting, second part to the form of a piece.
  • Melodic: Dealing with the melody/solo/lead.
  • Harmonic: Dealing with the chords/bass/background.
  • Texture: The combinations of rhythms and the timbres of instruments to create a certain feel.
  • Timbre: The way an instrument sounds at a certain pitch and velocity vs. other instruments.
  • Variation: How an idea might be changed/mutated over time to make it feel less repetitive.
  • Dynamics: The range between the softest and loudest sounds.
  • Dissonance: Things that sound "bad" together.
  • Consonance: Things that sound "good" together.
  • Tempo: Pace of the song.
  • Reverb/verb: the reverberation effects added to the sound.


You must be logged in to comment on this post.


2014-04-16 01:48:01

"Emotion/Interest- -/10"

I guess I lose this one in AIM...

samulis responds:

you got $10? :3


2014-04-20 00:42:49

Whoosh if you judge mine. Am busted...

samulis responds:


Better watch out dude. ;)


2014-04-21 16:18:22

Wow, it is nice to see the amount of detail that you have put into this!

samulis responds:

Thanks, I try!


2014-04-24 15:58:06

Wow :O. Would love to get such a detailed review.

samulis responds:

Reviews will be delivered to every entry in the AIM this year... eventually. :)