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Having participated in this contest last year, I know that one thing that's often on competitors' minds is how to please the judges. The bottom line for me, at least, is just to make good music. I'm not partial to any genre, I just love good music! I'm not going to offer a secret route to getting in bed with me, so to speak, but what I will offer is full transparency with how I'll be judging your submissions. I've got 2 sections splits into 8 key categories which I will now describe:
Value Definitions - Production
Technical Mixing: How well the production elements of the track come together, both on individual instruments and on the track as a whole. All individual instruments and voices should be clear and satisfying to listen to, generally speaking.
Creative Mixing: How effectively the composer uses creative tools and effects to augment instruments and build the track. Includes delay, reverb, distortion, filters, etc. For tracks intentionally 'raw', or otherwise free of effects and such, this category will mostly be ignored.
Mastering: How effectively the track has been mastered. This includes both technical and creative elements: EQ, compression, maximizing, limiting, dithering, etc.
Value Definitions - Composition
Structure & Progression: How effectively the track is structured. How effectively are verses, choruses, bridges, solos, etc. arranged throughout the song? How are the dynamics of the track overall? How satisfying is the flow of the whole track from start to finish?
Melodic Elements: How emotionally pulling, effective, and memorable the melodies in the track are.
Harmony & Texture: The complexity of harmonies and the relationship between harmonic progressions throughout the track. Are harmonies used with variety and impact? Also covers the general texture of the track: where is it thin, where is it thick? Are those sections effective because of it?
Atmosphere & Emotion: The general feel of the track. How effectively does it make me cry / rock out / achieve nirvana / dance / achieve emotion? Does the message of the track come across effectively / does the track achieve its goal?
Originality: No matter how good the track is, has it been done before? Are there elements present that have never been heard before, or does the composer clearly attempt to make brand new sounds?
And that's it! If you'd ever like to receive more in-depth feedback on your track, feel free to PM me. Best of luck NGUAC-ers.