Scoring for Film Music (or any other music)

As one who does quite a fair bit of Music Production via a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) for clients, I want to applaud all composers and arrangers who take the time and stupendous effort to first train themselves musically, then experiment and use their best energies to create a musical piece from scratch! In this case, to score for film music.

Here, we see how Carol Kay composes an Orchestral Theme using Logic Pro, which is the advanced cousin of the free Garageband found in all Macbooks, with the help of some expensive orchestral VSTs (East West Symphonic Gold in this case). But hey, she is a professional composer!

The main point of this: when we composers/arrangers score for film music (or pop music, etc.), we need to conceptualise the main idea and themes first, then once that’s done, we then compose each instrument part by part. It is as if one person is doing the job of multiple instrumentalists.

This means a music arranger has to think like a pianist, bassist, guitarist, drummer, string player, horn player, percussionist, etc. This is no mean feat, as we have to consider how each instrument behaves, works, intonates, expresses itself, and then how it works in relation to others to form a unified whole. If you take a look a the video closely, you will see many different tracks created, painstakingly, one by one.

The click track you hear is a metronome that allows her to make sure she stays in time so that all orchestratios are in sync.

To all music students, don’t just learn your own instrument (whichever instrument you are learning). Find out how other music instruments behave and work. Always open your eyes to hear how different instruments form together in a musical piece. Don’t just hear the melody. There are many other instruments that support the melody! To those who learn the viola, clarinet, bassoon, bass, cello, french horns and those who play counterpoints, 2nd strings, etc. I can hear you and I do listen to you 🙂

Also, get in touch with the technical aspects of music production.  Midi, scoring software, DAWs, VST plugins, audio engineering skills, etc. are all needed as part and parcel of music arrangement and production.  Just remember that having expensive software and hardware is not equal to possessing good fundamental musical skills!

Arranging for film music, or any other genre of music (pop, jazz, etc.) requires hard work, loads of experimentation to discover why certain rhythms or lines work or don’t, and loads of listening to the great arrangers/composers to hear how they do it. So, let’s begin the journey by ACTIVE LISTENING!