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Task 3

For this task I set out to compose a soundtrack using just string instrument sounds to a clip from Alfred Hitchcocks movie Psycho. Paying particular attention to the production techniques I’d previously used on my version of the Batman theme.

I’ve tried to incorporate more variations of my original melody that I have used at toward the end of the piece as tension begins to rise seen below.


Only these 4 notes have been used through out the piece simply using different lengths and octaves to effect the mood of the clip. I’ve attempted to place hits at appropriate points to specific actions or scene changes. In particular, officer approaches, character awakes, officers presence. Also the moment the officer begins to speak. The main melody arrives as the officer become suspicious, the pace of the describes metaphorically the pulse of our characters heart rate. Naturally more intense moments are busier with faster/stronger note hits. I also fiddled around with the ADSR envelopes on some of the sampler synths and it was interesting to see how the different release times affected the mood.

I also looked at soundtracks to other horror films one in particular. Halloween, which followed a similar melodic pattern to that of Psycho. In the following video notice how the notes are repeated for a number of bars before changing key but the pattern stays the same. I’ve tried to implement this technique into my compositon.

I’ve tried to base my composition on the melodic patterns used by Bernarrd Hermann who composed the original score for the Psycho theme by sticking to the same 4 notes through out and just altered the arrangements of the notes to create variation but as not to lose that recognizable theme. I’ve used different note lengths, to increase and decrease tension where suited  in the same way the original theme creates tension through out building on your sense of fear.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/21317108″>Untitled</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6328236″>daniel scarborough</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I feel I’ve learnt a lot about which sounds work best for different instances i.e. short stabs are not appropriate for drawn out scenes like the arrival of the officers car at the beginning of the clip. Likewise long open notes don’t necessarily work with moments that are supposed to be calm instead short notes work better. It was interesting to see how the velocity of a note hits distinctly increase tension and have the opposite effect hit softly.

Based the assesment criteria I feel my composition is to a good standard and for this task I’ve achieved a 50-59% mark:

“Satisfactory use of learning resources. Acceptable structure/accuracy in expression. Acceptable level of academic/ intellectual skills, going beyond description at times.  Satisfactory team/ practical/professional skills. Inconsistent self-direction”


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