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Task 7 – Sequencing Sound FX

Using an array of Bleeps and Bloops, Factory sounds, hydraulic pumps and compressed air shoots together with a number of welding sounds I created a sound effects track for the terminator clip below.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/21574720″>Untitled</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6328236″>daniel scarborough</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I saw this video on TV the other day and felt it was relevant to this Sound FX Task. Notice all the different sounds used to describe the different actions.


Task 6 – Scoring for American Beauty (Percussion)

Task 5 – Scoring with Woodwind

At first I attempted to score a clip from the film North by North West but the woodwinds made an otherwise intense clip seem comical and less serious, so I decided to scrap this clip and go with something more appropriate. My first attempts can be seen below.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/21351469″>Untitled</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6328236″>daniel scarborough</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Danny Elfman also composed the main theme for the movie Big Fish featuring Euan McGreggor. Using the orchestra to create an atmospheric feeling of love and compassion, beauty and serenity. In my composition I’ve attempted to recreate the beauty of his piece using just Woodwind instruments. I have synced it with the final scene of the movie.

The original theme:

My woodwind score to the ending clip of BigFish:

Task 4 – Score for Batman using Brass

Working with the same Batman clip as used in Task 2, I’ve produced a soundtrack using only Brass instrument sounds. I’ve tried to be more adventuress with the melodic patterns and timbral changes especially as Brass covers such a broad spectrum of fequencies. Using hard and soft velocities settings where appropriate to emphasis different actions and scene changes.

The piece is based around a 6 chord progression that repeats as my bass-line track using the sound of the Tuba. The rest of the notes throughout the piece reside around these chords.

Main Theme:

and the piece:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/21319495″>Untitled</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6328236″>daniel scarborough</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

I was particularly interesting in highlighting all the sudden movement, like people running, buildings exploding, every crash bang wallop with strong hits of the deeper bassier sounding instruments i.e. the Horn, harder velocity on the tuba and some sharp trumpet hits where appropriate.

I found the main soundtrack to Star Wars Episode 1 again by John Williams to be a great influence to me in scoring for the Batman clip especially the parts where William’s uses Brass to create atmosphere, energy and impact. If you listen to the piece I’ve posted below about 1m20s in describes the part best.

I applied small amounts of Reverb to some of the Trumpet sections to increase the impact as well as Panning left and right some the short percussive notes aswell as some of the longer horn sounds where appropriate to help improve the wideness and size of the piece.

I learnt more about chords and moving away from working with perfect 5ths instead playing 3rds an octave below or above which I found made chords sound a lot less midi based and a lot more natural.

Listening to the compositions of my class mates and through the help of my lecture I felt I’d learnt a lot about using a wider variety of instruments for longer build ups which benefitted my work drastically. I was able to create tension at low volume and easily build the piece up to a larger crescendo i.e. the crashing of the lorry.

For this piece I felt I completed the task to satifactory standard and feel it is deffinately my best piece so far. I would give myself a mark of 55-65%.


Task 3 – Score for Psycho Clip

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”

Task 2 – Score for Chase sequence

Task 2

Another Chase sequence I’m particularly fond of is from the Japanese hit film Tekkon Kinkreet. The soundtrack was produced by the band Plaid. Each track has be scored with a Grammatical role: I.e. The music remains unchanged through out despite changes in scene or action. Below is a clip from the film, notice how the music describes the pace. I won’t be applying this technique to my first piece but it is interesting to see the different ways composers can represent the feeling of fast movement or high energy.

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/21301527″>Untitled</a&gt; from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user6328236″>daniel scarborough</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Taking a clip from the Batman movie – The Dark Knight we were asked to compose a soundtrack using only Piano notes, emphasising different factors with in i.e. shots fired, people escaping, cars crashing etc. I’ve used a repetitive melodic pattern using just 4 notes in style of bernard hermann composer for the film Psycho applying this same melody to 4 different octaves to build suspense and excitement.

I was particular interested in accentuating note velocity and impact on such parts as the explosion of the glass at the beginning of the clip as well as the build up to and explosion of the wall about half way through. Also the silence that followed holds the suspense and is quickly followed by the higher pitch melody which shift the suspense of the chase sequence up a notch. I liked the way the notes describe the quick acceleration of the bat-bike as it resumes the chase. Similarly the build up to the crashing of the lorry.

I feel my piece is more of an original piece as it flows souley around one melodic progression. I feel the changes in pitch and variation of note intervals create the suspense and prevent it seeming repetitive. My difficulty is knowing what notes work well with each other. Ultimately I feel I have done the task to good standard.

I’ve also learnt how to use the input step sequencer in the process and begun to understand a little more about musical theory, where notes are placed on the stave and how the treble cleff and the bass cleff depict the octaves or in my eyes frequency ranges.

Important Point;  The musical structure does not obey normal rules because the score is organised intrinsically to suit the timings of scene changes.

Task 1 – Theme and Variations

Looking at Danny Elfmans – Theme for Batman.

The following youtube video plays us the Batman theme. Notice how the melody through out changes slightly either in rhythm, key or timbre but sticks to that recognizable melody this is what creates the suspense and keeps the listener interested in the atmosphere that the music portrays. Not to mention that its recognizable even a drastic variation of the original melody and the listener will still depict it as the Batman theme.

Similarly the main theme tune from the 1977 hit Sci-Fi movie Star Wars composed by John William’s. Of which also has a strong melodic progression, underlying harmonics and rhythmic pattern residing through out.

Here I’ve tried to recreate a simplified version of the original melody using Logic which sounds as follows:

and the score:




From the melody shown above I’ve gone on to make my own theme following a similar melodic pattern.

and the score for it.



Variation 1.

and the score:



Variation 2.

and the score:


Variation 3.

and the score:

Variation 4.

and the score:

Variation 5.

and the score:

For this Task I looked at Theme and Variation.

Based on the Theme of a famous composer for film, in my case John Williams – Star Wars. I set out to create my own Theme tune that followed a similar melodic pattern, i.e. same timing and interval spacing but using different notes. I listened to John William’s theme and attempted to make my own version. I then planned to create 5 different variations of the original theme without losing that recognisable melodic pattern. Either by adding in extra notes between intervals, repeating different sections or lengthening individual notes.

The key notes in my theme are G, C & D Like in Alfred Hitchock’s film Psycho were the composer uses different variations of just 4 notes Asharp, C, E, Fsharp. I would see my theme vary around my 3 notes said before. With these three notes as the root as long as they stay in the same place for each hit point the theme will stay recognisable through out despite what other notes play alongside.

I also learnt about scoring in Notation format from this task and found it interesting how the notes on the stave relate to the notes in Piano roll, similarly how the different intervals in piano roll are portrayed in notation format. Something I’m beginning to understand.

Looking at how a variation of a melody can help change the energies of a composition without losing the original melody was difficult but through trial and error I was able to come up with 5 variations that I felt made good use of compositional techniques and subsequently I now have more of an idea of where I’m going to take my compositions for film in the future.

I felt I did this task well but possibly could have come up with a better theme that ended with a stronger note, be it the notes before did not build up to the crescendo I was aiming for or the melody was not strong enough in the first place, but either way the variations show that I have made an effort to manipulate the groove and feel with out losing the recognisable theme which was the main point. Therefore based on the Assessment guidelines I would give my self a mark of;

50-59%  “Satisfactory knowledge base that begins to explore and analyse the theory and ethical issues of the discipline”.


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