Film music is a genre worth writing for, even if the pay is sometimes nonexistent, the creative license of the composer is often compromised and the sound effects consistently drown out your freshly…Continue
I’m an aspiring composer based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. When I was four or five, my parents encouraged me to play an instrument; I chose the violin. I played in youth orchestras and studied under multiple teachers, including Brian Reagan, the North Carolina Symphony Concertmaster. In elementary school I expanded my instrumental pallet to include piano, which has become my primary instrument, and in middle school I played trumpet.
I’ve had music performed as early as middle school, when the school band played a march I wrote for them. Since then I’ve had a number of my pieces read and performed. I was accepted into the Boston University Tanglewood Institute for the summer ’12 semester, where I wrote an art song for voice and piano, a wind quintet and a brass quintet, among other pieces. Although I’ve written a fair share of contemporary concert hall music, my real passion is in writing film-esque compositions, which I’m prone to do after getting inspired by a really great film or score.
My love of music and my passion for film has driven me to explore a career in the natural combination of the two: the film music profession.
For me, it’s not all about the music. To appreciate a film score, context is key. Movie music is programmatic—it is a companion to the rest of a film production. When I listen to a score, I don’t just hear music; I envision the scenes the score accompanies. When I hear the shriek of strings from Psycho I am also listening to Janet Leigh scream and the sounds of water, and I’m seeing the knife, the curtain and the blood from the 77 camera angles Hitchcock used. Every score has some degree of filler cues that have little artistic value but effectively set the mood (suspense cues with nothing more than sustained strings, etc.). I still enjoy these moments, because apart from appreciating the music for music’s sake, I listen to a score to study it, learn how composers before me scored scenes and pick up tricks and techniques they used to great effect.
A film score composer needs to remember that a score, by its nature, merely complements the director’s vision of how a movie should look and feel. It is perhaps the director’s most effective tool for manipulating an audience’s emotions, but it is the director’s tool and the composer must be prepared to compromise with his bosses (which, apart from the director, may include producers, editors or other important members of the production) when writing a score.
These are things I keep in mind as I continue to explore my interest in film music.
This week in AP literature our class analyzed "The Age of Anxiety," a poem written by W.H. Auden in 1947. The Pulitzer Prize winning poem explores man's search for meaning in an increasingly industrialized world.
In class it was mentioned that Leonard Bernstein's second symphony, written between 1948 and 1949, was based on this poem. I like Bernstein, so I immediately searched for his symphony.
I like it. It's very modern, but with many unexpected stylistic twists and turns. I…Continue
This year, musicians around the world celebrate the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet, The Rite of Spring, which premiered in Paris on May 29th, 1913. The premiere was the beginning of a new era of 20th century music. Composers influenced by The Rite of Spring adopted elements of Stravinsky’s revolutionary language for the remainder of the century. However, The Rite of Spring marked the end of a more personal musical era:…Continue