SCOREcast challenge: Breaking the C-ode

Posted in Action, Cues, Suspense, Texture on August 18th, 2009 by leslieq – Be the first to comment

Lee Sanders over at SCOREcast set a challenge to come up with a one-minute film cue in any genre with the only stipulation that the only note allowed to be used is ‘C’ (if a note is sounded). Breaking the C-ode is what I managed to produce in a few hours messing around in Logic Studio.

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I wanted to tell you what scene I was thinking of as I wrote this but that would be telling. Let me know what scene it conjures up for you by posting comments.

Sneak peek: Christmas

Posted in Cues, Instrumentation, Library Music, Light Music, Lyrical on August 15th, 2009 by leslieq – 1 Comment

Yes, you heard me right. It is mid-August and the height of the British ‘summer’; I’m already thinking about Christmas. I’ve been preparing a suite of festive tracks with the intent of licensing them out as production music. The suite comes complete with a number of variations on a theme (lyrical, choral, jingle and vamp) and are being prepared to allow licensees to cut and loop segments and/or use complete tracks for their purposes. Here’s a short snippet from the suite.

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I’ll be producing fully mastered production versions of this suite and will be ready for licensing shortly. Music Editors, please feel free to contact me if you are interested in this suite but have further specific requirements.

My new Vimeo video avatar

Posted in Announcements, General Musings on July 30th, 2009 by leslieq – Be the first to comment

I really love Vimeo. Not only are they super-cool but I really believe the best new (and established) filmmakers, animators, directors and creatives are hanging out there. To top this all off (as if it couldn’t get any cooler), you can also have a motion piece as your profile avatar. He’s my quick avatar, set to the Dorian mode theme I posted previously.

If you’re on Vimeo, contact me up. It’d be good to meet you all.

Fragments of new ideas

Posted in Drama, Epic, General Musings, Harmony, Instrumentation, Lyrical on July 27th, 2009 by leslieq – Be the first to comment

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where I am going with these but I thought I’d post them anyway. These are two different cue ideas for two very different scenes. The first is set in a Dorian mode which gives it a really distinctive sound. You have more than likely heard T.V. composers using this mode when setting music to those bleak, cold, winter scenes, wide shots and solitary subjects.

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Although the harmony shifts around the melody, I use an upper-pedal note that sounds constantly to add to the expanse and emptiness. I’ll talk more about pedals (high and low) in other music posts but they are very useful devices. I think my EQing is steadily improving (moving in the right direction anyway). I really like the clarity of the piano sound now. So much so that this next idea was initially one of those really broad string melodies but couldn’t resist adding a piano figure.

I’ve previously shied away from posting very obviously String orchestra tracks because I’ve not been happy with my string mock-up sounds. Try as I might, nothing can replace how a human string player would interpret a single note. Give a good violinist a single held note and they’ll be able to do the most amazing things to that one note — colour it; shape it; change it’s nuance; give it direction — a whole multitude of things a computer simply cannot recreate or imitate. So here goes… it is only about 8 bars (but a very broad 8 bars).

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Not music for a small screen – broad sound, broad visuals. So as I said, I’m not sure yet where I’ll take these ideas but I’ll be sure to post the results here.

My Garritan Personal Orchestral template for Logic Studio – 1st attempt

Posted in General Musings, Harmony, Instrumentation, Orchestration, Texture on July 14th, 2009 by leslieq – 2 Comments

Some people love them, so hate them. Me? I can definitely see the benefits of having templates at my disposal and ready. The amount of setting-up time that could be time better-used for composing is incredible. This is my first stab at doing an orchestral template in Logic Studio. All in all, it has taken me about 3 days (not constant) to get a full (full) orchestra template prepared to speed up the creation of mock-ups. Here’s an ebbing little modern classical piece that I just doodled with—by no means a proper composition but there are definitely some nice nuances and textures. Based on a whole-tone scale, the oft used scale of composers such as Debussy.

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As an instrumentalist who has sat in many orchestras, the spatial distribution of the individual parts in real life was what I have been trying to achieve with this template. I’d be interested to know what you all think.

I’ll find some time in the coming weeks to really put this template through its paces with some proper composition work and will post the results here.

For those interested, this is the complete instrumentation:

Woodwind
Piccolo, Flute 1, Flute 2, Oboe 1, Oboe 2, Cor Anglais, Piccolo Clarinet, Clarinet 1, Clarinet 2, Bass Clarinet, Bassoon 1, Bassoon 2, Contrabassoon

Brass
Horn Solo, Horn 1, Horn 2, Horn 3, Piccolo Trumpet, Trumpet 1, Trumpet 2, Trumpet 3, Tenor Trombone Solo, Tenor Trombone 1, Tenor Trombone 2, Tenor Trombone 3, Bass Trombone 1, Bass Trombone 2, Tuba 1, Tuba 2

Percussion
Timpani, Bass Drum, Snares, Cymbals (assorted), Percussion Toys, Crotales, Glockenspiel, Marimba, (not symphonic grand), Xylophone, Vibraphone (+sustain)

Harp and Keys
Chromatic Harp 1, Chromatic Harp 2, Celesta, Piano (percussion), Piano (solo)

Strings
Violin 1 Solo (A & B – different models), Violin 1 Section, Violin 2 Solo, Violin 2 Section, Viola Solo, Viola Section, Violoncello Solo (A, B & C – different models), Violoncello Section, Double Bass Solo, Double Bass Section, Full Orchestra Filler

New audio demos to listen to

Posted in Announcements, Cues on July 7th, 2009 by leslieq – 4 Comments

Just uploaded a first batch of audio samples to my Audio page. Do check them out and let me know what you think. I’ll again be delving deeper into each track (orchestration, instrumentation, techniques, motifs etc) in the very near future. Some of the articles are already written, just need to find some time to prepare all the notation and audio assets required to finish off the post.

HeartBeats, a film by mr

Posted in Projects, Suspense on June 27th, 2009 by leslieq – 3 Comments

I was very lucky to work with a good friend of mine on one of his animation pieces. The short piece explores a slightly sinister representation of what would happen if all heart beats became synchronised.

The direction was to create a sound world that added growing suspense to the film and to pick out key visual cues. Having heard a guide track and under his close direction, we ended up with the following:

As a composer with a strong sense of traditionalism (hope it won’t be my downfall) and more at home working in terms of orchestral textures et al, I found this project a real challenge because it forced me to think purely about sound and not just the music. Working on this piece proved that silence and space in sound is just as important a through sound. The sound here is like another actor—along with the representation of hearts; the connection lines and the particles so I felt it was really important to respect this and balance it accordingly.

I’ll dissect the musical material in a later update to this post but the ideas are very small and minimalist.

UBS Soundscapes: Pioneers submissions

Posted in Announcements on June 27th, 2009 by leslieq – Be the first to comment

Here’s a great opportunity for emerging composers (usually under the age of 40) to work with the London Symphony Orchestra on an original composition. This is the UBS Soundscapes: Pioneers composing scheme and well worth a look. The deadline for applications is Monday, 7th September 2009.

More details can be found here on the LSO’s vacancies page. At the time of posting, it was the last listing on the page.

Come on this journey with me

Posted in General Musings on June 27th, 2009 by leslieq – Be the first to comment

So here I am – finally up and running (well maybe walking but I’ll get up to speed with this blogging thing in no time). What is this blog about? Well, the aim is to achieve a few things. Firstly, I just want to start a regular dialogue about music from composer to composer; composer to instrumentalist; composer to music-lover and vise-versa. Secondly, I want share knowledge and hopefully we’ll all grow and learn together. Thirdly, I just want to engage with new and interesting people.

How do I plan on doing this? Everything will have a music bias – after all that’s why I’ve started this blog. The plan is to post up musical ideas primarily aimed at music for film, television and multimedia. However, I may throw in the odd piece of concert hall music too where a discussion might be appropriate. With these posts, I’ll be looking at the initial genesis of an idea and take you right through to the full development and orchestration of the idea into a cue. Where ever possible, I’ll include notation, scores as well as sound samples so you can see exactly what I’m talking about. I’ll try not to get too technical but apologies now if I drift into academia.

Okay, so here goes… enjoy the ride.