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Old March 18th, 2008, 02:15 AM   #1
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Classical Music - on a budget

If you are an aspiring director, one day you could find yourself responsible for making go/no-go decisions about orchestral music for your film. But what if you're a rocker/popper/hopper/truck-stopper? Is your ear up for the challenge?

So, how do you prepare? Listen, of course!

Last week I picked up a 22(!) disc collection of Stravinsky's Columbia recordings for $35. Talk about a bargain!

http://www.amazon.com/Works-Igor-Str...5820566&sr=8-1

Some time ago, I picked up a ten disc collection of classical music used in various films (Silver Screen Classics) for about ten bucks. It's now available used for as little as $0.49!

http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Screen-...5820581&sr=8-2

Silver Screen Classics doesn't include the world's greatest performances/recordings, but does include some timeless compositions from the greats. (And it makes a great selection of temp tracks.)

I don't have any financial interest in the collections above.

For "must haves", I would recommend The Planets by Gustav Holst, and Carmina Burana by Carl Orff as examples of epic music (along with Stravinsky's Firebird and Rites of Spring). For romantic music, try some Mahler. Stravinsky covers a lot of 20th century angular music, and Shostakovich continues the genre. Frankly, it's amazing how much film music can be stylistically traced back to these composers.

If you're just getting started, Stravinsky, Orff and Shostakovich could be a bit much. In that case go with Silver Screen Classics. You might also try Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev. It's a wonderful introduction to orchestration. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_and_the_Wolf

Anybody else know of any good bargains on classical or soundtrack collections? I just hate spending $20 per disc! (and I don't want anything to do with pirated downloads.)
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Old March 18th, 2008, 03:11 AM   #2
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You've hit the tip of the iceberg! There are stacks of CD's available for very little. I would include in the list such greats as Ravel, Debussy, Saint-Saens, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Holst, minimalist-Philip Glass, as well as a long list of the composers from the Romantic era.

Happy listening!
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Old March 18th, 2008, 06:42 AM   #3
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How are the copyright laws? The performance might be in public domain but at least here in Finland (Europe in general?) the composition is copyrighted untill 75 years from the death of the composer. That rules out Sibelius, Stravinsky, Shostakovich etc.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 07:12 AM   #4
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How are the copyright laws?
The laws vary from country to country as you point out. The thing to realize however is that even what is considered public domain, such as Mozart, still has copyrights on the performance itself. So while the rights of the music are clear in virtually every country in the world, the performance itself unless it's past a certain timeframe would not be cleared, and you would be required to get clearance for the performance part of the music.

All-in-all, it's still a tricky situation and not something I would want to have to deal with (and thankfully since I don't work on that part of film productions, I don't have to deal with).

Wayne
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Old March 18th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #5
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Carmina Burana was composed in 1937 and is not in the public domain. The Orff estate has sued artists over its use within recent memory. Shostakovich died in 1975 and likewise much of his work is not in the public domain either.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 12:26 PM   #6
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These are suggestions for listening, not suggestions for ripping into your movies (except as temp tracks to be replaced before publication.)

You can hire composers to do mockups of PD music. Or hire composers to create custom music with the feel of [enter composer's name and piece here]. (And, of course, you can use stock music, if budget dictates.)

Sample libraries have improved immensely during the past few years. They allow composers to create reasonably realistic orchestral music one note at a time.

For instance, I was able to create 100% custom music for this 40-second ad in just a few hours (and this ain't my day job): http://colonelcrush.com/movie/index/00300001#25

If you want great sound recording, hire a pro. And if you want great music for your film, hire a pro composer. And if you want to be able to tell the difference between great film music and so-so film music, listen, listen, listen. The list of stories from composers about directors who make bad musical choices is endless.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 01:18 PM   #7
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I was able to create 100% custom music for this 40-second ad in just a few hours: http://colonelcrush.com/movie/index/00300001#25
What program did you use to create the music?
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Old March 18th, 2008, 03:54 PM   #8
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I used Tascam's GigaStudio3 Orchestra sample playback engine with a variety of sound libraries - Quantum Leap's "Voices of the Apocalypse" is the most prominent. If you listen closely you will hear them sing "He-roes. Ci-ty of He-roes!" (I programmed the words in Votox, using QL's word builder MIDI processor.)

Note that GigaStudio4's master discs went to the duplicator last week. GS4 should ship around the end of the month. It's demanding software though. It streams each note in real time from the hard drive(s). It's probably best to let the Giga Studio experts build some working GS4 machines, and then copy their work. So, I'd wait for GS4.01 or so. (Me? I'm happy to wrestle with 4.00.)

For MIDI programming, I used Sonar 7. For mixing, I used Vegas. (I render the GigaStudio tracks to wav files, and then mix/pan/compress/EQ the wavs separately.) For mastering, I used SoundForge 9's Izotope plugs with a heavy hand, given that it's destined for PC playback.

Other instruments include Prominy's Les Paul Classic, the VSL strings and brass that shipped with GS3 (not in GS4), Doru Malaia's odaiko, G-Town's cymbals and anvils, Project Sam's timpani, PMI's Bosendorfer 290 piano... For ambiance, I used GigaPulse (part of GS3 & GS4.)

It takes a while to put together a good library collection.

The thing is, you can truly compose note by note with such tools. You won't hear your original music in anybody else's video - hopefully!
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Old March 18th, 2008, 04:17 PM   #9
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from my understandings, even if the song is public domain, you need permission from the artist who performed it to use it commercially, unless you happen to have the original artists recordings.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 04:49 PM   #10
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That's correct. You can hire somebody with sample libraries (like the ones I listed above) to create a mockup of a PD piece. You can then own the complete mechanical rights to the end result.

Any modern recording on CD/vinyl will not be PD. Don't rip music that will be used for publication.

So, how realistic are sample libs? Check out the demos for this trumpet:
http://www.samplemodeling.com/en/demos.php

Literally, the composer/mockup-artist can simple play the lines on the keyboard to record your song - no studio, trumpet player, instrument or expensive mics/preamps/converters needed.
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