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Old October 1st, 2020, 12:22 AM   #16
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

You said it - you are not a musician, so feel free to suggest ideas - that always helps, but once you get into musicianship, it's like a sound recordist suggesting a different shutter angle. Never goes down well, no matter how good a suggestion it was.

You've fell into the musical cliche response to film music. Western = harmonics, suspense = screetchy strings, love = lush string melodies, space battles = brass and woods. Probably good starting points but also good things to avoid sometimes. You mention westerns - so once upon a time in the west has some very non-western pieces with singers aahing. If you are Morricone, Vengellis, Williams or Zimmer, you have similarities and huge differences.

There are also of course, differences between supporting music, incidental music and themes.
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Old October 1st, 2020, 12:44 AM   #17
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Westerns have a wide range of music in them. From country and western, folk music to big sweeping orchestras, Morricone's music was very different to that found in westerns at that time, but it influenced the music used on American westerns.

Just tell the composer the feeling you want, perhaps suggesting a harmonica or some other instrument as a stating point and leave them to it, They may use a different instrument in the end that works even better.
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Old October 1st, 2020, 06:24 AM   #18
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay, but when I give them the temp tracks, if they do not use the instruments that are in the temp tracks, I will likely still want them to use some of those instruments in them because that is what drew me to the temp tracks in the first place. But he may surprise me too.

I just thought if I were to list about 10 instruments up front as a starting point it would help, because those are what are in the temp tracks, unless I am wrong.

As for the harmonica being a cliched choice, I haven't heard the harmonica used years in movies, that I can remember, so I didn't think it was that bad of a cliche. But also, I want what I think would sound good, even if it's a cliche, but is that bad?
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Old October 1st, 2020, 07:02 AM   #19
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Just tell them that you love a particular instrument in a temp track and the emotional feeling that gives to the scene.

Don't gave a shopping list of instruments, you have to trust your composer's taste. Hearing the music for the first time is a nervous time for directors on multi million dollar feature films because it's something outside their control. That's why you see the same composers names coming up again and again in the credits.
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Old October 1st, 2020, 04:30 PM   #20
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay, I just thought that giving a list of instruments would save time, compared to later, when I tell them I like what they have done, but if they could just swap out this instrument, for this one, etc. Unless it's just better to do swapping later, even if it takes more time?
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Old October 1st, 2020, 04:55 PM   #21
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Let the composer get on with their job, they know the instruments that they have in mind after hearing your temp tracks. It's a creative job, not a shopping list.

A good composer will tell you to get lost, if you start getting into the micro managing details of what the piccolo is doing in the background.
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Old October 1st, 2020, 05:02 PM   #22
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay, but if I like the rhythym but do not like the sound of a particular instrument, is it bad to ask them to replace it with something else, but keep the rythym and notes still?

What if I want an instrument that he doesn't have in his repertoire, and I therefore have to buy the samples for him, which of course he can have afterwards, but is that bad of me to do if I want that instrument?
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 12:52 AM   #23
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Unless it's a pretty obscure instrument, the chances are that the composer will have their own samples.

The composer commonly lets you hear examples of the music, so you can ask them to change an instrument at that stage before they start the full scoring.

How bad it of you depends on if you're purely working to rules again and if, musically, it's a good choice. I don't know how musical you are, so I can't comment on if it's good or bad.

Last edited by Brian Drysdale; October 2nd, 2020 at 02:24 AM.
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 06:02 AM   #24
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

You cannot simply take an oboe and swap it for a flute - each one is played differently. If you really want a certain instrument the composer does not have, let them source it - some will want Kontakt samples, others may have a different base library and want a different format. Do NOT get involved in trying to buy samples for them, it's fruitless because nowadays, you need to authorise samples for the popular players and you cannot download them yourself and hand them over without wasting hours of their time.

You've boiled music down to pitch and rhythm and that's just not enough by a long way. This morning I have had to re-record the bass part for Chariots of Fire. The original uses a synth for the bass, but this is to be played by a small ensemble, and needs to be played on the double bass. The rhythm and pitch is exactly the same, but the attack for the double bass needs to change from one, two,three four, five, six seven eight to ONE, two,three FOUR, FIVE, six seven eight, with some staccato dots thrown in too.

Most blown and reed instruments have a break in the fingering, so going from say C sharp to the D involves lots of finger movement, so if one instrument can slur these two notes, another may not be able to, or perhaps there is a tonal change that doesn't work. Most composers do not use real instruments very much, but huge sample libraries and sometimes swapping saxophone sound for a brass sound requires you to re-record it because it has to be played differently, even though you are using a keyboard! Most people now play the melody with their right hand while using controllers for volume, expression and other parameters with the other.

This is an area of work you clearly know little about, so it doesn't matter, because that's why you have a composer. Just be aware of you have agreed daily rates that what to you might be a little work can take HOURS! At the very least, even if they can just swap a sample set, they have to rebalance, re-eq and find appropriate effects to make it blend. Swapping one instrument could genuinely take a couple of hours for 3 minutes of music - maybe even more if the mix needs tweaking. Leave music for the musicians.
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 06:05 AM   #25
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Oh okay. well so far the instruments he doesn't have in his repertoire that I wanted, are a duduk and taikos for example. So I can get those for him, but is it a bad sign if he doesn't have them?
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 06:36 AM   #26
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

For Gods sake!

I have a duduk, and there is actually one in the Namibia clip I posted, but ethnic instruments are the kinds of things you buy when you first need them, then often don't touch them again!

You do NOT get them for him, you get him to get them for HIS system, and he invoices you if you want to micro-manage his composing. Duduk will also force him to compose in a specific key, which might be constricting, or he could produce a perfectly usable simulation of the thing with other reed samples he may have. You seem to believe that not having one sample is some kind of indicator of his quality. Ryan this is plainly ridiculous and stupid thinking. Being a composer means you NEVER EVER have everything you need, and two composers might have very different sample sets. There is no prescription for creativity. Can you name me any popular piece of music that features the duduk? It's like me wanting to buy a Theremin. I've wanted one for years but unless you are doing 60s sc-fi B movies, or Good Vibrations, it's wasted money.

A good example would be if somebody thought you were a terrible film-maker because you only had a telephoto that didn't stay in focus when you zoom. If you got a good commission you'd presumably buy that better lens then?

You must stop this way of thinking - If your composer can compose, not having a sample of a terrible instrument that rarely plays in tune and honks horribly sometimes can hardly be a device for measuring his ability!!
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 06:39 AM   #27
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Those are pretty obscure instruments in western music, so it's not surprising that the composer won't have in their collection.

I don't know why you think that this is a bad sign, there's no logic to it. You've named instruments, but you've given no information on how you wish to use them, which scale you wish to use etc. This all is stuff to be discussed with the composer.

Again, you keep bringing stuff up in a forum that should be dealt with in person. You personally either like the composer's music or you don't. it's all subjective. If you don't, perhaps you should find someone else.

You're the director, it's your decision,
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 06:42 AM   #28
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson View Post
For Gods sake!

I have a duduk, and there is actually one in the Namibia clip I posted, but ethnic instruments are the kinds of things you buy when you first need them, then often don't touch them again!

You do NOT get them for him, you get him to get them for HIS system, and he invoices you if you want to micro-manage his composing. Duduk will also force him to compose in a specific key, which might be constricting, or he could produce a perfectly usable simulation of the thing with other reed samples he may have. You seem to believe that not having one sample is some kind of indicator of his quality. Ryan this is plainly ridiculous and stupid thinking. Being a composer means you NEVER EVER have everything you need, and two composers might have very different sample sets. There is no prescription for creativity. Can you name me any popular piece of music that features the duduk? It's like me wanting to buy a Theremin. I've wanted one for years but unless you are doing 60s sc-fi B movies, or Good Vibrations, it's wasted money.

A good example would be if somebody thought you were a terrible film-maker because you only had a telephoto that didn't stay in focus when you zoom. If you got a good commission you'd presumably buy that better lens then?

You must stop this way of thinking - If your composer can compose, not having a sample of a terrible instrument that rarely plays in tune and honks horribly sometimes can hardly be a device for measuring his ability!!
Oh okay, I didn't think it was a terrible instrument. I just heard it in other movies scores and thought it sounded good, so I wanted him to use it as well. I can't think of popular music where it's used, just other movie scores. I can get him to get it and he can invoice me then, if that's best.
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 07:46 AM   #29
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

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Originally Posted by Ryan Elder View Post
Oh okay, I didn't think it was a terrible instrument. I just heard it in other movies scores and thought it sounded good, so I wanted him to use it as well. I can't think of popular music where it's used, just other movie scores. I can get him to get it and he can invoice me then, if that's best.
Even before I got to his reply I knew the reason he wanted it, because hes doing his copy paste method of film making.
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Old October 2nd, 2020, 07:48 AM   #30
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Re: Should I work with this composer again?

It's not about being terrible, it's more about if it's appropriate for the film and its story. Sounding good and being appropriate are two different things, just because it's used on other films, doesn't mean it's right for your film.


That's something to discuss with the composer,
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