Daily Film scoring bits

Welcome to the Daily Film Scoring Bits. On this page I post on a more or less daily basis little tips, tricks and advices about film scoring in general but also more specific topics like orchestration, composition, working relationships, business advices etc.

Use the search bar on the right to find specific topics or click on the tags to filter posts by specific topics.

Please don’t hesitate to comment on the bits, a lively discussion with different points of view is desired 🙂

Organ effect problems

One of the most common problems of inexperienced orchestrators is the “organ-effect”, which happens when you double too many instruments in a middle register with relatively long notes. At a certain point, the transparency gets…

ff Brass layer

One of the reasons for “fake” sounding orchestral mockups is the overuse of the ff-layer on brass samples. Very often you get to hear for example horn lines that last for a minute and are all played at ff without any rest or natural…

Integrating Hit points musically

Hit points in the music should never feel like you added an element at random on top of a music bed just to hit an action. Great film music manages to give hit points a musical plausability. If you listen to that music alone, you definitely…

Client dialogue

Clients and customers prefer to have a clear image of who is actually working for them. There are quite a few people who hide behind impersonal websites that they call something like “Awesome Music Studio”, speaking of “we” and “us” without ever…

Intonation without context

Remember that the intonation with most instruments in the orchestra doesn’t work like a piano where you simply hit a key and the resulting pitch is perfectly in tune. Rather there is with all notes a variability in how high or low the resulting…

Reasons for commercial success

One of the reasons for widespread commercial success for many art forms and media is the ability to appeal to a very wide group of people. For instance, commercial chart albums are very often conceptualized in a way to include not only…

Asking questions

Sometimes, when you get an edit of a movie to work on it might be highly incomplete, with lots of placeholders, storyboard cut-ins etc. so it might be tricky to actually understand the story or important details. Also, sometimes, the storyline…

Getting an agent

For many composers who are just starting their career getting an agent seems to be one of the most important things to do as they hope that these agents will get them high profile jobs and it is more impressive to have customers communicate…

8va and vb lines

Even though you might think it makes life easier for your players and is a good idea to incorporate into your scoresheets wherever needed, orchestral players don’t like seeing 8va/8vb lines or marks at all. Even the players where the use…

Practice long structures

One of the trickiest things to learn when learning to compose is to gain a view and more importantly control over the big picture. It is fairly easy to learn and use all the “rules” and possibilities in small scale, having one chord and a melodic…

Wall to wall music in Short Movies

Quite a few short movies need music wall to wall, which means to start the music at the beginning of the film and don’t interrupt it till the end of the end credits. In such situations it still makes a lot of sense to write several cues instead …