Techniques of Scoring for the Screen II: Developing A Unique Personal Style

Discover the compositional voice that has been waiting only for the right kind of encouragement and mentoring. Cultivate a distinct artistic identity that sets you apart and will attract equally distinctive filmmakers and game designers. In today’s hyper-competitive talent market, no one seeks generic art. Carving out a personal style involves self-exploration, openness to innovative and outside-the-box approaches, sonic ingenuity, and a keen understanding of drama and the expectations of contemporary audiences.

Module 4 (3 credits)

In this module, you will discover how to apply your knowledge of musical dramaturgy to creating a distinctive musical fingerprint. Today’s filmmakers and screen artists of all kinds want to work with artists whose vision is as personal as theirs. In this course, which is the practical component of the Advanced Analysis module, you will explore all varieties of post-tonal harmony through a sequence of guided exercises in specialised areas such as scoring a spoken word performance, writing a postmodern canon, composing with a matrix, minimalism and even songwriting. Assignments for live recording sessions will range from a fantasy piece for a mixed ensemble with Bulgarian folk instruments to an epic composition for an 84-piece orchestra and choir that will let you announce to the world that you’ve found your voice.

What will you learn in this module?

  1. How to create a musical fingerprint that sets your compositions apart from others: exercises and writing assignments that will help bring out your compositional identity.

  2. Using hymn form and harmony to create moving musical statements

  3. Using canon form to enhance musical immersion

  4. Composing from a modal matrix and introducing randomness to composition

  5. Progressing to a deeper understanding of post-tonal harmony for the crafting of more sophisticated compositions (Note: post-tonal does not mean atonal).

  6. Enhancing your storytelling abilities by practising “musical empathy.”

  7. Methodologies for creating distinctive and memorable music using limited resources and smaller ensembles.

  8. Crafting great “hooks”: the film composer puts on the songwriter’s hat

  9. Understanding Arvo Pärt’s “tintinnabuli method” 

  10. Continued work in overlaying MIDI with live performances to produce high-impact hybrid scores

How does this module meet industry expectations?

  • Differentiation: In a competitive industry, having a distinct personal style sets you apart from other composers, making you more memorable and desirable to filmmakers and game developers.

  • Artistic Identity: Cultivating a unique style allows you to express your artistic voice authentically, showcasing your creativity and individuality as a composer.

  • Recognition and Reputation: A recognizable personal style can establish your reputation as a composer, leading to increased recognition, opportunities, and a loyal fan base.

  • Branding and Marketability: A distinctive style contributes to your branding as a composer, helping you build a recognizable and marketable image that resonates with audiences and industry professionals.

  • Career Longevity: Developing a unique personal style ensures that your compositions have a timeless quality, making them relevant and sought-after across various projects and throughout your career.

  • Emotional Impact: A distinctive style allows you to evoke specific emotions and enhance storytelling through music, creating a deeper connection with the audience and enriching the overall cinematic or gaming experience.

  • Creative Fulfillment: Developing your personal style gives you the freedom to explore and experiment, leading to a fulfilling and rewarding artistic journey as you continue to refine and evolve your compositions.

In summary, developing a unique personal style as a film composer of the new era not only sets you apart from the competition but also allows you to express your artistic vision, build a strong reputation, and create impactful and memorable musical experiences for audiences.

Assessed recording assignments

  1. Fantasy Cue for Mixed Ensemble - Strings + Bulgarian Folk Instruments & Vocals

  2. Score-To-Picture: Choice of Composing for a 52-piece Studio Orchestra or a 52-Piece String Orchestra

  3. Summative Composer Choice Assignment: Writing for 84-piece Symphonic Orchestra plus 20-voice SATB choir and 6 Bulgarian Folkloric Singers

  4. Exercises in Hymn Arrangement, Word Painting, Modal Matrix, Postmodern Canon, Pop Songwriting, and Arvo Pärt’s Tintinnabuli Style

Have questions about this programme?

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