Film Scoring/Melody/Creating the sound of fear

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Lesson #01 - Creating moods using individual musical notes


There are three ways to create simple film scores for motion pictures using GarageBand. Musical sounds can be either:
  • individual notes and cords, or
  • musical rhythm, or
  • musical melody.

The first way is the simplest

In this lesson, we will start learning film scoring by learning how to create musical sound effects using individual notes or cords.


Creating moods with individual notes

One of the simplest ways to create moods is with single notes or cords. This works only if the sound is so fantastic, it creates the correct mood.

The secret: Organic notes

You do not need to be a musician if you use very organic sounds such as the sounds of a symphony orchestra. If you use the sounds of a symphony orchestra, people automatically think you have musical talent.

Good news: Really cheap orchestra

The only economical way for a low budget filmmaker to create the sounds of a symphony orchestra is with software instruments that live inside your computer.

The grand theory of film scoring

Music creates all of the mood for a motion picture. The visual images and the words of the actors do not tell the audience what to feel. Only the music explains the emotion of the scene.

Four kinds of music

The four kinds of music in a motion picture are:

  • Narrative music
  • Background music
  • Songs
  • The melody line of the actor's voices.
Music that tells a story

Of the four kinds of music in film scores, music which narates the story is the most important.

Sources of narrative music for motion pictures
  • Organic sounds - As typified by the "sound of fear" from this lesson.
  • Rhythm - As typified by the "sound of joy" which is the next lesson.
  • Melody - For non-musicians, melody comes from midi files of classical music and broadway music. For non-musicians, this is where all your skills of "cut & paste", simplify, and organize are put to the test.
Editing for narrative music in a conversation

Because the music which narrates the story will drown out any dialog, the editor must add gaps between the dialog. That is, between the sentences or ideas in a motion picture.

Since the film's editor and the film's composer must work closely together, it is easier for the composer and the editor to be the same person. That can be you!

What software is required?

First, you need special software.
By using Apple's GarageBand plus Jam Pack:Symphony Orchestra (or MOTU's Symphonic Instrument which I have not tested), you can create fantastic musical sound effects for motion pictures. A single musical sound can be enough to create the mood for the scene.
Note: There are alternative musical instruments.
If you do not have Jam Pack: Symphony Orchestra, there are other notes which can create the sound of fear. Try all the different software instruments until you find a good one.
Third, you need to shape the volume of the sound.
Once you have recorded the single note of a violin trill, using the volume track, create points which shape the volume of the sound so it seems like a real violin playing a real violin trill.
Extra credit: You can add more tracks with additional sounds.
You might enhance this sound with other sounds from Jam Pack: Symphony orchestra. Try some of the percussion sound effects in the orchesta drum kit.
When you are finished, send the sound file to me
Export your sound and send me your finished sound file.
Ogg's the prefered file format for Wikiversity.
I will convert your sound file into an ogg sound file and upload it to this site for everyone to hear your sound of fear.
Other fearful sounds
Besides the violin trill, there are other sounds in GarageBand which can produce the sound of fear. Again, submit your best sounds to me.

The Next Page

The next page explains the theory of music in motion pictures.

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