Film scoring/Butchering Midi

Interesting examples by FIREborn: Fear.ogg ---- Sad.ogg ---- Tired.ogg ---- Surprise.ogg ---- Joy.ogg ---- Fast like the wind.ogg.
This school is:
Narrative film production - Wikiversity Film School and School of Music - Wikiversity Film School
This course is:
Film scoring
The pages in the course is:
Introduction to film scoring
Create the sound of fear from a single note
Create other moods from a single note
Create the sound of joy using a delicate rhythm
Create other moods from delicate rhythms
Quiz: Music which tells a story
Create a mood with a melody
Create a story with a melody
Quiz: The Spy Story - Who is who?
DVD-Video: Scoring your first scene - The Promotion
Create four motifs - Mama, papa, baby, and Goldie
Create continuity with a single motif
Foreground / Background music - soft vs. loud
Quiz: Watch a short movie - George Lucas In Love
DVD-Video: What is a "Spotting Session"? - Only A Dream
DVD-Video: Write two musical cues for Home Wrecker
More musical theory
Butchering Midi - The starwars theme You are here!
DVD-Video: How would you score Green Tea Smoothie ?
DVD-Video: Write a film score for Blindman's Bluff
Write a film score for Seduced by the Dark Side!

Locate the midi file

Step 1 - Locate the file on the Internet

There are a large number of midi files on the Internet. I want you to work with a midi file from Starwars. I am specially interested in the music from the first Starwars movie. The name of this file is "swtheme.midi". Use Google to find this file and download it to your computer. One URL is

Using GarageBand?

If you are using GarageBand, before you start, open the MIDI file ("swtheme.midi") in Movie Player of QuickTime Pro. Then export the MIDI file as a MIDI file. (Yes, that seems a bit dumb but it cleans up the file for GarageBand.)
Find the file with Google

One URL is

If you have any problem, I can email a copy of the file to you.

Extract three moods

Step 2 - Extract moods

Give me three files
  1. A mood from a single chord.
  2. A mood from delicate rhythm
  3. A mood from a melody.
All you do is steal the notes and maybe smooth them out. Basically, all you are doing is thinning the file down to only a few notes.
I will add more instructions later. For now, try it then email me.
GarageBand with the midi file

click on picture to enlarge

Listen to these examples

  1. Musical mood: Fanfare mystery.ogg
  2. Musical mood: Ending short.ogg
  3. Musical mood: Short bang.ogg
  4. Musical mood: Tension.ogg
  5. Musical mood: Long drama.ogg
  6. Musical mood: Bold 2.ogg
  7. Musical mood: Bold.ogg
  8. Musical mood: Mystery.ogg
  9. Musical mood: Awakening.ogg
  10. Musical mood: Ending long.ogg
  11. Musical mood: Bang long.ogg
  12. Musical mood: Attention long.ogg
  13. Musical mood: Attention.ogg

These are OGG files which is a type of audio file. If you need help setting up your computer to play OGG files, go to Wikipedia:Media help (OGG)

Examples of musical cues ripped from Midi files
for the course on film scoring for musicians

Ben Henderson (Cubinoid) has created musical cues by extracting notes from midi files - 17 March 2008 - 10 points

The single chord mood is a fanfare - the beginning or ending of something important. I stripped some of the notes out, because they were forming a rhythm within the chord that didn't need to be there.
The rhythm is very delicate. I stripped a flute melody away from it to reveal it more fully.
The melody is very obviously Star Wars, but it has a slightly subdued feel to it, the feeling of continuing a struggle against oppression - it has quite a bit of movement and feeling to it.
Instructor's Suggestion
The instructor has created the same musical cues but with fewer notes. Fewer notes are better in some cases. What do you think?

Another real scene

The next page

Next, you need to create a long cue for a scene from a motion picture. Exercise: Write a film score for Green Tea Smoothie

Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this course is Robert Elliott. You can send me a quick email by clicking here.

NOTE: To submit assignments
To submit assignments, attach your completed assignments to an email and send it to me at "r_elliott".