Film Music (III) – Computer based composition for movie

Many times lack of economic situations, movie companies prefer computer based film scoring. What is computer based film scoring? It is basically computer aided performance of a composition by virtual instruments. Composer works with his electronic equipment  after he got information on the movie and its subject. He thinks about his musical theme and other subordinate melodies etc. Thanks to the musical software -programs like Cubase, Logic, Reason, Nuendo, Sonar, Pro tools, etc.- not only film scorers, but also other musicians who are interested in popular music, jazz etc. can use software for composing, recording and producing. Musical software simulates all kinds of instruments, atmosphere and effect. Though it is not easy to use.

Fundamental material of computer based music is “MIDI”, Musical Instrument Digital Interface. It enables a wide variety of digital musical instruments, computers and other related devices to connect to and communicate with each other. The working principle is based on numerical information. When you play the note A on midi devices, it is transformed by a code protocol, through which PC defines this action as the note A, and it can be heard as A from the PC. This system is similar with the functioning of an electronic piano. The difference is that midi device’s main duty is to send messages to other devices like PC or sound module. However, electric piano’s duty is not sending messages to another device -except its MIDI connection is not used- but just transmit data within itself.

Computer based composition: Composers need to have PC, a sound card, midi devices, compressors, microphones, sounding cabins, headphones, software, virtual instruments, mixers and effective modules. The most important part of computer based music is technological knowledge and strong control of materials. In order to use this system these are only the material fundamentals at the start: Good listening and experience is required for mixing and mastering.

When composers work with computer, their movie appears on their screens and they can easily put their music on that frame.  How it works? Composer starts his software and video can be imported in software. The next step is starting composition whit virtual instruments. The difficult part is arranging simulations. Virtual instruments cannot provide all the effects of instrument, so that musicians have to setup voices separately. For example: the beginning of the work composer want to use portamento strings, he has to arrange the sounds effect and equalizing module.

Computer based music not only based on Orchestral instruments but also Synthesizers, effect instruments or percussion  This division is decided by movie crew and musician. Of course these effective instruments and orchestral instruments can be used together. In addition, real instrumental composition can be mixed by virtual instruments and synts. However it is not duty of composers, this technique is used by sound designers.

Composition method is not different from the real perform. Many time it is very easy to compose than traditional one that’s why, composer can easily listen and change all work at the same time he compose. The difficulties are he has to interest all parts of piece in musical and performance way. When he compose with computer, he has to be composer, flutist, violinist, horn player and etc. he has to pay attention every way of performing.

Next: Creating impact on Scenes.

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