Early Synthesis and Sampling Assignments

These four tracks were from my Berklee Online Summer Semester, Weeks 1 to 4 in Synthesis, Sampling, and Sound Design in Film Scoring.

A Single Sound was my Week 1 assignment to “create a 30-second piece of music using the provided audio file as the only sound source … Use the tools in your DAW, such as volume automation, pitch shift, editing/chopping, and panning in order to create a piece that develops over the course of 30 seconds.” The original sound was just a single synthesized sustained pitch.

Synth/SciFi/Horror/Classical was my Week 2 assignment to “create a piece that’s under one minute long using the subtractive synthesizer sounds that you created … in a style that is similar to the Doctor Who theme, or to the music from A Clockwork Orange or Halloween.” I wanted to combine elements from all three styles, so I incorporated the driving bass groove, portamento melody, and song-like structure of the Doctor Who theme, the high percussive ostinato with half step movement for dissonance and driving hihat 16th notes of Halloween, and the use of classical themes played electronically from A Clockwork Orange. I made closed and open hi-hat sounds, a bass sound, a lead sound, a pad sound, and a high plucked sound (for the role of the piano in Halloween). There are four different classical themes that I mashed up, see if you can spot them!

Chariots of Apocalypse was my Week 3 assignment to “make a one-minute long piece with a minimum of four sounds that you’ve made … (use the LFO, filter, LFO envelope or filter envelopes, and automation to create movement in all four of the sounds) … in the style of either one of the films Apocalypse Now, with its experimental and mysterious undertones, or Chariots of Fire, with its magical, inspirational mood.” I wanted to start with a reference to the optimism of Chariots of Fire, but then transition into something along the lines of the relentless military march ostinato from Apocalypse Now. I created a bass, a pad, a lead, a hi hat, a timpani-type sound, and pitch risers.

Casino Royale Car Chase was my Week 4 assignment to “find a short film clip with a scene that is around one minute in length … create your own ambient synth soundscape for the scene … using multiple oscillators that are layered and that represent the mood, feel, and pace of the film clip … any additional layered ambient synth parts with movement using tools such an LFO, envelopes, or automation … any combination of effects … such as reverb, delay, chorus, flange, or phase.” I thought adding tension as opposed to “action” scoring (like in a fight scene) would work well. I wanted to have a change from when he is outside the car and starting the car to when he is actually driving. This ended up also being an exercise in composing around loud sound effects.

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