Tag Archives: FM synthesis

Berklee Online, Summer Semester, Week 5

These next three tracks were from my Berklee Online Summer Semester, Week 5.

Dancing Bells was the culmination of two exercises in Synthesis, Sampling, and Sound Design in Film Scoring using FM synthesis. The first exercise was to “Use your FM synth to create four different sounds from scratch … make sure each of the four sounds are unique … be as creative as you can … make them sound like something you’ve never heard before!” The next exercise was to “… create one of each of … a bass and a bell sound … spend time crafting each sound … create an eight-bar composition using the two sounds.” I focused mostly on the algorithm and a little bit on the frequency ratios.

Blade Runner Inspired was the assignment in Synthesis, Sampling, and Sound Design in Film Scoring to “Find a still image from the film Blade Runner online to use as an inspiration … create your own synth soundscape in the style of Vangelis that is one minute long … use at least three FM synth sounds as well as effects processing, such as reverb, delay, and chorus … try to depict the mood of the Blade Runner image with your music … avoid presets, and instead, create your own sounds from scratch.” I used a lush evolving pad for the cityscape in general, a bass patch that would pulse from left to right to represent passing police cars, high tinkling bells to represent the bright neon lights, and a lead for Deckard. For the bass I wanted something fat but also with some edge to it so that when it fades in it’ll add the bottom that’s been missing, but also cut through the mix. For the bells I wanted something that was bright with some shimmer, but not too piercing. I also turned the arpeggio into four separate tracks and panned them so that as the arpeggio ascends, it moves from left to right. When I was working on my pad sound, I stumbled upon a configuration that sounded like a synthesized saxophone, which I though would work perfectly for the noire vibe, so I changed gears and tried to get it as close to a real saxophone as I could (trying to simulate an instrument that needs a flow of air to start make a sound). I spent the most amount of time on my pad with three different LFOs and reverb, phaser, flanger, chorus, and delay, all at slightly different speeds so that it would slowly evolve very randomly. I used a very slow 12 bar blues for my form since I thought it would also work well for the noire vibe.

Indian Scenario was the assignment (begun in Week 3) in Stylistic Adaptations in Film Scoring to “Research the construction of Bhairav raga … write an original melody of about 30 seconds in length based on this raga … write a cue using the raga melody you composed for the previous lesson …  create a draft, and then I will give feedback; and the following week you will submit your final version, incorporating my feedback … I am providing a written-out description of a scene, with timings … construct a cue that is a hybrid of Indian and Western instruments.” Here is the list of scene descriptions with timings:

0:00: MX IN on a series of shots of Calcutta (this movie takes place in contemporary times). These will include shots of slums, wealthy areas, and religious shrines.
0:22: CUT to a small room in a home where several people are sitting and praying in front of an altar of Lord Ganesh.
0:31: the camera settles on a young man – this is Ram.
0:43: CUT to the narrow street outside as Ram is saying goodbye to his family.
0:50: Ram gets in to the car and drives away, turning around from the back seat to wave.
1:02: DISSOLVE to Ram in the back of a taxi driving across the Triboro Bridge into New York City. He is pensive, but here is a lot of motion in the camera work; kids playing in the street, people walking, people talking outside shops, etc.
1:18: the car pulls up to a fancy brownstone on the Upper East Side.
1:26: Ram sits in the car and looks up at a security camera mounted by the door. He gets out of the car and at…
1:37: the door is opened by a large, threatening looking Indian man wearing pleated slacks and a tight golf shirt.
1:43: the man frisks Ram.
1:51: Ram walks into a very modern techno looking office where a young, educated-looking and upper-class thirty-something Indian man sits behind a desk. This man is very slick and really clearly sleazy in a well-dressed way. They shake hands and then embrace, and…
2:14: MX OUT as Ram settles into a chair and they begin to talk.