Tag Archives: percussion ensemble

Movie Mumble Theme: Hybrid

From August of 2017 through all of 2018 I had composed/arranged custom themes for the Movie Mumble podcast (hosted by Nerds That Geek). Since January of 2019 I’ve been using an orchestral version of the theme (Movie Mumble Theme: Orchestra) for almost all of the episodes. Now that it’s been four years, I figured that it was time to write a new version of the theme. I wanted to incorporate my influences and personal style preferences, as well as utilize what I had learned at Berklee in my Film Scoring Masters program.

I used elements rock music, percussion ensemble, orchestral music, world music, and electronic music. For “rock music” I used distorted electric guitar, bass guitar, and drum set. For “orchestral music” I used low woodwinds, horns, low brass, timpani, tam-tam, choir, and strings. For “world music” I used wind instruments (zurna, xiao, ney, duduk, and didgeridoo), tanpura, and various percussion instruments (from India, the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia). For “electronic music” I used a bass synth with an arpeggiator and wavetable synthesis.

Movie Mumble Theme: Hybrid can be heard for the first time in this month’s episode (January 2023).

Expanding My Rhythmic Voice

These next three tracks were from my Berklee Online Winter Semester, Week 6 in Compositional Voice Development in Film Scoring.

Timpani Melody was an exercise to “…compose a musical idea that incorporates more than one meter… consider how the meter change interacts with other aspects of the music. Where in the phrase does the meter change occur? Is the meter change paired with a change in harmony or counterpoint?” I assigned 7|8 (3+2+2) to the tonic chord, and whenever the chord changes, I changed the meter also.

Increasing Intensity was an exercise to “…compose a musical idea that employs syncopation.” I set up the accents in the percussion and strings to really make it clear that the ostinato is in 4|4. For the chords, I incorporated a “rhythmic acceleration” because in addition to most of the attacks being on unexpected beats, the note values get shorter and shorter and the attacks move earlier and earlier in the measures in each phrase.

Percussion Groove was the end-of-the-week assignment to “…write a one-minute piece using a meter or rhythmic idea you’ve never used before.” I explored an idea that I’ve wanted to try for a while: fitting a measure of 5|8 and a measure of 7|8 together in a measure of 12|8. My A section alternates between 5|8 and 7|8 and explores the different subdivisions of each. The first phrase alternates between 7|8 and 5|8 and the second phrase alternates between 5|8 and 7|8. I arranged them so that in the first phrase there is an underlying 3 2 2 pattern that repeats four times followed by a 3 2 pattern that repeats four times, and in the second phrase there is an underlying 2 3 pattern that repeats four times, followed by a 2 2 3 pattern that repeats twice. For the B section, I switch to a more straightforward 12|8, but I emphasize all of the different even groupings that can fit into 12|8: groups of six 8th notes, groups of four 8th notes, groups of three 8th notes and groups of two 8th notes. After four measures, the A section material returns and is layered on top of the continuing B section material, so all of the different ways of dividing 12 8th notes are played simultaneously.