Tag Archives: rock band

Genre Reels

In my Berklee Online Spring 2022 Semester Professional Film Scoring Skills 2 class I had to create reels for a variety of genres to show potential clients. I had to have a total of five reels: a general reel, a horror reel, a comedy reel, an electronic reel, and a fifth reel that was my choice. By the end of the semester, each reel had to have at least eight tracks. The first assignment was to put as much of my preexisting music as was relevant so that I could get feedback from my professor. Some of my tracks were too long (they shouldn’t be any longer than two minutes), some of my mockups were not up to par, and some reels just didn’t have enough tracks in them. I worked to implement this feedback throughout the semester.

Circus Clown (my rescore for He Who Gets Slapped), and A Date with a Ghost, (my score for Date) were two tracks for which I created new and improved mockups. A Mouse and an Elephant and Quirky Waltz are two brand new tracks that I composed to meet the requirements for my comedy reel.

Most of the tracks I’m not going to post because they are either short clips taken from one section of much longer tracks or a slightly shortened version of a track that was a little bit over two minutes. If you are interested in listening to any of these tracks in their “new forms” you can follow the links here: Classical/World/Electronic Hybrid, Cold and Hollow, Dracula’s Tomb, Electronic Groove with Drops, Floating in Space, Haunted House (from Complements IV), Lobsters, A Prophesy of Auras (from Aura), Sci-Fi Car Chase, Space Shooter, Suspense (from Complements IV), and Synthia. If you want to listen to any of my complete reels you can follow these links: Classical/Rock/World Music Hybrid ReelGeneral ReelHorror Reel, Comedy ReelElectronic Reel.

Expanding My Tone Color Voice

These next three tracks were from my Berklee Online Winter Semester, Week 7 in Compositional Voice Development in Film Scoring.

Orchestra/Rock Hybrid was an exercise to “…compose a short phrase that combines orchestral and popular music instrumentation. You may combine orchestral and pop elements in any way that is musically interesting to you.” I combined bass guitar and drum set with strings and brass, and had the strings and brass play power chords in place of an electric guitar.

Orchestra/Ethnic Hybrid was an exercise to “… compose a short phrase that combines a world or historical instrument with the orchestra. You may combine orchestral and world/historical elements in any way that is musically interesting to you.” I used a Middle Eastern Zurna as the melodic instrument and accompanied it with sustained strings, concert toms, and concert bass drum. I used the scale C Db E F G Ab B and came up with a bass line for the strings to play, then improvised with that scale for the Zurna part. I also experimented with using extra reverb to try to counteract its very nasal sound.

Orchestra/Rock/Ethnic Hybrid was the end-of-the-week assignment to “…write a one-minute piece using an instrument or tone color idea you’ve never used before. You may use common or rare instruments, acoustic or software sounds.” I continued with the concepts that I experimented with in the two exercises this week: combining rock/pop instruments with orchestral instruments, and combining world instruments with orchestral instruments. I used a combination of all three, and while I was combining things, I thought it might be interesting to use 12 Bar Blues as my form. For rock/pop instruments, I used electric bass and drums again. For orchestral instruments I used strings, and had the low strings play a pad, while the violins played a melody in octaves. For world instruments, I used the Indian Tanpura, the Middle Eastern Zurna, and a Middle Eastern Darbouka. I also used a vocal synth sound in the C section. The drum set has such a wide range of colors between bass, snare, toms, and cymbals, and there is such a punch to it that you don’t get from orchestral percussion. Similarly with electric bass, you get a nice percussive attack that cuts through (especially in the higher register) in a way that string bass doesn’t. I didn’t want this to sound like pop music or a chamber ensemble, so the strings give warmth and a roundness, and also make the track sound bigger. The Tanpura has a buzzing, sustained sound, with a fuzzy attack, so there is only a vague sense of rhythm, all of which creates a meditative bed underneath everything else. The Darbouka has a nice high pop sound which makes it work well with, and stand out against the drum set. It functions the way bongos might, but with a more unfamiliar sound because it isn’t used as often as bongos are. The Zurna comes in for the C section and final A section, and it cuts through everything with its intense nasal timbre. Once again, I used a huge wash of reverb on it to try to give it a less abrasive sound. In the last A section it is playing in unison/octaves with the violins, which also warms the timbre.


Music from an Opera about Mummies that was Never Made, or ‘Ramses’ the Stand-Alone Composition

During my undergrad at the University of Rhode Island, I read the book The Mummy or Ramses the Damned by Anne Rice. I had the overly optimistic idea to compose an opera based on the book and began working on some musical themes. For many reasons, the opera never happened (if you know Anne Rice and think she might be interested, give her my info), but I had this short piece to show for it. Originally, it was written for rock band and strings, but I recently rearranged it for rock band, choir, and full orchestra.