Contrasting Meaning Through Music

For this assessment we where given the opportunity to score music for the Video Clip below, some of you may recognize it, however I wasn’t aware of the scene so therefore I had no idea of the original clip’s soundtrack, giving me many different ideas of what sounds I could apply to it.


We where presented with a mute version of the clip, and where asked to compose two different meanings for it with our compositions. The only rules to these compositions where that they couldn’t include dialogue or sound effects, (Explosions, Rain etc.)

Composing for Film is very different to regular composition, as in popular music at least, you have to follow roughly some form of structure, like having verses or choruses, or introducing new elements at the start or end of a specific section. Music for Film is driven by the media, so if its an action scene and the main character is being chased, the music would speed up and slow down when they do, or if its a scene where a character goes from being happy to sad, the music dynamic and the key will change.

Composition 1:

For my first take on this clip I decided to have it as an up tempo, action movie style aerial chase sequence, with the occupants of the car trying to get away from whatever is chasing them, being whatever’s point of view the camera is from.

The way I conveyed this in my composition started off with the drums, which where programmed into a drum plug-in known as EZdrummer, on an acoustic kit, at 160Bpm. By having them at this fast tempo it gives the impression that the car and camera are travelling at great speed, giving it energy and purpose.

I then recorded some electric guitars to go along to the drum line, by having them heavily distorted, and playing a fairly heavy repeating riff, It adds menace, implying that the occupants of the car are either in great danger, or are very dangerous.

I then recorded some clean electric guitar over the top, with a chorus effect on it to compliment the distorted guitars, which added some nervous overtones to the scene. It also gives the audience that maybe the car occupants are aware of what is happening and are filled with dread, with the single octave chords feeling like a shiver down the spine.

I had it so the longer the song went on for the more the dynamic increases, gaining in energy and complexity, with the song starting off with just a kick, snare and high-hat and then working their way onto the cymbals. I also had it automated so the song starts off with one guitar and then the other one slowly fades in, with the first one also having a flanger effect on it. This slow modulating phasing hopefully giving the impression of movement, possibly of an extraterrestrial origin.

Once the clip is in its final stages, the song gets more repetitive, with the clean guitar doing loads of expressive bends to add tension, as you dont know how the clip is going to be resolved, making the scene feel more intense.

The clip can be viewed below:


Composition 2:

For my second composition I decided to do the complete opposite, and have a relatively calm, fairly ambient style electronic piece which slowly progresses as the clip does.

The clip starts out with a low pass filtered white noise track, which was being modulated before being filtered, giving the impression of wind. As opposed to my other clip where it feels like a chase, this gives the impression that the audience is soaring through the air, over the trees and lake,conveying feelings of freedom or aloofness.

On top of this is this is a simple repeating motive, going back and forth between a couple of notes, which gives the scene a slower pace to my other clip. With the lack of sharper sounding higher frequencies due to a lack in harmonic content it could portray a more reclusive perspective, as maybe the camera is merely observing the area and the car just happens to be there.

A Synth pad is then introduced into the mix, which then adds texture to the score, as well as its long prolonged attack and release giving the feeling of awe from the camera’s perspective, as they are sawing above the trees, taking everything in.

It is then at this point where a sub-bass like kick and an 808 snare sound enter the mix, as the camera focuses on the car traveling down the road, these elements “grounds” the atmospheric sounds, giving the sense that the camera is intrigued by the car and is following to see where it goes. The kick sound could also be the sound of a heartbeat, giving the impression that it could be from the occupants of the car, and the camera has homed in on the source, or is the very heartbeat of the audience themselves.

It is also at this point that the pad becomes side-chained with the kick, which could convey mystery as the kick is interrupting the awe of synth, implying a fascination from the audience.

finally the last element to join the fray within this sonic landscape, is a “trap” like hi-hat triplet pattern, which works with the kick and the snare to adds¬†progression and movement within the scene.

All of this continues almost until the end of the scene, where just as the car is reaching an overpass on a mountain, it cuts to black, with us not knowing whats going to happen next, which is where all the sounds cut off apart from a singular note, which fades out as the clip finishes, leaving us not satisfied with the ending, or holding on to see what happens next.

You can watch this clip below:


Hopefully these conveyed their given meanings, It was alot of fun working out the arrangements.




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