Music Composition for Film and TV 2

Author: Ben Newhouse | Course Code: OCOMP-491

The second course in a two-part series, Music Composition for Film and TV 2 teaches you to write music in the style of Hollywood films and TV programs. The course explores specific genres of film and television music, including drama, comedy, moderate-intensity action, action hero, action villain, and action adventure music. You will learn to analyze each genre in terms of melody, harmony, counterpoint, tempo, rhythm, and orchestration, forming a template that you can then apply to your own writing. The course traces the logistical path of a musical idea from initial concept to final recording, including composition, orchestration, recording, and editing. In addition, this music composition course addresses long-term form in film and TV, discussing how themes and variations are organized over the course of a full-length project. The course features music from the biggest composers in Hollywood, including John Williams, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Sylvestri, Marco Beltrami, Aaron Zigman, and Alf Clausen. The goal of the course is to give you a thorough understanding of the compositional styles used in Hollywood projects, in addition to arming you with a portfolio of film and TV music that you can use as demos.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Identify and apply harmonic devices specific to themes such as drama, comedy, action hero, action villain, and action adventure
  • Name and employ melodic considerations specific to themes such as drama, comedy, action hero, action villain, and action adventure
  • Classify and implement rhythmic considerations specific to themes such as drama, comedy, action hero, action villain, and action adventure
  • Construct appropriate orchestration techniques specific to themes such as drama, comedy, action hero, action villain, and action adventure
  • Demonstrate the logical path of a musical idea from initial conception to final recording, including composition, orchestration, recording, and editing
  • Employ typical organization strategies for a large-scale project, including the reuse of musical material through theme and variation

Lesson 1: Slow Drama

  • Slow Drama Cue
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Score Analysis
  • A Dramatic Progression
  • Slow Drama vs. Sad
  • Slow Drama Template

Lesson 2: Comedy

  • Comedy Cue
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Create a Comedy “Vamp”
  • Score Analysis
  • The Playful Comedy Template

Lesson 3: Moderate-Intensity Action 1

  • Moderate-Intensity Action Cue
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Add Rhythm to a Chord Progression
  • Score Analysis
  • Score a Moderate-Intensity Action Scene

Lesson 4: Moderate-Intensity Action 2

  • Moderate-Intensity Action Cue
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Write an Ostinato
  • Score Analysis
  • Sneaking Around Example
  • The Sneaking Around Template
  • Score a Moderate-Intensity Action Video

Lesson 5: Lyrical Heroism

  • Lyrical Heroism Cue
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Score Analysis
  • Compose a Lyrical Grandeur Melody
  • Lyrical Heroism Template
  • Score a Lyrical Grandeur Scene

Lesson 6: Action Heroes and Villains

  • Action Hero Theme
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Score Analysis
  • Action Hero Theme: Star Wars
  • Compose a Heroic Chord Progression
  • Action Villain Theme
  • Score Analysis
  • Action Hero Template
  • Action Villain Template
  • Compose an Action Hero or Action Villain Library Cue

Lesson 7: Action Adventure 1

  • Action Adventure Theme
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Compose a Heroic 8-Bar Phrase
  • Score Analysis
  • Orchestrate a Heroic 8-Bar Phrase
  • Beethoven Symphony #3
  • Compose an Action Adventure Theme

Lesson 8: Action Adventure 2

  • Action Adventure Theme
  • Analysis of Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, and Orchestration
  • Score Analysis
  • Compose a Lyrical Theme B for an Action Adventure Cue
  • Orchestrate a Lyrical 8-Bar Phrase
  • Action Adventure TemplateScore an Adventure Scene

Lesson 9: Logistical Considerations in Film and TV

  • The Roles of the Composer and the Orchestrator
  • Composer Sketches
  • MIDI Orchestrators
  • Be an Orchestrator: Turn a Sketch into a Score
  • The Music Supervisor and Music Editors
  • Be a Music Supervision and Editor: Select a Cue and Edit It to Picture
  • Music Preparation and Musicians
  • Recording Engineer and Conductor
  • Music Preparation: Given a Score, Create the Parts

Lesson 10: Long-Term Form

  • Recurring Action Adventure Theme
  • Theme and Variations I
  • Recurring Hymn Theme
  • Recurring Moderate-Action Theme
  • Additional Cues: Slow Suspense, Awe, Intense Action, Intense Horror

Lesson 11: Long-Term Form: Atlantis

  • Recurring Action Adventure Theme and Its Use at Six Different Points in the Film
  • Theme and Variations I
  • Recurring Theme of Awe and Its Use at Five Different Points in the Film
  • Gamelan/Orchestra Hybrid Music and Its Use at Two Different Points in the Film
  • Blending Orchestral and World Music
  • Mickey Mousing and Its Use at Two Different Points in the Film

Lesson 12: Long-Term Form: Back to the Future

  • Recurring Action Adventure Theme and Its Use at Three Different Points in the Film
  • Theme and Variations I
  • Suspenseful Strings and Their Use at Three Different Points in the Film
  • Theme and Variations II
  • Action Chase Cues and Their Use at Three Different Points in the Film
  • Period Music and Its Use at Three Different Points in the Film

Ben Newhouse

Author & Instructor

Ben Newhouse has worked as a music supervisor and composer on dozens of television shows, films, and stage productions for media corporations including ABC, FOX, MTV, and Disney. He has arranged movie themes, sixties pop music, Broadway shows, and scored for several full-length feature films using Digital Performer.

In addition, as an assistant professor at Berklee College of Music, he taught music technology and production and authored the book, "Producing Music with Digital Performer," which is a required textbook at Berklee and other music schools.

As a composer during his college years at Eastman School of Music where he received his bachelor of music degree, his music was performed primarily by Eastman groups and groups along the East Coast. "Heat", a relentless overture for orchestra, received the Howard Hanson Award in the late 90s and was premiered by the Eastman School Symphonic Orchestra.

Presently, in addition to pursuing a MBA in Entertainment from USC Marshall School of Business, Ben works as a freelance music composer and post-production specialist for the music industry in Los Angeles, Boston and New York City.

Learn more about Ben Newhouse at www.bennewhousemusic.com


Vicente Avella

Instructor

Pianist and composer Vicente Avella has been writing and performing internationally since 1998. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, he has scored numerous independent films, orchestrated and worked on music production for major network television shows including Family Guy (FOX) and American Dad (FOX), and written music for worldwide advertising including Intel (Saudi Arabia), Red Bull Air Race World Championship (Brazil), and official branding for FPC Sports Channel (Colombia).

Avella also performs regularly as a piano soloist, accompanist and in chamber groups, appearing at The Underground Series at New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC); the Steinway Piano Gallery; the Roerich Museum Concert Series in New York City; New Jersey's Stella Lass Theater and Burgdorff Hall, among others. The Boston Globe described Avella's composition work as "good taste unto genius . . .Not everybody could write like this and never come up with a cliché."

In 2013, Avella released his debut CD, All the Days of My Life, produced by Grammy Award winner Will Ackerman, founder of Windham Hill Records. The record received multiple awards including Best Solo Piano Album from One World Music Awards and an Award of Excellence for Instrumental Performance Solo from Global Music Awards. Global Music Awards called it "Stunningly performed, fresh, beautifully arranged and magical." The single "Bridal March" charted at #2 on iTunes; it is also the #1 "Bridal March" on YouTube.

Avella's music continues to win accolades including the prestigious ASCAP Award every year from 2006 to 2013, honors at the International Composition Competition ALEA III, the Bernard and Rose Sernoffsky Composition Prize from Eastman School of Music, and honors from the international competition Waging Peace through Singing. He was given the title of Distinguished Musician by the IBLA International Music Foundation, and is the recipient of a Meet the Composer grant from New Music USA.

In addition, as an adjunct professor at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, CA he enjoys teaching music theory, musicianship and piano performance.

He is the recipient of a fellowship from Eastman School of Music, where he completed his master's degree in music composition; he received his bachelor's degree in piano performance from Indiana University. Avella currently resides with his wife and children in Los Angeles.

Prerequisites

Completion of OCOMP-490: Music Composition for Film and TV 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.


Required Textbooks

None required


Software Requirements

  • Sequencing/DAW software
  • Students should be able to record MIDI in a sequencer, send that MIDI to a software program that triggers samplers, and record the resulting audio as an MP3
  • Students should also be able to import a QuickTime movie into their sequencer for the purposes of writing music to picture. Viable programs include Digital Performer, Logic Pro, Cubase, SONAR, and Pro Tools.  
  • Sampling library, such as Kontakt, any Vienna Symphonic Library, East West Quantum Leap, or Garritan collection
  • Notation software such as Finale or Sibelius is recommended
  • Students who can produce scores in their sequencing (DAW) software or by hand can use their current technique

Mac Users

  • OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Chrome (recommended), Firefox, or Safari

Windows Users

  • Windows 7 or higher (click here for system requirements)
  • Latest version of Chrome (recommended), Firefox, or Edge

Hardware Requirements

  • MIDI keyboard/interface (minimum 25 keys)
  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB recommended)
  • 4 GB hard drive space
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Webcam
  • Internet connection with at least 4 Mbps download speed (http://www.speedtest.net to verify or download the Speedtest by Ookla app from your mobile app store)



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Next Term Starts April 3


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