Music Composition for Film and TV 2

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Authored by Ben Newhouse

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Course Code: OCOMP-491

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 4

Level 4

3-Credit Tuition

$1,545

Non-Credit Tuition

$1,290

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. 

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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
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Syllabus

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

Requirements

Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Music Composition for Film and TV 1 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.

Textbook(s)

Software

  • DAW suitable for scoring to picture and/or orchestral mockup production, such as Logic Pro, Cubase Pro, Pro Tools (Studio or Ultimate), or Reaper
  • Students are required to create notation and submit it in PDF format. Options include:
    • Notation software (recommended option), such as Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, MuseScore (free), etc.
    • Handwritten notation captured by a digital camera or a scanner can be used in lieu of notation software.
  • Deeply sampled orchestral libraries covering all standard families, such as Orchestral Tools Berlin Orchestra Created with Berklee

Hardware

  • MIDI keyboard controller
  • One of the following studio monitoring options (both recommended):
    • Studio monitors (pair), such as JBL 305Ps or better, as well as an audio interface and necessary cables
    • Over-ear studio headphones, such as Sennheiser HD 600, Sony MDR-7506, Philips SHP9500, Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, etc.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact support@online.berklee.edu with any questions.


General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection

Instructors

Ben Newhouse

Author & Instructor

Ben Newhouse's commercial music has been used in more than 3,000 episodes of television, including projects for ABC, CBS, NBC, and most major cable networks. Newhouse's music is the soundtrack for the Disney DVD logo, several independent films, and Las Vegas stage shows. Newhouse was awarded the BMI Pete Carpenter Fellowship in 1999.

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The University Continuing Education Association awarded his Orchestration 1 course "Best New Online Course" in 2009, and Berklee awarded Newhouse a "Distinguished Faculty Award" in 2015. Newhouse has also guest lectured at Pescara Conservatory in Pescara, Italy and Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney, Australia. He authored Producing Music with Digital Performer (Berklee Press), which has sold 15,000 copies, as well as the more recent Berklee Press book, Creative Strategies in Film Scoring. He has been quoted in multiple publications, including Electronic Music magazine and acousticmidiorchestration.com.

As a composer during his college years at Eastman School of Music where he received his bachelor of music degree, and graduated magna cum laude, 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 1990s and was premiered by the Eastman School Symphonic Orchestra. Newhouse is also a full-fellowship master's degree alumnus of the University of Southern California, completing an MBA and a Business of Entertainment graduate certificate program with the School of Cinematic Arts.



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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.

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In 2013, Avella released his debut album, 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. The single "Bridal March" charted at no. 1 on iTunes; it is also the no. 1 "Bridal March" on YouTube.

In addition to teaching at Berklee, Avella is an adjunct professor at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California, where he teaches 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. Read Less


Questions?

Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu.

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