If you aspire to write Music for Film, TV, and Games, then it’s important to have an evolving and vast playlist of scores on rotation. Familiarizing yourself with scores of the past and present is essential for your compositional process, and to grow your vocabulary as an industry professional. What is the best way to expand your catalog? Through exploration, and recommendations from some of the best in the film, TV, and game composition industry.
We asked Berklee Online’s faculty members what film, TV, or game scores they are currently streaming, and created a Spotify playlist so that you can add these pieces and composers to your rotation.
Ben Newhouse, a course author and instructor of Music Composition for Film and TV and Orchestration, streams a lot of James Horner’s music, especially the scores from The Rocketeer and A Beautiful Mind. “I just love his melodies,” he says.
A Beautiful Mind
Michele Darling is the author of the graduate course Synthesis, Sampling, and Sound Design in Film Scoring: Electronic and Textural Resources. She says that she’s fascinated by Ludwig Göransson’s score for Tenet.
“I’m spending some time unravelling the storyline and enjoying the reverse sounds,” says Darling. “It’s a fresh and interesting approach, hearing the orchestrations in reverse, which worked well with the reverse entropy concept in the film. Also, Göransson and his team spent a lot of time creating a unique sound palette, which I am thoroughly enjoying. I like to hear sounds I’ve never heard before.”
Sean McMahon is the chair of the Film Scoring department at Berklee College of Music and authored the graduate course Composing the Orchestral Film Score. Lately he’s been been listening to The Queen’s Gambit soundtrack by Carlos Rafael Rivera.
The Queen’s Gambit
“It’s a little unusual in that it sounds a little more traditional than most contemporary TV and film scores,” says McMahon. “It’s deeply melodic and lush, and also has a rich harmonic palette.”
Recently Alison Plante, a professor and former chair of the Film Scoring department at Berklee has been listening to the soundtrack from Pixar’s Soul, with music by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross. Plante co-authored the graduate course Professional Film Scoring Skills 1: Collaboration and Communication at Berklee Online.
Michael Sweet led the development of the game scoring curriculum at Berklee College of Music, and authored the online course Interactive Scoring for Games. He says that from a listening point of view, he loves all of the scores by Joe Hisaishi, composer for many Studio Ghibli films.
Kingdom of Hearts
In games, he likes listening to orchestral scores, including Kingdom Hearts by Yoko Shimomura.
He also enjoys Battlefield 1 composed by Patrik Andrén and Johan Söderqvist.
Ori and the Will of the Wisp
Or the Stardew Valley soundtrack for early mornings.
A fan of the Uncharted series of video games, Jeanine Cowen, who is the Acting Assistant Chair of Film Scoring at Berklee, says, “There is so much that works for the game and musically in those scores.”
Game of Thrones
She says she’s also still a big fan of the Game of Thrones scores.
The film music of Ennio Morricone is a favorite of Timothy Huling, an author and instructor for Berklee Online’s graduate Film Scoring program.