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Songwriting - Film Music

Updated: Jan 29

How to create the musical environment.

Woman working on computer
Film Music

The 3rd and final piece that I created for my university assessment was a piece that created the musical environment for a trailer for “Westworld”. Here is how I created the musical environment. There was no foley required for this trailer although there were a number of points that I would have liked to add the foley to it. I am looking at updating this now that I have more time. I have also upgraded my computer and have a lot more creative tools at my disposal.

Songwriting - The Creative Approach.

For “Westworld” I wanted to portray the tension between the human and the mechanical. The story is about the people created for the entertainment of others. The video is all about created things, many unfinished or half human.

I wanted a minimal arrangement to give space for the sounds and harmonies to come through. Up to this point I have been reluctant to use vocal samples but they were perfect for this as they were human and also mechanical. At the end of the day if it works then it is right for this situation.

The Starting Point.

I started with the piano part, portrayed in the visuals, and the notes all fit within an A Minor Pentatonic Scale. I created the main melody using the scale with 2 vocal samples and supported it with guitar and violin.

Initially I wanted to contrast the second half of the video as the scene changes become more frequent and so I decided to have a much more mechanical sound and rhythm. However, when I got feedback from the lecturer, I reassessed the ending and kept the main arrangement. I added a drone on the root note that ascends volume wise. The notes became longer and had a dynamic movement built into the sound. This had more continuity and was more subtle than before. I then added a third vocal sample to the melody to give more variety. The interaction with the strings and the piano continues to give a haunting atmosphere but the drone adds tension as it gradually emerges from the arrangement.

Thoughts for the Future.

I was looking to add one more musical at the point where the gun fires but time didn’t allow. This is another update that I am looking to do in the coming weeks. As I said before I would like to add some foley at key points.

The Video.

Here is the result of me creating the musical environment for “Westworld”.

If you are interested in the source for this exercise here is a link to information about “Westworld”.

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