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Songwriting - Studying Film Music

Updated: Feb 1

How to create both Music and Foley

Things associated with spring
Foley - Spring

This is the second short film, taken from “Spring”, and how I created both music and foley for.


Foley is the creation of the sounds that are natural to the scenes. In many situations you would only notice if they weren’t there. For this piece I had to create as much of the foley sounds myself or download them from sound libraries. I chose to create all the human sounds. However, a dog growling and barking were a bit out of my reach.

During my lesson I learnt that cracking celery gave a really similar sound to the cracking of wood. Also, I had some dead, dried branches in my garden that added to the range of tree sounds. The breathing and blowing sounds were just me experimenting with different microphone placements and playing with E.Q’s.

The staff hitting the ground was me hitting a wooden chair with a brush handle. The microphone was then placed under the seat of the chair for one recording and then on top of the chair for another. By blending these I got the sound of the staff. I also used these sounds for when the staff hitting the tree. However, this sound awakens the creature so I added bell like sounds to achieve this.

Lastly, I used Pan to re-enforce the viewers visual placements of particular foley.

There were a number of other sounds that I would have liked to have added but time was a factor. Trees rustling and basic environmental sounds like birds. Even walking sounds and clothes moving.

Songwriting - Music – The Environment

For the music, I wanted to portray awe and wonder with an inner strength. I used only sounds with mid-range and high-pitched notes. This gave a lightness to the visuals. I also made the physical events surrounding the tree sound bigger than they would be in a normal forest. I used reverbs to make the sounds appear like they inhabited a large space. This gave the whole setting a magical quality.

Music – The Characters

By introducing the creature’s entrance with whistling a Minor melody it gave the creature a, non-threatening, human quality which would set the tone for the interactions with the young girl.

I used soft, gentle sounds for the girl so that even though the visuals showed her nervous there was an inner strength to her. The use of simple triads added to the childlike sound and a lot of space gave a calming effect. I used bells to create the conversational exchange between the girl and the creature and then added another sound for the giving of the lighted leaf. The creature’s movement against the stick gave an ascending note pattern. I chose a Minor scale and then by counting the leaves that were missed I came up with the scale notes – 1, 3, 7, 9. The answering pattern also complimented the pattern of the leaves – 4, 6, 4, 7. The final bells pattern was also ascending as the creature ascended and they continued until the end of the shot. The swell gave the sense of the creature rising.

Music - Silence

It seems almost counter-intuitive but silence can be a very powerful tool when used purposely with visuals.

I chose musical silence for the initial movement of the tree root to highlight it and then the moment when the girl submits to the creature. They were key moments and having no music highlighted them.

The Finished Piece.

Check out “Spring”.

If you are interested in the source for this project click on this link to see the original "Spring".

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