Getting to Know the Film Composer Palette

In my last blog entry I covered the emotional vernacular that a film maker should be familiar with when discussing ideas with a composer. However this leaves some gaping holes when your trying to explain to a composer the actual sounds and instrumentation your looking for.

Orchestral music has long been the cornerstone of cinematic music. Getting to know the different instruments in the orchestra can often be an asset for film makers. Its not crucial, as the composer will ultimately know most of the best choices to make. However knowledge is power and certainly being able to tell the difference between a flute and a bassoon is simply going to make you that much better of a communicator of ideas. Check out this awesomely cheesy video for a nice basic overview.

Instruments of the Orchestra

And then watch this great overview.

Instruments of the Orchestra

Also, make sure you get out to see the symphony. In Toronto we have a program for people under 35 to get 14 dollar tickets. As far as I understand, most major cities have similar programs. There is nothing like hearing and seeing a live professional orchestra.

Of course the orchestra is just one of many elements that can comprise a great soundtrack. The virtually endless range of other instruments creates a near endless variety of choices to suit and situation. Guitars, synths, drums, Indian instruments, middle-eastern instruments, the list goes on forever. Familiarizing yourself with as many genres and styles of music is important. A great place to start is by listening to other film soundtracks. Find the ones that really stood out and elicited a true emotional response from you.


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