In this course, students become familiar with the musical requirements and expectations of a wide range of cinematic categories and forms, from classic genre film to episodic television comedy and drama to documentary and opinion/propaganda pieces. The conventions of genre are now an established part of every composer's vocabulary. They can be violated, subverted, or updated, but they must first be mastered. Areas of study include the following: comedy, both feature and episodic, including comedic montage and timing; classic drama, including death of principal character, abandonment, and triumph; action and suspense, including the chase, natural catastrophe, cloak and dagger, and sports; period drama, including devices to establish time and place; romance, including development of the romantic theme and technique for leading to the moment of the kiss; science fiction, fantasy, alien worlds, alternate realities, supernatural events; horror, stalking, assault and murder; reality TV, including the use of sound design and synthetic nonmelodic patterns; and classic TV and feature-length documentary, as well as persuasive or propagandistic. As a focused continuation of Advanced Scoring 1, students will further strengthen skills in scene analysis, character reading, psychological persuasion and enchantment (esp. with respect to lowering the threshold of belief in sci-fi and fantasy). Genre scoring also allows composers to explore more deeply their own emotional and psychological processes in order to produce scores that support content in all varieties of visual media, including interactive experiences. Taken in tandem with FS-531, Directed Study 2, as the second phase of a theory and practice sequence.
An advanced practicum that provides individual students with personal mentoring and introduces them to the one-to-one filmmaker-composer collaborative model. With active support and critical appraisal from senior faculty, the student is challenged to conceptualize and execute a plan for scoring a personal slate of short projects, narrative and non-narrative, linear and non-linear, that link to and address critical aspects of his or her overall thesis plan. Drawing on both previously acquired music skills and scoring techniques learned in the co-requisite Advanced Scoring 1: Narrative Analysis, students will demonstrate the ability to convey creative intentions, respond to critical direction, and work intensively to meet deadlines set in tandem with their faculty advisor. The end goal is clearer definition of the thesis objective. Scoring assignments may be drawn from linear and non-linear visual content either submitted by the student or selected by faculty in collaboration with the student, utilizing electronic scoring techniques and/or live-player scoring sessions with students functioning as composer/conductor, or composer/producer.
The second semester continuation of the advanced practicum course that provides students individual supervision in scoring a range of visual media with attention to aesthetic, dramatic, and technical considerations. Taken in tandem with FS-520 Advanced Scoring 2: Genre and Form, projects will focus on genre and type-specific applications of visual scoring craft. Drawing on a full range of previously acquired music skills and scoring techniques, students will convey their creative intentions, respond to critical direction, and work intensively to meet periodic deadlines. Scoring assignments will be drawn from a balanced representation of linear and nonlinear visual content, utilizing electronic scoring techniques and/or real-time, live-player studio sessions with the students functioning as either composer/conductor or composer/producer.
In this course, students explore business and entrepreneurial skills for the media composer, with special focus on business aspects that composers will encounter when joining the professional industry. Students learn business development strategies including sales generation, networking, cold calling, reels, websites, upselling, and utilization of social networks. Students also learn many aspects of running a business, including accounting, taxation and finance, employee management, insurance, retirement, and benefit planning. Students learn the fundamentals of establishing a business. They discuss business models including corporations, sole proprietorship, and partnerships. Students will also learn about contracts and agreements, scheduling, and management of deadlines. In addition, students explore business and life management, professionalism, and building of social skills. Students will complete business simulations. They will bid against one another. They will deliver oral presentations and prepare business plans. Throughout the course, students will focus on self-evaluation, and learn about personal presentation, reliability, and ethical business practices.
This course offers an intensive study of applied approaches to scoring for video games. An awareness of the deep and rich history surrounding music in interactive arts will be gained through analysis and discussion of example scores and projects. Students work extensively with the application of technology across multiple genres to compose and apply fundamental video game compositional methods to various projects. Students will write simple to moderate-level interactive scores, employing the most commonly used methods in the industry. In addition, students will discuss and learn about specific business issues that include an overview of the video game and interactive industries including contracts, licensing, toolsets, and job opportunities. The course begins to prepare students for entry-level work at a game development company or as a freelance game music professional, including experience with typical game music workflow, and approaches to scoring video games. This course is a foundation for the Advanced Video Game Scoring course, which involves the creation of more advanced and complex interactive scores with direct application of middleware technologies.
This course is an advanced tutorial in the use of new technologies for composing and producing music for visual media. It is recommended for graduate scoring students who are already thoroughly familiar with the use of at least one DAW and professional sound library. Over the last two decades a technological revolution has created powerful new tools—and a new musical and narrative language—for making and using music in media. This revolution in the methods of music making has not only led to an enormous new palette of sounds and compositional techniques, but it has also fundamentally transformed the ways that music is used in storytelling and has created a whole new set of expectations for music in media. This course will focus on the new techniques (musical and technological) and aesthetics of contemporary dramatic electronic composition. The use of synthesizers, advanced methods of sound design, modern production techniques, electronic compositional methods, the use of nontraditional music in the scoring process, and the aesthetics of modern dramatic media will all be investigated.
During the relatively short history of the cinema,a handful of inventive composers have had an outsized impact on the language of film scoring all students must master if they wish to practice the craft. Just as an art student might study Rembrandt to learn how to use light or Hopper to master photorealism, aspiring film composers can save themselves many painful steps by going to school on the greats. In each offering of this course, students will examine at close range the work and career of a selection of seminal figures in film scoring history. By studying their contributions to film music vocabulary, as well as the trajectory of their careers, students will gain valuable lessons in the art and profession of film scoring. The course will focus on three aspects of film scoring that are often overlooked in the study of film music. First, students will study complete scores and the collaborative processes from which they emerged, with particular emphasis on the filmmaker-composer relationship. Archival records of historical composers and interviews with living composers will shed light on these areas. Second, students will explore how a single composer develops his or her voice, technique, and unique sonic signature through the course of a career. This is an extremely valuable perspective for the budding composer, who also must find and develop his or her own voice. Third, students will focus on what a film scoring career looks like—its perils and pitfalls as well as its peaks. This is of great practical use to the student readying to enter the field.
The course, the first in a two-course series and a prerequisite for FS-621 Advanced Dramatic Orchestration 2, requires students to investigate the orchestral palette and the individual instrumental forces therein, in order to compose idiomatically for orchestral instruments. Orchestra performers provide lectures and demonstrations that enable students to analyze each instrument regarding capacities in range, register, construction, tone color, general idiomatic use, articulations, dynamics, technique, specific performance requirements, avoided trills and tremolo, extended techniques, co-members of its family and auxiliary instruments, and other limitations or requirements. Students compose music for each instrument and instrumental family. Students' music is reviewed, performed and analyzed by professional performers, and shared with the class for additional review and discussion. Students also analyze the interaction of instruments, studying the relationship among musical content, aesthetics and dramatic situations.
This course provides an advanced tutorial in the auxiliary skills of orchestration without which even the most talented composer cannot fully realize his or her work. Although at the top levels of the craft, these tasks are frequently assigned to specialists, at the beginning of a career, the ability to orchestrate one's own work is a critical advantage. The technique of dramatic orchestration, as contrasted with concert orchestration of long-form pieces, is an art in itself, and will be thoroughly examined. Specifically, extended dramatic techniques for strings and percussion, effective use of the brass section, orchestrating for minimalism, and integration of nonorchestral, global, or electronic instruments in the score will be examined. Students explore differences in orchestration for television, film, and video games, orchestrating for small and unusual ensembles, and advanced overdubbing techniques combining sequence and live instruments.
This advanced course builds on the techniques learned in FS-615, Video Game Scoring Techniques. In this course, students explore complex interactive scoring techniques and direct application of middleware technologies (Wwise and Fmod). Students focus on advanced interactive composition techniques including designing and composing thematic elements and motifs that work across multiple cues. Students also explore advanced recording techniques and session flow for video game music. This course prepares students strongly for entry-level work in music at a game development company or as freelance game music professionals. Students experience advanced game music creation workflow using version control technologies, sound design and editing, batch file conversions, and modern approaches to scoring to video games. Additionally, students explore advanced topics in the video game and interactive industries including contracts, licensing, toolsets, and job opportunities.
This course provides students an advanced study of music supervision and editing for motion pictures, television, and video productions. Students complete in-depth investigation of the job responsibilities and tasks of the music supervisor and music editor for various film and TV scenarios. Students explore the aesthetic and technical aspects of spotting, selecting, editing, licensing, and dubbing of all types of music for dramatic situations. Students learn musical soundtrack design concepts, including placement and integration of songs, source music, and temp-tracked underscore cues for creating a complete film's temp score. Students also explore additional duties and techniques, including preparations for pre-records and on-set playbacks, music licensing procedures, budgeting, preparing click tracks and picture cuing for scoring, as well as editing and conforming MIDI tracks and Pro Tools multitrack surround projects to picture. Students also learn organization and file management within the music team's workflow process.
This course is an introduction to the tonal vocabulary and instruments of selected world folk and art music traditions. It presents students with the challenge of writing pieces that combine indigenous and Western orchestral traditions in a visual and dramatic context. The musical palette of the composer of music for the screen is no longer limited to the colors of 19th-century romantic or 20th-century modernist concert music. The approach of contemporary artists owes much to their embrace of folk traditions, ranging from African ceremonial music and Indonesian gamelan to Pakistani qawwali, Al-Andalus, and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern forms. As the language of cinematic expression becomes more universal, the music that supports it must strive to escape the confines of convention and stereotype and aim for a multimodal language. This course seeks to outfit composers with the tools to move beyond those limits and set out on the path of global artistry.