Film Scoring Courses
This course is intended to give non-film scoring majors an overview of the mechanics of synchronization and the psychological implications of applying music to film. Analysis of special dramatic situations will be followed by applications of scoring and synchronization techniques.
A technical course designed to give composers practical experience in the area of music editing for a scored film and temp-tracked film project. Class instruction and weekly private lab work will include the preparation of all documents involved in music postproduction, as well as various techniques used when synchronizing and editing music to picture on a digital audio workstation.
This course will address the prevalent and recurrent need in films to emulate a wide variety of stylistic scoring approaches appropriate to the period setting and/or specific ethnic locale of a screenplay. Approaches to research and adaptation of authentic musical styles will be discussed. (Such styles include, for example, 17th-century European, African, 1920s American, etc.). Careful attention to instrumentation, arranging, orchestration, and dramatic theme development will be stressed. Assignments representing realistic situations will be recorded synchronously to the specific needs of film scenes.
In this course, students will examine and explore the challenges posed to a composer in addressing certain classic moments that occur as standard fare in dramatic and comedic films. Such moments include, but would not be limited to: The Kiss, The Revelation, The Chase, The Punch Line, The Victory, The Hero's Death, etc. The typical class session will be divided between a critical review of the previous week's writing assignment and a lecture on the next moment to be examined and scored. Lectures will be far-ranging, and examples will be drawn from the work of prominent film and TV composers. Students will learn how to confront the challenges posed by such parameters as limited budgets, period settings, anticipated sound effects, docudramatics, etc.
This course allows advanced senior film scoring students to move towards mastery in the areas of orchestration and conducting live ensembles to picture. Working with a studio orchestra, assignments allow students extensive experience orchestrating, composing to picture, and recording with an all-live ensemble. On alternate weeks, students will be the composer-conductor of a cue, or assist one of their fellow composers as music librarian and booth reader. This course is paired with both a music production and engineering class and an ensemble class that meet concurrently. A glimpse into this unique course can be found in this video.
This course will provide opportunities for scoring scenes that use the same thematic material for one movie. Students will learn to create appropriate themes, develop variations, create a suite of proposed thematic material for a director, and score several scenes from the same film. Students will use MIDI sequences as well as live players to record their projects. All recorded projects will be conducted by the composers and screened for faculty evaluation. This course will also cover the basic knowledge of the music business as it relates to the film composer. Topics to be discussed will include initial meetings with directors, royalties, contracts, agents, the musicians union, and budgeting for a project.
This course explores and utilizes advanced film scoring functions available in widely used alternative DAWs—specifically Logic Pro and Cubase. Additional instruction is dedicated to advanced composing and computing scenarios using several networked Macintosh and satellite PC machines running as one system via Vienna Ensemble Pro software. Professional-level integration of a variety of software plugins and instruments within these DAW applications will be covered throughout the semester and incorporated into a series of creative scoring projects and exercises.
This course focuses on the new musical and technological techniques and aesthetics of contemporary film composing. Basic to advanced synthesis techniques, sampling, instrument design, advanced sequencing techniques, and the contemporary aesthetics of modern filmmakers and audiences will be investigated.
This course continues to build on the foundations learned in FS-371. It features advanced approaches to scoring for video games, including implementation using middleware such as XACT, Wwise, and Fmod. It includes examples, guest speakers, and applied scoring to develop the knowledge and skills that games composers and implementers are using in today's industry. This course deepens the preparation of students for entry level work in music at a game development company or as a freelance game music professional, including experience with typical game music workflow using version control technologies.
An advanced music editing course dealing with standard film and television industry procedures. Intended for the student who demonstrates technical fluidity with editing equipment and who intends to pursue a career in this field. Emphasis is on the responsibilities of a music editor for the scored film, from temp tracks and spotting through dubbing. Instruction will include digital editing techniques on a multitrack digital audio workstation, as well as the necessary preparations for delivering music to the dubbing stage in various surround sound formats.
A real-world immersion course in which students learn about aspects of film scoring that go beyond composition and production by scoring actual student films. These will include one collaboration with a senior electronic production and design student who is creating sound design, as well as at least one student film from a local college. Some of these student films will be provided through the professors; however, students will be able to find their own films if they wish. Lectures and discussions will consist of real-world examples of how the director-composer relationship works, as well as critiques of student projects and processes. Admission to the course is by application.
Film Scoring Practicum for Documentary is for advanced film scoring students interested in uniting a passion for composing with the power of storytelling to inform and inspire. This real-world experience is an opportunity to turn compassion into action by working with award-winning and emerging documentary filmmakers to score a series of environmental, social justice, and human rights themed short films (five to ten minutes) and podcasts that are intended to create positive change in the world. Students will interact directly with the filmmakers and with their professor throughout the filmmaking process to understand the intention of each film and the contribution music could make to it. This is a unique opportunity to create a score for a full narrative and to use your talents to effect positive change.