313 – Spring 2016 Seminar Assignments

Assignment 1: Listening Exercise/Written Response

DUE: 3/31

Using the resources at the Yale Film Studies Center (basement of 53 Wall Street), select a movie from the last 20-30 years with a notable film score (ie, it was written by an established film composer or a composer of concert music, it received critical acclaim, etc).

Write a response to the score (one to two pages, double spaced) addressing the themes and topics discussed in lecture and in this week’s reading assignments. Specifically, think about how the score establishes an emotional tone, how it supports and interacts with the visual narrative, as well as more functional uses in editing, providing transitions, linking thematic material, etc. Also discuss the instrumentation and orchestration, and how/if the score uses real-world sound or other non-conventional instrumentation.

You may choose to discuss the film’s score in a more holistic way, citing specific moments in the movie to backup your observations, or you can choose to investigate one scene in greater detail.

Assignment 2: Composing to Picture I

DUE: 4/7


Download the file in the link above, which contains a template Logic project and the movie file, assignment2.mp4. The Logic project contains the following sampled instrument tracks:

– Piano
– Celesta
– Clarinet (staccato and legato articulations on separate tracks)
– Flute (staccato and legato articulations on separate tracks)
– French Horn
– ‘Generic’ String Ensemble
– Orchestral un-pitched percussion
– Drum set

If you are familiar with editing and composing with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), you may experiment with other sampled instruments, including the east/west sample library (accessible with the “play” plug-in on a software instrument track), or other settings in the EXS24 sampler. For this assignment, please limit yourself to sampled versions of acoustic instruments, ie no synths, audio loops, drum machines, etc.

Watch the entire movie, and select a single scene – anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute – that you will score three different ways. Try to establish a different tone with each setting: humorous, poignant, whimsical, suspenseful, thrilling, etc. For example, experiment with tempo, rhythmic feel, harmonic/melodic language, using different combinations of instruments, and instrumental register/dynamics.

Create a separate Logic project for each of your settings by first opening the template file, and then selecting the ‘Save As’ option from the file menu.

You may choose to enter the MIDI data using a keyboard, manually in the Piano Roll Editor, or using a combination of both approaches. Either way, the goal is to compose using the tools of the DAW.


Assignment 3: Composing to Picture II

DUE: 4/21

Select one of the underscoring exercises you created for assignment 2, and make a new realization using the East/West Sample library. While you can still use Logic’s EXS24-based sampled instruments for specific sounds that are not available in East/West – for example the keyboard instruments, rock drumsets, etc – your project must contain a minimum of four East/West sampled instruments.

Each East/West instrument track should have the following:

– several instance of keyswitch articulation changes
– expressive variations in MIDI velocity data
– Volume and Expression automation control

The project should also use tempo changes to create a dynamic and realistic sounding performance.

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