The birth of film music

A film score (also sometimes called background music or incidental music) is original music written specifically to accompany a film, forming part of the film’s soundtrack, which also usually includes dialogue and sound effects. The score comprises a number of orchestral, instrumental or choral pieces called cues which are timed to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene in question.

Inside music production: http://soundworkscollection.com

The Composer

 

Orchestration

Once the music has been written, it must then be arranged or orchestrated in order for the ensemble to be able to perform it. The nature and level of orchestration varies from project to project and composer to composer, but in its basic form the orchestrator’s job is to take the single-line music written by the composer and “flesh it out” in to instrument-specific sheet music for each member of the orchestra to perform.

Some composers, notably Ennio Morricone, orchestrate their own scores themselves, without using an additional orchestrator. Some composers provide intricate details in how they want this to be accomplished, and will provide the orchestrator with copious notes outlining which instruments are being asked to perform which notes, giving the orchestrator no personal creative input whatsoever beyond re-notating the music on different sheets of paper as appropriate. Other composers are less detailed, and will often ask orchestrators to “fill in the blanks”, providing their own creative input into the makeup of the ensemble, ensuring that each instrument is capable of performing the music as written, and even allowing then to introduce performance techniques and flourishes to enhance the score.

Over the years several orchestrators have become linked to the work of one particular composer, often to the point where one will not work without the other. Examples of enduring composer-orchestrator relationships include Jerry Goldsmith with Arthur Morton, Alexander Courage and Herbert W. Spencer; Miklos Rozsa with Eugene Zador; Alfred Newman with Edward Powell, Ken Darby and Hugo Friedhofer; Danny Elfman with Steve Bartek; David Arnold with Nicholas Dodd; Basil Poledouris with Greig McRitchie; and Elliot Goldenthal with Robert Elhai. Others have become orchestrators-for-hire, and work with many different composers over the course of their careers; examples of prominent film music orchestrators include Pete Anthony, Jeff Atmajian, Brad Dechter, Bruce Fowler, John Neufeld, Thomas Pasatieri, Conrad Pope, Nic Raine and J.A.C. Redford.

Once the orchestration process has been completed, the sheet music is physically printed onto paper by one or more music copyists, and is ready for performance.

From Mockup to Orchestration

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