TD8 #15: Dreamy Choir And Woods

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Here's a very peaceful device I got from James Newton Howard's score to "Peter Pan". It's a great score and I'll definitely grab some other cool sounds from it. Even though I'm not really a fan of the Peter Pan movies in general, it seems like the soundtracks are always stellar. Do yourself a favor and check out the following:

1) Tinkerbell and anything else P.P related by Joel McNeely.

2) James Newton Howard's "Peter Pan".

3) Benjamin Wallfisch's "Peter Pan".

4) And of course, the one that sets the bar (veeeeery high I might add) : "Hook" by John Williams.


The device itself is a woodwind melody with the choir in a slightly different pattern, accompanied by strings and harp. The glock is sort of a combination of the two melodies in the woods/choir, it's purpose is to highlight some notes and add a little sparkle.

Here's the sketch:

TD8 #8: Mysterious Choir & Strings

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Here's a device I found on James Newton Howard's "Nanny McPhee" album. So many cool passages in that score, check it out if you haven't already:) 

The idea is to combine high triads in the strings and choir and then build a melody starting in the low register moving up through the orchestra. It's very flexible and even though my version is totally different in harmony and melody compared to JNH's it still works quite well.

The choir isn't NotePerformers strongest feature but I think it's good enough to get the idea across.

Here's the sketch of the device:

As with yesterdays example the sketch is, well "sketchy" in the manner that it's not complete if you compare it to the full orchestration. Only the main structure of the piece gets sketched and it's during the orchestration process that I add most elements and all the other little details.

Another good use of sketching is when transcribing a piece of music, start with a sketch and only notate the most important parts at first. Once you have the melody and harmony down, you'll have the form of the piece and good reference points for moving to the full score later.

In this sense transcribing is very close to composing. The only difference is that you listen to someone else's ideas on a recording instead of your own inside your head. The better you get at one the better you'll be at the other, a worthy thing to spend your time on in other words:)

TD8 #7: Chasing Strings & Woods

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This wasn't based on anything specific, I just wanted to have a quick lively melody in the strings and woodwinds. I started with a sketch of the main melodic idea, when I was satisfied with that I added the bass line. Once the bass was determined it was time to add the harmony. All this was done on 4 staves. Here's the sketch:

As you can see the sketch is not very detailed, it's more a way to get started and have something to build on in the full score. It's great to have the bare-bones version to fall back on if you run into trouble while orchestrating/arranging a piece. I don't always make a sketch though, and I almost always wish that I had during one point or another in the process when I try to "skip" ahead to a finished product. They say that a great song should work with just an acoustic guitar and vocals, the sketch is our version of that. 

I'll include any sketches I've done for each device from now on in case anyone is interested.