It’s coming to week 11 of our 13 week trimester soon and the project is unfolding fairly well with sound design coming together during the week, Foley being near finished recording, the ADR synced and cleaned up, and the Composition still being written. Coming into the composition I’ve realised just how much labour is involved in the process. It’s an extremely tedious and time consuming task, too late to quit now though.

Dublin_Philharmonic_Orchestra_performing_Tchaikovsky's_Symphony_No_4_in_Charlotte,_North_CarolinaThe background composition for the initial dialogue scene is going to include the following instruments…

Strings:

Violin – containing the main lead lines and sitting front of mix

Cello – main low-end in the strings mix, will cover mainly the chord progression

Double Bass – will feature rarely in select parts, but has no strong role

Woodwind:

Flute – Following similar lines to 1st violin

Clarinet – Following similar lines to 1st violin

Percussion:

Glockenspiel – features in some of the lead lines just following the melody

A Whole New World is a fairly complex song, there is a lot going on in terms of melodies, layering, harmonies and dynamics. I have been trying to put a lot of focus into giving each instrument a separate role, as opposed to just copying and pasting the MIDI region for each instrument. A full orchestra has great deal of depth and variety, it would be a waste to make every note the same. It has come to the point in the project (although I think I knew this all along), that I have realised that it is just not possible to get that Disney sound with MIDI and plug-ins. However I am still learning, and this definitely a challenge for me and an opportunity to expand my knowledge and skill variety. The composition arrangement is going to include (to an extent) the following instruments…

Strings Section:

1st Violin – containing the main lead lines and sitting front of mix

2nd Violin – mildly different tones and varying lines to 1st violin

Viola – Sitting main in the mid section of the strings and thickening out the 1st Violin

Cello – main low-end in the strings mix, will cover mainly the chord progression

Double Bass – will feature rarely in select parts, but has no strong role

Woodwind:

1st Flute – Following similar lines to 1st violin

2nd Flute – tonal variety with different melodies from 1st Flute to create depth

1st Clarinet – Following similar lines to 1st violin

2nd Clarinet – tonal variety with different melodies from 1st Clarinet to create depth

Brass:

1st Trumpet – Following similar lines to 1st violin

2nd Trumpet – tonal variety with different melodies from 1st Trumpet to create depth

Trombone – mid range and thickening the brass section

French Horn – bottom end of the brass section, complementing the cello.

Piano: consistent drive to the song, sitting mainly at the back of the mix, but will be brought up in the duller and and quieter parts

Percussion:

Glockenspiel – features in some of the lead lines just following the melody

I hope this arrangement, whilst lacking a great number of instruments, manages to capture the essence, dynamics and emotion of the original song, towards the mixing phase I may experiment more with duplicating tracks and panning. Disney haven’t made it easy for me though and I still have to write the Brass section, and of course, mould them all together into one cohesive performance.  

Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 2.09.54 pm

Over the past few weeks I have been looking into different ways to achieve a more “human or organic” sound with the MIDI notation. Most of my efforts so far has been spent on rewriting the score and trying to match it put to the original instrumentation, in an effort to make it sound as similar to the original, which is of course the goal. Otherwise I have been looking into things such as reverb or more importantly, Reverb’s (hint: plural). Convolution Reverbs in particular, although I am yet to source a plug-in on campus that will allow me to use this technique.

A convolution reverb plug-in is like any other reverb plug-in, in how it aims to create an artificial spatial image. However, it uses pre-recorded audio samples of an impulse response from a certain space, which is combined with the incoming signal that is being processed. It uses the impulse responses and to simulate the space at multiple points. So for example, a single convolution reverb can include a reverberation from 3, 5, 10 and 20 metre distances all at once to create a more realistic and spatially deep sound. I hope to gain access to one by the time of the mixing process.

convolutionr-a-2

 

From the get go I can definitely say that I underestimated how much work rewriting a Disney film score would be, I honestly somewhere missed that, now I think about every individual instrument, its individual role, its individual tone and it’s individual position in a massive scale mix. Had I had this thought a few weeks ago, I definitely would’ve put some of the harder yards in then. I aim to have all the parts written and fitting together by the end of this coming week. In the week following I aim to have the mixing completed, I will be putting a major focus into the tones and dynamics of the instruments in the mix. Keeping the dialogue/vocals at top of the mix and blending the specific instrument sections to a good balance, using manual volume trim automation. I will be back next week with another update on the progress of the score…

Peace!

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