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Topic: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

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  1. #1

    Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    I have been asked to write the score for a low-budget splatter movie. The thing is, I have no idea what so ever how a score like that should sound like. It is a zombie movie and the director have asked me to make a scary theme that can be repeated throughout the movie. I was thinking about using SOV a bit, the Boys-choir in particular, and make a dynamic theme for the opening-scene. (If boys-choir are not scary I don't know what is).

    It will be an orchestral score of course, but I could include some low freq synth to make it sound even more eerie.

    My libraries are: Roland L-CDX-03/04, AO set, SOV, Classical Choir, and Denny Jaeger Master violins.

    Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

    Chris

  2. #2
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    Talking Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Why don't you scare the director and ask him to buy you Absynth?

  3. #3
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Don't forget that sometimes the scariest thing you can do is to work directly opposite the picture. Some beautiful haunting melody as someone is getting hacked to bits, or a waltz...

    Forget Absynth. Have the director buy you Absinthe, haha. No, seriously, Absynth is a pretty darn good synthesizer to have around. Reaktor, too.

  4. #4

    Red face Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Congratulations on your film deal! As for the advice on what to do, I'd definately use a lot of string harmonics... they're scary!!! Good Luck!!

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    Thumbs up Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce A. Richardson
    Don't forget that sometimes the scariest thing you can do is to work directly opposite the picture. Some beautiful haunting melody as someone is getting hacked to bits, or a waltz...

    Forget Absynth. Have the director buy you Absinthe, haha. No, seriously, Absynth is a pretty darn good synthesizer to have around. Reaktor, too.
    Yes, good points Bruce. Yes, why not actually write a score???

    Seriously, Bruce's point on the waltz is interesting. Coming back from somewhere in the car yesterday a Katkachurian waltz came on the radio and I can't remember the name of it or spell the composers name either. But this famous waltz really has a sinister feel to it and I think this type of genre was used in Legend when the female star dances with the Devil towards the end of the movie.

    Or you could go down the Gnomus style road (Mussorsky). Not copy of course hehe.

    Absynth or Absinthe is good at weird and wonderful sounds that can be effective against a standard orchestral sound. It can play havoc with your computer though.

    String harmonics can be scary and cliche and done to death. But hey - if it works -it works. The next film may be not so low-budget -so you may want to come up with as original a style as possible for this one.

    Anyway, best of luck with your project.

  6. #6

    Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Quarter tones in the winds or strings, horn portamento effects or trills, low brass or string clusters. Anything modernist should work nicely. Even glides up and down on a solo violin can be creepy. Or for violent sections, use "sul ponticello" effect on a solo string instrument playing tremolo. Some scores to listen to are:

    Alien3- Elliot Goldenthal

    Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste- Bela Bartok

    Black Angels- George Crumb

    Requiem- Gyorgy Ligeti

    Arcana- Edgard Varese

    The Shining- opening track "Rocky Mountains" by Wendy Carlos (terrifying synth version of the Dies Irae)

    The Thing- Ennio Morricone

  7. #7

    Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    I would also possibly take a concrete' like approach to the music too. Sometimes things that people cannot comprehend, like sounds they are not familiar with and that separate them from the film/alienate them, can be sacry. I know this from sitting through many digital and analogous concrete' concerts, especially in the dark!

    Beeson

  8. #8

    Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Nice, Shantar.
    If you are not sure of were to begin, or how to. Then my first and most obvious suggestion is to go and rent many movies which are somewhat what this project is going to be like. Also look into early horror classics since they usually have basic great ideas for idea-embryos that you can pick up on .. just to get your imagination and inspiration going.

    Pay careful attention to how the music interacts with the screenplay and if possible, try to get your hands on as many of the original music only recordings of those movies; 'cause usually the volume of the score music is going up and down like a jo-jo, due to mixing with other sounds in the movie, and partly also to compression. This makes the score quite difficult to hear clearly at times and then you can turn to the recordings of the score music only. That also has the benefit of not catching too much attention visually - leading the attention away from where it should be I sometimes makes tons of MP3s out of the original recordings and pastes them into my sequencer right where the spot I'm working on is, to hear and see what works and not. Most importantly I will learn what does *not* work from doing so.

    I'm not sure wether this is your first thing, Shantar, but if it is, then I know what I would've done better my first time if I had the chance to do it again:

    X. Make all the arrangements about the deal VERY clear before the job starts. Especially about the money and the copyrights. If things starts to clog up between you and your "superiors" in the project, things can turn south really fast and at those times the very clear arrangements might very well save both you and the project. Don't go along with unclear directives or cut out the complaints to make a good impression - never do that. That makes one look like an unsafe little scared rat.
    X. Talk to the people, and be upfront. Be up on current events and have constant communication with the guys leading the show to catch on what going on. Things usually change fast and not everybody is so quick to let everybody know that needs to know it. A changed scene or different cut desicion might render much of your work useless. Staying up all nights working alone for 4-5 days in a row with the script you've gotten in your sound proof room, without giving the guys a call to hear how things going, is not a good idea.
    X. Make a schedule of your time and stick to it - very important. Calculate how much time you will be able to spend on each part of the process. The music is the single most lengthy process in a movie so start working as soon as humanly possible. Usually you get 10-12 weeks for a 2 hour movie - I personally require slightly more. 12 weeks devided into say 80 minutes of music equals about 1 minute of 100% completed (AND approved) music every single day on average.
    X. Delivering on time, making everybody feel comfortable and safe, is just as important as delivering a good score. If I get stuck with choosing between "a better idea than the current" or delivering on time, then I usually chose the first option. If I ask for more time then I better have something very good indeed to show off in return for it. Always on time.
    X. Keep it simple and basic, don't try to impress. Go from the bottom ground and up. Don't start with the bells and chimes on top, but rather get the chords down, and notes or timbres and then start building embellishments and nice orchestration up from there. That way you can cut away the bells and chimes if the time gets shortened. Wild and/or "impressing" ideas is not a safe game at all to play for the first few projects. A good simple piano might work alot better than 8 "hero" double horns zu 8 along with 3 octaves of doubling string parts in unison.

    Whithout being patronizing towards you in any way, I hope this can give you some ideas - new ideas or perhaps at least reminders
    The very best of luck to you
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  9. #9

    Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Thank you all for your tips!

    I have been thinking of making something totally opposite of what would be expected in a hack'n slash scene. I have seen it work on movies before. However, the director asked me to compose something eerie but I have always looked upon splatter-movies as violent comedies, so I think, like some of you suggested, that a waltz or something completely "misplaced" would work well too.

    As for the money; we (me and the director that is) have not talked about that yet but that is really not imortant for me since this is my first movie, pluss it is pretty low budged (should have emphasized that a bit more I think). If the movie comes on screen in Norway, it would be a chance for me to show other (more pro directors) that I can make music and thus it would pay off for me one way or another.
    The copyright thing, on the other hand, I probably should look into. (Thanks Tomke)

    Anyway, thank you for your time. Perhaps I'll post some samples of my work as soon as it starts taking shape. (Don't know if I dare though, there are many terrific composers on this forum)

    Chris

  10. #10
    Power Profile User lukpcn's Avatar
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    Re: Suggestions for a Splatter-score???

    Quote Originally Posted by Shantar
    I have been asked to write the score for a low-budget splatter movie. The thing is, I have no idea what so ever how a score like that should sound like. It is a zombie movie and the director have asked me to make a scary theme that can be repeated throughout the movie. I was thinking about using SOV a bit, the Boys-choir in particular, and make a dynamic theme for the opening-scene. (If boys-choir are not scary I don't know what is).

    It will be an orchestral score of course, but I could include some low freq synth to make it sound even more eerie.

    My libraries are: Roland L-CDX-03/04, AO set, SOV, Classical Choir, and Denny Jaeger Master violins.

    Any suggestions would be highly appreciated!

    Chris
    Try String section playing low consonant music and high dissonance addons... i think it works...

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