Posts Tagged ‘strings’

Goldsmith: Laying Eggs. :)

January 28, 2014 2 comments

Hi there, how have you been?

Last week I talked about the wide, wild world of Jerry Goldsmith and how I’m digging his work deeper to scavenge myself some invaluable lessons. :) Well, as previously announced this week’s movie was the very first Alien in the series–the one directed by Ridley Scott.

Alien belongs to a fairly big teenager list of favorite sci-fi movies, but watching to it now–and paying its soundtrack the proper attention–as an adult made me realize it’s much more an horror movie than a plain, regular sci-fi shot. Of course, any sci-fi plot must have a tendency towards a thrilling atmosphere due to the inherent “unknown” factor, but several details–the soundtrack being the most important–hint the real intent behind the lens.

Alien (1979)

I could talk about the picture’s slow pace, about the long-lasting silences, the dark palette, the cinematography… but this being a music blog I think it’s better to stay safe at home. :P And Goldsmith’s formula here could easily be represented in a simple pie chart: 70% horror, 30% sci-fi. :)

The horror side of the pie is achieved by strings tricks well-known since Mr. Bernard Herrmann; the sci-fi one comes through more modern techniques involving electronic devices and resulting in effects like delay and reverberation in general. But the final word is the OST is really a case of “greater than the sum of its parts”. The cues for “monster approaching”–which are delivered through dynamics put to good use–influenced generations to come of horror/sci-fi composers.

I’ll leave you with a sample piece on the matter, and another of my favorite soundtracks in any medium: Super Metroid (SNES), by Kenji Yamamoto and Minako Hamano. My bet is some of those seeds sprouted in Japan… ;)

See ya, take care!


Nothing. (sic)

December 9, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

This week I want to share an old rough sketch for an indie game. It was composed based only on some abstract drawings and the idea of shifting icy and fiery environments.

Check the cool drwings (by Louie) and the little piece of music it inspired. :) I hope you like it!

See ya!


Bernard Herrmann, You Nailed ME.

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

This week I re-watched Hitchcock’s classic Psycho with all ears on Mr. Bernard Hermann’s soundtrack… And I must say any score below a rare “perfect” for such a work would be an understatement. Everything and more is there: aggressiveness, thrill, fear, mystery… All thrown up within an absurd level of cohesion and vaguardism.

My favorite one–despite “Murder” being more important, of course–is “Prelude”. I think all the other content derives from that piece and it encapsulates the overall mood of the entire work. But you’re free to disagree, of course. ;)

See ya next week, take care!


A Quick Tip On SoundFont Tweaking

August 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

This week I had a terrible time with some nasty SoundFont issues while programming a new development in an old theme (which I intend to share here anytime soon) and I decided to give you guys a heads up on tips in case you stumble upon something alike–I hope not, but anyways… :P

Troubleshooting :)

What I had: a strings orchestra section ready to go.

What I needed to add: some classical percussion like timpani, chimes and a triangle.

What happened: some RANDOM timpani disappearing at every new play.

Verdict: after many hours working on it I figured out that the matter was the LENGHT of the timpani sample. The decay time (even if I couldn’t hear it) was somewhere around 40 SECONDS… Which resulted in previous timpani “tails” (like comet’s lol) overwriting others yet to come and overloading my RAM memory–leading me to the nasty random skipping.

Solution: well, the easy way would be find another sample (a shorter one) or making an entirely new one. But there is something you can still do without losing ANY quality of your sample while improving performance. Here it is:


This is Vienna, a free Creative SoundFont editor. Loading your SF bank in there will allow you to tweak several parameters, includin the one I’m talking about: “Release” time. If you can shorten this that will make the sound “die” sooner as you end a given note… :)


Beware that depending on how deep you are in the file’s tree you won’t be able to mess with it due to this “X” in the unit field. Dig deeper to the bottom of the file. :)

I hope that may have helped you in some way, good luck with your producions!

See ya, take care!


Shifting Moods At Each Cycle (Portfolio)

Hi there, how have you been?

It’s been some time since I commented on my portfolio for the last time… So I’m better get going with that. :P

This one was made as an exercise in a composition class. The idea with this arrangement was to create a flute theme (5/4 in this case) and shift it from mood to mood as the cycles of the music flow. So it goes from presenting the theme to emotional (heavier strings) to noir (piano) to tutti. :)

I hope you like it. Have an awesome week!

Daft Punk and the New Soundtrack For TRON

This weekend I watched the recent TRON rehash while giving the soundtrack some deserved attention… :P And I must say I liked that Daft Punk work a lot.

In my opinion what’s most interesting about this OST is they managed to drink in some practically unavoidable sci-fi references–mostly from Blade Runner, indisputably–while not losing their personal touch and making it more… modern. (If I can say such a thing of some futuristic music. lol)

Let’s take a look at some of those peculiar features. :)

1) The tribute to the past is paid mostly through the timbers. Synths, fake strings and retro blips get that part of the job easily done.

2) The tension is kept up by the usage of some “echoing” tricks, just like Vangelis did with Blade Runner’s main theme. That can be done with plain delays or with more “filling” in the strings strikes, for example… Even when the tempo is slow that will work it out.

3) Being modern by being punchy. This is what differs this work from any other old-school futuristic theme: the ability of being concise. Or… modern. :)

That’s it for the week, enjoy the music and let me know: do you think this OST can become a classic 20 years from now?

See ya, have an awesome week!

Have a Nice Dream, Little Nemo. :)

March 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Hi there, how have you been?

Further with my commented portfolio this time I want to share a track called “Have a Nice Dream, Little Nemo”. It’s based on the NES videogame from the 90s, which is based upon the strip comincs from the 10s. :P Both tell the story of a boy who lives the most exciting life in Dreamland just to discover in the end he was dreaming…

The piece here starts with a music box–a fitting choice for a slumber theme–but then develops towards a more sentimental path thanks to the powerful timbres of the oboe and a couple strings.

It’s more about… missing Dreamland when the dream ends, I guess.

I hope you like it, enjoy!

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