This video is a film scoring project fulfilling an assignment to score for strings under dialog for the Film Scoring Academy of Europe by Don Bryn. Don does not presume any ownership or rights related to this video clip and is thankful to have the opportunity to practice film scoring using such great work by director Damien Chazelle. The original music score was composed by Justin Hurwitz.
The brief for this assignment allowed a more traditional approach or a more modern ‘mood-setting’ approach. I chose this scene because there was dialogue throughout yet it would allow music underneath. I also felt the narrowing of space throughout the entire scene in her eyes – a great success by the director’s choices in videography.
I scored this scene before I had seen the entire movie, and the strings worked particularly well. The entire string texture is created with a 3-note motive that simply turns upside down for the second half. All string lines use this motive.
Then I watched the entire film which changed my approach. I realized I needed a modern jazz sensibility. My first thought was to add a drum set cymbal solo. Scraps and taps on the cymbals of a drum set. But I quickly realized it wasn’t going to work, especially not without a live drummer. Then the soprano sax popped in my brain and I pulled up a sax sound and started improvising. I made a few takes and this is what I ended up with. All I did after that was shifting around a few lines to stay out of the way of dialogue. I also went looking for a better sax sample and found the Bigcat Instruments implementation of the University of Iowa Electronic Music Studios samples, better known as the “Iowa Sax” collection. I ended up using an alto sax sound for this recording.
You are hearing a mix of the live strings and the mock sax. I hope to record a real soprano someday soon!
Now I think this movie is very well done. The writing, videography, tone, music. . . all of it. BUT I hate the story. Being a musician I have always felt VERY strongly that no amount of talent allows you to be mean, stupid, or cruel. So this film set of very strong emotions in myself. BUT, after all that is said, it’s a great film and this scene was a great success for me to score.