Making Things Small

Photo by Brian J. Bruemmer

I am happy to announce that I’m now an official writer for SCOREcast. My first post went up today, talking about how to make a cue small. I’ve attached an excerpt below. Enjoy!

When it comes to film scoring, size definitely does matter. The trend in big-budget Hollywood films has been toward a bigger and bigger sound—enormous string and brass sections and 20-person percussion ensembles, all backed by massive beds of synths and samples. But often, especially with indie projects, what’s required is a much smaller, more intimate sound. Even a modestly sized orchestra might be far too large for a quiet drama about a family, a couple or a child.

It’s important for a film composer to know how to match what’s happening onscreen not just musically, but also in terms of size, feel and scope. Scoring The Avengers with just acoustic guitar and flute would clearly be wrong, just as using the orchestra from Pirates of the Carribean to score Juno would have also been a mistake. In this set of posts I’ll explore various ways to get your cues to sound really huge or really tiny. I’ll start this week with making things small.

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One comment

  1. Mike Sorensen

    Congratulations Jeff! Great read too. Sometimes simple is often just effective. One of my favorite scores of recent times was The Social Network. Mr NIN himself really created great atmosphere with some very simple notes and let the pieces breath. I don’t remember a score working so well in context with a film for quite some time.

    OK tweeting this post out to my followers so hopefully you get some eyeballs on the excellent piece.

    Congrats again
    Mike