In this video from his blog, Bear McCreary talks about writing the music for the hit series The Walking Dead. He talks about the different stages in the process, from consulting with director Frank Darabont to working with the orchestrators and recording the cues. One of the interesting aspects of The Walking Dead in particular is that the score combines a small string section with bluegrass instruments and synths. Bear and Steve Kaplan, his engineer, talk about the difficulties of combining these sounds and making it all work together.
Bear is a master at promoting his work and sharing information with his fans, and this video is no exception. Where he finds the time in the crazy schedule of a television composer to not only write blog posts but also record videos is beyond me, but all his work has clearly paid off and his fan base just keeps growing. Check out his entire blog here.
As film composers, we’re often called upon to create novel sounds. Genres like sci-fi and fantasy often require unique and unfamiliar music to effectively conjure up alien atmospheres or magical lands. There are a number of ways to achieve these effects—exotic instruments, bizarre synthesized sounds and unusual combinations of effects often work. But sometimes it’s best to conjure the unexpected musically rather than with orchestration or production. Here’s a neat trick to create interesting scales using tetrachords.
A tetrachord is a series of four notes, usually arranged within the space of a fourth (true tetrachords as developed by the ancient Greeks spanned a perfect fourth, but for our purposes augmented or diminished fourths work just as well, if not better). An easy way to think if them is as half of a standard seven-note scale. The pitches C-D-E-F form what’s called a major tetrachord, which also happens to be the bottom half of a C major scale. The pitches G-A-Bb-C form a minor tetrachord—the bottom half of a G minor scale. Put the two together and you get a C Mixolydian scale.