I’ll Be Right Back . . . After This Musical Interlude

As some of you may have noticed, I haven’t been writing much in my blog here lately and I fault that on the fact that I’ve been busy writing in another medium – music.  As I mentioned in a previous entry, I’m directing/producing my second episode for the amateur-based science-fiction series “Star Trek Unity”.  Production on the latest episode, “Disunity, Part 2” wrapped up at the end of August and much of my off-hours time has been spent knee deep in post-production work. While I learned the ropes of post-production working on “Disunity”, this time round I’ve added another new challenge to the mix – instead of utilizing cinematic scores written for other works, I plan on using music written specifically for this episode. Of course, the twist to this new approach is that I’m taking on the role of the composer who’ll create these original music compositions.

Now writing music itself is not something that is new to me as I have written songs in the rock, jazz and cinematic genres. However, those compositions were stand-alone pieces in that they weren’t written to enhance the feel and emotion of a particular scene in a dramatic work. Also, unlike like my previous compositions that involved only a handful of instruments, for some of these scores I need to compose arrangements for a full orchestra. So far, creating scene-specific scores hasn’t been much of an issue; instead, it’s the daunting task of taking a composition and figuring out its orchestration that has been the real challenge. Obviously, I have in my mind’s eye an idea of what sound or sounds I’d like for certain sections of the piece to have. What I’m learning through this process though, is that it’s not always obvious what instruments and/or arrangement is needed to create that certain sound, especially if you’ve never been trained or versed in the art of music orchestration.

One score in particular has been a source of both elation and utter frustration. It’s a score I’m writing that gives our lead character his own theme. Obviously, this type of score would need to have that heroic or self-assured feeling, something that would paint in the listener’s mind the impression of a character of firm resolve and confidence. At the same time, though, given the nature of this character and how he’s portrayed, it also needs to be a little understated so that people don’t get this notion of some guy walking into a room, his chest pushed outward while his nose almost launches up into the air. This one score also differs from the others planned for this episode as it needs to contain a melody that can be used in other episodes as a character cue. So it not only needs to fit the scene in question, but it also needs to be one that can be adjusted slightly to fit in other scenes with different moods and themes. As a simple composition on its own, that’s a challenge there in and of itself. Throw in trying to figure out the articulations needed for an orchestral piece and now you’re swimming in murky waters. It’s this one score that’s the main reason why I’ve been remiss on adding new entries to this blog as of late. Over the last couple of weeks, the only thing I could think about writing was the arrangements for this score instead of new content for this blog. Fortunately, I made some significant progress on this one score last week so I’m hoping my music-induced myopia will start to subside and I can get back into writing for this blog.

I can tell you it’ll be nice to be able write again using nouns and verbs and not just half-notes and chords.