Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Shaman







This was one of the music demos I did in 2004 for my application to work at WASP Studios (Malaysia) where I held the position of Audio Consultant and In-House Composer for 6 years.  Below are the presentation notes I prepared for the interview of my thought processes and how I composed/produced the music to the visuals:

"The Shaman" Sony Vega

FIRST IMPRESSIONS:
- Even though it's a commercial, it's portrayed like a film.
- Visuals contained a dramatic sense of mood so it felt like the commercial demanded a dramatic, evolving musical score to reinforce and enhance the drama.

RESEARCH:
- After researching Shamanism and Far East Asian modes, my intention was to implement the pentatonic scale into the thematic development.
- Subsequently, after incorporating this into the creative process, i then realised the drama required a much darker tonality.
- I then decided to flavour an epic soundtrack style approach with oriental and ethnic instrumentation/influences - such as Chinese violins, Chinese Harps, Japanese Taiko Drums, Vietnamese Bells and ethnic Flutes. (As noted in the handout).
- This was to give the commercial a sense of time and space along with multi-cultural value.

COMPOSITIONAL PROCESS:
- First I worked out an appropriate click track to ensure I could highlight significant hit points.
- I began by setting the scene and mood by means of sound design and a dark musical timbre.
- After a relatively peaceful introduction, the pace of the drama picks up; therefore the soundtrack imitates.
- I planned to portray the Shamen as mystical. My inspiration came from his facial expression and gestures.  A subtle scraping on the Tam Tam (as he lifts the lid from the pot) marks the introduction to the Shamen's mystical powers.
- Reverb was added to the ethnic flutes to create an atmospheric sound when we see the clouds and moon.  This then leads to a menacing and suspenseful section highlighting the foreboding presence of the warrior.
- The suspense is built up by use of ostinato rhythmic devices, diminished 5ths, rasping trombones and other chromatic features.

- Subconsciously, for the the audience, I paid attention to specific hit points in order to get the message across that Sony Vega produces clear and precise images and sound.
- To concluded the commercial I conveyed Sony and their product with positive vibes by an unexpected, happy major modulation.

INSTRUMENTATION:
(XV-5080 Sound Module was used unless otherwise stated)

- Orchestral Reeds
- Ethno Flute (eLAB)
- Voyager Brass
- Trumpets
- Trombones (Project Sam)
- Zheng Harp (Ethno World 2)
- Wuhan Tam Tam (Ethno World 2)
- Timpani
- Percussion (Cymbals, Snare)
- Japanese Taiko Drum
- Vietnam Bells (Ethno World 2)
- Chinese Cymbal (Wizoo)
- Tubular Bells
- Xylophone
- St. Choir
- Gaohu (Ethno World 2)
- Erhu (Ethno World 2)
- XV Strings
- Violin Section Trills (Wizoo Strings)
- SFX (Various Sources)


YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/jonbrookscomposer
Website: http://www.jonbrooks.co.uk