In Life - Debriefed

About a week ago, I completed a score for a 12-minute film – writing for full orchestra. I can’t tell you who the client was just yet – not until they finish the film and present it to their people. But it was great fun to have 45-piece orchestra on the floor at Ocean Way Nashville. IMHO – the Nashville String Machine is – pound for pound – the finest recording orchestra around. No other group delivers as much great music under real time pressures and with such a great attitude. And don’t let the “String Machine” name fool you. They include brass, woodwinds, perc and harp, and rhythm players, also.

So – thanks to Carl Gorodetzky and everybody in the Machine. Also, thanks to the fine folks at Ocean Way. It’s a terrific facility. Brent King did a wonderful job behind the controls – from tracking all the way through the final mix (at OmniSound). Kris Crunk added some cool overdubs. By the time we were done, it sounded more like a 90-piece group.

The score was written to sync to picture. And though I’ve got all the computer software to watch the video and sequence to picture – I chose to work the old-fashioned way: with a stopwatch and a click track. (I am a dinosaur.) And believe it or not – I think it was probably easier. Certainly less hassle. If you ever write for picture – consider the possibility of writing to timings and a click – and free yourself from the machinery. ┬áJust a thought.

Showing 2 comments
  • Mary Kuckuck

    I was the copyist for two projects by Ron Owen who would probably agree. We did 15 cues for the documentary “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” in about 3 weeks. The full length picture, “End of the Spear” included 66 cues (90 min. of music) and was composed pencil to paper in just 5 weeks. My own early music writing pre-dates computers and I am grateful I learned to compose and transpose “the old-fashioned way”. However, now that I’ve worked with Finale for the past 20 years, I could never go back.

    • rsterling

      Mary –
      Thanks for your comment. After a brief trial run with the very first version of Finale (some 20+ years ago), I gave it up. It was soooooo slow. I know it’s improved vastly, but the interface simply isn’t intuitive as a “writing” tool. (Just my opinion.) I think if Finale were to ever come out with an electronic “pencil” method – where the arranger/composer writes on a glass pad and it is interpreted into Finale – then I’d be all over it. And I’ve always wanted to have a “big” view of my scores – ready access to at least 16 bars at a time, which I can do on sketch paper. Who knows, one of these days I may have to give in and learn the program. But for now, I see Finale as a copyist’s tool, not a composing tool.

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