Music for a Fantasy Comedy

Music for a Fantasy Comedy

I was asked to score a pair of scenes for a Fantasy Comedy film. In the first scene, a young woman joyfully goes about her daily life. She occasionally is visited by a strange but likeable guy. The director explained to me that the stranger is “an algorithm” who is in human form. He asked me to score the scenes as a fantasy. The music should evoke the woman’s feelings. In the first scene she is joyful as the stranger shows up in surprising places with surprising help for her daily life. In the second scene the stranger is gone. There are no more happy surprises. She feels the loss of her strange friend.

So, how did I score the two scenes? I scored the first scene with a fantasy/comedy style. I began with a simple ostinato–a repeating pattern–that modulates with chord changes. In the interest of composing quickly, I simply chose an ostinato from The Orchestra Complete VST plugin. I chose a preset called “Small Beginnings”, which uses a staccato horn, violin, flute, and oboe, along with pizzicato double bass. I found this particular preset by entering a few mood criteria: “Peaceful”, “Cheerful”, and “Magical”–it certainly seems to fit well!

I supplemented the ostinato with some quiet sustained strings. Then I composed a melody in an ABA’A” form. The first A is played by a bassoon, then the B by a clarinet, and the second A’ by an English horn. The final A” is played by the flute and bass clarinet, doubling the melody two octaves apart. The A, A’, and A” do not have identical melodies, but they sound similar because they share the same rhythmic motif. All of these woodwind virtual instruments come from the wonderful Infinite Woodwinds VST. I love these instruments because they are so easily “playable”, as all the articulations are controlled by a combination of velocity and CC1; they do not require any keyswitches. In addition, vibrato depth and vibrato rate are controlled by CC’s (Continuous Controllers).

In the second scene, I approach the scoring similarly, but in a minor key. I use a slightly different ostinato background, with staccato flute, violin, cello, and bassoon, along with sustained horns. Accompanying chords are played by sustained flautando strings, and double bass in a separate line. The melody is played by bassoon and horn in unison. A marimba is also softly playing the melody, in order to give the attacks a bit more definition.

Throughout both scenes, a glockenspiel plays in counterpoint. In the first scene, it always plays upward intervals, to give a more lighthearted feeiling. During the second scene, the intervals are all downward, helping give the music a more somber feeling.

So below is a video containing both scenes.


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