The Process of Creating a Music Score
The job of a screen composer includes more than just writing music!
A composer is often responsible for:
Meeting with the director, producer, or game developer to discuss music needs for the film, taking part in a spotting session, in which the film composer, director and others watch the movie and decide where each segment of music should start and stop in the film, why it’s being included and how it should sound, researching which may include music styles, innovative sounds, genre specific elements, new ways of recording to achieve the “sound” of the project, writingthe “score” which refers to all the musical pieces needed for the project (The score for a feature film is usually about half the length of the film, so a composer would probably have to write about 50 minutes of music for a 100-minute movie),preparing scores for the musicians, or gives notes and a rough score to the arrangers and copyists so that they can provide a complete musicians’ score, and supervising the recording and final mix of the music score.
Occasionally the duties of a composer may also include on-set coaching for any actors needing to look like they are playing an instrument, or consultation to find a suitable coach.
On smaller projects or independent productions, the composer may also provide services often rendered by the following person(s) on larger productions:
Music editor: mixes and synchronizes the music with the film soundtrack, often overseeing the scoring process.
Orchestrator: uses the composer’s work and instructions to create a score for the orchestra, band, chorus and solo instrumentalists or vocalists. May work in conjunction with a copyist who creates the actual music sheets.
Contractor: hires the musicians and deals with union contract obligations through the American Federation of Musicians.
Conductor: rehearses the musicians and conducts them during the recording session. He/she listens to input from the composer and producer during the session and has the musicians make changes.
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