The soundtrack that I created for the short film encompasses a broad range of compositional devices and techniques. The short film depicts an accidental encounter between a man and woman on the streets of Paris. The man is intoxicated and the woman saves him from collapsing on the street. The woman then takes the inebriated man out for a dinner date where he once again collapses – once he wakes all that is left is her lipstick on a napkin. The rest of the film follows this man’s quest to find his true love.
The instrumentation is mainly piano, accompanied by strings, accordion, horn, harp and fretless bass. This particular instrumentation reflects both the cultural influences of Paris (as in the accordion) and reinforces the sincerity and fairytale-like quality of the short film. A Nord, Yamaha Keyboard and acoustic violin recorded all the sound sources. The Nord keyboard contains Mellatron samples, which was a 1960’s keyboard synthesizer that incorporated state of the art instrument samples. With the Yamaha, I used the samples of the fretless bass, accordion and horn. Each instrument was plugged into a mixer by Allen&Heath for further refinement in equalizing each track. From the mixer, it was routed to the MBox which was then connected up to Protools.
As the musical score progresses, the textures becomes more layered to reflect the driving intensity and emotions of the narrative. The overall effect that I wanted my soundtrack to achieve was to further heighten and enhance the visual aspects of the film. This is particularly true in the section that begins at 2:43 with the repetitive right hand fourths and displaced bass notes in the left hand: the chord progression builds with dramatic intensity, while the added pizzicato, horns and acoustic bass all build to an exciting climax encapsulated in the reunion of the two characters at the end of the film.
I did not use a click track or set a tempo, as the process of the composition was intuitive and based upon the scene changes within the short film. I felt that having a set tempo or marking would hinder the emotional aspect of my film score. For the process of the composition, I had some set compositional ideas and themes that I planned to use but these were improvised spontaneously in the piano track as I watched the film; I then built the rest of the instrumentation around the musical ideas conveyed in the piano part.
The plugins that were used were mostly AIR-Reverb and EQ3 4-Band. I found that the tracks did not need much tweaking as the Allen&Heath mixer did all the balancing. However, I set up a bus channel for the recorded strings and string pads, which has little bit of EQ and sends to an auxiliary track for reverb.
For the panning, I put some of strings and horn to the back of the space, with the main score focusing primarily on the piano. For the automation, I used the function ‘write’, which allowed to me to level accordingly to the live sound. The key of the composition deviates between Eb minor and Eb major; the minor reflects the uncertainty and the major evokes the chemistry and the quest respectively.
I feel I have successfully completed this task to the best of my abilities and believe my score is an aural representation of the visual splendour displayed in the short film.