Talkin Music – Educate Yourself About Your Favourite Music Production Within This Educational Website.

What we now call ‘production music’ continues to be through various stages of evolution. Its origins are most likely in silent movies, when cinema pianists and organists would watch the movie and provide a live accompaniment. At the beginning, they could use odds and ends of, either from memory or collections of sheet music, but immediately volumes of specially composed or arranged incidental movie music were published, with cues arranged and categorised to match the numerous screen actions or moods. Perhaps this is why this extract from Krommer’s Double Clarinet Concerto is really a highly-known tune!

A Review Of 'Production Music'

Immediately, music became on discs, with the coming of TV within the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, there was clearly a large demand for easily available music, which had been called mood music, atmospheric music and, needless to say, library music. Most of this became of extremely high-quality orchestral and jazz, though with all the proliferation of synths in the late ’70s it gained a history of being cheap (yet not necessarily cheerful). Originally a united states term, ‘production music’ is already generally use here in the UK, as producers have wished to promote a more recent generation of library music which includes shed the old image.

Production music has traditionally been distributed on vinyl or CD but it is now also available via download. A production music clients are basically a publishing company, or possibly a department of a publishing company, that specialises in marketing, licensing and collecting royalties for production music. The end user is usually a film, TV or radio production company - but tracks could also be used for computer games, internet sites, live events and even ringtones. Users choose tracks they wish to include in a programme and will license them very quickly, through MCPS throughout the uk or any other licensing agencies worldwide, at a set licence fee per half a minute of music. Very often this is cheaper, quicker and much less complicated than commissioning a composer.

A great deal of the TV music from the ’60s was jazz-oriented; composers such as Henry Mancini and Elmer Bernstein set the typical in this way. Library music producers followed suit, and can corner some really good jazz musicians in touring bands who are delighted to supplement their meagre club fees with a couple of sessions.

Today, a lot larger proportion of production music is pop or rock. This is certainly due in part to your demand from modern TV producers, but another factor is the digital revolution. The production of convincing pop music is no longer exclusively the field of companies with big budgets for large studios and vast swathes of session musicians. The conventional still should be high and the application of real musicians whenever you can is undoubtedly a bonus, but it is now entirely possible that anyone with the talent along with a decent DAW to compete with the important boys.

Production music CDs might look like ordinary albums...

Production music CDs might look like ordinary albums...The recent proliferation of television channels has inevitably thinned the viewing audience for most individual channels, thus causing advertising revenue, and so budgets, to become slashed. Besides the few with the very top, TV and film composers have gotten to get accustomed to concentrating on lower budgets. Often - but in no way always - this has contributed to either (at worst) lower-quality commissioned music being produced or, sadly, fewer live musicians being involved. Seizing the opportunity, the library music companies stepped in with a new generation of music having greater artistic and production values, that may be licensed easily.

My Approach To Composing

Once I am commissioned to talkin music, it might be either on an entire album, or for numerous tracks to be a part of a ‘compilation’ album in which several composers contribute. I have got produced six complete albums during the last 10 years and about another 30 or 40 single tracks. My first commission was for a jazz album called Mad, Bad & Jazzy, which presently has three sequels. The title says it all, really - the music is mad, bad and jazzy - and a good title can obviously help with marketing, by signalling to producers what to expect through the album. The design and style which includes dominated my writing is slightly left-field or quirky jazz and Latin, having a sprinkling of indie, classical, electronic and only plain bizarre.

I work closely with a couple of producers in the company (Universal - formerly BMG - in this case), who serve as overall ‘executive’ producers. They know of the whole concept and marketing plan of your album, and generally I’ll have an initial briefing meeting with them to go about this. They then leave me to perform the composing and production, and often will drop from the studio every once in awhile, especially as tracks evolve or completely new ideas come up throughout production.

An album will include about 16 tracks, and while they can be as short as one minute, I love to imagine them as ‘real’ album tracks, therefore i will most likely get them to between two and four minutes long. Also i include various shorter versions lasting half a minute, 20 seconds and 10 seconds, in addition to short ‘stings’. It’s much easier to the producer to produce these at the mixing stage than to try and create them from your stereo master later - much more about this in next month’s article.

...nevertheless the sleeve notes are meant to assist the TV editor in a big hurry. Note an added one-minute, 30-, 20- and 10-second versions, along with the short ‘stings’.

...however the sleeve notes are meant to help the TV editor in a big hurry. Note the additional one-minute, 30-, 20- and 10-second versions, and also the short ‘stings’. Because my producers at Universal, Duncan Schwier and Jo Pearson, know the way I work, the briefing session is incredibly much a two-way flow of ideas. I never understand what I’m likely to be motivated to do, but briefs can range in the precise towards the vague, for example:

Writing a thing that fits a very specific commercial demand, such as lifestyle programmes or quiz shows, or fit popular search phrases for example ‘s-ex from the city’, ‘money’, ‘countdown’ or ‘stop press’.

Taking inspiration from a preexisting track, composer or style, being careful never to infringe any copyright or to ‘pass off’ as something copyrighted.

Taking inspiration purely from the generic film scene, for instance a car chase, slapstick comedy sketch or s-ex scene.

Developing a dramatic feel or emotional atmosphere.

“Just have a certain amount of fun and find out whatever you develop, Pete.”

Frequently I may also suggest using existing tracks I’ve already produced for another reason, like cues from the commissioned score that has now passed its exclusivity date, demos I did for a thing that were not actually used, or pieces I wrote simply for fun.

I generally take six to 1 year to compose and record a whole album, when i want the tracks to sound great, and not much like the stereotypical library music of your ‘old days’. I usually start out with programmed tracks, though before presenting these as demos I’ll get them to as convincing as possible by including all the real instrumentation when i can - saxophone, flute and a certain amount of guitar and bass. Something that isn’t a live instrument should have a reason as being there, such as a drum loop that can’t be recreated or a particular rhythm which needs to be quantised to match the genre. I furthermore have a vast assortment of unique samples recorded and collected during my years doing work in studios being a producer.

As soon as the early drafts are approved, I print scores and parts from Logic and book sessions for musicians where necessary. It is a crucial step to me - I book musicians I know and am comfortable dealing with. Once again, I don’t think ‘It’s just library music.’ I need to believe that the musicians are thinking the same way: that they are contributing creatively instead of it being merely another session.

It’s great working with Duncan or Jo at Universal - they already have an outstanding handle of what will work. It’s also really good to get some fresh ears over a project when you’ve lived along with it in the studio for a couple weeks. One time i presented a demo to Duncan and his awesome comment was “great, but the saxophone is a bit too in tune, sounds like library music.” This is with a ska track and the man wanted it to sound really raw and rough. I tried once or twice to play badly, challenging to get a seasoned session player who has struggled all his life to play well. Eventually I played the sax using the mouthpiece on upside down, therefore i sounded quite convincingly like I’d only been playing for several weeks.

Having your music accepted or being commissioned to create production music is every bit as competitive as the more traditionally glamorous goals for musicians and composers, such as landing an archive deal, publishing deal, film or TV commission. You will need to send in your music on a CD you should make look as attractive and interesting as you can, though a nicely-constructed site or MySpace site with biography and audio clips might be in the same way or even more useful. A number of calls to receptionists can aid you to obtain the names in the right people to send your pitch to: a personal letter is preferable to ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

The Net has changed the way in which production music is distributed, and a lot publishers now allow it to be easy to find and download the tracks you need.

The Web changed the way in which production music is distributed, and most publishers now make it easy to locate and download the tracks you require.The biggest thing to be aware of is that your music should grab the attention of your listener quickly. If a company is looking for writers, they may definitely listen to music that they are sent, but frequently they may be inundated, so it’s possible that they’ll only hear the first 10 or 20 seconds of each track (which could perfectly end up being the way their end user will hear the merchandise, too).

Most essential will not be in order to second-guess what you think ‘they’ want, or what is ‘good’ or ‘typical’ production music. The chances are it’s already in their library plus they don’t need any more, and when they generally do, one of their established writers will have to do it. If you want to produce a good first impression, it’s much better to write down a thing that has some character, originality and flair; and, above all, it ought to be something you are good at doing. The very best potential for getting your music accepted is usually to offer something different, fresh and different.

Very often, a piece you wrote as being a demo for something different that got rejected can be ideal, but paradoxically, pieces which may have actually been utilized in TV programmes is probably not good for production music. Often I’ve thought that music I actually have written to get a film on the non-exclusive basis will be accepted in the music library but, as Duncan has explained, music written into a specific scene may work perfectly merely to that scene, and could possibly not appear sensible on its own. Surprisingly, additionally, it can be that production values for TV music are often not suitable, particularly with today’s increasingly stingy budgets.

The development music company won’t like being told their job, but sometimes there is not any harm to help out with some marketing ideas. CDs and sections of CDs will wind up being categorised to assist the final user, so you may consider doing a similar for your personal demo. Categories can be as vague as ‘drama’ or ‘lifestyle’, or they may be more specific into a music genre or era - as an example jazz, classical, World, ’60s, kitsch, indie, ska and so on. Titles are extremely important, not simply like a description but also to assist with searches. It’s a similar principle as Googling: keywords or phrases in a title can be extremely helpful, specifically for online searching. On the flip side, you can find limits to the amount of tracks that may be called ‘Car Chase’, ‘Celebration’ or ‘Feel Bad Blues’!

One thing which i still find fascinating is how my music ends up. Anything you think your music will likely be employed for, it could be visible on something quite different, be that the feature film, TV drama, documentary, shopping channel, game show or gardening programme. To understand how production music works, try putting yourself inside the position of any stressed-out TV editor who desperately needs some terrific music for a new component of footage the executive producer asked to be added to your documentary three hours before the deadline. There are many possibilities:

Check out a production music company site and do an online search, using various keywords that describe either the genre of music or even the scene that really needs music.

Of course, an experienced editor or director will already have a good expertise in music that is certainly available, often calling on ‘old faithful’ albums or tracks, but tend to still search for brand new and refreshing material.

Many production music companies will likely aggressively market their, as any good publisher should. This could mean contacting producers of the film or TV projects which are about to enter production, along with accumulating close and ongoing relationships with their main clients, arranging all the stuff that composers would do ourselves when we had the money and time: courtesy calls, birthday cards, free holidays in the Caribbean, that kind of thing.

In this post, we’ve investigated the organization dimension of production music: what exactly it is, who uses it, how it’s sold and, most significantly, ways you can get your foot within the door. But through the composer’s point of view in addition there are technical skills that happen to be specific to production music, such as the ability to create versions of the pieces that are great for exactly into the 10-second format, so the following month, we’ll look at techniques one can learn to help with making an experienced-sounding production music library disc.

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