Music for stories: dress or undress?

Sometimes you would swear that the film was without music. Even if it’s not. But it’s done so subtle, you don’t notice it. It’s not so obvious. This is the kind of music I am mostly interested in composing. Probably also because I am a guitar player and never work with an orchestra. Sure, you can get great sounding artificial strings using a sampled orchestra but in general that’s not my thing. I would love to work with an orchestra but that is a whole different subject (read: budget).

An acoustic guitar is a great instrument for creating an intimate feel. An acoustic guitar is non epic. Not dressed to impress. One of the composers I admire a lot is Gustavo Santaolalla. Here’s an example of his fantastic intimate music:

On the other end of the spectrum of composing for film we have the epic sounding music which is demanding our ears to take notice. You can’t ignore it. As in this fantastic example composed by Clint Mansell:

The ending lacks the last note. So the last note will be filled in by your brain.

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