View Full Version : A sweet strange soundtrack piece

07-21-2004, 10:52 PM
Here is my latest pensive little work for the film project I've been scoring. This is a close-to-complete piece for the opening sequence of the movie. The sounds are entirely GPO, with some added processing of bell and harp sounds. The overall feel is that of a sonata for piano and orchestra.


Two flutes
Bass flute
Two bassoons
Two muted trumpets
Muted french horn
Muted trombone
Tuba overlay (for muted tuba)
Hand bells (distorted)
Harp (both clean, and greatly warped)
Full Strings

Comments greatly appreciated!

- Jamie Kowalski

Joseph Burrell
07-22-2004, 08:09 PM
Man, if you hadn't said that it was GPO I don't think I would have recognized it. I really like the processing on this piece (I really like the way the piano sounds). Very fitting an opening credit scene as well. Is this the same film that you posted songs to before?

07-23-2004, 12:39 PM
Thanks for the comments. I like this piece as it is, but it seems the director needs a few adjustments, so we'll see where it goes. The processed harp sounds were fun to put together.

This is for the same film, yes. I'll be on it for awhile, it seems.

Hardy Heern
07-23-2004, 02:35 PM
A really interesting, enigmatic little piece Jamie. I can imagine that being really excellent in a film.

07-24-2004, 01:46 AM

I can imagine this being the perfect opening cue in a movie. It was enjoyable listening to this. Being a harpist, I found what you did with the harp processing fascinating. You are quite a prolific composer and your music is always refreshing.

Best of luck with the film project. Thanks again for sharing your music.

Gary Garritan

07-24-2004, 02:37 AM
a wee gem of a piece jamie.


mick ó c

07-24-2004, 03:31 AM
Jamie, once again a lovely piece! Thankyou for posting. Could you furnish us with a little more detail on *The reverb used for the piano and *the gpo setup/editing you used for the string stabs?

Great stuff.


07-24-2004, 04:05 PM
That's a great piece of music and no mistake. There's one thing I'm not sure about and that's the flamboyant flourish on the piano at 2.57. The piano is playing in a simple but beautiful way all the way through. That little baroque flourish just seemed out of place to me.
Everytime I hear it, it jumps out at me. But then maybe I'm being thick and that was the whole point.

07-24-2004, 10:38 PM
Thank you all for your kind words. To answer a few of the questions:

The unusual processing is not on the piano, but on the harp. I took the harp track and rendered it to audio. This seperate audio, I put on a new track, leaving the original harp take in place. I flipped the audio backwards, and applied a reverb plugin (Ultrafunk Sonitus Reverb) to this new backwards track. I set up the reverb track so that the original backward audio was mixed to zero, and only the actual reverb ambience could be heard (100% wet, 0% dry). I cut up just a few of the measures, and placed them where they rythmically worked with the piano and normal harp sound. I also used equalization on the effect track to cut off a lot of the low end, so things wouldn't get too muddy. There is additional reverb added to to whole mix.

I also used an Ultrafunk module on the handbells (Sonitus FX Modulator) to give it an under water feel. Water is a central theme in this movie, and a lot of the music I'm writing for it sounds very much under water.

The string stabs are simply the short bow instruments for all five string sections. The note lengths are quite short, and I've exagerated the accents on the downbeats with higher velocity values. I use more reverb on the short strings, making them feel a little more in the background than the piano, and also giving a nice little tail on the ends the notes.

As to the piano flourish, what can I say? I like it :-)

07-25-2004, 12:18 AM
Nice work Jamie,
I like the way the piece seems to keep building but never really reaches it's ebb. I love the sound of your strings with that 8th note bounce chord. ( don't know how else to describe it). It really gives the feeling that something is about to happen. With that in mind I think that the developemnt of the piano into the new style at 2:57 really breaks the pattern of the overal peiece and leads the ear away from a big developemnt and allows the piece to close.

Nice job overall. Now you gotta get us off the edge of our seats and give us some more works to enjoy! :D

Thanks for posting. I really enjoyed it.