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Topic: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

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  1. #1

    "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"


    (click the picture for the MP3]
    "Adventure in the Cemetery"

    Besides the songs I wrote for my stage adaptation of "Tom Sawyer," there was extensive underscoring to do. Here's an example.

    This is actually six different cues, to be played in performance according to the timing on stage. I put them together as one file, simulating how they would overlap each other in the production.

    1) Transition music at the end of the scene between Tom and Becky.

    They became engaged in the course of the scene, but Tom lets slip that he's been engaged to a girl before. Becky stomps off in a snit, never wanting to speak to Tom again, and throwing down the brass door knocker he gave her as an engagement present. A syrupy solo clarinet reprises "School Days" as Tom sinks to the ground in misery.

    2) Crickets, Frogs, an Owl, and the GPO wind machine (!) introduce The Cemetery Scene.

    The lights shift, Huckleberry Finn joins Tom (dead cat in tow--see notes on "Best Friends") as the spooky scene of the town cemetery at midnight is set. The music sketches in the mood of Mark Twain's narration which can't be included in the dramatization. After the opening measures, this underscoring will go down under the dialogue.

    Thematic material is from "St. Petersburg" the opening number. Mournful versions of the melody line for "It's a small town, an unimportant town" are heard.

    3) 1:32 in this file, the Cemetery music fades as the "Murder of Doc Robinson" music bursts in.

    Hiding behind a head stone, Tom and Huck have been watching as Doc Robinson, Injun Joe and Muff Potter dig up a grave. Muff Potter is knocked out during a scuffle, and Joe pulls out his knife to kill Doc Robinson. The boys watch in horror as the doctor is killed, and Joe places Muff's knife next to the dead body. framing the poor hapless drunk with the murder. The musical stabs starting at 2:03 are when Joe stabs the doctor. This is the third usage of Inun Joe's theme.

    4) 2:18 through 2:55 - A return of the Cemetery underscoring as the boys have a frightened, lively discussion about what they should do.

    5) 2:55 - The boys swear an oath, sealed with blood, that they will never talk about what they saw that night. They're afraid if Joe knows they saw what he did, they'll be "goners." The underscoring is a somber reprise of "Me And My Best Friend."

    6) The Cemetery scene ends on a hair-raising note for the boys. They hear the howl of a dog - a sign that someone is going to die. "St. Petersburg" is heard in its scariest form as the boys run off in a panic. Immediately segueing from this is a rooster and birds chirping, setting a sunlit scene at Aunt Pollys.

    ----------------------
    Being primarily orchestral cues, GPO is the main sound source, with some instruments from JABB and World and sound effects rounding things out.
    ---------------------
    EDIT: For people interested in what instruments are used in projects, here's a complete list. --Creatures were mostly from Freesound.org, a great cooperative site featuring members' sound effect files: Owl, Crickets, Frogs, Squirrels, Dog, Rooster, birds in a yard.

    Cue #1

    Bb Clarinet from JABB, with the high octave breath sounds, AirNoise (CC12) KeyNoise (CC13), Vibrato (AfterTouch) VibSpeed (CC17) and Pitch Bend (besides fairly active CC11.)

    #2
    from GPO unless noted:

    Full strings
    Garritan Strad (the discontinud solo violin)
    1st Strings
    2nd Strings
    Violas
    Garritan Gofriller (the discontinued solo cello)
    Cellos
    Bass Solo
    Basses
    Bass Clarinet
    E Horn 1 solo
    Choir
    Gliss Harp
    Orch Bells
    Wind Machine (last sound in Percussion)

    + "Eerie Gong" and "Piano Effect" (both sound effects from Freesound.org)

    #3

    Everything in #2, and added-

    from GPO:

    Basic Orch Percussion
    Percuss Toys (Claves and Ratchet)
    Trombone
    SAM Horn
    Horn Over
    Chromatic Harp

    from CMB (Concert and Marching Band):

    Piccolo Group
    Horn Group
    Trom Group

    +Kore Suspense Strings
    +Bazouki-Cakewalk Sound Center
    +Soprano solo-SampleTank
    +Waterphone-E-mu Proteus 3 Soundfont collection

    #4 same as #2

    #5

    I added-

    Banjo-from World

    (+ "Alien Piano"-Cakewalk Dimension)

    #6

    I added-

    Cymbals from GPO

    NOTE: If I would have had Instant Orchestra when I recorded this, there are several things I could have used instead of some of these non-Garrian sources.

    Randy

  2. #2

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Wonderful cues, all perfectly orchestrated. The instrument choices are superb, as is the rendering - it's great to hear GPO sounding like this.

    Thanks for sharing these - the show is really coming along.
    Website:
    www.grahamplowman.com
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    My Channel
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    @GPComposer
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  3. #3

    Thumbs up Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Wow. I still remember when I was reading Tom S. and some of the TV fictions about him.
    Really your music give back some feelings... looking forward to the Live Play!

  4. #4

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by Plowking View Post
    Wonderful cues, all perfectly orchestrated. The instrument choices are superb, as is the rendering - it's great to hear GPO sounding like this.

    Thanks for sharing these - the show is really coming along.
    Thank you, Graham - I appreciate your feedback especially since I consider you "Mr. Soundtrack" around here, and these are more in that realm than the song posts from the show.

    And your message inspired me to open up my Sonar files for these and write down a thorough list of instruments I used. I've added that to the original post for folks who are curious what others are using in their projects.

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Hello Randy, just remembered you had posted a new portion of Tom Sawyer, and had to give it a listen before heading to work!

    This is great thematic stuff you have going on here. Very spooky, and the mood is set oh-so wonderfully. It's great to hear what you have done with previously defined themes. I feel your dark twist on themes that were originally a bit more perky really brings home the dark mood in this music.

    Thanks for posting as always!
    Michael Obermeyer, Jr.
    youtube channel
    soundclick page

  6. #6

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Hey, Randy! Great atmosphere music...

    We should of had a Halloween music challenge this year. This would have been great to play on Halloween evening. I like the opening melody that you have managed to incorporate into the entire piece with deft precision.

    Thanks for scaring me awake this morning.
    [Music is the Rhythm, Harmony and Breath of Life]
    "Music is music, and a note's a note" - Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong

    Rich

  7. #7

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by Fabio View Post
    Wow. I still remember when I was reading Tom S. and some of the TV fictions about him.
    Really your music give back some feelings... looking forward to the Live Play!
    Nice! Thanks for the post, Fabio.

    Following all the more light hearted things in the book, this famous cemetery scene really puts a nice spin on the Tom Sawyer story. It's the beginning of the dramatic plot that sets in motion Tom's journey out of childhood and into adulthood. All the spooky cemetery scenes in young people's literature that followed, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, all that sort of thing, carry on the tradition Twain set in motion - how mysterious and frightening the world can be when we're no longer seeing it through childish eyes.

    There's certainly a good reason this book and "Huckleberry Finn" are still considered supreme examples of "The Great American Novel."

    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    These are pretty darn spooky sounds. I love it. The rendering is just great. Do you plan to have a mix of live orchestra and digital generated music, or do you have to bring some chickens and frogs with you when a performance is presented.
    Great stuff Randy. Thanks for the post. Jay

  9. #9

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by sanyarem View Post
    Hello Randy, just remembered you had posted a new portion of Tom Sawyer, and had to give it a listen before heading to work!

    This is great thematic stuff you have going on here. Very spooky, and the mood is set oh-so wonderfully. It's great to hear what you have done with previously defined themes. I feel your dark twist on themes that were originally a bit more perky really brings home the dark mood in this music.

    Thanks for posting as always!
    Hey, Michael- Did I make you late for work? 8-)

    It's so fun to come up with things like this. I think I'd be happy doing nothing but writing little bits of dramatic underscoring for TV or films - Well, YEAh, a lot of writers would like that kind of gig!

    Thanks for letting me know how much you enjoyed this, and how you could hear some previously established motifs woven throughout. I appreciate the careful listening you did.

    Randy

  10. #10

    Re: "Murder in the Cemetery" - underscoring for "Tom Sawyer"

    Quote Originally Posted by RichR View Post
    Hey, Randy! Great atmosphere music...

    We should of had a Halloween music challenge this year. This would have been great to play on Halloween evening. I like the opening melody that you have managed to incorporate into the entire piece with deft precision.

    Thanks for scaring me awake this morning.
    Thank you, Rich! - When it was getting to be Halloween time this past year, I was hoping we'd have the traditional Halloween music contest. This is what I was ready to post for that. Oh well, so we have Halloween in March - that's kind of fun.

    And thanks for your comments on how this underscoring uses motifs from the opening of the show (as well as the Tom and Huck song). Doing new arrangements of themeatic material is a very enjoyable challenge to me.

    Randy

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