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music process

How To Make Images With Only Sound

A Sound Design Project For Theater

I just started working on creating sound design for Fordham University’s theater department.  It’s a mainstage production of the play Magnolia, by Regina Taylor, which is a re-telling of the Cherry Orchard in 1963 Atlanta, Georgia.  It takes place right in the midst of the civil rights era and the sounds of that time period.

The biggest challenge is creating this sonic montage which is to open the piece.  Taylor, who is also directing, wants to evoke a backwards countdown from present day into the past.  It’s challenging and exciting.  Given all the events in the news lately regarding racial discrimination, it feels very timely.

To start with, I began gathering source audio to sample in this newsreel type audio event.

Here’s some of the sources i gathered:

Watching these videos, I found it impossible not to get caught up in the moment.  Especially the coverage of Bobby Kennedy’s assassination.   I got so choked up.

After exporting some of these audios using an online tool, I had a file folder from which I could import into my digital audio workstation of choice, LogicProX.

Here’s a screenshot of my session today.

How To Make Images With Only Sound

What a crazy mess!  I started by just laying down a basic beat and bass line to give some kind of structure.  Later I’m going to add a tempo map that ramps up to add to the excitement.

As we were listening to these ideas, my assistant engineer (my 14 year old son Alejandro), suggested a possible unifying idea:  to take each President’s oath going backwards in time from present to 1963.  Brilliant!

So that’s where we’re at so far.  I have a terrible first mix that I don’t want to bore you with just yet.  Lots more to do and in the process of updating my sonic palette by updating my Spectrasonics Omnisphere.  That’s a way cool virtual synthesizer.   Ok, more later!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
music purpose

The surprising struggle with composing music for media

For the past twenty or so years, I’ve been involved as a composer for theater, film, television and other media.  In the past, I have done projects for commercial advertisers pushing products and services that I didn’t always believe in.

That’s tough.  Because there’s a conflict internally.  And while I wanted to create the best possible music analogue to the message, it became more and more difficult with projects I couldn’t believe in.

Belief.  It’s the only thing that makes us who we are.  Our beliefs and our values.

Recently I was invited to create the soundtrack and trailer music for a new podcast.  The subject is about immigrants and the deportation of the most vulnerable of them.  As a child of immigrant parents, married to an immigrant, it’s something I can get behind.

While I don’t condone illegal immigration, I do think the way we treat people who are here, no matter how they arrived is a reflection on our society.

The podcast is called Indefensible and is sponsored by the Immigrant Defense Project.  

 

Categories
music

Testing WordPress 3.9’s new native audio embedding capabilities

Adding test audio via new WordPress core.

Hm.  Just uploaded through the normal Add Media button and had the option to embed an audio player which is HTML5!  Nice one WordPress dudes!

Very elegant!  Much better than fussing with all those plugins.

 

This is an old track I created as a short opening number for a television commercial.  It eventually was used for some website intros and animations.

Estoy Aqui – by Andrew Ingkavet.

Categories
music process

Woman Parts and Composing a Fugue

The play that I wrote music for, actually variations on a theme in the public domain, opens this weekend.  It’s part of a night of two one acts by women, Sex & God by Linda McClean and Lamentations of the Pelvis by Sibyl O’Malley.  The production is by the award-winning and always interesting Son of Semele Ensemble in Los Angeles. Get tickets here.

 

Woman Parts Poster In working on the music which were all variations on the Coulters Candy theme, also known as Ally Bally Bee, the director Barbara Kallir was describing to me a need for some thicker more complex textures and perhaps an interweaving of melodies.

“Do you mean like a fugue?” I asked.

 

Definition of Fugue from onMusic dictionary.

form of composition popular in, but not restricted to, the Baroque era, in which a theme or subject is introduced by one voice, and is imitated by other voices in succession. Usually only the first few notes of the subject are imitated exactly, then each voice deviates slightly until the next time it enters again with the subject. Generally the voices overlap and weave in and out of each other forming a continuous, tapestry-like texture.

 

Whoa, I’ve never written a fugue I thought to myself.   Isn’t Bach only allowed to write that intricate stuff?

 

 

“Sure, a fugue.  I’ll get right on it Barbara.” I said half-jokingly.

Since the melody was already written and was a very simple jingle, perhaps I could do something like this.  It’s funny because I spent a few years composing jingles and music for advertising and now I was creating a musical score based on a jingle! The original song was to sell candy, but because it was so hummable and infectious, the melody has lasted for generations to the point that all Scottish elders know the tune.

So, I thought about it a little bit, doodled on the piano and guitar and then went to sleep.  I find that my best work comes from connecting to the source, the muse, the great GoogaMooga in the sky, a.k.a. God while I’m sleeping.

At 5 am on a Saturday I awoke, went to the computer and started writing out this fugue in Sibelius.  Now I don’t claim to come close to being Bach, but I thought it came out pretty good for a first fugue.

My composition teacher at Juilliard would probably have some things to say… Screenshot 2014-04-24 12.59.39

 

Download PDF Ally Bally Bee fugue sheet music

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the final result.  I didn’t have time to record acoustically so these are actually generated right out of Sibelius 7.5 – a pretty nice upgrade from my previous version of 6.0.

Categories
music

Sex and God, now that’s a title!

I’m about to start working on a new theater production of a play titled “Sex & God” with the wonderful cutting edge Son of Semele Ensemble in Los Angeles.  This will be my third collaboration with these folks and I am as always, honored and grateful to join.

The Scottish play is by Linda McLean and features intercut monologues of 4 women spread over time.   The accents are wonderful!  I feel a brogue coming over me!

The playwright has written into the work an old Scottish tune that has become like a folk song, though it was originally written as a commercial jingle.  It’s called Coulter’s Candy and apparently old folks from the Highlands all know it as well as Americans know “Mary Had A Little Lamb.”

So my job is less as a composer and more as an arranger/producer and sound designer of this piece.  Still haven’t figured out what I will do, but it will be some kind of underscore in different tempos and feelings as well as a few featured jingle-anthems.

Here’s what the song sounds like as found on YouTube.

Update – April 3, 2014.

Here’s my work in progress on the score.

Categories
art music

Music for Theater, Instinct

I wrote music for this theater production of an original play by Matthew Maguire.  It opens this weekend in NYC at the Lion Theater on Theater Row.  An outbreak is spreading and scientists are racing to save the world whilst dealing with their own troubled relationships.  The play is smart, witty, fast and very disconcerting. What’s scary is how plausible this is!

Here’s an excerpt of the music from it.

Categories
music

Remixing Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro

Mozart Remixed
Imagine Mozart’s opera The Marriage Of Figaro was reborn in a dark Brazilian jazz bar in the streets of Brooklyn and you get a little idea of what this track was inspired by.

I created this track as part of the soundtrack for the new production of the theatrical play (as in no singing – this is the play that Mozart was inspired by from a French writer named Beaumarchais) opening on November 9, 2011 at Fordham University’s Mainstage at Pope Auditorium, Lincoln Center, NYC.

Categories
music music for film

Yah!

Okay, after almost 17 years of having complicated websites, here’s something simple for now.  More to come.

Categories
music process

The Creator and the Editor

Creation and Process.

When creating anything of merit, there is a phase of wild creativity where all ideas are golden, thrashed about and recorded somewhere. After that time, comes the Editor’s time. This age-old process is proven to be the model. Rushing into the Editor role before having properly gathered all the fresh crops of creativity is guaranteed to give stale, clichéd and very un-inspired ideas- no matter the art or medium. It’s like a sculptor trying to perfect the rock’s details before she even knows what she’s creating.

With graphic design, you often end up with far more visual information than is necessary or desired to communicate the idea. Putting on the Editor’s hat allows you to whittle it back to the most efficient manner of telling the story. Music for film is the same way. How best to communicate the emotions of the storyline with the least amount of effort?

Seth says that over the last 27 years, every film that won for Best Picture also won for Best Editing.

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music music for film

Noelle trailer

A Christmas movie suitable for all ages. Music by Andrew Ingkavet. Coming December 7, 2007.

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music music for film

Making a film in 16 days with complete strangers

Well, I took part in my second RIPFEST where we create something from nothing extremely rapidly with people you’ve just met. It’s an exhilirating experience and highly recommended. Check out the RAW IMPRESSIONS

website for more info.

After they’ve gathered 5 teams worth of film crews including directors, producers, actors, dps, editors and composers, we’re given some rules, locations, permits and a structure to focus on just creating a new short film in 16 days with a screening at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City at the end.

Our theme? Second Chances.

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music music for film

Anti Mind Pollution Media Cloud


I was interviewed in a recent issue of the Toledo Blade regarding my role as Executive Music Producer on a new 24 minute Christian film, Transgression.

“What I liked about this script was that it didn’t offer an easy, pre-digested answer. There is room for expansion and discussion,” Mr. Ingkavet told The Blade.

Transgression had “a thoughtful script with a powerful message of mindfulness. Being a spiritual person, I am naturally attracted to projects that are not just adding to the mind-pollution media cloud,” he said.

See full article

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music

Abandon at LaMama – dreaming with ears wide open


We just finished our first weekend of Abandon at LaMama and wow…it’s like dreaming lucidly and vividly and intensely for 70 minutes. Yes I did write the music, and still, sitting through a performance is like something else. I am so proud and grateful to all involved.

As I explained to my father last night, you can approach this like an abstract painting. There is a storyline, though everyone will experience it differently.

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music process

Writing 75 minutes of music score

Many of you know that I’ve been working like mad to finish a 75 minute score for theatrical production called Abandon opening next week at LaMama ETC. The piece is very multi-sensorial and was birthed from a collection of about 75 visual collages made by the writer/director/artist Matthew Maguire. Maguire is also the current head of the theater program at Fordham University at Lincoln Center here in New York and started his career in a very abstract style similar to Ping Chong, and Meredith Monk among others at La MaMa ETC. 6 actors interact with these living collages brought to life in video by Zbigniew Bzymek on 3 screens which form the back walls of the stage. And throughout is my music. It’s very dark, abstract, erotic and incorporating elements of butoh and modern dance and yet still tells the story of Helena, a woman with an intense fear of love and it’s consequences.

The process has been quite intense and exhausting and I’ll share some behind the scenes process in the next few days. I need to still finish the score. Here’s a sneak preview of a music cue

To purchase tickets click here

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music music for film

Filmmakers Festival – Edit Ves presentation slides


I’ve posted the slides to my presentation here:

I talk about the uses of music to picture, what it can achieve (and not) and how to communicate between Visual and Aural creatives while using examples from my work in feature films, commercials, animations and shorts. The clips can be found elsewhere on the site.

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music music for film

How we perceive film: Hear/See

A friend asked me to comment on a proposed curriculum for film school students regarding Post-Production audio. This made me refer to some old Walter Murch articles which still astonish me as to how accurately he describes the film sound experience. (Murch is the original holder of the title sound designer and has won several Academy Awards for sound editing, film editing and sound design.)

“This reassociation of image and sound is the fundamental pillar upon which the creative use of sound rests, and without which it would collapse…

film seems to be “all there” (it isn’t, but it seems to be), and thus the responsibility of filmmakers is to find ways within that completeness to refrain from achieving it. To that end, the metaphoric use of sound is one of the most fruitful, flexible and inexpensive means: by choosing carefully what to eliminate, and then adding back sounds that seem at first hearing to be somewhat at odds with the accompanying image, the filmmaker can open up a perceptual vacuum into which the mind of the audience must inevitably rush…

The rumbling and piercing metallic scream just before Michael Corleone kills Solozzo and McCluskey in a restaurant in “The Godfather” is not linked directly to anything seen on screen, and so the audience is made to wonder at least momentarily, if perhaps only subconsciously, “What is this?” The screech is from an elevated train rounding a sharp turn, so it is presumably coming from somewhere in the neighborhood (the scene takes place in the Bronx).

But precisely because it is so detached from the image, the metallic scream works as a clue to the state of Michael’s mind at the moment — the critical moment before he commits his first murder and his life turns an irrevocable corner. It is all the more effective because Michael’s face appears so calm and the sound is played so abnormally loud. This broadening tension between what we see and what we hear is brought to an abrupt end with the pistol shots that kill Solozzo and McCluskey: the distance between what we see and what we hear is suddenly collapsed at the moment that Michael’s destiny is fixed.”

This “sound-stretching” is the same thing composers do when working on a film. By stretching the distance between what is portrayed on screen and what is heard… the mind of the viewer perceives a vacuum into which they pour their own associations and emotion. The music is the sub-text to the screen action.

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music music for film

Who Needs A Composer Anymore – I’ll Just Cinescore it.


Filmmakers today have unprecedented control over what goes into the their films. With HD cameras now costing less than $1000 (Sanyo’s HD1) and MacBooks with FinalCutPro or even iMovie – you can create films with a total kit costing less than $3000!!

With the hands-on, DIY ethic that has emerged, everything that used to be complicated and difficult about filmmaking is now enormously easier. This has also happened with music with Apple’s GarageBand, Sony’s ACID and a ton of music making software that enables the slightly talented to sound genius, or almost.

So what about scoring your film? As an indie filmmaker, you probably were your own Rebel without a Crew staffing the DP, Art Director, Gaffer, Director, Casting and Editor positions of your film. Maybe even Caterer and Location Scout and Morale Support. Why not just write your own music too using these easy to use cheap tools?

And, with the emergence of new software like Sony’s Cinescore, who needs a Composer nowadays anyway? Aren’t they just like last century’s Coopers? Who needs a barrel-maker anymore?

Well, yes, you as a filmmaker can do everything yourself.
Robert Rodriguez actually tries to do it all himself even with big budget Hollywood and the unions…for which I think his films suffer. The beauty of film is a team effort and the exponential magic that happens when great minds contribute to a whole. But that’s for another post.

Now of course, you’re thinking, cut the crap, I’ve got $5 to make this picture – who needs a Composer?

And here’s my argument. Music is a direct line to the heart. It is the “feel” of the movie. People slink down in their seats when the horrific music signals to them that they should. If you have the abilities to create that in addition to creating your film, then go ahead. It is doable. But to do it well is another thing. Try Cinescoring a soundtrack as indelible, evocative and as proprietarily mnemonic as John WIlliams’ Jaws.

And why suffer when for 5 to 10% of your production budget, you can have a dedicated, raving, film-loving music-making pro actually doing this with you?

Now the only hard part is communicating exactly what it is you want/need/desire. We’ll tackle this in a later post. And if you don’t know what you want (not unusual), no one in the world does. (please never say “I’ll know it when I hear it.”)

Here’s an interesting perspective on Sony Cinescore from Mark Northam, founder of Film Music Institute.

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.
Categories
music process

Woody Allen on the 2 types of Film


Woody Allen interviewed on PRI’s Studio 360 with Kurt Anderson:

Sometimes I think to myself that there are 2 types of films. There’s the confrontational film that deals with life issues and existential issues and political issues. And there’s the kind of film that is escapist. And I always debate with myself – which one makes the better contribution? You would think off the top of your head that the confrontational films are superior to the escapist films. But the truth of the matter is, the real philosophical issues of life, you know religious issues, issues of mortality and issues of human suffering are never resolved in any of these movies. Because you can’t resovle them. So people just go and they commiserate masochistically and they come out of the theater moved in some way. Where with an escapist film, at least you give the audience a chance to get away from the horrors of reality for an hour and a half. It’s like going into air conditioning or something and just sitting down and watching Fred Astaire dance for an hour and a half. You come out at least refreshed. And then you can go on with your life a little bit. And so I’m not sure that escapist films and comic films are not more of a help in the long run. Even though the temptation is to always to think and to want to do more substantive things.”

Andrew Ingkavet is a composer with over 2 decades experience creating music for film, theater, advertising and new media.