Virtual orchestration: a film composer's creative practice

Furduj, Boris (2019) Virtual orchestration: a film composer's creative practice. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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The advent of digital technologies has led to a major change in the process of film music composition; consequent developments in music technology have forced film composers to adapt to this change. Technological innovations such as digital audio workstations (DAWs) and virtual musical instruments have made possible the creation of virtual orchestras that are technologically capable of simulating the sound and behaviour of a traditional acoustic orchestra. This has had an effect on film music production and on the creative process of the professional film composer in a way that today, creating orchestral simulations or 'mock-ups' that imitate live orchestras (or smaller ensembles) has become a requirement in the film industry and thus an essential part of the film-scoring process. In the context of contemporary film music production, this thesis investigates how orchestral simulations are composed and created using computer music technology and virtual sample-based instruments. In asking 'how', the focus is on the film composer's activities and thought processes during this creative cycle, along with the nature of the interactive relationship between composer and music materials. This study aims to show the complexity of the film composer's creative practice and to advance understanding of how the use of computer music technology and orchestral sample libraries is influencing the compositional process and compositional outcome.

To address these questions, a qualitative multiple case study methodology approach was chosen that included examination of the practice of seven professional film composers working in the field of feature film as the primary valid source of data. The exploration involved semi-structured interviews with composers, observations and analysis of their studio practice and inspection of their compositional tools.

Taken as a whole, the evidence provided by this study is that the process of creating orchestral simulations is a process of film music composition during which professional film composers are creating orchestral sounds through the use of computers, digital sequencing, samplers and sample-based virtual acoustic instruments for the realisation of musical works. It is a process of using and manipulating recorded samples of real acoustic instruments to generate an expressive and convincing musical performance through sample-based orchestral simulation. A characteristic of this compositional practice is that it is a continuous process that proceeds in stages over time where all procedures can be applied repeatedly between stages. The process of creating orchestral simulations for the purpose of the film score is a multifaceted compositional activity involving a complex set of relationships among different compositional states of mind and compositional activities in which film composers experience music and interact with musical materials and media in various ways. This creative activity is a process involving a single person and a mixture of various compositional tools, the composer's skills and abilities brought into existence through a creative process that requires a thorough blend of art and craft to be demonstrated at all times.

Item ID: 61619
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: virtual acoustic instruments, orchestral sample libraries, orchestral simulation, film music, film composer
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2019 Boris Furduj.
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 01:43
FoR Codes: 19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1902 Film, Television and Digital Media > 190299 Film, Television and Digital Media not elsewhere classified @ 50%
19 STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190406 Music Composition @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 70%
89 INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES > 8904 Media Services > 890499 Media Services not elsewhere classified @ 30%
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