How to Write in the Golden Age of Hollywood Style

Ah, The Golden Age. Some of the greatest film music of all time came out of Hollywood during the period from the 1920s to 1950s. Titans of film scoring like Max Steiner, Franz Waxman, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold defined what it meant for music to be cinematic.

In this tutorial series we are going to learn how to write a main title cue in the style of that great era. We will begin by analyzing two cues that are representative of the style, and then work from a blank sheet of paper to a final orchestral mock-up.

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What James Horner’s Score to Braveheart Teaches Us About Modulation

Modulation is one the most important dramatic devices we film composers have in our toolbox. We can use modulation to increase the intensity of a scene, to propel the audience into a new frame of mind, and to get a lot of mileage out of a single theme.

In this article we’re going to take an in-depth look at how an James Horner uses modulation to bring out the significant shifts in a story.

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The Guitar as a Scoring Instrument

The guitar is often typecast in music for film/tv and other media, and called upon only when a particular sound is needed: your cowboy western needs that Ennio Morricone/Bruno Battisti D’Amario twang. Your Bond-esque spy thriller wants that Vic Flick surf-jazz feel. Your hard-boiled cop movie needs a rough, rebellious, raunchy Eric Clapton lead. While the guitar is really useful in slotting in and hitting these (and many more) on the head, I think it’s full potential is actually overlooked.

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