18 Jun The Producing Composer
Since the dawn of audio recording, music has been inextricably linked to the relentless advance of technology. It’s been a relatively short journey from records cut straight to vinyl to collaborative projects file-linked across the globe, and those recording the music have had to adapt at pace to keep up.
For the composer of yesteryear, you depended on a team of people to bring your song to life: musicians, recording engineers, a producer. Then you needed a studio big enough to record your chosen ensemble and it had to have the right equipment to get it recorded. If that was an orchestra then it was going to be a long and complicated exercise.
Fast forward to today where some things are the same, and some are mercifully different. Rather than dots on lined paper hand written at the piano or guitar, composers can now very quickly transcribe the sound that’s in their head into a recording. In the music for picture game, that is a godsend.
However this means that many composers have now also become the musical ensemble, the engineer and the producer. The composer that may have started as a dynamite guitar player has quickly morphed into a percussionist, programmer and orchestral string arranger. Not only that, they’ve learnt how to get a great signal path to record that brass section, and figured out how to utilise a multi band compressor to sit over the mix bus and tame that massive synth bass.
No longer needing a console the size of Houston Control the producing composer might now be at the helm of a laptop plugged into an array of peripherals and pimped out with a plethora of plugins – from emulations of classic equipment, to massive and intricate orchestral sample libraries and swathes of audio manipulation tools.
What hasn’t changed is the skill and creativity required to create music that resonates emotionally for others. At Melodie this is our rasion d’être, and we stand in awe of our team of producing composers who create pieces of true magic. Some of them do this from purpose-built studios with racks of equipment, some of them do this from suburban basements, and we are constantly blown away by what we hear. Songs of depth and impact that touch us and that bring the humanity to the images they are then married to.