Task 4. Orchestration 2.

Influences on my brass orchestration score.

Although for this task I have decided just to use brass sounds, the majority of my influences are played by a full orchestra. One of my main influences on this task is the piece The German Battlefront from the score for Gladiator (2000) by Hans Zimmer. Zimmer’s use of layering bass tones played on tubas promulgates the melody line played by the horns as well as the repeating notes played by the trumpet section. My piece asserts similar crochet stabs created by the tubas followed by a rhythmic pattern played by the trombone and horn section which acts as the driving theme behind my piece, first heard at around 0:15″. Below I have posted a video demonstrating Zimmer’s pounding use of tubas and rhythmic horn lines, best heard at 5:29″.

I have also posted screen shots of the score in my piece showing the trombone melody line and tuba stabs as well as a brief sound clip of the pair together, separate from the rest of the track.

Another influence on my score is the piece Anakin Defeats Sebulba in John Williams’ score for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999). The piece uses a section of fortissimo quarter notes progressing through a minor scale followed by an allegro trumpet pattern, heard between 2:10″ and 2:19″. I feel this use of juxtaposing longer quarter notes in a scale with a rapid, semi-quaver motif works well in building suspense and accentuating a sense of anticipation, which is therefore a reason why I  incorporated a similar progression and motif in my own piece which is best heard at around 1:24″. Below is a video of Williams’ score for The Phantom Menace.

My score is derived from these works in particular because they represent, for me, an excellent example of orchestrating methods involving brass sounds. These methods have aided me creating my score by providing a solid structure for which to orientate my piece around, whilst adding my own expressions of how I wanted my score to develop, for example, introducing adagio notes played in the A minor scale in the middle of the piece, between 0:59″ and 1:08″,  to break away from the energy provided by the rest of the score. This slower section of my score was influenced by the horns heard in Howard Shore’s The King Of The Golden Hall from The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002) at around 2:33″, which is a great example of breaking up a composition by slowing the pace of the music before a final crescendo towards the end of the piece.
My second orchestration score using brass instruments.

Below is the video player containing my brass score. (note: Score begins at 0:05″ due to incomprehensible video sync issues).

Task 4. Orchestration 2. from James Utting on Vimeo.

Report for Task 4: Orchestration 2.

The objective for task 4 was to score a sequence using brass sounds and idioms. A visual element I chose to highlight was the point were our protagonist gets up after falling to the ground and begins running towards the corn field for safety, marked by a high pitched augmented, rhythmic motif. Composer’s techniques I adopted were Zimmer’s use of punctuating the melody line with layered, diminished tuba stabs, found in his score for Gladiator, and Williams’ combining of scaled crochet notes with a rhythmic semi-quaver motif, similar to that used in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. One audio-sequencing technique I used in this task was the Platinum Orchestral preset in Logic 9’s compressor plug-in which is optimised for orchestral instrument compression. A musical technique I have learned is the use of inserting an adagio melody in the centre of an energetic orchestral movement to break away from the pace momentarily before the climax of the piece. This task is an example of practice as research because I have explored scoring techniques found in The German Battlefront (Zimmer.2000) and Anakin Defeats Sebulba (Williams.1999). I have then used these techniques in an original work, which demonstrates the use of layered tuba notes, adagio horn sections and rhythmic trumpet motifs. I would award myself a mark of 60% for this task as I believe I have fulfilled the criteria in the task objective, which is evident in my piece as it incorporates my researched techniques and demonstrates them clearly with a structured and coherent compositional direction.

word count: 254


  • Davis, R. (1999) The Complete Guide To Film Scoring, Boston: Berklee Press.
  • Gladiator (2000) [DVD] dir. R, Scott. USA: Scott Free Productions.
  • Karlin, F. (2004) On The Track: A Guide To Contemporary Film Scoring. Great Britain: Routledge.
  • The Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (2002) [DVD] dir. P, Jackson. USA: WingNut Films.
  • North By Northwest (1959) [Film] dir. Hitchcock, A. USA: MGM.
  • Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) [DVD] dir. G, Lucas. USA: LucasFilm.
  • Zimmer, H. (2000) Gladiator: Strength and Honor. International: Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc.

Web references.


~ by J.E.R.U. on February 25, 2011.

3 Responses to “Task 4. Orchestration 2.”

  1. sounds great ! some little details in the cornfield and wondering what happened with the sync? well done !!

  2. btw bitchen’ report, dude ! 😉 (just one question, what are ‘adagio horns’? 😉

    • Hi Julio, Thanks for the comment.Apologies if a little vague, the adagio horns are the section where the horns are playing long, slow whole notes. Yeah, for some reason, the exported video file and the one I downloaded, plays on my laptop starting with a shot of the plane looping round to begin attacking, but once I uploaded it to Vimeo, the video begins with the chap standing by a car which I’ve never seen before during composing. I tried trimming the track in Quicktime but that scene doesn’t even show up! I’m confused.com!! james.

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