Task 5. Orchestration 3.

Composer’s that influenced my woodwind score for Wall-E.

My third orchestration, this time featuring woodwind instruments, was heavily influenced by Howard Shore’s Concerning Hobbits from the film The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001. dir. P, Jackson). Shore’s piece, which although relies more on string movements, features a call-and-response melody between the recorder and fiddle using major keys. This method of orchestrating two instruments playing off each other whilst backed by full string section movements has formed the basis for my score. My score imitates, to a certain extent, Shore’s method by using a similar major progression played by the piccolo and violin. Below I have posted a video of Concerning Hobbits which demonstrates Shore’s melodic progression, instrumental variation and call-and-response orchestration as well as a short sound clip of the predominant melody line used in my piece which reflects Shore’s influence.

In the middle of my piece, there is a moment when the score is backed by a horn section motif. Although this is not a woodwind section, the sense of heroic triumph captured by the trill of major fifths when Wall-E reveals to Eva he has rescued a plant was drawn from a similar motif used by Danny Elfman in his score for the main title sequence of Spider Man 3 (2007. dir. S, Raimi). This motif has been altered for my score be using only major notation as opposed to Elfman’s minor keys used at the end of the motif, heard at around 1:29″. This was done in order to tie in with the positive feel of my piece created by the use of primarily major chord progressions. Below I have posted a video of Elman’s score for Spider Man 3 as well as a screen shot of the notation for the motif used in my score as well as a short sound clip.

Another influence on my score is Ennio Morricone’s piece The Falls from the soundtrack to the 1986 film The Mission (dir. R, Joffé). Morricone’s use of a wooden flute instrument in this piece has always been a particular favourite of mine and has without doubt been a significant influence on my woodwind score and possible on my music in general. Morricone’s haunting use of minor notation has contributed to the major notated equivalent found in my piccolo melody, shown above, and can be heard in the video posted below at around 0:25″.

A final influence on my score for this scene is the original soundtrack from Wall-E itself (2008. dir. A, Stanton). The score for this scene, Define Dancing by Thomas Newman, creates delicate textures between the string section and the harp. Although for my score I did not wish to directly imitate this, I found the melodic plucking of the harp to be a fantastically irresistibly way of representing the playful nature of the scene which was definitely something I wanted to retain when scoring my piece. I also wanted to re-capture Newman’s sense of motion and fluidity by altering the velocity of certain notes played by the strings when the two robots begin zooming around in space, which can be heard at around 1:00″ into my piece. Below is another video post containing Newman’s score for this sequence for comparison.

My third orchestration score including woodwind instruments.

Below is the video clip of my score for Task 5.

Task 5. Orchestration 3. v. 03 from James Utting on Vimeo.

Report for Task 5: Orchestration 3.

The objective for Task 5 was to score a sequence using woodwinds. A visual element I wanted to highlight was the motion of the two robots zooming around in space, orchestrated by the use of the harp, melodic piccolo motif and swelling string ensemble movements. Composer’s techniques I adopted were Howard Shore’s method of call-and-response between the woodwind melody and a solo string instrument heard in his piece Concerning Hobbits (2001), as well as the horn section motif involving heroic sounding leaps of major fifths heard in Danny Elfman’s Spider Man 3 (2007). One audio-sequencing technique I used in this task was the use of the velocity tool in Logic 9’s sequencer to manually adjust note velocity to create flowing string movements. A musical technique I have learned is the ability to harmonize multiple orchestral sections such as woodwinds, strings and brass together in a major scale i.e. F# major. This task is a good example of practice as research because I have discovered techniques used in Concerning Hobbits (Shore.2001), Spider Man 3 (Elfman.2007) and then incorporated these techniques into my own work, which displays the use of the call-and-response method as well as harmonizing multiple orchestral sections. I would give myself a mark of a 2.1 for this task because I feel I have successfully explored composing techniques and used them to meet the task objective. I have displayed evidence of this in my piece, which incorporates my research and demonstrates that I have structured a composition that shows my impression of the task criteria.

word count: 256


  • Davis, R. (1999) The Complete Guide To Film Scoring, Boston: Berklee Press.
  • Karlin, F. (2004) On The Track: A Guide To Contemporary Film Scoring. Great Britain: Routledge.
  • The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring (2001) [DVD] dir. P, Jackson. USA: WingNut Films.
  • The Mission (1986) [Film] dir. R, Joffé. UK: Waner Bros. Entertainment.
  • Spider Man 3 (2007) [DVD] dir. S, Raimi. USA: Columbia Pictures, Marvel Entertainment.
  • Wall-E (2008) [DVD] dir. A, Stanton. USA: Pixar Animation Studios.

Web references.


~ by J.E.R.U. on March 4, 2011.

One Response to “Task 5. Orchestration 3.”

  1. well done ! just a couple of things… the beginning sounds too MIDI, it may be the doubling of instruments… try allocating one arpeggio per instrument in turn for instance? maybe that could work in some way… it sounds synthi there. It gets better but now and again some notes seem to be cut off? and finally from about 1 minute onwards the sensation of flight and movement could be greatly enhanced by using some kind of motor rhythm orchestrated in the woodwinds… god job as always !! (have not read the write up in detail but will wait for a next version of the music, superficially it looks quite complete)

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