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SON ZINE SPECIAL EDITION WINTER 2014 | #003 Boutique Sampling Magazine Features Hans Zimmer Interview

SON

ZINE

SPECIAL EDITION WINTER 2014 | #003

Boutique Sampling Magazine

EDITION WINTER 2014 | #003 Boutique Sampling Magazine Features Hans Zimmer Interview Ivan Torrent Q&A

Features

Hans Zimmer Interview Ivan Torrent Q&A Production Music Libraries

Reviews

Interstellar Score Review Sci-Fi Movie Composers Capriccio Production Notes

Tutorials

Kontakt Time Machine Pro Track Techniques:

'Creating a Hybrid Score'

2014

#03

TRACK TECHNIQUES

TRACK TECHNIQUES WRITING HYBRID ORCHESTRAL TRACKS USING SAMPLES T his issue of Sonozine has adistinctly Zimmer-centric

WRITING HYBRID ORCHESTRAL TRACKS

USING SAMPLES

TECHNIQUES WRITING HYBRID ORCHESTRAL TRACKS USING SAMPLES T his issue of Sonozine has adistinctly Zimmer-centric

T his issue of Sonozine has adistinctly Zimmer-centric flavour, I thought it a good time to focus on

some tips and techniques surrounding hybrid orchestral tracks. You can’t have failed to notice electronic elements muscling their way into your favourite soundtracks, every score from Avatar to World War Z.

The earliest roots of hybrid film scoring are difficult to pin down. Indeed, I could even argue that silent films with played piano accompaniment included ‘hybrid’ elements as sometimes whistles and rattles were used to enhance the on- screen action. However, here I’m going to be looking specifically at hybrid scoring which combines orchestral, electronic instruments and sound design. Firstly let’s look at the bass.

and sound design. Firstly let’s look at the bass. by Reuben Cornell It’s one of the

by Reuben Cornell

It’s one of the most common uses of electronic embellishment in orchestral music yet often you may not even realise that it’s there at all. Hans Zimmer’s scores for Interstellar and Inception are good examples. The traditional contrabass orchestral instruments (double bass etc) are often doubled with a simple synth bass sound to add weight and power to a cinema’s sub woofers. When composing your own tracks this is easy to program but watch out that the frequency ranges of your low orchestral instruments and your synths don’t interfere with one another. Use high / low pass filters if necessary or a notch filter to ‘scoop’ out a range of your synth sound for the contrabass instruments to sit. Collapse your track to

mono (and turn off one of your monitors) to check for phase cancellation. In the same way that synths can be used to double low instruments, the sounds can also be used to add purpose and drive to faster ostinati. This works especially well with repeated string figures. Try doubling up your violin figures by adding a synth sound, based on a saw or square wave. Start with the volume high in comparison to the strings and steadily decrease it until you can no longer discern it above the violins. Routing both tracks to the same reverb and FX chain will also help the sounds gel together. It’s subtle, but adds bite. At the other end of the spectrum you can soften and thicken legato string lines and sections by doubling with synth pad sounds.

Let’s look at percussion. This is one area where hybrid scoring really becomes useful as chopped and glitched ele- ments embellish and replace what would normally be written as orchestral snare and smaller percussion parts. These type of hybrid elements can be very time consuming to program yourself using individual samples. However, there are many libraries which do the job extremely well. Almost any product from Sample Logic includes hundreds of tempo-synced hybrid percussion elements. Personally, I’d also recommend the CamelSpace and CamelPhat plugins. You can run almost any sound through them and it will be transformed into evolving, gated percus- sion, perfect for adding top-end interest.

"If you want to go really bold

with your hybrid sounds then

it’s certainly possible to twist the

sound of orchestral instruments

themselves"
themselves"

In this issue’s interview with Hans Zimmer he explains how he used traditional synth processes on orchestral sounds and you can do the same by resampling your orchestral parts, chopping them up and applying filters, distortion and

other effects. For an extreme example take a listen to the score from video game “Remember Me”. Composer Olivier Derivière mangles the Philharmonia Orchestra beyond recognition using glitch effects such as iZotope Stutter Edit

It’s hard to recommend one synth over another for hybrid scoring as many products do essentially the same task but in different ways. For cinematic sounds Spectrasonics Omnisphere, NI Massive and Absynth are popular workhorses.

If you’re not confident in creating your own patches or are simply short on time, preset soundpacks available are helpful. Check out www.theunfinished. co.uk for some reasonably priced options for all the synths listed and more. For a

quintessentially Zimmer vibe there’s even

a 400 preset bank for u-he Zebra 2 called

‘Dark Zebra’ where you’ll find many of his favourite sounds programmed by Howard Scarr.

A quick note on those now famous

Zimmer-style ‘BRAAAM!’ horn blasts:

Apparently the sound was developed by several individuals over the course of months, using pitch shifted brass and synth elements. Composer Mike Zarin spills the beans here if you’re interested.

Although synth sounds are the back- bone of hybrid scoring, it’s important to remember not just to write a normal orchestral piece and then dump a load of synth presets on top. The most successful hybrid composers don’t think of orchestra and electronic elements as two separate entities but use the two types of sounds to complement one another. They also use real-world sound effects and foley and incorporate them into their cues. There are really no boundaries to your creativity with hybrid scoring so use that to your advantage and really play with the conventions. Until next time

to your creativity with hybrid scoring so use that to your advantage and really play with
to your creativity with hybrid scoring so use that to your advantage and really play with
to your creativity with hybrid scoring so use that to your advantage and really play with
to your creativity with hybrid scoring so use that to your advantage and really play with