This week I watched Spiderman Homecoming with the family. A very enjoyable movie with that typical action music in it. A lot of brass and full orchestra tutti passages. I guess everybody knows what I’m talking about. This sketch is inspired by that. I’m after a big, let’s say a huge orchestral sound.
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Timestamps of the video
- 00:00 – Introduction
- 00:45 – First listening (rhythm and orchestrated version)
- 01:21 – Rhythm (a simple rhythm on a taiko to start with)
- 02:32 – Brass (low brass for that typical powerful sound)
- 03:55 – Strings (the entire string section to make it bigger)
- 05:24 – Woodwinds (they blend in nicely and make it bigger)
- 06:34 – Excitement (percussion, trumpets and horns!)
- 07:26 – How does it sound in Logic Pro?
- 07:51 – Ending
A simple rhythm on a taiko to start with
There are multiple ways to start a sketch. Or a new composition if you will. If you have followed me along with the orchestral sketches here or on the channel, you have seen sketches that I started with chord progressions. Ones I started with melodies. Or sketches I started with a cantus firmus.
This orchestral sketch started with a rhythm. When I watched the movie Spiderman Homecoming I noticed a very simple rhythm with brass on top in a certain scene. And it sounded pretty darn good. So I wanted to challenge myself and write something similar.
So I wrote this simple rhythm in a time signature of 6/8.
The basic rhythm on a taiko to start with
I used a Taiko to start with in a tempo of 109. There is no bigger thought about the tempo, it just felt right. And on top of this rhythm I started to stack brass, strings, woodwinds and more percussion.
Let’s have a closer look at brass in the next step.
Low brass for that typical powerful orchestral sound
There is a saying that I kept in mind when I started stacking the different orchestral sections on the basic rhythm. Keep it simple stupid!
So this one is not about melodies or very interesting chord progressions. This sketch is straightforward and simple. I just want a huge orchestral sound. That’s it.
I started with the low brass. The trombones and the bass trombone play the same notes. I started with a D, then an A, C, F, G, B, G, A, G, G, A. The tuba stays on the D, the tonic, all the time.
All brass instruments plays in forte. Articulations are longs or staccato notes.
The entire string section to make it bigger
The entire string section will take part in this step. The double basses support the tubas with their spiccato articulation on the D. Making it more bigger.
The violoncello and the violas support the trombones. Again, they play the exact same notes. So I’m just doubling here. With an articulation called tremolo. I chose this one to give it more tension, a bigger supporting sound.
The violins 1 and 2 play a rhythmic part. I fiddled around with this for some time ending up with this. For me it helps to hum it in my head before writing it down. So in this case I listened to the sketch without the violins and hummed rhythms on top of it. Until I found one that I liked. And that’s this one.
Notice that the violins double each other too in octaves. So again, I kept it simple.
Woodwinds blend in well and make the orchestral sound even bigger
In this sketch I added woodwinds to make the sound bigger again. But you probably hardly hear them. I mean in way that you can distinguish the individual woodwinds by sound. They just blend in and make the orchestral sound bigger. That’s the purpose of them in this sketch.
So again a lot of doublings. The flutes, the oboes and the clarinets double the violins. The bassoons support the trombones. And the contrabassoon doubles the tuba and double bass.
So a lot of dots on the virtual paper here, but mainly they all play the same thing.
Percussion, trumpets and horns for more excitement
In the last step I added some instruments out of the percussion section. To add some excitement and extra momentum.
The sketch starts now with some cymbals, piatti and a tam tam. The snare supports the rhythmic part of the violins. And the timpani follows along with the taiko.
I added some staccatissimo trumpets for some accents which I associate with the sound I’m after. And added some French horns that again support the trombones.
And that all completes this sketch.