Let's Score Nosferatu

by David Kanaga

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Updated 8/5/2015 -- full length available for DL, new hosting for movie at vime

FULL VIDEO::::: vimeo.com/135520529

click THRU ††††† title for TRAILER (& bandcamp, please let us put videos on the album page rather than track!)

This score was performed over the course of two days as a long game, like some cricket games. it has its points and outs, ups and downs..

It seemed like it should not be too hard to make an orchestral score quickly, given all the capacity for machine automation today-- & i have orchestral patches installed, so the plan ahead of time was to do a blast of turn-based improv, or lazy composition, it can be called either-- a midi file is produced, but i don't remember how to play anything after the fact.

The rules I was following, in retrospect:

0. Load up an orchestra of sounds. a bunch of midi tracks in ableton. Ableton (and other music tools) will let you load a VIDEO into an audio track, so you can just have that running as a visual 'harmonic progression', and overdub solos on top of it with your orchestra.

1. Improvise along to the movie in real time, and record improvs. Pause often, at any improv 'breath'-- make a quilt of pieces rather than one long piece. First takes ONLY (but noodling up until first take is ok)

2. Be conscious of transitions in editing and drama both. Something in the music should change. Changes in rhythm, harmony, timbre, and texture provide dramatic shifts. A KEY MECHANIC-- is to copy midi clips from one layer and paste them onto another, effecting the stupidly simple but enchanting effect of growing a rich ensemble of performers playing loose rhythms in tight unison within a few seconds. still lots to be done with this -- the colors that can be produced go on and on on, and i mostly used a few ready-made reds and purples blues.

3. Yield (like the street sign) to drama as much as possible, allowing it shape the music's direction, being melodramatic is good, playing idiomatically is good, if these allow for speedy turn-taking and investment in the material.

4. Stop at cuts most of the time, to achieve a semblance of A:V 1:1, turning a page turns a sound… BUT feel free also to surf through them to create 'memory blankets' which join different scenes into a unity.


released November 1, 2014



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David Kanaga Oakland, California

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