Browsing Tag

Composition

Compositional Tips w/ Spitfire Audio’s ‘Chamber Strings’ – Part 2

Welcome back to another series of compositional tips and tricks using instruments by Spitfire Audio, this time ‘Chamber Strings’. We’ve previously looked at the Orchestral Swarm instrument pack, notably used by Hanz Zimmer for the Blue Planet 2 score, as well as the Chamber Evolutions pack, created with famed Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds. Now, our resident compositional wizard Kevin Kerrigan turns his attention to ‘Chamber Strings’. The focus this time is more immediately concerned with teaching ways of composing with tools such as this, as opposed to a tour of a new instrument. Music composition forms an integral part of our music production courses, including our flagship BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering, quality assured by Middlesex University.

In the second part of the series, Kevin turns his attention to adding inversions to a chord sequence. To demonstrate this he invites us to observe a mystery score he’s been working on, built with a large reliance on minor chords. As he’s stressed before, playing these chords in their root forms sounds slightly stunted, so open voicings, adding different mics and adding inverted harmonies are all drawn upon to widen the scope of what’s made here.

As well as the aforementioned degree course in music production and sound engineering, we have also developed a new BA in Music Production and DJ Practice, again quality-assured by Middlesex University, which launches its first term next September. If you’d like to examine some shorter courses in London you can find the full list here. Or, if you’re not based in the UK, why not check out our production courses in Los Angeles or onlineGet in touch if you have any more questions.

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When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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Compositional Tips w/ Spitfire Audio’s ‘Chamber Strings’ – Part 1

Welcome back to another series of compositional tips and tricks using instruments by Spitfire Audio, this time ‘Chamber Strings’. We’ve previously looked at the Orchestral Swarm instrument pack, notably used by Hanz Zimmer for the Blue Planet 2 score, as well as the Chamber Evolutions pack, created with famed Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds. Now, our resident compositional wizard Kevin Kerrigan turns his attention to ‘Chamber Strings’. The focus this time is more immediately concerned with teaching ways of composing with tools such as this, as opposed to a tour of a new instrument. Music composition forms an integral part of our music production courses, including our flagship BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering, quality assured by Middlesex University.

For part 1 of this new series, Kevin is interested in getting us started as quickly as possible and so runs through a number of ways he likes to get started on projects. This leads on to the main focus of the video, which are the ways you can choose articulations and vary the voicing of chords to enhance a project’s musicality. We love a lot of what Spitfire Audio have to offer and Chamber Strings is no different. Try following some of these suggestions made in the video and you should hopefully add another couple of strings to your bow (ahem) as composers. Don’t forget to check back for part 2 next week.

As well as the aforementioned degree course in music production and sound engineering, we have also developed a new BA in Music Production and DJ Practice, again quality-assured by Middlesex University, which launches its first term next September. If you’d like to examine some shorter courses in London you can find the full list here. Or, if you’re not based in the UK, why not check out our production courses in Los Angeles or online. Get in touch if you have any more questions.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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The post Compositional Tips w/ Spitfire Audio’s ‘Chamber Strings’ – Part 1 appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Tips for Creating Soft Textures Using Chamber Evolutions by Spitfire Audio

Point Blank composition instructor Kevin Kerrigan has once again been diving into a new instrument library by industry leaders Spitfire Audio. This time looking at the Chamber Evolutions string sample library, developed with multi-instrumentalist and modern composer Ólafur Arnalds. The sounds contained are of small chamber groups playing with an emphasis on evolving dynamics. In these videos, Kevin has touched on just a small piece of Chamber Evolutions’ potential. If these videos and this kind of writing pique your interest, take a look at our Music Composition course and comprehensive BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering degree programme, where you can learn how to put tools like this to good use.

This week we’re sharing the third and final instalment the series, in which Kevin shifts his focus to some warmer, softer textures, after the more eerie and dark palette from last week. Using a nature-focused project he’s been working on already, he uses open chord voicings and layered changes to create blurred swells of atmosphere, forgoing a metronome and a rigid tempo to allow a natural wash over the track.

Branded an ‘alchemist’ by Brian Eno, Kevin has worked with Bjork, Gwen Stefani, Eurythmics, Kylie & Sting among others and composes for movies/TV for Paramount, BBC, Warner Bros, Sony & Universal. He teaches Music Composition at our London school and his own compositions focus on the cerebral and beautiful.

Music Composition is an important part of our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering, which you can also study online. For full lists of our courses check out our schools in LondonLos AngelesIbiza and Mumbai, as well as Online. Any questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Tips for Creating Soft Textures Using Chamber Evolutions by Spitfire Audio appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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We Explore Olafur Arnalds’ Chamber Evolutions by Spitfire Audio

Point Blank composition instructor Kevin Kerrigan once again dives into a new sample library by industry leaders Spitfire Audio. This time Kevin looks at the Chamber Evolution pack, developed with multi-instrumentalist and modern composer Ólafur Arnalds. The sounds contained are of small chamber groups playing with an emphasis on evolving dynamics. In part one of a three-part first-look, Kevin Kerrigan talks us through the nuts and bolts of what the ‘Wave’ sounds contained here are exactly, and how the sample pack is used. Check back next time for some ideas on how to compose with these sounds, and take a look at our Music Composition course and comprehensive BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering degree programme, where you can learn how to put tools like this to good use.

Branded an ‘alchemist’ by Brian Eno, Kevin has worked with Bjork, Gwen Stefani, Eurythmics, Kylie & Sting among others and composes for movies/TV for Paramount, BBC, Warner Bros, Sony & Universal. He teaches Music Composition at our London school and his own compositions focus on the cerebral and beautiful.

Music Composition is an important part of our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering, which you can also study online. For full lists of our courses check out our schools in London, Los Angeles, Ibiza and Mumbai, as well as Online. Any questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The post We Explore Olafur Arnalds’ Chamber Evolutions by Spitfire Audio appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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DJ Ravine Studies at Point Blank in London! Watch Week Six of his Vlog

DJ Ravine is back with his weekly update on his progress with us here at Point Blank London as he studies Intro to Music Production, as well as courses in Music Composition and Sound Engineering. We’re six weeks in now and after last week’s episode, which was heavy on the sound engineering, this week he shifts his focus back to composition. If you’re just joining us for this series, check out our YouTube playlist and get yourself caught up. Plus, get the lowdown on all of our London courses at ourLondon school’s webpage.

It’s been another busy week for Ravine, as he swung by our latest open day to catch Ski Oakenfull give one of his famous deconstructions live. The track in question was Calvin Harris’ ‘Slide’ ft. Frank Ocean and Migos, which you can watch here. After a catch up with Ski, Ravine takes us into his composition class where we join Linton Bennet once again as he talks us through the intricacies of hooks and riffs. Finally, Ravine puts this newfound knowledge to use with one of his own tracks he’s been working on, and even gives a short demo of Ableton’s Simpler in doing so.

As always, thanks to DJ Ravine for taking the time to put this together. Feeling inspired? Take a look at our full list of production courses in London and Online. For more info and to talk to a course advisor, call us on +44 20 7729 4884, and don’t forget to check back next week for the next instalment of Ravine’s vlog.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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DJ Ravine Studies at Point Blank in London! Watch Week Three of His Vlog

A few weeks ago we welcomed top Australian DJ and vlogger DJ Ravine to study with us in London. Having collaborated with him the past on instructional videos, something he does excellently on his own YouTube channel, he has kindly agreed to keep us in the updated on his progress with his studies with us. Despite his experience as a DJ and having dabbled with production in the past, Ravine joined us having had no formal training. As such he is studying Intro to Music Production, as well as courses in Music Composition and Sound Engineering. Check out these modules, plus our other combinations of study topics at our London school’s webpage. Without further ado, let’s take a look at week 3.

This week DJ Ravine first spends some time setting up his home studio so he can work on his tracks at home outside of class. As he points out, Point Blank students can get up to 50% off software and gear including Pioneer DJ, Native Instruments and Ableton, so you can get everything you need to start making proper strides in your music making without breaking the bank. He also took some time out from his studies to attend our open-mic night hosted by Grammy award-winning PB instructor Phil Ramocon, where every fortnight anyone can show off their skills at the pub just over the road from our studios on Orsman Road.

In terms of classes, this week introduced some theory for the first time from Ravine, and we are treated to chat between himself and composition instructor Linton Bennett, who reveals his motto to be “technique is the ability to do what your imagination requires”. What he means by this, is by learning theory, in this case, chords, keys and scales, students are simply being given the tools to extract what they hold in their heads in a cohesive manner. After this little chat, Ravine shares with us the basic chord structures he learned with this week’s study.

Check back next week for another edition of DJ Ravine’s vlog with us. Meanwhile, why not take a look at our YouTube channel for more instructional videos, as well as demonstrations and previews. Or take a look at our full list of production courses in London and Online. For more info and to talk to a course advisor, call us on +44 20 7729 4884.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post DJ Ravine Studies at Point Blank in London! Watch Week Three of His Vlog appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Student Success January 2018: Andre Crom, Tomas Crow & Neil Bopperson

Each month, we catch up with Point Blank students and alumni to showcase their successes since studying with us, giving you an insight into how music industry careers are established and nurtured right here at Point Blank. This month we present former students from a variety of disciplines, including one Andre Crom, the Barcelona-based head of OFF Recordings and Composition alumnus. Check out our LondonLos AngelesIbizaMumbai and Online course pages to begin your own journey in the music industry.

Andre Crom (OFF Recordings) – Music Composition

Andre Crom was already a globally touring DJ when he came to study with us, already in charge of his OFF Recordings label and had already released several tracks, including a few with his frequent collaborator Luca Doobie. But even successful artists need to learn sometimes, and as so many producers will tell you, the best way to learn the nuts and bolts of composition and music theory is to be taught. So, in 2015, we welcomed Andre to our school to study Electronic Music Composition with us online.

Andre was kind enough to spend some time answering a few questions about his experience with Point Blank. Read the full exchange below.

Could you tell me how you discovered Point Blank?

When I set out to seriously learn solo music production about 3 years ago I wanted to do a course that would teach me the basics of music theory aimed towards the specific things I’d need to know for electronic music. So I googled for production schools and the “Electronic Music Composition” course of Pointblank seemed the right fit.

How much previous experience with making music had you had when you studied with us?

I had several years of experience of doing co-productions with different partners, and as well finished maybe two or three dozen solo tracks. So I knew my way around Ableton… but as I had no clue of music theory, I just jammed around, and I was always kinda scared to play something “out of tune”.

Are there any things you learned with us that really stick in the memory?

Yeah, to really understand what a “scale” is, and the most common progressions, like 3 or 5 semitones, and that if you just hit the white keys focusing on “A”, you’ll stay inside the A Minor scale which is extremely common for underground electronic music… that was very helpful to understand in the beginning. Almost the same like when I realized the system of “8/16/32… bars” when learning to DJ.

Would you recommend us to a friend?

Yes. It was a comprehensive course teaching all the basics I needed to get started on my journey to become an accomplished producer.

Check out Andre on Instagram and all other social media platforms, and be sure to subscribe to OFF Recordings on YouTube.

Tomas Crow – BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering

Tomas Crow is a producer, sound engineer and musician hailing from Rosario, Argentina, now based in London. He came to study with us in 2015 after lengthy research into his chosen field of music production and sound engineering. He has gone on to put everything learned to good use, playing regularly at Egg London and Number 90, and developing a unique live set with live guitar playing. Not only that, but he’s also been working as a sound and light tech at Egg. He spent much of his time while studying with us putting the equipment to good use, the result of which is his forthcoming album ‘Detoxify’.

On his time at Point Blank Tomas had this to say:

“I had amazing lessons and teachers, we got unlimited studio time to practice, get creative and get to know the huge amount of gear the school provides, and there are people from all over the world to learn from. The combination of all those attributes made me find my own original sound… something that everybody is always looking for.”

For a preview of the new record, check out Tomas on Instagram and Soundcloud.

Neil Bopperson – Intro to Radio Broadcasting

Neil Bopperson is a DJ and Radio Host based in Paris. Neil studied radio broadcasting with us back in 2011 and recently moved to Paris to work as a radio plugger. He has a monthly show on Le Mellotron Radio. He is also a resident at the Bussey Building’s long-running South London Soul Train, playing deeper cuts in the basement at Rye Wax.

We asked him what was the biggest thing he took from his six months with Chris Bailey, to which he replied: “Lot’s of things really; from crucial organisational skills, tips and tricks over various DAWs, key contacts that I still use plus friends that I still have to this day.”

Catch Neil co-hosting Le Mellotron’s breakfast show on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM next Thursday 8th Feb.

Successes such as these are not uncommon among our students and alumni, and the common denominator is Point Blank. We can teach you how to DJ like the best of them at any of our schools. If you’d like to learn how to produce, then we can build your skills from the ground up. Our most comprehensive course, our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering is accredited by Middlesex University, as is our online alternative. For more information contact us via our contact page.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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BA (Hons) Online Degree Programme Insight | Week 6: Creative Production & Mixing

If you’re looking to get a taste of what it’s like to learn on our innovative online platform, here’s your chance! We’ve now updated our sample courses to include a taster of our new Online BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering degree course. The course consists of eight modules included in the full online degree programme, designed to give you a flavour of what you can expect when you study online with us. This is the sixth week of eight in which we’ll be giving you a peek at what each module entails, as well as showing you one of the videos from the corresponding module’s course materials. Don’t forget, we also have a host of online courses besides our BA (Hons) degree programme covering music production, sound design and much more – head here for our full range of online courses.

Module six is the Advanced Composition module, building on the original composition module we covered here in week 2. This time the net will be cast much further to include influences from Cuba, India, Japan and more. You’ll also delve much deeper into theory, learning more about scales, chords, rhythm, harmony and arrangement. Plus students will delve into the world of early experimental electronic music. The two example pages from our sample course cover percussion and extended chords, and it is from the latter that the taster video above is taken.

To take the sample course yourself, head here, and get a flavour of the quality, style and content you can expect when studying online with Point Blank. Remember though, this is only a taster – to get the full experience complete with live interaction with tutors, forum interaction with fellow students and assignment feedback, you’ll have to enrol on a live course!

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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We Catch Up with Prequell (Mercury, Jeff Mills, Jus✝ice)

You may not have heard of Thomas Rousell but you almost definitely will have heard his music. Over a 17-year career he has worked on orchestral arrangement with the likes of Jeff Mills and Justice, composed for adverts with companies including Disney, Sennheiser and Volkswagen, and orchestrated shows for fashion brands like Dior and Chanel. Recently he has turned his considerable talents to his own music as Prequell, drawing on his unparalleled experience in both classical composition and electronic music-making to make ‘The Future Comes Before’, out now via Pantheon Musique and Mercury Music. We caught up with him ahead of his album launch a couple of weeks ago to chat about the record, his long history and what advice he has for young composers. If this inspires you, check out our Music Composition Certificate.

Thomas Roussel aka Prequell

Hi Thomas. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. I wanted to start by saying congratulations on your debut album as Prequell. What sparked your move into recording under that name from what you have been doing over the years before?

I started to work in music quite young at 20. And I didn’t have the time to think about my music as I was working for shows, and for Chanel, Dior and other brands, or movies in France. It was really cool but always at the service of a project. Maybe 15 years passed before I thought ok I have to propose my music, and I started to think about Prequell. The Prequell name was actually a way for me to go back to my origin. Who am I as a musician?  So I went back in my memory to Massive Attack, Craig Armstrong, Bjork and even John Barry, everything which made me as a musician and a music lover. I tried to refer to the emotion within myself from when I was a teenager.

Given that you wanted to go back to the beginning, did you have to try and unlearn a lot of stuff and was it challenging to work without a brief?

Yeah totally. [Working to a brief] gave me a kind of frustration in that I would just want to propose something new, and employers always talk about references: that kind of music, that composer or movie. For my project, I didn’t want to have any reference in music, so I took pieces of art and organic material like wood or metal as my references. I wanted to be free.

So how did the creative process work? If you start with a material like wood – where do you go from there?

The idea was not to tell a story but to keep it for me. Of course, I had a lot of images in my head when I was composing and each track has a strong emotion or strong reference for a piece of art or material. But for the story, I didn’t want to have real titles for the tracks, it’s just part 4, part 3 etc. Just to stay a bit mysterious and encourage the listener to have their own images in their heads.

When writing the songs, where did you start and how did you build the tracks? Because I know you had live instrumentation in mind from the beginning.

It’s maybe four or five steps. I started with the electronic parts on my own in my studio. Normally I have to make a demo when working in fashion or film, but for Prequell, I didn’t have to do it. Being free of the demo gave me the opportunity to be more ambitious with the writing and the orchestra as I didn’t have to make any placeholder sounds. Then I went to record all the small instruments, like drums, guitars, or mandolin. The third step is in the studio with the singers, the fourth is with the orchestra, and the last was the mix in London.

I feel pretty lucky because I imagined the tracks in my head in the studio but with each step, the people involved, like the singers or the orchestra, took the track and sent it higher than I imagined. Even the mix took it higher again.

I wonder if we could take it back to the beginning. You started working relatively young – but how did you get into music in the first place.

My father taught me how to write and read music when I was 3 so I don’t remember. Then I just wanted to learn every instrument, I was very excited. My parents had to tell me to stop and be quiet! I started to compose very early, 12 or something, and my first big piece was when I was 20.

It was actually very Prequell style, with 50 instruments, a choir and electronic elements. That was in 2000. Thanks to this I got to work with Justice. I was 15/16 when Daft Punk released Homework, so I was into the clubs on the weekend and doing composition during the week. For me it was natural to combine everything.

Is there any real difference between the way approach electronic composition and orchestral music? There’s hints of orchestral music in a lot of dance music generally.

Actually it’s just a matter of words. I know people will call Prequell a crossover between classical and electronic music, but for me it’s not classical music at all – of course, the London Symphony orchestra is a classical orchestra, but I just tried to take what for me is the best of the two worlds – electronic and orchestral. With electronic music, it’s machine music but very poetic. The orchestral side is more melodic, with more nuances, more dynamic, and the emotion comes from other stuff.

For me, Techno music is very emotional, and orchestral music too, so I took what makes each moving and emotional for me and I took these two worlds to make the most emotional music as possible.

Our students would be very interested to know how you got into the world of fashion and film, and what advice would you give an aspiring musician looking to do so?

When I was 18, I was playing the violin in classical orchestras, and I worked with Lalo Schifrin, the guy who composed the themes for Mission Impossible and Dirty Harry. He was the conductor, and we were playing his music and had masterclasses of composition with him. I used to ask him for advice, and the guy was so talented and charming. He gave me the best advice ever: he asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and I told him I wanted to be a movie composer. He said: “don’t say you want to be a movie composer. Be a composer first, compose your music and people will come to you if they like it. If you are just a movie composer, you will forever do what they ask you to do, but you have to propose your own thing to be successful.”

Maybe after 15 years I learned the lesson! But yeah now I think about that moment, it’s stuck with me.

When I came to Paris, at 20 and around 22, I was very lucky as I was able to work for other guys. As a ghost-writer, for the movies, etc. I started to work for Chanel, and Dior through chance meetings, but I was just writing music with my heart, and then you are lucky enough to meet good people. Take the advice is from Lalo Schifrin: do your own thing, and wait for people to come to you, instead of trying to do everything.

Thanks so much for that Thomas. Before you go, can you tell me what’s in store next?

I’m working on the live performance right now. We have 3 performances in January in Paris, and each time the plan is to arrange the orchestra in a new way. Like I did with Dior, with the ‘In A Line’ orchestra, I did something similar along the river in Paris using a little trick to conduct without having everyone seeing me. Now I have that, I can make them play in all sorts of positions, so each time it will be an orchestra, but not like you’ve ever seen before. That’s the idea.

Thomas’ Orchestral Arrangement for Dior

Want to learn more than just composition?  Take a look at our comprehensive BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree in London, or if you live elsewhere try the online course. You could learn all about writing for singers on our Songwriting Course, or try our short course on Electronic Music Composition for an introduction. If you have any questions get in touch via our contact page.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

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