The following are some samples of movie score cues I've created.
These film scoring samples are not the original scores to the films depicted. They were done strictly in order to demonstrate how I would approach the cues if I were to compose, arrange and orchestrate the music for them. The original movie No Country for Old Men did not have any music at all. All of the others had music cues; however, they were not in the scenes that I scored.
No Country for Old Men
This film has no original score
Here, I scored three scenes, each with a different musical theme. The first scene has no dialog and allows the music to take center stage. The mood is chilling and brooding, and the theme has a distinctively southwestern flavor. The featured instrument is a nylon string guitar. The second theme is orchestral and is played over an ostinato in order to propel the scene forward and give the audience a sense of unrest. Here, the ostinato, or repeated figure, in the bass and percussion is intended to give viewers the impression of hearts racing. During the third part of the cue, in which the sheriff and his deputy enter the trailer home to find the evidence left behind by the villain, the music becomes more ambient, dissonant and suspenseful.
Original score by Randy Newman
This scene constitutes one of the scariest moments in an otherwise exhuberant animated adventure. Nevertheless, I chose to approach it with a style similar to that of the film's original composer, Randy Newman. I began with a light, playful tone at the beginning of the scene and gradually intensified the music as the scene grows more intense, by the use of dissonance, the addition of brass and the persistent pizzacato in the string section. I also felt that it would be effective to modulate the chords together with the rhythm of Mr. Waternoose’s dialog, and to punctuate Boo’s frightened footsteps with the music as the scene comes to a close.
The Emperor's Club
Original score by James Newton Howard
My objective here was to capture the feeling of pride and nostalgia of the group in this scene without imposing upon the dialog. Because this particular scene is filled with dialog at several different levels throughout, achieving the objective while striving to make the music melodic enough to stand on its own was the primary challenge.
Original score by John Williams
This is a short, simple melodic theme that utilizes an A-B-A structure and embraces the romance, heroism and adventure in this scene. The theme was written with almost no percussion; however, the insistent ostinato, or repeated figure, in the piano part helps to keep the piece moving forward throughout.
Lawrence of Arabia
Original score by Maurice Jarre
My approach to this scene was to begin with a very traditional orchestral underscore and highlight the ethnic flavor of the production by using Middle Eastern scales, rhythms and melismas. Later in the scene, as the chaos unfolds, I begin to incorporate more percussion and driving rhythm into the score. Then, once complete resignation sets in during the attack scene, I felt it would be effective to write “against the picture.” Writing against the picture is a technique that a composer may apply by writing music that is purposefully incongruent with the accompanying scene in order to bring contrast to the tone of the music versus the tone of the scene’s visual content.