We plan on using the demo I sent to Olga for a possible trailer. However, I am using the two themes presented in the demo for use throughout the rest of the score as well as similar instrumentation.
I wanted to write a piece that both came from the perspective the main character Elin, and had a similar thematic arc to chapter 1. At the beginning of this piece the first theme is heard in the piano. The theme was intentionally written to emulate how Elin first feels when she sees how alone she is and the loss she has suffered.
I wanted something that felt empty and sad, but hopeful in the end. I did not want a strong sense of motion to be in this theme. In the beginning, Elin seems kind of stuck to me. She looks lost and somewhat trapped in her home town without any idea of what to do next. Musically, in this instance, the perfect 5th interval from A to E in the melody feels very empty to me and the immediate repetition of that perfect 5th in the following measure to help drive that feeling. The notes that follow those perfect 5th's feel like they are wondering, almost searching for something. I decided to have a contrast in this theme by using a kind of binary form between measures one and two and then measures three and four. The first half consist of minor chords while the second half consist of major chords. This was to try to give that sense of sadness but hopeful in the end; and the C/G with the 7th in the melody makes that chord feel bittersweet to me. I also repeated the first a minor chord from measure one to give a sense of being stagnate or stuck. It was a similar idea with the G remaining in the root from the g major chord to the c major over G.
The first time we hear the second theme is in the voice and solo violin and then again later in the piece in several parts of the orchestra. This is the theme for Xantara; the setting, the story, the world all of this takes place in. I wanted to write something that was adventurous/heroic, slightly exotic and catchy. I went for that kind of exotic feel by having this melody in dorian and also with the instrumentation. The catchy bit is kind of hard to describe. In the first two bars, I repeat the same melodic fragment from beats one, two and three. Then I repeat the first three notes of that fragment (A - E - D) in the third measure. I would also attributes its memorability to the rhythm of the melody. I use the eighth-note/two sixteenth-notes figure repeatedly as a motivic cell. This theme also adheres to a binary form. The first two measure are almost identical while measures three and four are similar and contrast the first two measures. The melody in the first two measures has a good number of leaps, while focusing on the tonic A. The melody in measures three and four have more of a step-wise arc to them. It is more of a winding melody that touches on the characteristic notes of the dorian mode.
I decided to go with a specific set of instruments to help pull the reader/player into the world of Xantara. The given instrumentation is most of the pieces are for a chamber size orchestra. I think to is necessary to achieve the proper scale of this story.
There are a few instrumental choices that we made to help give some character and specific color to the score. The foremost is the choice of a solo female voice. Since the story focuses around two young girls, I thought this would be an obvious choice as a way to give both a figurative and literal voice to the main characters.
The next instruments choices are specific to the environment and one of the key plot devices, crystals. In this story, crystals play a very important role. So far we have seen crystals as a source of power for technology as well as a source of power for the main characters. Above all else, we have seen these crystal monsters as the main antagonist. So I believe it is key to translate that into the score. There are five instruments that I chose to use in this capacity: glass armonica, cristal baschet, cloud chamber bowls, skiddaw stones and aluminum marimba (also various synths but I won't get into that).
Lucky for me Soniccouture has wonderful sample libraries of all of these instruments and I would not have been able to have these sounds without them! I suggest checking them out and if you would like to learn more about these instruments there are descriptions on Soniccouture's website. Below are some links to the various sample libraries.
SEQUENCING, PRODUCTION, POST-PRODUCTION
I will do another blog post, with a video, that will cover the sequencing, production and post-production of the score. Since that is quite an expansive topic, it will definitely need its own in-depth discussion. Also, at the time of writing this, I have only three pieces written for Xantara and I would like to include more content in this topic of discussion.