An Expected Journey

Welcome back everybody! As we enter into Audio Studio 2 (AUS220) I cant help feeling like WOW, there is a lot of work ahead of us! To me our quest is very similar to the adventure that our furry footed friends from the Lord of The Rings went through, we have a task, we know our destination but we need guides to help us and to show us how to get there. So like LOTR, Audio Studio 2 is more about the journey rather than the destination and to celebrate the start of our adventure I have written some LOTR sounding music and will offer an insight on how to compose in this style.

Before we leave the shire lets take a look at the inventory we will require.

  • Pro Tools or similar DAW
  • MIDI controller
  • Orchestral sample library

In this piece I like to think of the different sections as separate parts of a machine that come together to make it work. I have broken the instruments into groups and they are;

  • Strings
  • Brass
  • Choir
  • Drums

Lets take a look at the first section, the String section.

For the grinding rhythm I have used a patch called Action Strings from K9U (Komplete 9 ultimate). If you notice at the bottom of the picture below there are red keys, these keys change rhythms.

Key switches change Rhythms
Key switches change Rhythms

The idea is to build up a string section that works as a separate entity, and although the pattern sounds like it has moving notes, every instrument is just playing a single note repeated. To see how this works listen to the cellos only.

Notice how every so often there are louder notes in the pattern, these are called accents and it is the accents that give the interest. If you don’t have a program that has pre recorded patches with different accents don’t worry, all you need to do is enter them in by hand, simply change the velocity of whatever note you wish to accent (the ol’ fashioned way!).

K9U makes accents easy!
K9U makes accents easy!

The next section I brought in was the choir and to me its the choir that gives that LOTR feel.

Once again, as with the strings the choir has key-switches, but instead of changing rhythm they change the vowel sounds.

MIDI sequence with key-switches
MIDI sequence with key-switches

To make any LOTR themed track sound menacing and low we use the Brass section.

Brass instruments have been around for a very long time and help to give the primal, war-like feel that is vital if a pack of Orcs are coming over the gate shouting ‘find the halflings!’.

As well as key-switches for the type of note (staccato, legato etc.) the brass patch offers keys that change the type of note but don’t latch.

The keys in Green don't latch
The keys in Green don’t latch

The fact that the type of note only alters for the amount of time it’s held helps to give musicality and realism to the performance.

Find the Halflings!
Find the Halflings!

Finally we need the Drums, BFD! I have used the Damage sampler from K9U which has some great, huge cinematic-style drums. I have also used some tympani from the Kontakt factory sound-bank to give a traditional orchestral feel.

 

pa rup pa pum pum
pa rup pa pum pum

 

PT Edit window
PT Edit window
MIDI - Mordor Instrument Digital Interface
MIDI – Mordor Instrument Digital Interface
MIX!
MIX!

Hopefully this has helped out those of you who enjoy creating LOTR stuff and can I say it’s great to be back in Middle Earth again!

2 thoughts on “An Expected Journey

  1. Awesome blog Sam. I really enjoyed reading about your sequencing process and listening to your great results. I have been told a lot lately that it’s too difficult to create good midi sequencing in Pro Tools, and that you require Logic or Ableton, so I’m happy to see your post proving them wrong. Also, I never realised that Midi was short for “Mordor” Instrument Digital Interface, 😂.

    Like

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