New App, StaffPad, ‘The Most Natural Way To Write Music On A Digital Device, Ever’

StaffPad is a new pen-friendly music notation application for Windows 8.1 and Surface.

StaffPad features advanced handwriting recognition, and will convert your music into a typeset score. Simply write your music straight on to the screen, using your device’s pen. As you move from bar to bar, StaffPad will convert your handwriting into an ‘engraved’ score. You can draw notes, beams, stems, articulations, accidentals, slurs, ties and more.

The developers describe it as ‘the most natural way to write music on digital device, ever.’ Continue reading

The Sound of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

The latest episode of the SoundWorks Collection video series takes a look at the sound of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Continue reading

Film Score Created With Caustic For Android

Android, despite being the top mobile operating system, hasn’t taken off as a music platform, like iOS. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be used to make music.

Time Elapses – A Journey is a short time-lapse film, that features a soundtrack created on Android. The track, titled Moonlight Mood, is by Nishit Gajjar, who composed it in Caustic for Android.

Scoring Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Here’s a behind the scenes look at composer Bear McCreary‘s score for Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome, a web mini-series based in the BSG universe.

McCreary’s score is a continuation of the musical ideas from his scores to Battlestar Galactica and Caprica, but it has an increased emphasis on synthesized sounds. McCreary explains his approach:

Synthesizers have been a staple of the science fiction genre since it first graced celluloid. The most famous example is probably Louis and Bebe Barron’s iconic score for Forbidden Planet. Many other composers, from Herrmann to Goldsmith, and even John Williams, have used synthesizers to depict alien soundscapes.

But, synths can be a deadly trap for composers and filmmakers.  Because the technology develops rapidly, synth scores generally do not age well.  There are many great science fiction films whose place in history is threatened by a score that grows campier with every passing day.

In 2004, I avoided using synthesized sounds in “BSG” as a direct reaction to these pitfalls.  The heavy, dramatic tone of that series would have been undercut by synthetic sounds.  “Blood & Chrome,” however, is a different animal – it’s simply more fun.  The emphasis on action and occasional comedy one-liners gave me license to introduce synthetic sounds to energize the acoustic instrumentation of the “BSG” score.

Whether or not you’re a fan of the various BSG series, McCreary offers an interesting look at modern cinematic orchestration.

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