Film Soundtrack Creation

Course code MUSI2702Units 10Level 2000Faculty of Education and ArtsSchool of Creative Arts

Explores the compositional and technical aspects, aesthetics, and psychology of composing music for use with film, video, and other visual media. The major focus will be in the realm of film music, however, the principles and techniques of film scoring will transfer to other collaborative art forms using music. Essentially the primary emphasis will be on the creation of a musical soundtrack with secondary study areas to include the relationship shown in the musical creation with the basics of film making and its associated technical matters.

Available in 2014

Newcastle City PrecinctSemester 2
Previously offered in 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004
ObjectivesAnalysis and observation of pre-composed films and soundtracks provide the student with an illustrative representation of the diverse applications of sound to visual media. This is particularly valuable as it demonstrates varied applications of music synchronised to visual material. Technical skills of spotting, concept development, and traditional/contemporary treatments of music will be implemented as required.

The composition of apposite music is fundamental to the success of an effective soundtrack. Students will develop skills to identify and render relevant material suited to various visual applications. They will also develop an understanding of compositional parameters, techniques used for specific effects, and the associated styles and genres.

The use of technical audio equipment and computer software will not only assist the student in the creation of a soundtrack, but will also provide the composer with a larger range of compositional material. Students will attain skills in the operation of technical equipment and the creation of audio material via the use of electronic devices.

In order to compose a professional soundtrack, the skills of synchronisation, recording, spotting, compositional application and editing are vital. Students will combine previous skills with additional specialist techniques in order to experience the procedures required in the creation of professional soundtracks.
ContentCourse content may include (but is not limited to):

1. Use of synchronisation (including SMPTE, MTC)
2. Analysis of film soundtracks
3. Identification and spotting techniques
4. Traditional compositional practices for soundtracks
5. Contemporary compositional practices for soundtracks
6. Audio recording hardware (DAT, MiniDisc, and Nagra)
7. Audio processors including effects units and dynamic processors
8. The creation and use of sound effects and foley
9. MIDI sequencing software
10. Music recording methods for use with film
Replacing Course(s)NA
Industrial Experience0
Assumed KnowledgeStudents undertaking this subject will need to have an elementary understanding of the operation of a Windows computer environment. Musical knowledge equivalent to the written entrance examination for the Faculty of Music's undergraduate degrees is assumed.
Modes of DeliveryFlexible Delivery / Student Centred Learning
Internal Mode
Teaching MethodsLecture
Assessment Items
Essays / Written AssignmentsAnalysis and examination of pre-composed film soundtracks (short written report) - 20% of total assessment.
This assessment item will test the student's analysis and writing skills. They are required to view prescribed visual material, identify important elements, and examining the techniques utilised.
Other: (please specify)The final project involves the production of a section of professional soundtrack using specialist technical equipment - 40% of total assessment.

The final project draws on techniques from throughout the semester and applies their use together with professional techniques. It further expands the applications they have already encountered enabling their creative expression to be further expanded.
Other: (please specify)Practical assignment on computers which requires students to compose/arrange a short soundtrack using computer software - 20% of total assessment.
Students will be supplied with a short excerpt of visual material, to which they are required to add a MIDI soundtrack.
Other: (please specify)Practical assignment using various forms of digital media together with a computer application - 20% of total assessment.
This assessment item requires the student to create a soundtrack by sequencing a multi-track arrangement to supplied visual material.
Contact HoursLecture: for 2 hour(s) per Week for Full Term
Timetables2014 Course Timetables for MUSI2702