While working on another project which is yet to be released, I needed a break from being creative. So, I started remaking the beautiful track „A Close Friend“ from the truly amazing soundtrack of „Fantastic Beasts and where to find them“ by James Newton Howard from scratch only by ear.
I had never done anything like that before, so I was glad that I found this track which is, apart from being magical, not very difficult or long. What I did was basically listening to the track over and over again, on phrase (maybe 16 Bars or so) at a time and then trying to write it down. Of course it helped immensly that I could listen to what I had already written in order to compare both tracks.
All in all, it took me a few hours, maybe 8-9 or so, spread on a few days, to finish the track. I’m pretty delighted with how it turned out, although I now really crave a better childrens choir – my old QL Symphonic Choirs really reached it’s limits here 🙂
You can listen to my remake here:
And, to contrast it to the original, here it is:
For all the nerds:
I used the following libraries:
QL Symphonic Choirs
EWQL Symphonic Orchestra Gold (Perc and Harp)
EWQL Hollywood Orchestral Woodwinds
Native Instruments The Giant
Some Aditional basic sinewave for more bass (doubeling the Bass in the Strings – it sounds more full)
If you want to recreate it for your self, you can download the .midi-file here:
Since my early childhood, when I was first shown a film by Hayao Myiazaki (I believe it was „Kiki’s Delivery Service“), I have loved the films from Studio Ghibli (although, I must confess, I have watched only few that were not directed by Myiazaki himself). All of his films have a certain magic to them, also a certain beautiful nostalgia, even the joyfull ones like „My Neighbor Totoro“ and the above mentioned „Kiki’s Delivery Service“, which I enjoy the most, after all, I am addicted to harmony 😀
All of the films I watched made by Studio Ghibli are not only beautifully drawn, whith an astonishing sense for detail, but are in fact really good films, even if you are like me and don’t really like Anime itself. They have intricate storylines, believable and loveable characters and a beautiful soundtrack, written by legendary compsoer Joe Hisaishi.
While rewatching some of these films during the last couple of months, I came up with the idea of writing a piece in the style of Mr. Hisaishi, as sort of a tribute. I listened to many of my favourite themes by him, namely „One Summers Day“ from the „Spirited Away“ – Soundtrack, the Main Theme from „Howl’s Moving Castle“ and also the theme from „Laputa – Castle in the Sky“, which I will emebed down below. Then I looked for similarities in orchestration, melody, chord progression etc, playing along with the tracks on my piano and then improvisating with those themes. After a while, my own theme started to develop while I was just messing around on the piano. When I was sure about it and really liked it, I sat down on my computer and started composing.
Now, the piece that I came up with has some definite characteristics of the style of Joe Hisaishi. But of course, there are also some shortcomings: My orchestrating technique isn’t as perfect as his is, of course, I will have to train for many many years to get even close to that. But also my set of instruments I had available in my computer was limited and not always the way I wanted it to: For example, I wanted a smaller set of strings then I had, similair to those in the „Howl’s Moving Castle“- Theme where only about 3-4 players per divisi-group (the strings are made up of 5 different divisi groups: 1st Violins, 2nd Violins, Violas, Cellos, Basses) play. I for my part had only the usual „Big-Hollywood-Blockbuster“-Set Up, which is more then 8 up to 16 players per group. As you might have noticed, the fewer the players, the more intimate the string sound becomes. But, I guess you have to work with what you have. Still, I definitely added some additional Strings to my wishlist 😀
Last but not least, I created a little video in which I edited together scenes from many different Myiazaki-Movies together. You can find Spirited Away, The Wind Rises, Howl’s Moving Castle Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki’s Delvivery Service, Porco Rosso, Ponyo,Laputa: Castle in the Sky and Grave of the Fireflies in this video. Although to be precise, „Grave of the Fireflies“ was not directed by Myiazaki, but by Isao Takahata, who co-founded Studio Ghibli, along with Mr. Myiazaki. But to be honest, at the time of making the video, I was ignorant of this fact…
A while back, I started playing the closed beta of „Paladins: Champions of the Realm“, a very fun MOBA-style shooter. But I was taken aback by the music, which I still don’t quite have grewn fond of (please note, this is only my personal opinion. Don’t be upset if you enjoy the original music :D).
Therefore I started a thread in the Beta-Forum of Paladins and wrote about my problems with the music. In order to demonstrate what I would have in mind for the Main Menu, I wrote this short track.
I tried to achieve a classic fantasy and adventure -style track using my beloved 6 French Horns and a rich orchestration (Strings, Woodwinds, Orchestral Percussion), staying within the boundaries of a classical orchestra, not utilzing any synths or other means of hybrid scoring.
I drew inspiration from tracks like the „Taric Champion Rework Login-Screen Music“ (which is, I believe, not the actual title) from League of Legends and from Soundtracks such as „Shrek“ by Harry Gregson-Williams and others that utilize a „magical“, „fairy-tale“ style in their music (most often found in animated films).
On another note, if you are like me and you enjoy listening to awesome epic filmmusic, then I suggest you checking out my playlist on spotify, where I collect some of my favourite pieces of film- and game scores:
Also, please don’t hesitate to suggest some of your favourite scores so that my musical horizon can be broadend further, if you want to put it like that 😀