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A Trip to the Moon

Luis Hernández

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Hi, this was the first silent movie I scored for. I like this old movies.

I saw a version of this film with an ugly music. Well, the music was wonderful but... what the hell the music of Carmen (Bizet) with this trip to the moon? Of course there was no synchronization at all, and you could listen to Toreador while the people is fighting against the aliens...

So, I was determined to try and write something. I hadn't done anything for several instruments before this, and it was all very intuitive. But I think it has good moments, mostly because of the synchro. I share it just for fun (13 minutes long). It is scored for wind sextet and piano. There ara tonal, atonal and modal parts...

I have the scores, but I think, in this case, are not very relevant:

My Trip to the Moon


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I remember watching this when I was younger.

I think movie scores are always relevant. They add light onto things that aren't immediately obvious or inexplicable. I use Frozen's soundtrack as an example. I did a big study on their scores and there were a lot of things I missed.

I personally feel like the synchronization was a little bit off on some of the "scene" transitions but... maybe that's just my unfamiliarity with the film. For example at 5:53 with the women playing the instruments it'd be cool to add like a little bit of synchronized "wow" but I still get the idea so it's alright, I suppose. I'd say after the big voyage, everything becomes a lot clearer and memorable in terms of the synchronization; the mushroom man scene was especially well done. I see you use finale? They do have a synchronization system in the program, actually. 

The music itself was very nice. I thank you dearly for not having it be one continuous things for the entirety of the first scene, for example, since it was very stationary capture-wise. I feel bad critiquing movie music sometimes because the atmospheres are so subjective, especially in silent movies. Sometimes you use some borrowed tones that come out of left field a little bit that sometimes hints at a transition when there really isn't one, but that's all I really feel qualified to say.

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Well I can tell you that synchronizing music and image in silent films is a real nightmare.

Yes, I use Finale, and it has a synchronization functionality but it doesn't work for this purpose. What makes that function is this: you have a video and you have an audio. Finale adjusts the length of the video to the audio. This is OK when you have a video made of pictures and want to make a slideshow.

What I do is different: I compose note by note, measure by measure at the same time the movie is running (and I see it). It's the way to synchronize music. And if you want to add effects for explosions or whatever  (with the instruments you use) you have to write them exactly when it's the time. Otherwise nothing fits. This is the reason why it's better to write several parts (compositions) than a whole long piece (the longer, the harder to synchro).

Besides, and only from opinions here and there, there's no agreement to when a special effect has to sound. For example: an explosion. Some say the sound effect has to be heard before it happens as an anticipation, other say that exactly when it happens.... The different seems nothing, but when you have to write the music is .... a nightmare.

I suppose it's very different to write music for a film without synchronization. I don't mean it's easier, but different.

By the way, in the last Finale update (named "25") the video window that allows to do this is no longer supported. I fI want to do this again, I have to use the previous version.

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Fascinating. I think you've done a fine job with this. I was personally not very engaged with the first few scenes, but I think that was a matter of the film itself, rather than your score. Everything after that was pretty enjoyable, and your score always seemed to fit and never distracted from what was going on. I have not seen this film before, so I suppose this is the "original" score for me. 

I don't think I could score any kind of movie music. Having to alter the structure of the music to synchronize with the film seems like a difficult task to me. Maybe someday I'll give it a go, but it's not really a goal of mine. Anyways, I think you've shown that you can do a great job at it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I enjoyed this.  The style seems to fit quite well with the film, and definitely suits it better than other scores I've heard for it.  And there are some nice little touches like the tone-painting for the growing mushroom.


I know what you mean about synchronizing music with film being a bit of a nightmare.  I usually figure out the tempo for a given cue, and then make notes to myself on what measure and beat each important action falls on.  But even so, I have to go through several iterations of adjusting the tempo and starting time slightly before I can get things to fit.

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