Date of Submission
Academic Programs and Concentrations
Project Advisor 1
My senior project is, put simply, two film scores: one for “A Trip to the Moon” and one for “The Adventures of Dollie.” Both are silent films from the very early 1900s. I had chosen to score for film because it closely aligns with my goal to be a composer for video games. The silent aspect of these films allowed for complete artistic license, which is often the case for video game soundtracks. My process for both films were entirely different, with “A Trip to the Moon” being written in the Fall semester and “The Adventures of Dollie” written this Spring semester. “A Trip to the Moon” was chosen for its fame and its strange, yet endearing quirkiness. The score is written entirely in Sibelius, having worked closely with a digital representation of sheet music, choosing specific instruments and writing each part in conjunction with each other. Every note in “A Trip to the Moon” is deliberately placed with little improvisation. The process was arduous, having no time code to work with, making timing events in the music to the film the greatest challenge of all. That being said, having written in that way, going note by note without recording gave me great insight in the composing process; being forced to take a step back and really look at the literal structure of what I was writing every step of the way. My board watched the film in early February and suggested my next film be done as if I were a pro composer, i.e. using the software they use. Through the kindness of Bard, I was able to purchase the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) Pro Tools, with a student discount and Bard paid for the plugin for the instruments I needed to write. Prior to Pro Tools, my knowledge of DAWs was intermediate at best, having only written using another DAW, Ableton, which I had used to write my pieces for my Moderation concert. Before having even started the actual writing process, I spent many hours reading and watching tutorials about Pro Tools. From there I worked entirely in Pro Tools, learning its mechanics rapidly and becoming familiar with the world of sound engineering. The greatest challenge for this film was familiarizing myself with Pro Tools. “The Adventures of Dollie” is done entirely different from “A Trip to the Moon” in that the recorded sounds are improvised, redone, and improved upon. The plugin Bard had acquired for me allowed the usage of orchestral instrument samples with which I used to play into Pro Tools using a MIDI controller. After having learned how to make Pro Tools work, I found this method of writing exponentially faster. The results of both films were an incredibly rewarding experience. My hopes for when I set out to do these film scores was to put myself into the setting of working as a composer; to write as if I were working on a film, or another media project; to put myself in the future five or ten years and really throw myself into the thick of what I had been studying the last four years. For a long time, my aspiration has been to be a game composer, except there was no real opportunity to write music for a video game at Bard. My next best option was to write for film, and my deferred moderation helped me choose that. For my second Moderation attempt, I had to write a paper about how music works in film. I was approved by Marina Rosenfeld, who no longer works at Bard, and had received very positive remarks on my ability to recognize the strengths of music within a setting. From there, I set out to prove that theory with my senior project: to test my mettle on setting music to a film. The end result is my senior project, and it has been an incredible journey.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Erdmann, Kyle Jacob, "Setting the Mood" (2016). Senior Projects Spring 2016. 244.
This work is protected by a Creative Commons license. Any use not permitted under that license is prohibited.Bard Off-campus Download
Bard College faculty, staff, and students can login from off-campus by clicking on the Off-campus Download button and entering their Bard username and password.