Sound Design – Music Soundtrack

Just as with voice over it feels imperative to be conscious of the power of music to shape the mood and reaction of an audience to the film. In practical terms, this being a student film and therefore on a limited budget, the opportunity to freely select music is limited by economics as well. We feel fortunate in some regards because we found that the tone and flow of the visuals married well with the Classical Music genre. But it feels important to note that this wouldn’t have been our first choice as in our minds the protagonist does inhabit a modern world with a modern taste in music, so compromise is necessary. The classical music genre has a longer history than most musical genres so there are more compositions that are license free with some performances coming under creative commons.

I used the website Musopen to explore options for the soundtrack. Musopen is a 501(c)(3) non-profit focused on increasing access to music by creating free resources and educational materials. They provide recordings, sheet music, and textbooks to the public for free, without copyright restrictions.

For the first drafts of the animatic, myself and Sadhbh chose Reverie by Debussy for the first act of the film before the Melancholic Wife chooses her own music. We felt this gave a good sense of the initial journey she embarks on. For the change moment we chose Wagner music, for the sense of drama and a journey, specifically from the opera Tannhauser. These two pieces acted as a starting point a placeholder to help visualise the film.

When it came time to consciously examine and choose the music, myself and Sadhbh decided to attempt to find female composers to try and rebalance the gender representation given the narrator is a male voice. Using Musopen again we discovered two compositions; for the main body of the film we selected a piece called Three Dramatic Etudes by Pandora Selfridge; for the change of tone we have picked a section from 4 Sketches, Op.15 by Amy Marcy Beach. We feel that the first composition is working well but that the second one may need further exploration as it may not represent enough of a positive tone shift.

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