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Conducting

Ant-man and the Wasp

Ant-man and the Wasp is out! Another unique action score from Christophe Beck for which I served as lead orchestrator and conductor. We recorded the score over a 6 week period at Abbey Road Studio One. While it has become the norm to throw everything at action scores, multiple passes with the orchestra, huge percussion and relentless riffs, Chris' score builds on the unique palette he set up for the first Ant-man movie, with even more pizzicato! While we did record some of the brass and…
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Conducting Part 4

The Rules Wherever you record, there are going to be some rules for the orchestra, and it is important for the conductor to know and understand these. What is the break schedule? What time do we end before going into overtime? Having a feel for this helps with the pacing of the session. In Los Angeles, we record under AFM contracts. One good thing with this is that everything is clearly stated and everyone knows what is going on. At the session start time, everyone…
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Conducting Part 3

That was great, now lets make it better There is nothing like working with the greatest sight-readers on the planet. But even if they get every note right on the first run, the magic is not going to be there yet. My theory is that it takes at least three runs before the real magic happens, when the orchestra gets the correct tuning, timing and balance. For my example let's assume this is an easy-to-medium difficulty cue. Harder cues would take more time, but this…
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Conducting Part 2

Downbeat The session starts, and the contractor will come out to announce the project, introduce the composer, and maybe also introduce the director or anyone else important. They sometimes say a few words, and then we are off. After the group tunes, I call the first cue. It is important to call out any version numbers, as sometimes we have more than one version of a cue. I will say it a bunch of times to make sure that everyone knows. The string principals now…
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Conducting Part 1

Introduction and Score Preparation When I give lectures, one question I get asked a lot is "What is the difference between conducting for a concert vs conducting in the studio?" It is much easier to say what is the same. The conductor is the leader. Whether recording or performing live, the conductor's job is to beat time and cue people. That is about where the similarities end, however! In a concert hall scenario the music has usually been played many times before and the players…
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How to Score

Scores should look good and be easy to read. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been sent scores by students or hopeful orchestrators using terrible layouts. The notation program's default layout settings are no excuse. Session scores are different to concert scores for several reasons. While concert scores have been typeset for centuries, session scores were done by hand until about fifteen years ago and a lot of the 'look' is still based on how things were done in that style.…
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