Music, Multimedia, and Visual Art

Composing for Tape/Multimedia and Live Musicians

Composing for tape, media, and live performers is closely related to composing film music. Just like a live orchestra must have a score perfectly synced to what is happening in the film, a score for multimedia and live performers has to be perfectly timed and in sync for the performance to succeed.

This usually means:

1) Including Time Code in the score
2) Including audio and/or visual cues in the score
3) Many hours syncing up measures and notes with time code
4) For rehearsal (and possibly concert purposes), a practice CD or DVD with a click track for each performer and the conductor
5) Neat, legible, and professional quality music scores
6) As much communication as possible between composer and the ensemble during the creative process
7) It is up to the composer, not the ensemble, to make the entire composition understandable and performable by providing clear instructions, legible scores, and playable music.

A note here: There is often more than one way to write a musical idea. If the part looks too complicated, then simplify it. There are many ways to simplify a musical idea in the score that does not compromise the composer's initial idea and does make the part much more understandable to the performer.

Class Examples:

World Order #4
Performed by the Florida International University New Music Ensemble
Under the Direction of Luis Gomez Imbert

US vs. Them
Performed by the Kansas State University Percussion Ensemble
Directed by Kurt Gartner

Commissioned and performed by the Millikin University Percussion Ensemble
Directed by Brian Justison

Related Articles:

Composing for Multimedia

Defining Multimedia

The Birth of Multimedia
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