Compose film music


I'm new here in the forum and this is my first post.

I wanted to know how you compose your music? Do you always start with a melody? If so, how do you do it? Or do you have different methods to start (due to the desired theme or mood)? And if you arrange the music, do you look after other film scores how they have done it or do you arrange it yourself?

I'm currently confused about some things in the composing process and I hope you could help me.

Thank you very much!



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  • I have composed for videos and I always start with the video. I compose while watching it.

  • Thank you for the fast answer. But how do you compose if you don't compose for a video? I mean a "free music" without any motion pictures.

  • Sometimes I have an "assignment," which is to say I have a specific goal in mind or a commissioned work, in which case I compose with that theme in mind. An example is that I wrote a piece for the grand opening of some student housing at a college I used to work for. In that case I wrote a fanfare, which seemed to fit the mood of the event. When I don't have a specific goal in mind, I sometimes will sit at the piano and experiment with sounds to see if I get inspired by something. This rarely produces anything useful, but some of my best works have started this way.

  • Thanks for the reply Gav. Would you like to listen to my newest film score? It's about a flight with a dragon.

    Please tell me your opinion. Thank you!

  • Sure! This sounds ok to me. It fits with your title.

  • Thanks for listening.

    Somehow I'm not completely satisfied with this music and I really don't know why. I think it has to do with the arrangement, because I like the composition (melody and harmony) very much. How do you arrange your music after you have the right melody (the right motive)?

  • I mostly write for solo piano so arrangement is not usually a big issue for me. For both piano music and arranged/multiple instruments music, the single most important issue to me is contrast, by which I mean that as the music progresses along I strive to change things up so that it doesn't have a quality of sameness over time. If it starts out fast, I try to contrast that with slower parts. If it starts out loud, I want something quiet eventually. If it begins with a steady beat (as your piece does), I want to suddenly speed up or pause. If it has a heavy percussion (as your piece does) I might have a section with either no percussion or a very light percussion. Swapping the melody between instruments creates contrast too. The most deadly thing to me is a piece which is boring because it doesn't change enough as it goes along.

  • I have edited my film score. I've seen that I used toooo much instruments in my arrangement just to make it "big" and like a "power orchestral". But that was really not the right step.

    You can listen to the new version here:

    I like it very much now. I hope you agree with me :-)

  • This sounds ok to me too! Looks like you took down the original version so I am not sure what you changed.

  • Yes, unfortunately the original is down. What I changed is the instrumentation, when the melodies play. In the first version I have doubled a lot of instruments just to make it fatter. Now I removed them to make the music clear and without doubled or tripled instruments.

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