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SON ZINE

Media composer trade magazine

SPRING 2015 | #004

Features

Specials

Tutorial

NAMM 2015: Best in show

Session singer insights

Track techniques:

Russ Landau Q&A

Title design in film and TV

Adding sampled vocals

Top 3 title tracks

Kontakt 101: Analysing script

2015
#04

WINTER NAMM 2015

TRACK TECHNIQUES

12

14

Reuben Cornell reveals the


secrets to working vocal
samples into orchestral tracks

The Emmy award winning


producer gives us his take
on the media composing
business and more

Vocal samples

04

06

We give a shout out to the


developers and producers
that we spent time with at
Winter NAMM 2015

Ronan Macdonald reports


on some of the best media
production software and
sounds to be found at this
years Winter NAMM

Developer meeting

Best in show

ON THE COVER

Q&A

TITLE DESIGN

KONTAKT 101

LEADING LEADERS

Russ Landau

31

Top 3 title tracks

16

Art of the title


An appreciation of title design
and its ability to make an
amazing first impression

OTHER
03 Editorial
32 Colophon

he last time I wrote this


leader, we were about
to end 2014. Now we're
approaching spring 2015 and I
couldnt be more excited.
Sonokinetic have so many
exciting ideas planned for this
year, a couple of which we're
in the process of realizing.
Meanwhile, Capriccio is out
in the wild, where it's already

Capriccio Woodwinds ensemble recordings 2014

INSIGHT

18

28

Marie-Anne Fischer
discusses the art of the
session singer with four of
its leading exponents

This one is all about using


pre-made kontakt scripts
in your instrument

Session singers

received plenty of plaudits


from press and public alike.
Needless to say, that makes us
immensely happy and proud.
Projects like Capriccio stretch
us to our limits, so getting
good feedback strengthens
our belief that were on the
right track, and reaffirms
to me that the little things
matter. Like a new spring,
it also replenishes energy

Analysing script

levels and sets us up for the


challenges to come so thank
you all for that!
As a company, were reaching
the point at which we have to
revisit our backlog, updating
older products where needed
to our current level of
technological know-how. This
will inevitably slow down the
production of new products
a bit, but we should still be

Our highly subjective ranking


of timeless movie and
television opening music

able to release something new


every six weeks or so. Don't
hold me to that, though, as we
only ever release a new library
when we feel it's ready to be
added to your production
palette, not just when the
schedule demands it.
On behalf of our entire team,
thank you for enabling us to
do what we truly love.
Son Thomsen (CEO)

NAMM
2015

SONOKINETIC
VISITS THE US
MEETING ALL THOSE OTHER
DEVELOPERS IS ALREADY
A HIGHLIGHT OF THIS YEAR

anuary 2015 marked the first NAMM


show for Sonokinetic. We weren't there
as exhibiting developers, but it was a
very fruitful experience nonetheless.

It was amazing to observe the vitality of


the music industry in all its glory, and
view its landscape through the eyes
of the developers, manufacturers and
merchants that keep changing it. Even
more amazing to me, personally, was
meeting so many other developers in our
field and feeling the palpable sense of
community between us all.
Shout outs, then! First, I want to send a
special one to our new friends at Spitfire
Audio. Not only do they make great
products, but theyre a very friendly bunch
as well. Funny how it takes a trip to LA to
meet fellow London developers! We also
met up with, amongst others, Realitone's
Mike Greene; the guys at Embertone
(who organized a lovely developer dinner
on one of the show days); some of the
Cinesamples crew; the great developers
at Orchestral Tools; Best Service's
Eduardo Tarilonte; part of the SoundIron
team; the thunderbolt that is Deane
Ogden and his dad; and many more.
Sadly not in attendance was Peter
Alexander, to whom we extend our
gratitude for helping us out when we got
started in this business. He was taken
from this world far too soon.
In this issue of Sonozine, youll find
amongst other things an editorial
by Ronan Macdonald on some of the
upcoming products that we found most
interesting at the show. Enjoy!
Son Thomsen
CEO, Sonokinetic BV

NAMM 2015

BEST IN
SHOW

anuary saw Californias Anaheim Convention Center play host to Winter NAMM 2015,
Americas biggest annual musical instrument and pro audio trade show. As it does
every year, the event served primarily as a showcase for the raft of exciting
new music-making product releases that we can look forward to in the coming
months, many of them of particular interest to media producers and composers. Here
are some highlights

SHOW REPORT

vid Pro Tools 12

Sharing a headline with the announcement of the free 16-track Pro Tools First (great news for those intrigued by but unfamiliar
with the industry standard DAW), Avid revealed Pro Tools 12 at NAMM 2015. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the current trend for such
things, the latest Tools introduces a subscription payment model (monthly or annual) alongside the conventional just buy it option.
More important than that, though, is the launch of Cloud Collaboration. This integrated framework, says Avid, enables you to not only
hook up with and hire musicians via the new Avid Marketplace, but also record them over the internet. Projects can be stored in the
Cloud, plugins and soundware can be bought directly within Pro Tools from the also-new Avid App Store, and subscribers can even
release tracks commercially into the Content Marketplace. It all certainly looks good on paper, but well have to reserve judgment until
we see and hear it in action particularly Content Marketplace, which obviously faces extremely tough competition. The release date
and pricing for Pro Tools 12 are as yet unknown, but you can sign up for notifications at the Avid website. www.avid.com

pectrasonics Omnisphere 2

Released in 2008, Spectrasonics Omnisphere is unarguably one of the greatest virtual instruments money can buy, powered by over
40GB of breathtaking samples and an absurdly powerful synthesis and processing engine. While theres little to criticize in the current version
(1.5), the sequel Omnisphere 2 manages to improve on it in just about every area. For many, the addition of audio import and wavetable
synthesis alone will make the $249 upgrade a no-brainer, but should the deal need sealing beyond that, you also get 400 new waveforms for
the Synth Oscillator, 25 new effects modules, eight new filter types, more modulation targets, an enhanced browser, over 3000 new presets
and much, much more. Already revered by sound designers the world over, Omnispheres first full version update looks set to turn it into an
absolute monster. Its scheduled to land on April 30, priced $499. www.spectrasonics.net

pitfire Audio The Grange

Renowned UK soundware developers Spitfire Audio


launched no less than five new Kontakt Player libraries at NAMM
2015, spearheaded by The Grange. Recorded at the famous
Headley Grange, where, most notably, the drums for Led Zeps
When The Levee Breaks were tracked, this 55GB library of
multisampled hits and loops captures the sounds and stylings
of three bona fide drumming deities: Queens Roger Taylor, Red
Hot Chili Peppers Chad Smith and sessioneer Andy Gangadeen
(Massive Attack, Chase & Status et al). Engineered by Nick Taylor,
using an array of vintage microphones, Neve and API preamps,
and the finest 2" Studer tape machine in the UK today, each of
The Granges six kits is presented in three mix versions Tight,
Mid and Epic (plus a Super Tight option for the Gangadeen kit)
with four ambient mic placements.
The Grange looks to be a versatile, powerful drum kit ROMpler,
capitalising on the redoubtable skills of a trio of world class
players and exuding real sonic character. Its available now for
199. www.spitfireaudio.com

Sonokinetic CO Show favorite


SONOZINE SPRING 2015

NAMM 2015

CAudio Kaleidoscope

Best known for their trio of professional reverb plugins Aether, B2 and Breeze 2CAudio grabbed attention at this years Winter NAMM
with their new visual audio effects processor, Kaleidoscope. Essentially, its a bank of tunable physically modelled resonators (switchable
between Spring and String modes), modulated using two independent graphical images, with the brightness of each pixel setting the loudness
of the sound at a particular frequency (the position of the pixel on the Y axis) and time (X axis). Over two million automation reference points
can be read by the plugin, and deep control is given over a range of parameters, often making Kaleidoscope sound more like a synth than an
effect. Its a difficult one to sum up, and theres much more to it than Ive got space to describe here, but suffice to say that no sound designer
should let the demo pass them by. Kaleidoscope is available now, priced $249.95. www.2caudio.com

TW/Joey Sturgis Drums Drumforge

It was a good NAMM for sampled drums. While The Grange focuses on the specific talents and sounds of three percussive greats and
their kits, Drumforge aims to provide the pro producer with a more general-purpose but nonetheless extensive, interesting collection
of rare drums, from the 1940s to modern day classics. Although I wouldnt really describe the likes of the Pearl Export or Tama Starclassic
as in any way rare, the library of 69 multisampled kicks, snares, toms, hi-hats and cymbals takes in a wide variety of manufacturers and
specifications. Drumforge comes in Kontakt, Drumagog and Trigger formats, the Kontakt version giving the greatest degree of control
over the instruments multiple mic channels, which can be mixed freely for custom blends. All of the drums are provided both raw and
processed, too, for a choice of maximum flexibility or instant results. While music producers will obviously find plenty to love in Drumforge,
it could well prove a winner with media composers, too, facilitating quick and easy drum kit construction and mixing. You can buy the
whole thing now for $329 (delivered on a 16GB flash drive), or go for individual drums instead, ranging from $8 for a single kick, snare or
cymbal, to $12 for a set of toms. www.drumforge.com

oftube SSL XL 9000 K-Series for Console 1


Softubes Console 1 hardware/software
combo brings hands-on control and highquality modelled mix processing to any VST/
AU/AAX-compatible DAW. So far, though, that
modelling has been limited to an emulation of
the SSL 4000 E channel strip, making Console
1 an excellent but single-minded mixing
solution until now. The Swedish company
have always promised further models down
the line, and at NAMM 2015 they pulled the
covers off Console 1s second SSL-aping strip:
the KL 9000 K-Series. This cleaner, more
transparent hip-hop/RnB counterpart to the
poptastic 4000 E boasts a more controllable
gate module, a choice of Peak and RMS
compressor modes, and the inclusion of SSLs
Duality/Alpha Channel Variable Harmonic
Drive (VHD) module for dialling in distortion.
Console 1 owners can double their DSP
options with the SSL XL 9000 K-Series add-on
right now, for $329. www.2caudio.com

est Service libraries

German soundware giant Best Service unveiled four new sample-based virtual instruments
at NAMM 2015, powered by their own Engine er, engine.
The sequel to 2010s Titan, Titan 2 draws on over 10,000 multisamples and 200,000 single
samples captured from 244 hardware and software synths (a whopping 78GB uncompressed,
squished down to 24GB compressed) to present 12,500 presets (the 5500 of the original Titan
plus 7000 new ones) in an action-packed interface.
Another sequel, Klanghaus 2s sample bank is built on the unique instrumental creations of
Ferdinand Foersche, including various stringed things, metal drums, sound images and drum
and sound walls. Theyre playable entirely manually or triggered using the 900+ editable MIDI
grooves that come included.
Voyager Drums comprises two punchy and powerful drum kits Yamaha Maple Custom and
Recording Custom complete with Paiste cymbals. Three mixable microphone positions have
been recorded (direct, overhead and room); effects are onboard in the shape of compression/
limiting, EQ and distortion; and synthesized kick, snare and tom Trigger Sounds can be mixed
in for extra power and tonal variation. Again, you can play it yourself of feed it any of the 360
bundled MIDI patterns. Last but not least, ERA II is another potential must-have for film and game
composers from producer Eduardo Tarilonte. Expanding on the original ERAs library of medieval
musical paraphernalia, it adds 25 new instruments and voices (for a total of 70), and makes
significant improvements to the interface. All four should be available by the time you read this.
See the Best Service website for pricing. www.bestservice.de
SONOZINE SPRING 2015

NAMM 2015

oog System 55, System 35 & Model 15

Got cash to burn and a hankering for the ultimate in electronic instrumentation? Perhaps the biggest story for sound
designers at NAMM 2015 was the resurrection of Moogs once-groundbreaking line of full-on modular synths, last seen filling the
studios of the super-rich some time around 1981. The System 55, System 35 and Model 15 are all being hand built, based on the
original 1973/4 schematics, in limited runs of 55, 35 and 150 units, priced $55,000, $22,0000 and $10,000, respectively. The System
55 houses 36 modules in its two cabinets, including seven oscillators, two filters and the 960 Sequential Controller for pattern and
modulation sequencing; while the System 35 houses 22 modules, five of them oscillators. Finally, the Model 15 is a comparatively
compact three-oscillator beast at just 50lb half the weight of the 35 and 110lb lighter than the 55.
In a music technology landscape increasingly populated by esoteric, overwrought boutique synthesizers, I couldnt be happier to see
these hefty, historic leviathans making a comeback, even if very few of us are ever actually likely to get our hands on any of them.
Now, where did I put that family silver? www.moogmusic.com

By Ronan Macdonald

AS WELL AS TAKING IN THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS OF THE EXHIBITION HALLS, WE USED THE SHOW AS AN
OPPORTUNITY TO MEET UP WITH SOME OF OUR PRODUCER COLLEAGUES, CANVASING OPINION ON CURRENT
SONOKINETIC SOUNDWARE AND GATHERING IDEAS FOR FUTURE RELEASES. ALL IN ALL, IT WAS A VERY
SUCCESSFUL SHOW, AND WERE ALREADY LOOKING FORWARD TO WINTER NAMM 2016.

SONOZINE SPRING 2015

TRACK TECHNIQUES

An ethnic phrase can quickly set the


scene, either geographically or spiritually.
Non-Western vocals are much harder
to emulate using legato libraries, so an
alternative option is to use sampled
improvisations and songs. Sonokinetic
have a wide range of these on offer,
from Jewish (Yiddish and Desert Voice)
to Greek (Delphi) and others. Using a
combination of many sampled snippets to
create longer phrases can sound utterly
convincing as long as youre mindful of
timing and timbre.
When constructing phrases from short
samples of actual vocabulary, be careful:
You might not be able to understand your
singers language but, obviously, other
people will, so make sure that whats
being sung actually makes sense and isnt
just a jumble of nonsensical words.

ADDING SAMPLED VOCALS TO

ORCHESTRAL TRACKS
First, some words of warning: Be very
careful when using vocals in your
orchestral music, because nothing that
can ruin a cue quite like the unexpected
appearance of an overwrought diva. Sung
elements are all too easy to misuse, so
tread them with caution. Vocals should
ideally be used as aural seasoning to
complement your cues.
Lets start with a couple of examples,
both good and bad. The stunning Lilys
Theme, by Alexandre Desplat, kicks off
the score of the final Harry Potter movie
perfectly, with its ethereal vocal effectively
setting the mood and melodic theme for
the whole soundtrack a delicate female
solo deftly woven into the orchestral
instruments. Contrast this with James
Horners otherwise impressive score for
Wolfgang Petersens 2004 epic, Troy, in

Processing solo vocals effectively


is important. Ideally, they should
compliment your orchestral instruments
and exist in the same virtual space. Dry
vocal samples may need de-essing to
soften the sibilance from close miking.
Then, use two reverbs: the first a plate or
studio convolution model with a short tail;
the second with a much longer tail and
similar settings to your orchestral reverb,
but wetter. For a really wide wash of
vocals, consider using an echo/ping-pong
delay effect with the high frequencies
rolled off. Tape delay also works well for
vocals, as it sounds more organic then
overtly digital processing.

Of course, effective soundtrack


which the ethnic warbling on tracks like
The Temple Of Poseidon serves only to
distract rather than enhance.
Solo vocals are great for evoking a
particular mood. For example, a solo
choirboy conjures a sense of innocence
and solitude, while a lone female vocal
can suggest sadness and longing.
Legato solo vocal sample libraries are
now quite common, enabling automatic
legato transitions from one note or
vowel sound to another, mimicking the
way a real singer would perform. Vocal
libraries from Soundiron and Realitone
can do a particularly great job here,
and when simple melodies are skillfully
programmed and processed, they can
be indistinguishable from the real thing.

vocals dont necessarily have to


be shrinking violets
Consider the heady chants of Goldsmiths
The Omen score, which perfectly amp
up the drama. Using a sampled choir
be it male, female or mixed brings
another level of fullness to a score. There
are plenty of libraries suited to this kind
of use, mostly containing ooos, ahhs
and other syllables that can be bolted
together within your sampler to create
longer phrases. Often, these are themed
around Latin or Slavic languages, and my
personal favorites include Cinesamples
Voxos, Soundiron Mars and Venus, and

various choirs from Eduardo Tarilonte.


One notable inclusion, which still sounds
great ten years after release, is EastWest
Symphonic Choirs. In theory, its possible
to make this choir sing any phrase at
all, as the Wordbuilder engine can be
deployed to link sampled phonemes
together. However, in practise its very
tricky and time consuming to pull off a
convincing phrase, so I tend to use this
choir as backing for a solo vocal, which
hides the fakery.
Choirs can be orchestrated in three main
ways. The first is to provide additional
color in slower, more melodic cues
with sung chords, or by doubling or
harmonizing the melody. Use your legato
patches for this. The second use is
singing loudly in staccato or marcato to
punctuate and emphasize action or chase
cues. Lastly, more unusual choir samples
(whispers, shouts, etc) can be utilized for
unnerving sounds in horror and thriller
scores. In fact, unsettling scores of that ilk
allow you to get really creative with your
choir samples, as you can stretch, reverse
and twist them to put your audience on
edge. Give iZotope Iris a try it excels at
vocal mangling.
When it comes to mixing the choir, ideally
you want to start with the librarys own
realistically sampled space, then use
the aforementioned reverb techniques
and spatial processing to push the
sound to the back of your virtual hall,
placing the choir in position behind the
orchestra. IRCAM Spat and Parallax Audio
VirtualSoundStage are both great plugins
for this sort of thing.
A final note on comedy. Vocals can be
used in glaringly obvious ways to signify
a comic moment or deliver a punchline
a descending glissando to accompany
a cartoon characters fall from a cliff,
say. My favorite example is the ending
of Airplane, where Elmer Bernsteins
choir really lets rip with some oversung
Hollywood cheesiness. Makes me laugh
every time.

Reuben Cornell
@reutunes

RUSS LANDAU Q&A

YOUR 30TH SEASON OF SURVIVOR IS COMING UP IT MUST BE A CHALLENGE CONTINUOUSLY COMING UP WITH
NEW MUSIC FOR AN 80% SCORED EPISODE FORMAT. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A MEDIA COMPOSER JUST
GETTING STARTED ON AN ONGOING TV SERIES?
Well, it can be a challenge to find inspiration after being on a show for so many seasons. I was lucky enough to be able to
travel to many amazing places and record indigenous music with some great local musicians. That, in itself, provided years of
inspiration. Short of that, fresh sounds from ever-evolving sample collections give me lots of new ideas.
As far as Survivor goes, I'm taking a break from reality shows in general to focus on scoring scripted shows and movies again.
For a composer just starting out on an ongoing show, I'd suggest finding sounds and samples that inspire you. Devise a number
of palettes to start from and write, write, write!

WITH MULTIPLE NOMINATIONS AND AN EMMY WIN UNDER YOUR BELT, WHAT WORK OR WORKS ARE YOU MOST
PROUD OF?
The pieces that I love the most are the ones that have some chill factor moments that make the hairs on the back of my
neck stand up a little. It might be a vocal line or the turn of a french horn melody within the body of a cue. Ancient Voices is one
of my themes that does this for me.

3
4
5
6
7
8

Russ Landau is known for


his work on 30 seasons
(seriously!) of TV show
Survivor, the show leader
for which bagged him an
Emmy in 2008.
Russ also produces his
own sample libraries,
including the renowned
Massai and Haka,
available through
alexanderpublishing.com

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE CURRENT MUSICAL TREND IN MEDIA COMPOSING?
I'm not sure what the current trend is. I'm hearing some great blends of orchestra, ethnic and dubstep bass synths that are
way cool.

IS THERE A COMPOSER THAT'S BEEN PARTICULARLY INFLUENTIAL ON YOU?


John Williams will always be top of my film composer list; and Hans Zimmer, Alexandre Desplat and Thomas Newman are
up there too. Cliff Martinez is making great scores as well.

WHAT HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE DO YOU DEPEND ON WHEN PRODUCING?


I use Logic on top of Pro Tools. I've recently swapped all my hard drives for SSD's, which make a huge difference in speed and
stability. I love recording with old Neuman u67 mics and monitoring on JBL LSRs.

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE SAMPLE LIBRARY?


Besides Massai and Haka, which I made for my own use, I find that I have to pick and choose bits of many libraries for my pallets. Sonokinetic's H.I.P.P. Is one I draw from regularly.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STARTING MEDIA COMPOSERS?


I guess the same advice I got from my composition professor in college, which was to maintain an economy of ideas within a
piece. In other words, less is more.

RUSS
LANDAU

WHAT PROJECTS CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO FROM YOU IN 2015?


I'm working on a couple of new projects, which I'm not supposed to talk about yet. But for myself, I've been exploring
the diverse indigenous music that exists right here in my own country Native American, Appalachian, Cajun, etc for an
upcoming album. Being able to fly myself around the country, exploring this music, is an incomparable experience.

YOUR SAMPLE LIBRARIES HAKA AND MASSAI ARE VERY POPULAR, AND A LOT OF THE MATERIAL FOR BOTH WAS
CAPTURED LIVE ON LOCATION AS FIELD RECORDINGS. ANY THOUGHTS OR ANECDOTES ON THAT EXPERIENCE THAT
YOU CAN SHARE WITH US?
One time, while recording with the Massai on the outskirts of the Serengeti, I was sitting in one of their mud huts with four
or five villagers, and I naively asked where they got all the mud to build their huts in the arid land they live in. I was politely
informed that it wasn't mud, it was from the cows These were dung huts!

10

ANY CLOSING THOUGHTS?


Again, let me restate the importance of a well-put-together palette of sounds for your starting template. So many of mine
come from the many Sonokinetic libraries, including my own, which they were instrumental in assembling.
Photography by LMG, Inc

ART OF THE TITLE


Its no secret that we at Sonokinetic are heavily influenced by
the work of Herrmann, Bass and Hitchcock. Here, we look at the
under-appreciated art of title design
Music, design and film go hand in
hand and we rarely see this kind of
artistic cohesion in the post millennium
entertainment industry. I dont want to
suggest that fruitful and inspiring co-ops
are a rarity these days we've featured
three in previous issues of Sonozine:
Zimmer-Nolan, Williams-Spielberg and
Giacchino-Abrams but it's not often that
the art departments title designers step
into the limelight. They're simply not as
recognized as they deserve to be.
Bernard Herrmann's North by Northwest
soundtrack is one of my all-time favorites.
From the first time I heard that score, I was
completely hooked and mesmerized by it.
Perhaps the brilliant title design artwork
by Saul Bass has something to do with it,
but after listening to the CD over 50 times
now, Im still discovering new meaning and
elements in it.
On a quick side note: I prefer the original
recording over newly recorded or

remastered versions. It shows an original


roughness that I believe is intrinsically
linked to the creative core of this ingenious
work. Dating from the golden years of
collaboration between two grandmasters
Herrmann and Hitchcock prior to the
creative troubles that later came to the
fore, this original musical work stands out
and is still a major inspiration to me and
many other young composers. But first
impressions are the most important, which
is why I'd like to call for more investment
in the relationship between title designer,
composer and film director.
Designing the title sequence is as
challenging for sound designers and
composers as it is for graphic designers.
To come up with something unique and
original, capturing the true essence of
the production in one minute or less
can be a very demanding process, but
a few composers have managed to
made something that stands out for me.
David Schwartzs Deadwood, Jeff Beal's

House of Cards, Nine Inch Nails Se7en,


John Williams Catch me If You Can.
And sometimes a Director has a stroke
of brilliance, like J.J.s opening reversed
Spectrasonics sample library sound effect
for the TV Series Lost.
North by Northwests opening title, by
Saul Bass, directed by Hitchcock and
scored by Bernhard Herrmann, is forever
etched in my musical memory. It made
me appreciate the whole experience of
watching the movie more and inspired me
in a way that only great works of art can.
More seminal Bass/Herrmann/Hitchcock
title cooperations followed, leading into
the masterpieces Psycho and Vertigo,
both of which carry that same power and
creative conviction.
Martin Scorcese is one of the last directors
to truly understand and appreciate the
potential for a great title sequence to
leave an everlasting first impression, as
proven by his cooperation with Saul Bass

Photography by www.artofthetitle.com

on the title design for Cape Fear, Casino,


Age of Innocence and Goodfellas. I'd
imagine that just reading that list of titles
has brought at least a couple of those
amazing, memorable sequences to mind.
One designer that I would love to see
more from working with, for example,
David Fincher is Kyle Cooper. His work
really stands out for me. The titles for
Se7en, Hulk and American Horror Story
all comprise strong visual sequences
that make for classy film openers with
a sense of self-awareness and creative
courage. Equally, the team at production
outfit Elastic have done some marvelous
work for True Detective, (the waytoo-quickly-cancelled) Boss, House of

Cards, Carnivale and the beautiful, stylish


opening for The Americans. I can't wait to
see what they come up with next.
I understand that the decision to eschew
movie title design can be a creative one,
but it seems to me that more and more
film and TV productions are neglecting
it due to lack of creativity or budgetary
demands. But we, the audience, should
be aware of the power of the title, share
our thoughts on it and praise the work of
talented title designers.
The first Oscars, in 1929, included an
academy award for Best Title. By the time
the second Oscars came round, though, it
was tragically phased out, never to return.

Lets hope that gong comes back one


day, because title design is an essential
element of movie making that shouldn't be
forgotten.
If youre a fan of film, music, art and design,
its worth investing in a few title design
books to support these under-recognised
artists and appreciate their work in print. I
own several and often take a break from my
busy day to browse one of them and take
inspiration from someone elses creations.
My top picks are Saul Bass A Life in Film &
Design by Jennifer Bass, and Monographics
by Kyle Cooper. Id also recommend a visit
to www.artofthetitle.com.
Rob Vandenberg

INSIGHT: SESSION SINGERS

SESSION SINGERS

INSIGHT

Four highly accomplished freelance


vocalists discuss their lives and
work in this essential but relatively
anonymous field

CAN YOU IDENTIFY THE MAJOR STEPS YOU HAD TO CLIMB TO GET YOU TO THE CURRENT POINT IN YOUR CAREER?

By Marie-Anne Fischer

Having heard the score to the film Gravity and been particularly struck by the glorious, awe-inspiring voice in the title
track, I subsequently met Katherine Ellis the singer whose vocals gave me such goosebumps at an event in London.
After listening to her talk about her experience working with Steven Price on the hit 2013 movie, I wanted to find out more
about her, as well as the process of engaging with session singers in general. Since then, I've had the great pleasure of
connecting with not only Katherine but also three of her session singer contemporaries and all of them have generously
agreed to let me share their professional experience and insights with you here.
KATHERINE ELLIS
A singer and songwriter with 30 years of professional experience, Katherine has performed
thousands of live shows, ranging from small gigs in pubs, restaurants and bars with one or
two other musicians, to massive stadiums and festivals. Shes primarily a lead vocalist but has
also sung backing for artists including Belinda Carlisle, Chaka Kahn and Boy George.
Away from the day job, Katherine has hosted many performance parties and open mic nights
over the past decade, and travelled the world performing the numerous dance music hits
that shes sung on since 1997. Shes also had several top 10 hits as a writer, including M&S
Presents The Girl Next Door/If U Wanna and Dreaming by the Ruff Driverz. And as if all that
wasn't enough, she even has a publishing company, too, administered by Chrysalis BMG.
JULIE MINASIAN
A classically trained pianist, vocalist and songwriter, born and raised in Middle America, Julie
comes from a musical family. Her parents went to Eastman School of Music, and although
country music was all around her, she rarely heard it. She studied at the Trinity College of
Music, London, for a year one of the best years of her life, she says.
Julie has lived in New York and Los Angeles, and it was with her move to the latter that she
became involved in the movie industry. After many years of relentless work in that arena,
she eventually broke into singing on soundtracks for feature films. She also made her acting
debut in 2011s Academy Award-winning The Artist.

AERALIE BRIGHTON
A recording artist, vocalist and character voice actor with credits in motion pictures,
video games, television, movie trailers and other media, Aeralie also creates and invents
languages, improvises melodies and harmonies on the spot, and is widely recognized for
her haunting, ethereal and powerhouse ballad vocals.

GABY KOSS
Falling in love with singing and piano playing as a child, Gaby joined her church choir at 13
years of age. After leaving school, she studied music and pedagogics, as well as music science,
at university in Munich, her main subject being classical vocals. Over the years, shes been
tutored by Dietrich Schneider (who led the famous boys choir in Bavaria), Roberta Kelly (who's
worked with Lady Bump, Fly Robin Fly, The Jackson 5) and Saverio Suarez Ribaudo (Soloist with
the Munich State Opera).
Gaby has performed in many classical concerts and opera productions, and worked at the
Munich State Opera. She also has experience in jazz/swing, and has been active in the metal
scene for several years, singing with various bands on tour, and appearing at Wacken and WGT
the worlds biggest metal and gothic Festivals, respectively. Three years ago, she founded an
international vocal and instrumental ensemble for Sephardic, Celtic/folk, medieval, Renaissance
and early baroque music, and began work on some projects of her own.

SONOZINE SPRING 2015

KATHERINE
Ive worked consistently hard and networked my way up by constantly doing my best work and being flexible with my dreams. Jeb Million,
who ran a club called Singers, mentored me and helped me hone my performance and writing skills between the ages of 24 and 26; and
William Henshall from Londonbeat helped me to write songs and introduced me to a lot of people aged 26+. By doing sessions, I ended
up on a string of hit records for the Ruff Driverz, and our fourth single, Dreaming, which I co-wrote, is recognized as a classic dance music
anthem, which opened a lot of doors for me.
My basic advice to session singers starting out would be to work as hard as you can with as many people as possible, and then one thing
will lead to another.
JULIE
My upbringing in a musical family most definitely got me to where I am today. I attended college, where my primary focus was music, and
majored in piano, voice and music theory. All of my teachers have also inspired and influenced me. My first vocal teacher said, Shoot for
the moon and at least youll land among the stars. I will never forget that.
My theory teacher in college was a jazz pianist. He had a horrible accident and lost three fingers of his left hand; but he could still reach
the first and fifth of a chord, and still had his right hand, which could go wild on the keys! Ill never forget how positive he still was after the
accident. I dont remember his exact words, but I think he referred to the things he still had, looking at the glass half full.
My piano teacher at Trinity has been a major inspiration as well. I've remained friends with him until this day a friendship for which I am
eternally grateful. He wanted me to come back to London to study with him, believing I could have been a concert pianist. An opportunity
missed, perhaps, but I was determined to be involved in film music, singing and writing, as well as continuing as a pianist. He said
something like, Well, you can do all of them it will just take you longer. That inspired me!

AERALIE
Ive been singing professionally for about a year. Believe it or not, music for me always seemed to be just a passion a lifestyle but,
until recently, never a feasible career path. I was a combat air traffic controller for the Unites States Army and had decided to enrol
in college to study Biochemistry and Virology after I departed the service, to study something I would find intrinsically rewarding and
challenging. While I was studying, I perused YouTube for music to study to and crossed paths with a composer called Ivan Torrent,
who changed my life. I had no idea at the time that he would later become a very close and dear friend to me. We emailed back and
forth after I initially reached out to thank him for creating such beautiful music. The next thing I knew, I was singing for him and getting
recognition from his peers.
Fast forward a few months and, with an unexpected opportunity having presented itself, I decided to pack up my car with everything
I could fit in it, and $200 to my name, and ventured out to Los Angeles to begin a new career in the motion picture and film score
industry. Within three months, I ended up working on projects with Xbox, Disney, Warner/Chappell, and various other companies.
As a young child, for a period in my life, my only friends consisted of my cats and make-believe Disney princesses, and there was
a very special movie that resonated with me, called Hocus Pocus. I can recall prancing around the house singing like Sarah Jessica
Parker, hoping that one day I could sing as well as her. Last year I had my first discussion of a possible project involving Disney, with the
composer of the score from Hocus Pocus. At that moment, I realized just how magical life can be if you allow it to fall into place for you.
I learned to trust my instincts and to believe in myself, having immense gratitude for all the people in my life because it takes a team to
succeed in any facet of life. I wouldnt be where I am without the help and inspiration of countless people at various points in my life.
GABY
During a concert, I was asked whether I would be interested in joining a band called Haggard, who combined a classical/medieval style of
music with metal, performing concerts on tour in Europe and South America. I joined the band and toured with them for many years.
After Haggard, I worked at Helion Studios in Munich, were I met Equilibrium an epic, cinematic viking metal band who asked me to
sing and record with them, as well as perform occasional concerts. While I was studying, I focused on studio recording for bands and
appeared on a substantial number of recordings. I also focused on performing classical concerts mostly duets singing with a variety
of countertenors, tenors and mezzos. I appeared in several opera productions and also worked at the State Opera.
The next step I took was when my husband and I started several projects of our own. I had grown up listening to my fathers favorite Jazz
bands and was influenced a lot by the music I heard, as well as some jazz sessions I heard with pianists.
The greatest influence came from my teacher, Saverio Suarez Ribaudo, a tenor and soloist at the State Opera in Munich. He was a great
vocal teacher who constantly explored new techniques, visited symposiums for vocal techniques, attended concerts and studied the
Business
Music
Licensing
vocal techniques of different types of singing. I share my teachers belief in life-long learning, as there The
are always
new of
things
to explore.
Generating
Revenue
through
I really would recommend taking a page out of his book: never sitting still, always listening and learning about the different music styles
Yourthe
Music
by Emmett
Cooke
that influence vocal technique. Listen to many singers, hearing them live or digitally, comparing them and
way they
vocally interpret
the different styles of music.

INSIGHT: SESSION SINGERS

DESCRIBE THE DEFINING EVENT THAT YOU BELIEVE TOOK YOUR CAREER TO THE NEXT STEP, AND TELL US WHAT YOU
ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS TO IN THE LONG TERM.
KATHERINE
Singing live on Top Of The Pops at number 10 in the charts, with a song that I had written. It was a result of hard work and a lot of luck.

JULIE
This is hard to say. I remember when I wrote my first song while I was living in New York and working in a law office. It was very hard to
come home from a job like that and then become creative, but I did it. I wrote most of my first record in New York. Writing what I consider
to be a good song is so difficult. Even though I didnt become a recording success at that time, I was amazed that I could write lyrics, put
them to music, and play and sing them at the same time.
I attribute my progress to a songwriting teacher I had, as well as some sort of amazing gumption I had at that time. I took a risk and it
paid off. It was something I had wanted to do since I was a teenager, I had dreamed of doing it and I did it, which made me very proud.

JULIE
I think Skype video conversation is vital if I cant meet the person face-to-face, Skype is the next best thing. The way Ive worked remotely
on projects in the past has been through communication with a combination of Skype and email. After the initial Skype call, where the
project is discussed, goals are set and a plan of action agreed, the process then develops a rhythm of emailing and Skype calls when you
just need face time with your fellow musician, or when you have questions that are easier to discuss face-to-face.

AERALIE
I think this varies from artist to artist, but I really like having lots of involvement. Depending on the magnitude of the project, I usually
have producers, composers, etc, at the live sessions in the studio, but I often find myself recording from my home studio and sending
the stems, so that theres a lot of creative involvement from both parties.
It really just depends on what the project is, who its for, if Im simply singing notes on a page or if Im actually composing, writing lyrics,
creating languages, etc. The most important thing is communication and always being open and receptive to constructive criticism.

AERALIE
I've got many special moments in my life. I think the most important, the pinnacle of my life thus far, was the moment I realized what
a gift and honour it is to be surrounded by so many talented and inspirational people. I constantly learn and realize that life is a neverending work in progress. Theres always something to learn, something to strive for, and were all innately unique in our own craft. The
only limitations in life that constrain us are those that we cast upon ourselves. Everything is a matter of perception and the only thing
that ultimately matters, in my own opinion, is that we seek our own approval.
At the end of the day, we ought to be able to look within ourselves and know that we had lived that day to the fullest and had done the
best we could for the good of ourselves and the greater good of people around us.
GABY
One might suppose that my most memorable moment would have been an overwhelming feeling standing on one of the stages at
Wacken, but it was, instead, during a concert in Mexico City at the Circo Voledar, with about 8000 people in the audience. After performing
a solo piece, it seemed to me that the whole arena was chanting my name. I was overwhelmed, because I honestly never thought people
would know my name. This special moment will always be in my heart. I still have fans who contact me to let me know that they were at
that concert and found it mesmerizing.

ONCE YOUVE AGREED TO BE PART OF A PROJECT TO WHICH YOU'LL BE CONTRIBUTING VOCALS REMOTELY,
WHATS YOUR PREFERRED WAY OF COMMUNICATING WITH THE COMPOSER OR SONGWRITER, AND WHAT WOULD
THE WRITING, PERFORMANCE AND RECORDING PROCESSES ENTAIL?
KATHERINE
By way of example, Im a featured artist on a dance music project, where I collaborate with producers worldwide. I have my own studio,
and we usually communicate via email, but also Skype. I write a verse and chorus and send them the demo, and we exchange thoughts
until were all happy. I then complete the top line and send them the dry vocals for them to produce.
I do also travel to other studios, if their budgets allow or if theyre nearby. When writing songs, we just get together and work as we
please over several iterative sessions until were happy.

GABY
I started remote sessions a few years ago via MySpace, with bands who would send me their stems to sing to. I also worked with an
English metal composer who now lives in Japan we remain in contact, as were working for a US television series. He writes the music
and I sing American folk songs for the show.
In the past Ive lost a lot of time even days of work when bands have sent me their files using a variety of different software programs
and formats, and havent paid attention to specific details. Setting and agreeing standards makes it much easier for both me and my
clients to record the result. For instance, when I record to specific time points, they have no trouble placing vocals where they should
be. I always ask for some special details, like bouncing from 0 or 1, putting their click in the front for one or two bars, and asking if they
bounced it in 48kHz or 44.1kHz.
When Im in the studio a couple of times per week, I try to record as much as possible there, as its much faster and more professional.
There is no home recording substitute that can match the professionalism and knowledge that comes with more than 20 years of
experience, having mastered albums like the Ennio Morricone Live DVD with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, and having recorded, mixed
and mastered so many bands.

The Business of Music Licensing


Generating Revenue through
Your Music by Emmett Cooke

SONOZINE SPRING 2015

INSIGHT: SESSION SINGERS


IS THE PROCESS OFTEN THE SAME OR SIMILAR BETWEEN PROJECTS, OR IS IT
UNIQUELY DIFFERENT FOR EACH ONE?
KATHERINE
Unique to each. Some people want me to write the whole top line; sometimes theyve
written the melody but need lyrics or want to collaborate on both. We get together if we
can and work over the internet if we cant.

JULIE
So far, quite similar. My first project was more Skype at first, and since then its been
easier to email the right questions to streamline the process. I want to emphasise that
even though the project is done remotely, it is still very much a collaborative, creative and
wonderful process. Were lucky that this is possible with technology imagine if Mozart,
Beethoven or Debussy could have Skyped!

AERALIE
I find that every project is different. Its one of the many rewarding perks of this lifestyle.
(I hesitate to call it a job, because to me its so much more; this is what I live for, its a part
of every fibre of my being.) The thing is, I look at every job, no matter the magnitude, as if
it were my very first and very last. Ive learned to stay in the moment and appreciate the
time and experience for what it is. I know very well that there are some incredible talents
out there, and at the end of the day, were all expendable.

GABY
Some steps are definitely similar, like the technical recording process. But, of course, as
the music styles differ, one has to first get into the style and melody in a new way every
time. For me, its much easier to do improvisations as I just listen then I just sing my
kind of own style. Every musician has their own style, influenced both by the music they
receive and their earlier influences.
Doing improvisations, for me, is just singing through once, or I do two or three variations
and consider the job done. I do find that composers say they want me to improvise but
have something else in mind and a different vision or direction where they want to take
their song. I often find that they have a specific singer in mind that they want me to copy
which I then find makes it even more difficult to understand what they want. In these
cases, I find its easier to just follow their strings or piano, or horn or brass section, and
maybe do only slightly less harmonization.
Depending on the voice style the client wants pop, ethno, tenorina, light soprano or full
soprano I tend to usually improvise in big styles like coloraturas or glissandi, either light
soprano or full classical techniques, or blue notes when it feels jazzy.

HOW MUCH PREPARATION TIME DO YOU NEED BEFORE RECORDING AND BETWEEN TAKES, IF ANY?
KATHERINE
None really Im pretty much ready.
Having said that, Id rather not sing first thing
in the morning!
JULIE
It depends on the current project and the next
one. Ive done some pretty intense recordings,
where Ive done numerous takes for the
composer to choose from.
It also depends how high the notes are! I did a
project full of high notes that I had to hold for
what seemed like an eternity. I needed some
rest before I started the next project.

AERALIE
I think this may be different for most
people. I have been exceedingly
blessed with the gift of being able to
improvise on the spot, so I generally have
a quick turnaround.
I think the only trouble Ive experienced
is knowing when to not bite off more
than I can chew. Im thankful that there
are many patient composers out there.
Life sometimes happens and, fortunately,
most people are understanding. Again,
communication goes a long way.

GABY
Preparation time depends on the song or songs I get. The length, the style, whether I have to sing more layers (different types of voice
styles or harmonies beyond or above it). A full classical choir, where I have to put down many layers on top of one other with words,
takes preparation. For example, when words end in a t, it's a problem to overlay them so that they dont sound like t t t t from sopranomezzo-alto-tenor-maybe-baritone. Theres a similar issue with aahs, or whether I just have to follow the strings from 1.25-4.13, or have
to whisper, or write my own melody line and even lyrics Doing stand-up kind of ethno-language is easy for me, I dont need a lot of
preparation time.
In terms of time in between, I sometimes record the whole day, and if I use a healthy technique, its just like being on stage. I can sing all
day, every day, the exception being if Im unwell or if I allow pressures to cause me to forget my technique. I tend to pressure my voice
and notice when I start to get hoarse.

WHAT RECORDING EQUIPMENT DO YOU USE AND HOW IS IT SET UP FOR RECORDING YOUR OWN VOCALS?
KATHERINE
I have a Mac, a Joe Meek MQ3 Compressor and a Neumann U87. I use Pro Tools.
JULIE
I record on an iMac, I use a Blue mic and Ive recorded in GarageBand so far.
AERALIE
I have a few favorite vocal microphones that I prefer when I go to a professional studio, but I typically request to perform with a Peluso 22
251. At home, I use a Neumann 102 vocal mic with MOTU UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid, Focusrite 2i2 and Avalon M5 interfaces/preamps. I also use
Cubase 7.5 for my DAW.
GABY
For home recording I have Cubase, a Neumann Microphone and a Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 DSP.

The Business of Music Licensing


Generating Revenue through
Your Music by Emmett Cooke

SONOZINE SPRING 2015

INSIGHT: SESSION SINGERS

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS OR SUGGESTIONS FOR COMPOSERS AND SONGWRITERS THAT COULD
IMPROVE THE PROCESS OF HOW WE WORK TOGETHER?
AERALIE
Walk boldly. Id tell them to stare life in the face fearlessly and to never lose hope. To keep close to their heart undaunted courage and
everlasting determination, because in life, one will go far just by simply having gratitude and the right attitude. Success is inevitable. The
way I see it, you either have opportunities presenting themselves or youre creating them. Either way, its perpetual motion forward in
the right direction. The only way to fail is to stop motion altogether. It reminds me of a quote from Corrie Ten Boom: When a train goes
through a tunnel and it gets dark, you dont throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.
Also, dont compare yourself to anyone but yourself. Each day, you should strive to better yourself and yourself alone. The world already
has one of everyone else. Be honest with yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Trust in yourself and love yourself. With hard
work, patience, perseverance and diligence, your time will come.

KATHERINE
Recently, I came across The Songwriting Academy (http://thesongwritingacademy.co.uk). They run
great courses, which songwriters of all levels can benefit from.
I would say that expanding your network and trying to write as many songs with as many people as
you can is good, as youll learn more and your network of possible outlets for the material will expand.
Regarding the process, stay positive, dont hold back ideas, and give 100%.

JULIE
Definitely get to know each others work whenever possible, or read something about the person.
Make each other human. We can forget, in this social media age, that were all humans sitting in front
of computers. But the point is, we are human beings and we need to connect. So, definitely Skype. For
this, I have to thank a composer I have worked with who has often wanted and made time to Skype, even
though he has so many things to do! Its very easy to write an email if Skype isnt possible just be kind,
polite and clear in emails.

GABY
Being in tune is obviously important, as is memorizing very fast melodies; but maintaining a good network is actually Vitamin B for
session singers. People who are not as good as you but have a better network will probably get better opportunities and work. You need
good marketing strategies and to be good at selling yourself and, most importantly, Vitamin B. When one is naturally introverted, its
sometimes difficult to market and promote oneself, as its difficult to accept and receive praise. Both of these are essential parts of the
job, and we need to make a conscious effort to do them in order to offer ourselves the best chance of success.

AERALIE
I think, overall, the most important components to integrate into any working relationship are flexibility,
communication, and patience. Did I mention communication?
GABY
The technical details are important and help make recording easier:





Stem as WAV or MP3


BPM declaration
48kHz or 44.1kHz
Bouncing from 0 or 1 to easily to bounce the recording at the right place
A click of one or two bars in the intro or directly before the song starts
Maybe bounce the stem with the melody made louder

Other details which are important for me to know:










Type of voice: soprano light or pop voice? If ethno: pop timbre or tenorina (dark timbre)?
Do you want one part of the song in low register and with pop voice, and the other part
with soprano light voice, or all in one voice style, or another part with tenorina, etc?
What style they have in mind for vocals if improvising: jazz, gospel, pop, classical?
Time declarations. For example: Only voice from 1:24-3:15 and from 5:18-5:55.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO FORGE THEMSELVES A


CAREER AS A SESSION SINGER?
KATHERINE
Buy this book, which Ive contributed to: www.tc-helicon.com/products/the-ultimate-guide-to-singing.
Again, the key is networking: go to industry events, sing live at performance nights, be seen, be heard

JULIE
I persevere. I dont know how else to say it. I had a choral teacher once tell me that if I
persevered, I would eventually get somewhere! That inspired me. Simple advice, but for some
reason I really heard it when he said it.

The Business of Music Licensing


Generating Revenue through
Your Music by Emmett Cooke

SONOZINE SPRING 2015

INSIGHT: SESSION SINGERS


DO YOU BELIEVE YOURE ADEQUATELY COMPENSATED FOR YOUR WORK, AND
DO YOU HAVE TROUBLE GETTING PAID?
KATHERINE
On the whole, yes. I believe that stealing music from the internet is clearly not fair and is
having a negative effect throughout the whole industry. We can only do this job if we can
earn a living. Please sign this Petition by Victoria Horn: Petitioning Fair Pay for Songwriters.

JULIE
Yes, absolutely. Many composers that Ive worked with are not in a position to pay because
they themselves are not getting paid.
No, Ive not had any trouble getting paid. PayPal is very easy, although I got paid via regular
mail once, which was nice. I got to see an envelope that said Royal Mail on it. I loved that.
Im such an American!
AERALIE
Yes, I feel its the responsibility of the artist to ensure and negotiate proper rates ahead
of the project. Again, its all about knowing your own worth and knowing its okay to ask
for what you believe you deserve. If anyone feels as though theyre not being adequately
compensated, I believe its because they settled too low. We all have a choice.

GABY
I tend to do favours for people, but when I do things for free, I find I feel dissatisfied. The
funny thing Ive also noticed when one works for free is that people then tend to take less
of your work, as its perceived to be worth less.
One should also never equate the payment for your work with your own worth this
can damage your self esteem. Equally, if one has been paid for work and its not used,
its difficult to not feel a sense of personal rejection, especially when it took a lot of hard
work and you put your heart and soul into it. This is a trap to avoid and one needs to
absolutely accept this as an intrinsic part of any artistic job.

IN CONCLUSION
The unique perspectives presented by these four talented singers have certainly
left me with a deep appreciation of the hard work and perseverance it takes
to succeed, over and above the obvious prerequisites of talent, training and
the courage to follow your dreams. I have equal appreciation for the fact that
people were frequently cited as a major source of inspiration, making it clear that
networking is essential to success. With our support, these and the many other
talented vocalists out there can continue to thrive in our industry, touching the
hearts of millions of people with their magical voices.

LEARN MORE ABOUT


KATHERINE ELLIS
JULIE MINASIAN
AERALIE BRIGHTON
GABY KOSS

The Business of Music Licensing


Generating Revenue through
Your Music by Emmett Cooke
BY MARIE-ANNE FISCHER

SONOZINE SPRING 2015

KONTAKT

101

For this edition of the scripting tutorial I am going to hark back a bit to the tutorial Ken did in
Sonozine #02. Please if you havent done so already, check that out as well, it is about using
pre-made kontakt scripts in your instrument (and features some other neat organisation tips).
We are going to work with one of the scripts included in Kontakt, and do a bit of analysing on
that, I think the best way to learn something is to just right in, it usually work for me!
I have chosen the Microtuning script as an example, because it is quite understandable, and it has a
clear use as well, for instance when added to middle eastern multisample instruments. I have added a
small portion of samples from our Qanun instrument for this demonstration, there is a download link at
the end of the article. (right bottom)

You could of course just load up this script,


set it to the key of your composition and be
done with with it, or drag any of the note
pitches up and down and create your own
adjusted scales using the tools given in the
UI, but lets explore the inner workings by
clicking the Edit button in the bottom left of
the script editor, and display the script. All NI
scripts are open for you to peruse, so make
good use of that as a learning tool!

You could of course just load up this script, set it to the key of your composition and be done with with
it, or drag any of the note pitches up and down and create your own adjusted scales using the tools
given in the UI, but lets explore the inner workings by clicking the Edit button in the bottom left of the
script editor, and display the script. All NI scripts are open for you to peruse, so make good use of that
as a learning tool!
First lets go over the main parts of a KSP script again:
The on init part is where you decide what happens when you load an instrument. Everything between
on init and the first end on happens only once, on boot. Here you build your interface and make sure
all your variables are declared so the rest of the script will know what you mean when you use them in
your calculations.

So lets side-step a bit, because I must admit I had to figure out which bit of the controls was the
tune_ui one myself. How I did it in the end, was by looking back to the on init where it is declared
(remember, every variable has to be declared in the init phase to be used in the rest of the script).
The block script about this variable is:
declare ui_table %tune_ui[12](4,5,-$TUNE_RANGE)
make_persistent (%tune_ui)
set_control_help (%tune_ui,"Tuning Table: Adjust the detuning for each of
the twelve notes.")


We thus learn that %tune_ui is a table, I have personally never used a table, so I wasnt sure what
the values behind it were. Quickest way to find out is to change one of them and click apply,
and just look for anything changing in the interfaceso I changed the 12 to 6 and got 6 sliders
instead of 12. Changing the 4 changes the width of the table, and the 5 changes the height.
The last value is set to -$TUNE_RANGE, if we look up $TUNE_RANGE earlier in the script we can
see it is declared as a const(ant) and will always be a value of 50 in this script, which in this case
seems to be a % of pitch, so now it goes up and down a half tone. Changing this value to 100
would then let it change up and down a whole tone etc.
One more thing to explain before I head off to my day job again would be the array (screenshot)
holding all the tuning values for the different presets. Arrays are databases that can store a lot
of values in an orderly fashion, that you can then call up by their position in the array. Like many
programmable things arrays are zero-based so the first value is called by the number 0, not 1. In
this example, if you ask for number 1 in this array (by using %tune_factory[1] anywhere in your
script) you will get a value of -29 to work with, the second value in the array. If you use %tune_factory[25] you
will get 14 (third row 2nd column in the array), etc. You can always check if you are getting the right value by
using message(%tune_factory[25]) in your script, for instance in the on note part, and then pressing a key to
trigger that part of the script. It will display the value of the array corresponding to the position number between
the brackets[] in the bottom left of the kontakt interface (screenshot). Where it gets more interesting is when you
use variables instead of a fixed number between the brackets. So if for instance you use the variable $a
like further on in the script:

$a := 0
while($a < 12)
%tune_ui[$a] := %tune_factory[($preset_menu-4)*12 + $a]
%preset_store[($Preset-1)*12+$a] := %tune_ui[$a]
inc($a)
end while
and you make $a run through all numbers from 0 through 11 using
a while loop (I explained briefly about the while loop in one of the
earlier tutorials) you can set all the values of the %tune_ui table using
the values stored in the %tune_factory array. You can see it uses the
position in the $preset_menu button times 12 to determine which
row in the array to use $preset_menu-4)*12 (it subtracts 4 from the
$preset_menu value because of the other functions available in that
dropdown menu, in this case you want the first preset Pure which

The on note part is where you decide what the instrument should do when a key is struck.
You will use fixed variables like $EVENT_NOTE and $EVENT_VELOCITY here that will give you
respectively the midi note number and velocity of the note that triggered the on note to work
with (C3 being 60, C4 is 72 etc). Note the capitalisation of $EVENT_NOTE; variables like this you
dont have to declare, they are declared by Native Instruments, and Kontakt inherently knows
what to do with them.
on ui_control is called when the corresponding button or fader (as declared in your on init
phase) is being manipulated. The corresponding ui_control is the one in brackets behind on ui_
control, so everything between on ui_control(%tune_ui) and end on pertains to the %tune_ui
control, which is the big table in the centre of the script window where you can adjust the values
for each note of the scale.

is number 4 in that menu to give you a value of 0 to indicate it is the first row in your %tune_factory array)
(screenshot)
That would be it for this instalment, I hope it made any sense to you. If anything, I hope this will encourage
some of you to just start changing some values in scripts like this one and see what happens. You can
always go back to the preset script if you mess something up, and I think this is a great way to learn the inner
workings of a KSP script. Start with the things you understand, and see what happens when you change the
things you dont;)

The Business of Music Licensing


Generating Revenue through
Your
Music by Emmett Cooke
Son
Thomsen

Happy scripting, and until next time,

Download
Example
Instrument
Here:

THREE LEGENDARY DRUMMERS, ONE LEGENDARY LOCATION...

ROGER TAYLOR
QUEEN

ANDY GANGADEEN
MASSIVE ATTACK, CHASE & STATUS

OUT NOW

the

G
R
A
N
G
E

LEADING LEADERS
OPENING SOUNDTRACKS

OUR TOP 3 LISTING OF THE BEST

T
3

heres no impression more important than the first one!


These opening film and TV show scores stick harder in the
memory than superglued duct tape.

Jeff Beals House Of Cards is one of our favorites.


It leans heavily on minimalist music, and its harmonic
structure is truly unique and enchanting. Instantly
recognizable, painting the story from second one, and reflecting
the time-lapse and tilt-shift perspective of the accompanying
imagery, this score perfectly mirrors the story arc, themes and
amazing camera work of the show itself.

CHAD SMITH
RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS

Why no Bass/Hitchcock/Herrmann production in our list?


Well, because we see John Williams Catch me if you
Can score, with its artistic opening title sequence, as the
ultimate evolution of the concepts that legendary trio originated,
with every genius Bass superlative extracted and exploited to its
fullest potential. On its own terms, Williams score is also notable
for reaching back to his jazz-rooted work of the 50s and 60s.

Way down in the hole! Tom Waits superb track was


masterfully rerecorded by various other artists to dress up
The Wire quite simply the greatest TV show of all time.

This ones also a favorite for its opening visuals the revealing
of clues and plot devices for each season in the leader is
brilliantly audacious.

If youre not familiar with this HBO masterpiece or its still on


your to-watch list, we strongly urge you to take a week off and
experience its groundbreaking five-season Baltimore street
opera as soon as humanly possible.

SPITFIRE
AUDIO

PUBLISHER
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