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Posts tagged Film Sketches
The Epic Cue Recipe

The Epic Cue is very much in vogue nowadays in film music. It’s an exciting, awe-inspiring cue, one that is meant to bedazzle and overwhelm us with sound and fury, like when we see the culmination of an epic battle scene:

Music*

The Score**

Ingredients

  1. Melody

  2. Sustained chord

  3. 16th notes

  4. Drums and percussion

  5. Sound effects interspersed for interest and surprise, usually lower than 100hz.

Cooking Directions

  1. Set your tempo to around 130 bpm.

  2. Create a melody that sounds epic, but orchestrate it with either choir or brass. French horn and female ahhhs are favorites.

  3. Create a sustaining chord background, usually with some brass and maybe woodwinds (though woodwinds are probably overpowered by the brass in this orchestration). In the example above, I placed two trombones in an octave from each other, and then I added a French horn choir. The harmony was minimal, as I preferred other parts of the ensemble to do that job.

  4. Create 16th note part. 16th notes can be played by strings (because of their agility and ease of playing) or synths. In this case, I used a pandiatonic string section with lots of measured tremelos, and I created a synth arpeggiator that changed according to my finger placement on an X/Y pad.

  5. Next, add drums and percussion. can be just about anything, but Taiko drums, snares, drum sets, and techno-style electronic drums are super common.

  6. Finally, add of sound effects to maintain surprise. I decided not to add any to this specific cue.


*Epic Cue 1 composed by Dave Wirth, Copyright and Published 2019 Fire, Fire, Red Star Down! ASCAP. All Rights Reserved.

**Score is Published 2019 Fire, Fire, Red Star Down! ASCAP