Bagnall, James (2014) The strength of Timbre and why it can be an invaluable tool to a Moving Image Composer. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

The aim of this research is to demonstrate that timbre is one of the most effective tools found in a film composers tool box, and one that in modern film composition is used quite extensively. This research aims to build on prior research that provides an analytical understanding of sound, which demonstrate implications for timbre; including semiotic connotations, in sound design and conventional film based scores (Tagg, 2012 and Chion, 1994). Also to dissect how modern film composers, such as Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore, and sound designers, such as Richard Beggs, have used timbre in their soundtracks to offer a developing voice to conventional score based film soundtracks. In this thesis, I will also show how these insights have been applied in my own soundtracks.
In the composition portfolio, I have explored how timbre might create semiotic connections with the image, in a similar way to the composers and sound designers this thesis discusses. I have taken 20 minutes from the film Shutter Island and re-written the accompanying music with timbre being the main tool of composition. Therefore other compositional materials have been made use of. Even though these materials - such as harmony, melody and rhythm - are used, they are always dictated by timbre. Timbre always comes first, and for example, the melodies have been shaped by the different timbres that they are sounded by. This has been done, to show what a composer might expect to find musically in their own film compositions, when viewing timbre as a key component in their tool box.

jbagnallfinalthesis.pdf - Accepted Version

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