Create music for a film by improvisation. Suitable for individual students or groups.
Goal and output
Understanding the relationship between music and a moving image.
Introduction to the role of music as a narrative tool in a film.
Using a film as a source of inspiration and ideas in writing music.
A live soundtrack for a film clip. This can also be recorded and edited into the film clip.
As an introduction, show an extract from a suitable film with the original soundtrack muted. Roll the clip 2 to 4 times, each time playing a recording of different music to go with it.
Have the students observe how the different music changes the mood, meanings, rhythm and tempo of the film clip and which visual elements are emphasised by the music.
Select a film clip to use for the assignment. It may be the same one as above or another one selected by you or by the students.
• Show the selected film clip to the students (several times if necessary) with the original soundtrack muted. The students should make notes on the events in the clip, the mood, the rhythm and the emotions and associations prompted by the film clip.
• Have the students improvise music to go with the film clip on instruments of their choice or using their voices (spoken and sung text can also be used), either individually or in small groups. The aim is to use improvisation to establish a soundtrack for the film clip.
• The ideas that come up in the improvisation can be written down, e.g. in graphic notation, as necessary.
• Once the film soundtrack is completed, the student or working group is to perform it for the teacher and for any other students not involved in their work, synchronised to the film clip.
• The musical performance may be recorded if desired and edited into the film clip.
Topics in the assignment
Detailed description of tools
Each working group creating music should have equipment on which they can repeatedly view the film clip while creating the music.
Unconventional instruments are very welcome in addition to traditional instruments and voices.
Assignment suitable for further study