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Calling experts in reading sheet music & Hans Zimmer fans - what instruments are on this sheet music ??

EQUIPMENT
FL Studio
Metropolis Ark One
Jaeger
Nucleus

Hello all,

Ok, so I am new to all things DAW, reading music and orchestra - six months in on all, and I have already learned a lot.

One of the things I thought would help me learn arrangement was to actually do a complete cover of something I already know (to see how all the instruments fit together etc).

So, I am attempting to do this with the attached, which is Hans Zimmer's "Like a Dog Chasing Cars" from "The Dark Knight". Which I love.

It is going ok, but one of my issues (well, i have a few but one at a time.......oh, so many in fact :) is it only lists generic instruments (i.e. Short Strings IV, Long Strings II, Brass I etc). I am basically making it up as i go along, just picking a string instrument as I program in the next one, and going with sustain for Longs, and Spiccatos for short etc.

So, obvious question to anyone far more knowledgeable than me (which, lets face it, is everyone on this forum, and probably everyone not on it) is.....

What instruments do these relate to ?

Is there some kind of unknown code which states that Strings I will be violin, Strings II a viola etc, or is this literally how this particular piece of sheet music has been put together ? I Guess some of it can be determined by the range, and trying to pick out the instruments in the song and see what sounds most likely (which I am trying).

But any advice greatly received.

Cheers,
Richard
 

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José Herring

Lost in Cyberspace
EQUIPMENT
FL Studio
Metropolis Ark One
Jaeger
Nucleus

Hello all,

Ok, so I am new to all things DAW, reading music and orchestra - six months in on all, and I have already learned a lot.

One of the things I thought would help me learn arrangement was to actually do a complete cover of something I already know (to see how all the instruments fit together etc).

So, I am attempting to do this with the attached, which is Hans Zimmer's "Like a Dog Chasing Cars" from "The Dark Knight". Which I love.

It is going ok, but one of my issues (well, i have a few but one at a time.......oh, so many in fact :) is it only lists generic instruments (i.e. Short Strings IV, Long Strings II, Brass I etc). I am basically making it up as i go along, just picking a string instrument as I program in the next one, and going with sustain for Longs, and Spiccatos for short etc.

So, obvious question to anyone far more knowledgeable than me (which, lets face it, is everyone on this forum, and probably everyone not on it) is.....

What instruments do these relate to ?

Is there some kind of unknown code which states that Strings I will be violin, Strings II a viola etc, or is this literally how this particular piece of sheet music has been put together ? I Guess some of it can be determined by the range, and trying to pick out the instruments in the song and see what sounds most likely (which I am trying).

But any advice greatly received.

Cheers,
Richard
You can guess by the ranges. Only certain strings can play in those registers. Only certain brass can reach that low and not sound like elephant farts.

If I were orchestrating it I'd do this:

Short stings VI: Cello I and Violas
Long STrings I: Cellos II+ Basses at the same pitch
Long Brass I: French Horn +Tbones
Long Brass II: Cimbassos and/or Tuba
Perc I: Could be anything but there's no cleff but there are pitches which is just weird. Probably just lazy copying.
 
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Richard_AH

Member
Thread starter
Thanks José, much appreciated. I hadn't even thought about splitting the instruments like you suggested, I assumed that one instrument (i.e. short strings) referred to just one instrument.

Having said that, I have had to add an instrument here and there simply because the ranges don't go that high (or that low). But it's really interesting what you suggest. Thank you so much.

BTW, do you mean two instances of the same notes - i.e. for Short Strings VI (cello I and Violas) are you suggesting two lots of the same notes, one for cello, and one for violins - or just having cello and violas on that one track, just to reach the high and lower notes of the range (hope that makes sense).

Yeah, no idea on the perc - was just gonna add what i have from Met Ark into those. Its the same with Synth or, worse, "Track V" - lord knows what that is supposed to represent.

but....all good fun learning :)

Thanks again.
 

MauroPantin

I engrave little black dots
It's hard to say exactly without the original, actual engraving that was used for the sessions (which for obvious reasons is not publicly available, at least to my knowledge). This seems to be some hobbyist transcription, done with very vague instrument names, and it works out like a reduction in the end, where a lot of instrument combinations are just piled up in a single line. Simply put, there are things missing in that transcription, IMHO.

Having said that, don't let that stop you. There are clues in the score that you can use to figure this out, as you well guessed. Namely, range and timbre vs the tessitura as it's written in the score (provided it is in the right octave). This is time consuming but it's the only way to do it and you get faster as you learn.

An example: Ostinatos tend to be played with Violas in that range, and to me it seems that maybe Cellos are doing that as well, like Jose said. And unless harmonic resonance is deceiving me, there seems to be a slight layer on top, strings playing at a low velocity layer, sounds like a D on top of the ostinato, chugging along and then following the chords. Here's a comparison, first with that extra note on top (a D one octave above) and then without.


View attachment Dark Knight Ostinato Comparison.mp3


It's very subtle but I think it's there. The second one without that top layer sounds kind of basic to me.

A good way to detect this kinds of things is to slap an EQ on top of the full song and scan it by limiting the frequency range. You put on a low pass filter and/or high pass filter and start to limit to specific ranges for specific instruments and see what you find. There are charts available for the frequency ranges of the entire orchestra, I recommend the Spectrotone chart but there are free options available.

Brass seems to be as Jose detailed as well. Likely huge Horns and Low Brass section. It is my understanding that Ark I has a lot of those.

Percussion is likely Taikos, Surdos, Bombos... the typical "Epic" perc. Any will do, really. The key is to play at low velocities with ample reverb and compression. JunkieXL has a very good tutorial on how to get that type of sound with percussion:




He's using waves plugs but any EQ and compressor will work. BlindfoldEQ is free and great for beginners (it has the right idea in terms of mixing with your ears instead of your eyes).
 

rhizomusicosmos

Active Member
The percussion notation should have a legend that shows what sound is represented by each note. Is that missing? Perhaps it is shown in an introductory page or pdf.

I don't know the provenance of the transcription you are using. If it is simply someone's hobbyist transciption, they probably assume you can work out the instrumentation by ear from the recording.
 
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Richard_AH

Member
Thread starter
It's hard to say exactly without the original, actual engraving that was used for the sessions (which for obvious reasons is not publicly available, at least to my knowledge). This seems to be some hobbyist transcription, done with very vague instrument names, and it works out like a reduction in the end, where a lot of instrument combinations are just piled up in a single line. Simply put, there are things missing in that transcription, IMHO.

Having said that, don't let that stop you. There are clues in the score that you can use to figure this out, as you well guessed. Namely, range and timbre vs the tessitura as it's written in the score (provided it is in the right octave). This is time consuming but it's the only way to do it and you get faster as you learn.

An example: Ostinatos tend to be played with Violas in that range, and to me it seems that maybe Cellos are doing that as well, like Jose said. And unless harmonic resonance is deceiving me, there seems to be a slight layer on top, strings playing at a low velocity layer, sounds like a D on top of the ostinato, chugging along and then following the chords. Here's a comparison, first with that extra note on top (a D one octave above) and then without.


View attachment Dark Knight Ostinato Comparison.mp3


It's very subtle but I think it's there. The second one without that top layer sounds kind of basic to me.

A good way to detect this kinds of things is to slap an EQ on top of the full song and scan it by limiting the frequency range. You put on a low pass filter and/or high pass filter and start to limit to specific ranges for specific instruments and see what you find. There are charts available for the frequency ranges of the entire orchestra, I recommend the Spectrotone chart but there are free options available.

Brass seems to be as Jose detailed as well. Likely huge Horns and Low Brass section. It is my understanding that Ark I has a lot of those.

Percussion is likely Taikos, Surdos, Bombos... the typical "Epic" perc. Any will do, really. The key is to play at low velocities with ample reverb and compression. JunkieXL has a very good tutorial on how to get that type of sound with percussion:




He's using waves plugs but any EQ and compressor will work. BlindfoldEQ is free and great for beginners (it has the right idea in terms of mixing with your ears instead of your eyes).

Hi Mauro,

Thank you so much for all of the above information - this is far more than I could have hoped for, so really, thanks so much for taking the time to write this. It will be invaluable.

Even just knowing that the instrument lines are combined is interesting to read.

Don't worry, it won't stop me - I am loving it to be honest, and very much enjoying the learning. So much to learn, and so much stuff i dont know i dont know :)

You are right, it is time consuming, but listening back once it's in is great, even at its most basic.

So interesting too the info on the string layer - thank you for the example.

I have learnt quite a bit about reading music, and about the DAW - mixing is one part i am still really basic on, so the advice on the EQ is much appreciated. I will try this and play around with it.

Will also watch the video on the percussion, as I am leaving this part till last.

Again, thank you so much for all of this, it's really terrific how much info you have here :)

Cheers,
Richard
 
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Richard_AH

Member
Thread starter
The percussion notation should have a legend that shows what sound is represented by each note. Is that missing? Perhaps it is shown in an introductory page or pdf.

I don't know the provenance of the transcription you are using. If it is simply someone's hobbyist transciption, they probably assume you can work out the instrumentation by ear from the recording.
No pages missing (that i know of anyway - i just lifted it form the net, so it may be that it used to have a title page at one point).

On the DAW, i have imported the original track so i can use as a reference, which has been very useful :) but still.....you have to really listen to try and spot things :)
 

NoamL

Winter <3
At least at the start of the cue, "Low Brass 1" is played by 4 horns, and "Low Brass 2" is played by a tuba + trombone (+cellos), doubled an octave lower by another tuba+tbn (+basses).

The cue has string overdubs I would guess, because the cellos are also participating in the ostinato bit.

What you've got is not the official sheet music from the recording session, just looks like someone's attempt at making a transcription.
 
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rhizomusicosmos

Active Member
No pages missing (that i know of anyway - i just lifted it form the net, so it may be that it used to have a title page at one point).

On the DAW, i have imported the original track so i can use as a reference, which has been very useful :) but still.....you have to really listen to try and spot things :)
I've just had a listen to the track. Percussion II sounds like it might be timpani (thus the notes on the bass clef) but there are a lot of epic surdo/taiko sounds in there, as @MauroPantin has pointed out.
 

snedz2

New Member
At least at the start of the cue, "Low Brass 1" is played by 4 horns, and "Low Brass 2" is played by a tuba + trombone (+cellos), doubled an octave lower by another tuba+tbn (+basses).

The cue has string overdubs I would guess, because the cellos are also participating in the ostinato bit.

What you've got is not the official sheet music from the recording session, just looks like someone's attempt at making a transcription.
I was the Supervising Copyist on the sessions for Dark Knight, it definitely isn’t the score from the session, as NoamL says it looks like a print out from a transcription to me.
 
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Richard_AH

Member
Thread starter
I was the Supervising Copyist on the sessions for Dark Knight, it definitely isn’t the score from the session, as NoamL says it looks like a print out from a transcription to me.
I agree completely - Def a transcript. Pretty good one, but yes, from what I have seen (and also read here), it does leave it open somewhat to interpretation (instrument wise) specially if you are fairly new like myself.
 
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Richard_AH

Member
Thread starter
At least at the start of the cue, "Low Brass 1" is played by 4 horns, and "Low Brass 2" is played by a tuba + trombone (+cellos), doubled an octave lower by another tuba+tbn (+basses).

The cue has string overdubs I would guess, because the cellos are also participating in the ostinato bit.

What you've got is not the official sheet music from the recording session, just looks like someone's attempt at making a transcription.
Thanks NoamL, great info there. I am indebted to all the comments here - so much useful information that I am already noting down and using. I am so unknowledgeable (Well, pretty much) that your info above about the start of the cue is complete news to me - I had just picked a brass instrument (my idea being that I get all the notes down and then change the instruments around later, which is sort of where i am now). So thank you for your valuable info :)
 
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Richard_AH

Member
Thread starter
Sheet music readers ? No, i didnt - dont even know what they are (but i guess the wording gives it away). Do you know where i can find such a wizardly device :)
 
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Richard_AH

Member
Thread starter
Dear all,

Just a follow-up on the above thread - I finally finished my first attempt at reading sheet music, and doing something in the DAW.

Just wanted to thank you all again for all the amazing help and advice.

And.....if you get really bored, take a listen below :



Kindest regards,
Richard
 

roach1245

New Member
It's hard to say exactly without the original, actual engraving that was used for the sessions (which for obvious reasons is not publicly available, at least to my knowledge).

Why are these not publicly available? Very new to this…. To prevent other people / companies from being able to replicate it in detail?
 

MauroPantin

I engrave little black dots
Why are these not publicly available? Very new to this…. To prevent other people / companies from being able to replicate it in detail?
No, no reason other than the legal stuff and cost/benefit analysis. The sheet music is part of the copyright for the music and it (usually) belongs to the studio or whoever paid for the film. It's not available because (again, usually for every sentence I write) it's just not worth turning the cogs of an entire studio to make it available, the market is not big enough to justify it and it's a ton of work. You need to get the original scores for the session and then double check that they are indeed what was played... which is NEVER the case, there are a ton of on-the-spot changes in every film, then formatting, clear every license in every territory... it's just convoluted.

On top of that, the music is not even coherent out of context, because of the programmatic nature of film music. It's not like you get some nice suites out of the effort that some people perform around the world like the JW Signature Series. It doesn't have that secondary market. All of that effort to get a product which is "these arrangements that would probably only be interesting to another film composer", quite literally.

Still, you can find some very popular scores available at niche stores like Omni or Chris Sidall, or books about scores like the one by Doug Adams for the music of Lord of the Rings. But as I understand it, the licensing deals to get those are a pain to obtain because of what I mentioned before. Doug Adams has an entire book about the music for The Hobbit written and ready for publishing. It has been finished for several years now, and the process is just stuck somewhere and not moving forward.
 
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