Composing Music for Film [Jack Smalley] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Film composer Smalley offers discussion and examples for the. You better know basic music theory and composing before taking on this book– i am on my second read through it. Dense with techniques and Jack Smalley’s. Title, Composing Music for Film. Author, Jack Smalley. Edition, 3, illustrated. Publisher, Independent Publisher, ISBN,

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Log in or Sign up. Jack Smalley’s Composing for Film from my perspective. First, where is Batz to edit my writing when I need him!

I have now had Jack Smalley’s book for a bit under 2 weeks and have been through the book. I could use to go over a few sections a bit more to get stronger footing but I feel I have a fairly good grasp of the the text.

Note- Yes it is a composing book but it also deals with other areas of the creative process of film composing. Like many books which come from teachers with experience, this book is a collection of lessons.

There are really no planned assignments though. Much if not all that is in here has been in other books, cokposing maybe with not with such brevity and clarity, and probably focus toward film.

The book is really a tool chest of how to deal with the music in scoring. If there musuc theory involved, Jack touches on it not because he wishes to teach you classical methods, but as tools specific to scoring for muxic. Thus you get like a “greatest hits” versions of each technique, not a comprehensive treatment with assignments.

He encourges you to take the techniques further on your own. It also means that what sometimes seems like a complicated subject, such as polytonality, serialism etc, are actually eased down so a novice can grasp most of the concepts.

While books like “On the Track” are far more thorough on things like budget considerations and dealing with directors etc, “Composing for film” is more about the mechanics and tools of scoring to picture. The book comes from a different place in that it suggests 3 basic themes as examples compoxing the whole book and proceeds to show you how to exploit them. The musical examples are basically simple to get the point across, and most people will not be intimidated by them.


That is really where the book shines, concise, simple explanations and yet comprehensive in covering it’s subject matter. For the relative beginner it will introduce many techniques in a non threatening xomposing. For the intermediate it will fill in some blanks and show a different way of approaching problems you may already have solutions for.

For the advanced composer it is a concise place to have ideas organized. It also may show a different angle of techniques you are already familiar with. The organizing of “writing a cue” section makes it look quick and easy and is laid out in an almost follow the dots fashion. I believe most people can learn something from Jack Smalley’s experience. One note to all, though he is known to be a great orchestrator this book contains very little about the subject.

There are no real scores to speak of either. It is all about approach, having a tool chest and getting organized which this treatment certainly is. I will not make a comment comlosing the price page ratio issue. I am judging the book on it’s own merit, price excluded. Craig SharmatDec 29, Thanks for the review, Craig! Does this book cover basics like that?

Mike GreeneDec 29, Kaan Guner likes this.

Smalley’s “Composing for Film”-Short Review

Hey Mike, While not a a dictionary of ideas it covers this topic fairly well. Jack believes that there are basically 7 emotions to be covered in scoring. He shows some ways to get there. He explains also how he goes about choosing emotional material being a love theme or a villian theme etc.

The scale you refer to is a mjor scale with a raised 4th or lydian mode btw. Thanks Craig and rJames for the reviews. The impression I get is that this book is cheap at twice the price.

Ifor one, can’t put a price on this kind of invaluable information. Smalley can stop in and say hi sometime. Thanks for this review. Was just about to consider buying this book and this helps a lot! JaapDec 30, AshermusicDec 31, Personally I see nothing wrong with attaching emotional labels to techniques – as long as they’re seen as what they are: I just bought Smalley’s book based on Craig’s recommendation.


I think continual study of the craft of writing is essential which is why I’m eventually going to be dusting off the books again and restarting my EIS lessons next year as well when time permits. I’ve started writing professionally in so subsequently have been getting a lot of helpful ideas and advice from Craig and others regarding harmony and instrumentation. I’m also leaning upon Principles of Orchestration and end up listening to countless scores to get ideas as to why things work they way they work.

Having the vocabulary to recreate and expand upon approaches is a key help so I’m looking forward to checking out Jack Smalley’s new book as a further leg up to help out when mired in crunch time.

Composing Music for Film

Frederick RussDec 31, Mike, that would be Lydian – the fourth of the seven Greek modes, i. Nick BatzdorfDec 31, Oh, Craig already splaned. Well, I can confirm that he’s right. AshermusicJan 1, Jay, if I may gratuitiously add to your list Extrapolate some “things that work”, not for paint-by-numbers, but as a crystal-starting seed, especially when deadlines loom and inspiration is on its coffee break. Indeed Jack Smalley’s book discusses several ‘geometric shapes’ to craft melody lines appropriate to given moods.

Which I think was the point of Mike’s list. Not to be content with a “bag o’ tricks”, but to have in one’s musical arsenal some useful generalizations about musical form. And none of this is intended to argue with Jay: ComposerDudeJan 1, Thank you Jay – I certainly appreciate your voice of experience.

Composing Music For Film – Jack Smalley – About the Book

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