Could have a better developmental "arc"

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MickLee
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Could have a better developmental "arc"

Post by MickLee » Wed Apr 28, 2021 11:09 am

Any idea what is meant by "arc"? It came up in my listing result: Could have a better developmental "arc"

Thanks

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andygabrys
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Re: Could have a better developmental "arc"

Post by andygabrys » Wed Apr 28, 2021 4:48 pm

ARC = developing form = Dynamics (not just loud and soft but with addition and subtraction of elements / instruments / parts) = Something old plus something new.

By necessity - a lot of TV type cues are simple. But they need to feel like they unfold and its not 2 minutes of the exact same thing.

Form wise it might be an A section that repeats and repeats until you get 1:30 - 2:30 of length and then its buttoned up with a defined ending (not a fade).

Form wise it could also be A, B, A. or maybe A, B, A, B until you get the length you need and then it ends definitively (no fade).

So if you are saying the same thing for 2 minutes, how do you make it sound like the music takes you on a journey, that it develops, that it can support a picture and dialogue that is also developing?

Employ an ARC.

Some examples of an arc (but certainly not a comprehensive list):

Start really minimal > add more layers every time the A section repeats > end

or

Start big > break it down > break it down with different elements > break it down again > totally minimal breakdown > big finish > end

Or some combination of these.

Note that LAYERS are important. This can be a synth pad. A piano part. another percussion layer. another instrument doubling a chord figure or a melody figure. it could be a mix treatment like something starts in the stereo center and as it develops it starts getting wide and occupies the outside of the sound stage providing a wrapping around the melody in the middle.

Developing form usually doesn't mean getting super complex rhythmically, melodically or harmonically. This music in many cases is going to be playing behind dialogue and if the music is too crazy it will compete with the dialogue and if the editor is really hell bent on using this complex music it will be pulled down in volume to that you can barely hear it. Or they will just go on to the next piece.

developing form in todays music usually doesn't allow meter changes, key changes, or tempo changes. There's a lot of reasons why.

In most cases haphazardly produced or crazy or really exploratory music won't make it into a publishers catalog.


Listening to existing big label production music library music (google is your friend) and analyzing it for form, instrumentation, mix, mastering will help clue you into music that works under a TV or film picture.

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Re: Could have a better developmental "arc"

Post by MickLee » Thu Apr 29, 2021 9:25 am

Massive thanks for that Andy, it will really help. I think the mistake I've been making with instrumental hip hop tracks is that I've stuck too closely to the reference examples. On most of those, the music behind the rap really doesn't change much from beginning to end. Obviously they need to let the rap do the talking (!) so they keep it simple. I've been holding back on adding extra parts because of this, when I would naturally want to make it more interesting by doing what you've explained above. So that's good to know.

Thanks again
Mick

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Re: Could have a better developmental "arc"

Post by andygabrys » Thu Apr 29, 2021 10:35 am

One note:

Some music is pretty minimal.

It helps to be able to find some big name production music libraries to reference against. Google is your friend here.

Checking out tv shows that have certain types of music can help as often you will be hearing production type music without vocals. Drawback is that the music is very quiet under the dialogue. Love and hip hop (or one of its spin-offs) or maybe KUWTK for hip hop tension. Lots of examples on YouTube for shows that don’t run anymore.

Another good reference is the TAXI forwards page on the taxi blog. It lists the tracks that were actually forwarded for each listing and some of the tracks have links to the members tracks.

Good luck.

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Re: Could have a better developmental "arc"

Post by MickLee » Tue Oct 05, 2021 10:36 am

Sorry for the delayed reply Andy, life & Covid got in the way.

Just wanted to say thanks for the great advice.

All the best
Mick

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