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The EvO:R-Pedia Musicians Tips Section
Welcome to the EvO:R Tips Section. We call this section EvO:R-Pedia because it is like a complete
reference library for Indie musicians...Just about every tip has been used so you won't find false
promises and a series of books to buy after reading each tip. This section was put here by musicians
so that people that followed can take this knowledge and use it's power.
Music For TV
By Karl Kalbaugh
I don't claim to know all. But this is what's worked for me:
About Karl Kalbaugh
I want to talk about "composing" as a seperate subject. If you want to
be a true composer, got to school. Learn traditional music theory,
instrumentation. Conducting is a big plus. You'll probably have to learn
multiple instruments (we're not talking bass and lead here, folks...).
If some introduces themselves as a "composer" to me, then they're a
minor god in my eyes.
However, there are legions of musicians who also lay claim to the title,
but its not the same thing. Modern synths can do the most fantastic
things! And that's cool! Because that's how the bulk of music for TV is
done. You don't have to be a keys player, a drummer... you just have to
know your synth really well.
To write effective music, you'll have to know your market cold. For
instance, Atlanta is home to Turner broadcasting. Perhaps you can get
into writing show "bumpers" (you know, those little diddies they play
before they break to commercial from the movie of the week). But you
better know what their style is... and you learn THAT by watching tons
of Turner. Detroit is cars; so, car commercials. Washington, DC has the
Discovery Channel networks, National Geographic TV, PBS, and political
If you're looking to record music to picture (i.e. video, usually),
you'll need to get some technical chops, too. You will be REQUIRED to
work with SMPTE Timecode (SMPTE= "Society of Motion picture and
Television Engineers"... you know, Zappa's "Baby Snakes"?). And it a
continuing point of amazement to me that so many composers just don't
get what timecode is all about. There's nothing more frustrating to post
production mixers to get a music package with the score "locked" (in
sync) to timecode and have the cues come in at the wrong length. And
THEN have the stones to ask "what you do to the music?" My point here is
never, NEVER say that to a post mixer... would you yell at a priest or a
nun? Neither a post production mixer. Because this is the person that's
gonna save your ass with the film's producer by editing the music to
correct length. The key here is communication. Not sure if its going to
clock-out right? Talk with the post mixer. He'll be glad to help.
That about wraps what I have to say on writing music for TV. Any
thoughts and questions are most welcome!
"The enormity (of world peace) overtakes the capability of words. What governments
can not articulate, possibly music, the universal language, can. Perhaps in some
small way, the music of Terra Nova can reach beyond boundaries, prejudice, hatred.."
More on Karl Kalbaugh here
Karl is an audio mixer and sound designer currently sub-contracting to
Georgetown Post, Washington, DC. His compositions have been heard on
Discovery Channel programs as well as political ads throughout the US.
Karl also reps the "Free Agent" Music library (music from fellow Evor
members) to his clients