Looking for feedback on original compositions for a Film Noir Musical.

  • Bustthewave

    Posts: 98

    Jun 16, 2011 8:47 PM GMT
    Hey guys, I hope this isn't weird posting this here, I just really need some feedback for some music I'm working on for a short film project. It's a film noir musical, a friend of mine wanted me to compose the music. The goal is to get everything wrapped up by august to send it off to a film festival.

    It's your typical private eye noir story, but the characters are actually written 3 dimensionally. Having never worked on a project like this, I'm excited but worried that my stuff sounds amateur. The feedback I'm looking for is - to you guys, does this do a good job of setting a mood/tone/feel, and does it sound like the kind of quality you would expect from a film?

    So the introduction will have your typical private eye narration that sets the scene and mood. This would be the intro song that I composed for that -

    http://soundcloud.com/bustthenotes/piano-opening-2

    This second song is to be played when the leading fem fatal character is introduced. She will be introduced at first as a shadowy figure before being shown in the light. The mood of the piece is supposed to begin by building suspense, and devolve into something more mysterious. The second half is where our private eye character begins singing the first song, titled, "I Don't Do Murder."

    http://soundcloud.com/bustthenotes/i-dont-do-murder-full

    Thanks everyone, hope this is the right place to post this.
  • rytheguy

    Posts: 42

    Jun 17, 2011 1:56 AM GMT
    The idea of doing noir as a musical is really intriguing. I was a theatre major in college, still direct and design a bit.

    The first song is a really perfect to set the mood for a noir piece. will the narration be sung or spoken over it? Do you have lyrics yet or did you compose and are writing lyrics later?
  • Bustthewave

    Posts: 98

    Jun 17, 2011 4:54 AM GMT
    rytheguy saidThe idea of doing noir as a musical is really intriguing. I was a theatre major in college, still direct and design a bit.

    The first song is a really perfect to set the mood for a noir piece. will the narration be sung or spoken over it? Do you have lyrics yet or did you compose and are writing lyrics later?


    Hey thanks a lot icon_smile.gif.

    The narration will be spoken at the opening. The singing will start immediately after that. The scene begins with the narration, and some establishing shots, ending with the private eye sitting feet up on his desk in his office, fedora over his eyes, with a loosened tie.

    The fem fatal character's shadow is cast over a window (the anxious music), fallowed by her opening the door and being revealed as the manipulative, smart, seductive girl.

    The lines are an argument back and forth. He doesn't do murder cases, but she has the case of a lifetime. "I don't do murder," he continues to declare. Finally he gives up and takes the case, which inevitably leads to his redemption from the mess that was his last murder case several years ago that got his partner killed (as the two cases are directly linked). But being a noir, the detective cannot make it out alive. So the moment he finds his redemption, he is also shot in the back by the fem fatal, who then sing talks something to the effect of, "All bets are off, you shouldn't have done murder."

    So we don't really have the lyrics written, my friend is writing them as I'm composing the music in tandem. But we do have an over arching story, and some specific scenes.
  • Bustthewave

    Posts: 98

    Jun 17, 2011 4:56 AM GMT
    jprichva saidMelody and harmonies excellent. The arrangement might be a little more spare---noirs don't suggest lushness, and in some of the middle measures there's an almost romantic feel. The more pared-down it feels, the more menacing it will come across.

    But really, even if you don't take that advice, it's really a fine bit of writing. I have done a lot of composing myself, and I'd be proud to have written this.


    Wow thanks a lot for that!

    So I was actually kind of thinking the same thing. When me and my friend started working on this, I stuck strictly to the piano, it wasn't until yesterday that I started layering sounds and such together.

    I was definitely feeling like something was getting lost, and I think you nailed it on the head.

    Either way this is all high praise and it's boosting my confidence. I've never played blues, or really watched a film noir, so all last week I was learning blues pieces and chord progressions and watching old noir films (thanks netflix) to piece what I have together. I feel like I'm heading in the right direction icon_smile.gif.
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    Jun 17, 2011 5:04 AM GMT
    Personally I never really like giving criticisms on music as my taste is so different from everyone else I know.. but I think the music is cool, only that in the first one the "blue" note bits sometimes threw me off of the mood of the rest of the song, which to me didnt sound bluesy... If you wanted more blues effect, I would integrate them better, they seem to kind of just "hang" around as if sampled from somwhere else and unintentionally winding up in this piece..... Or just take the blues out and stay true to the rest of the mood of the song, which is very captivating as it is and doesnt really require those bluesy bits... just my opinion
  • Bustthewave

    Posts: 98

    Jun 17, 2011 5:12 AM GMT
    Greenhopper saidPersonally I never really like giving criticisms on music as my taste is so different from everyone else I know.. but I think the music is cool, only that in the first one the "blue" note bits sometimes threw me off of the mood of the rest of the song, which to me didnt sound bluesy... If you wanted more blues effect, I would integrate them better, they seem to kind of just "hang" around as if sampled from somwhere else and unintentionally winding up in this piece..... Or just take the blues out and stay true to the rest of the mood of the song, which is very captivating as it is and doesnt really require those bluesy bits... just my opinion


    This is probably spot on criticism based purely on my lack of blues experience and what I did to prep for being able to compose anything blues related.

    But so I can get some clarification - which "blues" notes are you specifically talking about?

    I know I did a short blues run near the end of the piece, but beyond that, besides some simple blues chording, I'm not sure I'm hearing blues notes hanging. I do hear what you are talking about with that one bit at the end though.

    I just know I've listened and played this piece a thousand times so it's hard for me to listen to it differently now.

    Thanks a ton for the feedback icon_smile.gif.