BEHIND THE SCORE: THE LEAD INSTRUMENT
Music composition involves balancing inspiration, experimentation, and refinement. Inspiration can be fleeting, and sometimes all that matters between creating an Oscar-worthy score and a plum is the time it takes to get your idea down. But usually, it takes more than that, requiring you to sit down and really shape those ideas into a full-fledged track. That’s where our latest Kontakt instrument comes in, THE SCORE.
Tilman Sillescu, the man behind the idea, recently took some time to sit down and share his enthusiasm for the product. He explains how THE SCORE can greatly enhance the composition process for modern composers. He gives us an inside look at the vision behind THE SCORE and how it provides composers with quick access to an expansive palette of sounds and arrangements.
How do you feel about how THE SCORE is going so far?
Tilman: It has been a brilliant start; our users are loving THE SCORE and have already given us ideas how to improve the product which led to our Update 1.1. I think we are making a lot of noise with this product, which is really cool.
From the feedback we’re getting, it seems people are finding a lot of use for it. Especially the Stories, which are great for getting started and are inspirational even – and just fun to play with.
That’s exactly what we set out to achieve. You know, it’s not just having playable instruments that’s important. Of course, we deliver this with THE SCORE as well. We offer all the sounds with single instruments. But I think there’s more to the composing process than what’s possible these days, and the way I like composing is when I have an idea, I like to get it to sound really fast. That’s where Stories help, I think.
Is that where the idea for THE SCORE began? With the question of what’s the quickest way to get your idea to sound?
Yes, I think we can sum it up that SONUSCORE’s core idea is to enhance the composition process so that it’s easier and more enjoyable for the composer. Most composers are full of ideas. They get an idea into their head – melodies, chord progressions, patterns, grooves, and this and that. And if they have to start with just one single instrument, playing just one layer at a time, it becomes a very time-consuming process. It’s sometimes nice to program note by note, but it can be exhausting to work like this.
With THE ORCHESTRA COMPLETE series, we found that many composers liked this idea of playing a chord progression that they have in their heads. They can choose a preset and play a chord progression. So then, they’ve got an idea. Does the chord progression work properly? Is it cool? Using TOC3, they don’t have to work 8 hours with single notes and put it all into a full arrangement, but instead can just test the idea and then via MIDI export put it into the DAW and start to polish it. Or they can just polish the stuff inside our engine, which is also possible.
I think that’s the idea that led us to where we are today; the idea of making it easier to put together several kinds of sounds. That was the first idea that led to THE SCORE, putting orchestra, drums and synth sounds together to have the possibility to create a big, huge, massive trailer sound.
How do you envision THE SCORE being used?
It’s really up to you as a composer how you want to work with THE SCORE. It’s all there.
Everything’s possible and you can just be a lazy guy if you really want. Just open one Story, play some chords, use the keyswitches to change the parts of the Story and then have the lead you just generated be the melody. Take the first one and the track is ready.
But this isn’t how we were thinking of using it. If you have no time and must deliver something before a deadline, you can of course use it like this. But normally, I would say the best way is to use the Stories as a starter, as the basis for your idea, to test your ideas, and then later do the polishing. Adjust the Stories or create your own Stories from scratch, and then add single instruments with the LEAD NKI and optimize your track.
It seems like you’ve included everything that Sonuscore has recorded so far, because there are some Origins instruments in there, for instance.
Not really – it is more than 50% new recorded material. We recorded all orchestral stuff new because we wanted to have big orchestral sections rather than single instrument sections.
For the orchestra, we wanted to have different articulations for high and low sections, because smaller, divided sections would take up more slots to build a full arrangement. We didn’t want to focus too much on the orchestral sound, but to paint orchestral colors with a broad brush to get huge arrangements. If you wanted to compose more precisely for orchestra, I think THE ORCHESTRA is then the product that you need, and you of course can combine both.
We recorded almost all the world instruments new, and we recorded all the band instruments new. The new percussion stuff we did in a big session in London with Taiko and huge Grand Cassas and snares as well. We recorded some of the world instruments in a small studio in Tehran and some in Georgia. It’s a lot of stuff that’s new content-wise. We’ve also put some of the ORIGINS instruments in there and a few orchestral sounds like the concert harp and the timpani from THE ORCHESTRA.
And over the following years, we plan to enhance this palette even more and record more new stuff, as THE SCORE has so much potential as a composing tool for everyone.
Why “Stories”? Why did you decide to name them Stories and not just presets?
That’s a good question. We wanted to make clear that we did more than just “presets”. As you know, in ELYSION and THE ORCHESTRA, we have five slots and one arrangement in a preset.
With THE SCORE, we have 10 slots for each Story, and we can regard this as our ensemble. It could be the high string players, the low brass, a drum set, an electric bass, a guitar, two synthesizers – and these are all your musicians. It was first the plan to create just normal preset with THE SCORE, but then we thought it would be a nice idea to have variations like an Intro, Outro, Main A, and Main B part so that you can build up with one Story and don’t have to open too many different instances in your DAW to get variety.
There are a lot of tools that help spark inspiration. Tell us about the melody generator.
With the LEAD instrument and all its sounds, you can put two sounds together and just start to play, for example you play full tremolo strings as lead or horn melodies or couples like piano and celesta together.
The Melody Studio takes it even further. It helps if you’re lacking inspiration or if you need help thinking of what kind of theme you want. Let’s say, you have your chord progression ready and want to find a good melody – then you can use the melody generator in the LEAD instrument to get some ideas. If you don’t like an idea from the generator, you can push the cube button again and again until a cool motif appears. You can go into the editor and edit this melody still in Kontakt or you can export it and work with it and expand the melody. It’s all about enjoying music more than anything, getting strong ideas in a quick and easy and enjoyable way by just jamming around with the sounds. Afterwards you can polish it as you like and use other instruments or even other libraries by just moving the MIDI data over into your DAW.
What about the Chord Studio?
We thought that at times maybe a composer doesn’t have their keyboard at hand – they can just open their laptop and DAW or Kontakt Player and can just play around with the Stories by pushing some chords with the mouse.
That’s why we thought it might be nice to have the possibility to just offer the user a selection of chords to play with, so they can play with the Stories and see what they will do later. And then somehow, we put more and more features into that. So, one feature was to pre-choose a scale, like for example C minor Dorian. And then have suitable chords for that scale available to play with. And then maybe lock the progression and test it with another story. Composing should be more about just having fun, playing around with some ideas for music, and being creative!
GET THE SCORE TODAY
As you can see, whether used for sketching or developing more polished works, THE SCORE is the fastest way to turn your ideas into musical reality. Check out our product page for more.