Action Contest - some haunting cue

hello fellow composers,

such an honour to be part of this fabulous community. I didn’t get the cue for the Jurassic Parc - Contest to a solution…
But im proud to enter with my action cue.

its more likely a programmatic approach rather than a theoretical breakdown:
A scene in a nice ancient living room of a lonely mansion. Then a haunting surprise happens, but good luck our inhabitant is not that afraid and brave…

On the musical side its pure orchestral writing. What me (as an orchestral cello player) would make great fun to play. Tempo- and keychanges, great effects and dramatic and melodic elements.
watch out wether it is a happy ending…

a solo mandoline represents the peaceful living room.
A poor choir has to enter for one short part…good luck we have samples!

Enjoy and im really looking forward hearing ur feedback and listening to the other entries.




Really liked your piece, it was very musical and you had some good ideas.

I didn’t get the action feel though, this as much more in a “thriller/Suspense” style. I’d even go as far to say that this was more suited as underscore music.

Perhaps you might want to go away and do a little research on action cues and how they are structured.

Here are some guidelines for you to follow and practice :slight_smile:

Faster ostinato strings to give movement,
Pulsing percussion or drums, sparse Harmony That doesn’t point too much towards major or minor id generally where the market is now, lots of bends and hybrid elements are always welcome.

Here are some examples. :slight_smile:

Logan - this is very underscore approach but uses pulses and bends to create tension. It’s very dissonant but the harmony is stagnant around the dissonant moving parts.

Endgame - a Golden age approach to an action cue. Alan Silvestri utilises a melody in Tutti along with pulsating percussion. The melody is also pushed forward by intermittent spiccato and staccato phrases which add interest and transition sections seamlessly. This is very similar to what John Williams would do.

Pirates of the Caribbean - this is a more grand theme. Originally taken from the opening battle scene in Gladiator and adapted for this saga. The melody is still there but it’s really the percussion and staccato strings that bring this cue to life. Unlike the others, this cue is mainly in 6/8 so it bounces along.

Aqua man trailer piece - this is a bit more unconventional, but all trailer pieces are very action orientated for the most part, especially this one which o think is possibly the greatest trailer piece of all time (to date). It would be really good to study this piece as it has all the elements I’ve listed above.

Most of the pieces above only utilise some of the techniques that I’ve pointed out, and they all underscore when at all possible. This contest will probably need to be overscored as there’s no visuals but everything you can learn from these scores is really useful.

I hope this helps for your future pieces.


Hi Jan,
Good work. I like the contrast of your piece between sections. The flaw of the action gets better every moment.



Hi Geoffrey,
first of all Thank you very much for your detailed Feedback. I highly appreciate that!!!
I apologise for answering that late. I had some issues with real life job!
I will dive into your tipps and will try to improve my skills. But not for this one - i like it :smile:

I’d love to do more action stuff, trying to get that actionfeeling.

Best wishes JAN

Hi Jorge,
thank you very much for your kind feedback. I really appreciate that!!

Im looking forward to hearing the other entries!

Best wishes


Hey Jan, it’s my pleasure. You should like the piece it’s a great piece :smiley: my feedback is just based on the contest brief. I hope everything is ok with your job and I’m very excited to hear your future work!

Hi Geoffrey! Thanks for the information and inspiration! Nice work, Jan!

shhhhhhhhhhhht @Geoffers
you reveal all my ideas :smiley:


:rofl: now I’m very excited to hear yours :wink:


me too, geoff, me too :smiley:

1 Like

It’s medium-octane action, but damn good.

My pleasure. Please listen to mine (Impossible Scape) I would like to hear what you think.

“medium-octane” i do love that. Thank you!!!

Sure, i will listen to all entries… I wont forget about that, but im afk for a few days!

This is a big piece to my ears, the instruments are used convincingly, and the suspense genre is represented authentically, I like it. the central fall and rise has a couple of Bond moments for me.

I think that i don’t get it. Lots of cinematic effects but not a real moving-action emotion. Many fireworks but without a direction and cohesion. It could work If the taget was a feeling of nonsense mess. Peace :v: It’s is just my true feeling.