Beyond - Hybrid Orchestral Track!

Hey everyone,

I thought id upload a track today instead of the second part of the Golden age walkthrough. mainly because it’s going to take a lot longer to make those videos and theres no pressure to upload them in order.

Here we have an authentic piece of trailer music for you though. its one that i haven’t sent to any publishers, and i wrote it specifically to upload so that you could see and hear the amount of detail that goes into these types of tracks. i could have honestly added another 50+ tracks to this but i got it to this pint which is very syncable.

Instead of telling you exactly what went into this particular piece ill give you a detailed breakdown of what YOU NEED to include in your track if you’r wanting to create syncable trailer music like this… as ill be doing a breakdown of this track in the future, so this upload is simply preparation for what is to come… as i’ve realised that if i’m able to upload the track before i upload the “how to” videos then you’ll have a better idea of where i’m going, and not only how i got there. :slight_smile:

So heres a breakdown of the elements and structure youll need to follow.

The track should be in 3 distinct sections.

  1. Intro
  2. Exposition
  3. Climax
  4. You might want to add a braam section but thats optional as the industry is moving away from this. section is a stinger. this is a huge riser that is the pinnacle of the track. think of it as a Codetta.

Each section should be bigger than the last. I try to make the intro start between -16 and -14db and get bigger from this in each section. remember that you’ll have to do this by doubling parts a LOT and theres an awful lot of cutting frequencies you don’t need out so that your only using the stuff you need.

Instrument sections you need.
*Strings, Horns and Percussion are your main orchestral elements. 30% of the track
*Hybrid elements (include synths, warped audio, risers and misc percussion) 30% of the track
*Hits and rhythmic heavy percussion 30% of the track
*signature sound (this is any sound that returns and brings the most interest to the piece) 10% of track

Minor Keys are best for this specific style but theres a few great tracks that use Major keys with a hint towards minor keys.

atonal elements are good if you can get them to mix with the tonality… or you can keep it atonal so long as it works.

triplet rhythms work really well for the percussion hits. keep to emphasising the main hits (usually 1 and 3) 4/4 is most used but feel free to mix it up and see what works.

leaving gaps between your sections will make your track more appealing to publishers.

ok guys i really hope that this helps some of you that want to give this style a try. ill say that if you do want to give it a go, just know it will take a long time to get good at it… but what you learn will stay with you for the rest of your composing career. there are so many transferable skills in this genre.


Nice and useful breakdown Geoff. I’m not so good at this style, so anything to help.

1 Like

Hey Matt, this is possibly the hardest type to compose. I wouldn’t feel bad about being bad at it. Like I said, I could of done so much more on this. This is probably a mid range track pitched between epic drama and dark Epic adventure. If I were to add another 50+ tracks to this and really refine those tracks to beef it up even more id be able to pitch this to the bigger companies but to be honest that’s not what I was going for at all.

If your just starting off in this genre i would say it’s better to learn how to make the elements first… braams, risers, booms and your own custom hits. There are tonnes of YouTube videos on those elements. As soon as you have around 5 of each, start to make the 4th section. Make it as big as you possibly can and then work backwards. Remember it’s supposed to develop and not sound the same all the way through too :slight_smile: a lot of people think because trailers have a specific style, they don’t develop except for the layers… that’s just not true. In fact it’s hard to get them to develop enough with working in just one key so be as creative as you can!

This style is ALL about your creativity in sound design :slight_smile:

1 Like

I’ve also realised that I’ve uploaded the audio file from version 3 and it needed to be version 4… so the hits at the start are slightly loud :sob: I’ll have to re upload in the morning. Not a big issue but annoying haha.

I did the Evanent trailer course when I first got back into orchestral composition, but I’m so classically minded, I have trouble thinking in the “trailer” way. I write an ostinato, it always ends up as some counrtpoint :sweat_smile: I make them too complicated.

1 Like

I’m very classically minded too. There’s tonnes of counterpoint in trailer music. It’s still a very classical style harmonically. The difference is sonic variation and a rising and growing development :slight_smile: there’s also an emphasis on its structure which isn’t that fluid.

Also, you don’t have to stick with ostinatos In trailer stuff. Try looking up Slow burn trailer tracks. The Logan piece of trailer music from siix audio is a really great example of this!

1 Like

ive updated the video, sorry that it took a little while :slight_smile:

Had a second listen to try and catch more bits. Yeah, still no good at this style. Actually, I’m back to not being good at any style :expressionless: I keep starting out good, but then it all just becomes my own thing-not trailer music, or whatever style I’m actually going for.

I can’t get that nice slow moving harmonic rhythm underneath the ostinato part, or get a good ostinato for that matter. What I mean by being too classically minded is my compositional style is too 19th century, and adding the sound design elements is very confusing; where to add, what to add, etc. and my harmonies just don’t seem to ever fit the bill. I tried the overused vi-IV-I-V, but in the end it sounded like some fantasy thing from Legend of Zelda :laughing:

1 Like

Haha, from what I’ve heard your great man. If it’s just style that you struggle with then that’ll come as you do more and more compositions in that style. Study as many pieces as you can and make notes on what they are doing harmonically, structurally and thematically.

You’ll find there’s lots of doubling… to get that “modern” sound just simplify your chord changes. Do a chord change every bar of two at dis and spreads your melody out over that. Think more pop in terms of phrasing and start with your melodies following the chord structure… in fact trailer music barely has any melodic content. You’ll hear that I only hint at a melody every so often… the harmony is homophonic in part and that suggests a melody but really, it’s just a load of notes that are phrased in such a way that each voice leads to the next note, creating more of a musicality to it. I could add a melody over this and it would sit well because I’ve created a backing track… which is essentially all a trailer piece is. There shouldn’t be anything that gets on the way of the dialogue:)

1 Like

Ahh, maybe that’s part of my problem–I always want to add some actual melody. I use chord inversions all the time for better voice leading, but I never think to make it “melodic” unless I’m specifically doing traditional counterpoint lines. Also, I always hear what to me seems to be a constant ostinato with harmony changing underneath. Don’t you change the ostinato to match the chord?

I remember vaguely my tutor saying something like the ear doesn’t really catch any dissonance or whatever with ostinstos, because once the pattern has been established, your ear puts it into the background since it’s just repetitive. I dunno. The little textures/runs/colors are my Achilles heel

1 Like

The ostinato doesn’t stay the same, it develops and you add harmony beneath it and increase the range of the ostinato section as the piece goes on. Take a listen to the piece above again and notice that there’s subtle variation that occurs in my ostinato writing. I also include more rising passages at the end of phrases as the piece goes on, and finally make sure that my ostinato is adding flavour to the piece!

1 Like

Oh wow you are on fire lately with amazing educational content for your YouTube channel. Can I re-post this on my blog as well? :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you Mikael!

Yes of course you can :slight_smile: thank you so much!

1 Like

Wow this is just amazing!

1 Like

Thanks Geoff, published now (minor tweaks).

1 Like

Thank you Alexis! :grin: that’s really encouraging!

I’ve put it up on my social media, thank you Mikael!

1 Like

A very good demontration to write a trailer.
The intro is a great hit - awesome.
I can hear there comes more.
Very nice done. I like it.
thanks for that.

1 Like

Thank you so much! I’m so glad people are finding this helpful!

OK, I caught the variations in the ostinato, but I think now I realize why I terrible at this style, why I have difficult time analyzing them; once you start adding the different layers with the harmony parts, I can’t tell what’s going on. Which parts are orchestral and which are the synths. They are blended really well and my ear anyway, can’t determine which is which.

I like how you’ve made this your own. I went and listened to some of my trailer music albums and found that the structure and harmony is quite that same from piece to piece, but yours, while still following the established structure did have more originality to it; like you said, a signature sound.

1 Like