Cover of The Rocketeer theme

Cinematic Action/Adventure Film Score

Creative Vision for the Track:
I wanted to recreate, as close as I could, the sound of the main theme from The Rocketeer by James Horner. My challenges were to pick out each part by ear, to arrange the opening theme and a couple sections of the ending theme, and to learn how to best use Spitfire’s BBC Core. Basically, I wanted to listen to this and get goosebumps in all the same places that I do listening to the original.

Composition Details (Tempo, Key, Main Chords etc):
Tempo is mainly around 100, though it floats around quite a bit.
Key: Many, MANY key changes, but the most common ones are D and E major.
Chords: Pretty standard I, IV, & V, and sometimes iii.

Main Instruments used:
Intro starts with a piano and an atmospheric pad. I used a mix of synths to get the pad. For the piano I used the Yamaha Grand from Logic Pro.

Then the rest of the orchestra comes in: violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, piccolo, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, trumpet, french horn, trombones, tuba, harp, glockenspiel, chimes, snare, bass drum, cymbals, and timpani. All of these came from Spitfire’s BBC Symphony Core.

I’m really happy with how all the articulations sounded. But there were a couple areas that were a struggle. First are the trumpets. The BBC trumpets sound great most of the time with a very regal sound. But there were times in this piece where I needed a more brash sound, more like you’d find in a Western film score. I got as close as I could, and next time I’d probably look for a different library to accomplish that particular trumpet sound, but I wanted to limit myself to just BBCSO for the orchestral instruments. The second struggle was doing a convincing forte-piano followed by a crescendo back to forte. I mostly did this with the sforzando articulation and then a mod-wheel swell on either the legato or long articulation, but I usually had to also put a volume ramp in to get the crescendo high enough.


Hey Mike, really looking forward to listening to this. One of my favourite film pieces. Will let you know what I think when I get around to listening.

Hi Mike. Great cover. Sounded pretty convincing to me. My personal taste would have been to brighten up the over mix, but it did have a nice film score sound to it. As far as the trumpets, I know what you mean by a more brash sound. I’m currently writing a suite in the style of the old Hollywood composers and I wanted some forte-pino swells as well as a big brass fanfare to open up the “main title” piece. I quite often use Dorico Pro with Noteperformer and I got quite close to the sound I wanted. My personal favorite sample brass library is probably Cinematic Studios Brass. It has a classic sound, but quite bright and bold.

Here’s a very short demo I did with Cinematic Strings and brass.

Great job. Really loved it!

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Had a listen last night but I was too tired to reply as I’d had a hard day :crazy_face:

I really liked the cover as it held very true to the original. I think you did a good job of the musicality of this as you were pretty much there in terms of your realism.

I would say the dynamic range does seem a little stunted… and I would say it’s mainly because your starting your modulation and expression too high to start with. But this is only a small thing. I wasn’t a fan of the brass samples, as they sounded quite midi. I try ink this is down to possibly using the wrong articulation for the shorts. It sounds like your just keeping to one type of short instead of becoming more detailed with your key switching.

Overall though this is great. Well done :smiley: I wasn’t disappointed at all, keep up the awesome work!

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Thanks Matt and Geoffrey for the great feedback. Always looking to learn more.

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