Have a distinctive sound

Hi guys, I read a lot of articles about this topic, but I would like to know your opinion.

All we know that in this area a distinctive sound is necessary to be recognizable, but:

  • How do you archive it?

  • Do you think it’s useful?

  • How can you be distinctive like Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Danny Elfman etc etc.

  • How do you do when you have your sound and the director ask to you "I would like a Hans Zimmer style for this cue"

I think the two main ways to distinguish your music from others is either through the sounds you use or through your writing style.

Being different is only half of the equation though, your music can be unique and also largely unlikable. Its usually about finding a balance, offering the listener some familiarity to ground them but then adding something new to excite them.

Also a lot of projects aren’t looking for unique, they want to sound like something that already exists, especially if the project needs to have mass appeal.

Composers like Hans Zimmer stay ahead of the curve by re-inventing themselves, so their signature sound is ever evolving from film to film.


I read something that totally changed my outlook on “innovation” once, and thats:

“imitate, assimilate, innovate”

So, we all start at imitation : that’s imitating those that we admire, or those that we aspire to be like.

We then move to assimilation : combining or blending ideas from various people we’ve imitated resulting in a unique sound or style. Most / many people never move beyond this stage. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Finally, innovation : where we actually progress into something brand new, totally innovative. The ultimate goal of all creatives.

So, I guess what I learned from that is that by simply learning and focusing on always trying to learn from those we admire, we naturally move from imitation to assimilation, and then the jump to innovation also comes naturally. It doesn’t need to be forced or focused on (not that that’s what you’re implying we do!).

Just keep learning :slight_smile: