December 04, 2017

The Emotionality Of Film Music

How Great Compositions Move Us

We’ve all experienced that moment when we’re engrossed in a film and as the final scene concludes and the music soars, we find ourselves wiping tears from our eyes.  Think about the final scene of “E.T.” or the opening scene from the terrific animated movie, “Up,” the multiple heart-wrenching scenes in “Schindler’s List” or the emotional conclusion in “Saving Private Ryan.”  While these films would probably still bring a tear without music, the (mostly) John Williams scores heighten the experience and add a dimension of sentimentality that goes right to our hearts.

As mentioned many times, we at CSS Music are fanatical film fans and love the satisfaction when a great movie moves us. But what is the secret to making emotional music versus a track that simply supports a scene? Much of the formula lies in composing a simple, memorable thematic that captures the vibe the director is attempting to communicate and then timing it with the photography and dialog.

CSS Music is blessed to have film scoring guru David Wurst who excels at writing this style of music and orchestrating it masterfully. If you listen to a track like “Heroes Never Die” (Super Themes Vl. 77) you’ll hear an inspiring building theme that crescendos to a huge major chord. Or from that same Super Themes volume, there’s “Dramatica” featuring a large choral ensemble and a melody that modulates upwards to a spine tingling conclusion. If you wanted to communicate the tension of an impending heroic—and most likely dangerous task, “Give Me Strength” (Super Themes Vl. 80) offers aural excitement with a touch of foreboding.

Even if your show doesn’t typically use this type of music, you may find that it may provide ear candy and possibly “move” (pun intended) a scene into an entirely new direction. Even if you utilize melodramatic music in a tongue-in-cheek fashion, we believe the emotional music found in the CSS Music library will always deliver. Audition a few tracks by clicking on “Film (Dramatic Themes)” from our Hand Picked Genre/Category Hot List and experience the emotionality of this fantastic music.

November 28, 2017

Creating CSS Royalty Free Music Is Like Driving A Fast Car
Keeping Your Wits At Every Turn

If you’ve ever driven a high performance sport car, you know the adrenaline rush experience is like nothing else. The need to be totally in tune with your surroundings, becoming one with the automobile’s response and handling, anticipating what’s around the next curve and being aware of other vehicles heightens all your senses.

What does that have to do with writing music? Quite a bit when you think about it. Consider this: both driving a fast car and creating a piece of music require attention to every detail, anticipating where the music should go, making sure every move is executed with precision and of course, operating a complex, powerful machine. Whether this “machine” is a live orchestra on a scoring stage, or is more the norm these days, a sophisticated computer system generating MIDI music, the “conducting” is as crucial as keeping a tight reign on a steering wheel. If one mistake is made, whether it’s an unexpected pothole in the road that veers your vehicle into a dangerous situation or missing the exact tempo of a crucial chase scene in a motion picture, both situations can result in a catastrophic conclusion.

At CSS Music we’re always striving to make every composition the equivalent of taking an Alfa Romeo 4C Spider down the Pacific Coast Highway at an optimal high speed—and of course we’ll want the top down, the sun shining and a balmy 70° temperature. J In other words, our goal is to give you guys/gals music that has been created with the composer’s greatest concentration, their attention to every measure of music and their ability to become one with the composition.

The next time you audition a track from the CSS Music library, contemplate the effort and close attention paid to the music. Or better yet, listen to a track like “Chase and Race” (Target Trax 67) and picture yourself in a high-speed race through the winding hills of the North Cascades Scenic Loop in Washington State. You’ll hopefully appreciate our analogy more completely.

November 20, 2017

What Is Period Music?

How Specific Do You We Need To Get?

Can you envision a time when we look fondly back on the early 2010s and sigh as we listen to an ear piercing Dubstep track? Or perhaps the question should be, what style of music would best define this era? As we progress and diverge as a society with music becoming as equally diverse by preference, the media we choose to consume and lifestyle choices, is there a unifying song—or musical style—that will define all of us moving forward?

We at CSS Music keep abreast of the traditional/standard eras that comprise the genre known as Period Music. For example, a track like Vivaldi’s “Spring From The Four Seasons” (Digital Ditties 3) immediately transports us to a European garden party in the early 1700s. Or a cut such as “Blues Around The Clock” (Super Themes 29) takes us to the early 1950’s and the beginnings of Rock ‘n Roll. Or a song like “More Cowbell” (Target Trax 63) will send you back to an early 1970s outdoor rock concert.

But as we look at our new century, what songs/music genres will immediately evoke a sense of say, the year 2004? At CSS Music, our immediate choice would be the infectious “Hey Ya!” from Outkast. But surprisingly, Usher’s “Yeah!” topped the Billboard® charts that year. While “Hey Ya!” played on nearly every radio format save Country, if you only listen to Adult Contemporary radio, you may have never heard “Yeah!”

Perhaps your job these days as a Music Supervisor or Editor is to drill down into the statistics of your audience. If you’re producing an outdoor show and want to reference 2004, maybe a music track that evokes the feel of Big & Rich’s “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)” would resonate more with your viewers since it was a big Country hit.

What was once defined as Period Music may now be parsed into sub genres so specific that even a music style as broad based as Pop may yield three or four different results, depending on a very narrow breakdown of demographics. Or we can hope for a song like “I’m So Happy” that crossed over to nearly every radio format a few years ago. Without that, be prepared to really put on your thinking cap when trying to capture nostalgia in the future!

November 13, 2017

K.I.S.S. with Royalty Free Music

Why Simple Music Often Works Best

Everyone is familiar with the Keep It Simple, Stupid acronym. And oftentimes, this is the exact motto we at CSS Music adhere to when creating a new music track. While the composer may want to show off his/her years of experience with a complex composition, there’s an art to making music that is very simple, lightly orchestrated and will work beautifully with a scene weighed down with dialog, B roll sound effects or lots of edits.

To best illustrate this, we’ll look at a few CSS Music tracks that embrace the K.I.S.S. principal. For example, “Red Rhino” (Super Themes 74) consists of a techno-electro groove comprised of four-on-the-floor kick, a light sequenced melody and unobtrusive bass. There are also sections where the music “breaks down” to give you areas that easily loop. Or when you want more of a rural feeling, “Billy Bob Bayou” (Target Trax 65) offers a laid back Country-swamp feel with an acoustic guitar and simple dobro licks. If you need something more Alt-Folk with Pop crossover appeal, “Happy Simple Breezy” (Project Platinum 18) gives you a child-like track with acoustic guitar, bells and banjo. There are also a couple special cues and a no melody mix with this track. If your scene calls for a darker, more wistful mood, “The Early Years” (Super Themes 31) delivers a thoughtful, introspective—and simple—acoustic guitar based track with lots of emotion.

If you’d like to audition these simpler pieces of music, simply type in “simple” in our Build-A-Search by Keyword window. You’ll find an excellent selection of understated compositions that show off the CSS Music composers’ diverse ability to write simple, effective and highly usable music.

November 01, 2017

Pumping Up The Impact

How To Use CSS Royalty Free Music’s Film Music To Heighten Your Show’s Power

Is there anything that gets your blood pumping more than an action scene in a movie that is underscored with bombastic music that builds, then drops to a simple rhythmic groove, and then crashes back in as the scene evolves? Why couldn’t you use the principal filmmakers rely on to add some ear candy to your reality television show?

At CSS Music we’re blessed to have the unbelievably talented film composers David and Eric Wurst contributing to our library. Having scored over 60 films, this brother team really knows how to write exciting movie music and they’ve contributed some terrific tracks that you can use in your next show.

But you may be wondering how to make film music work in your show. Let’s say you have a situation where your characters are driving somewhere in search of something. Your immediate go-to music would probably be an upbeat travel track. But if instead you tried something like “Chasing Evil” (Super Themes 77) the mood would suddenly change to dark and driving (pun intended.) Even if the trip your characters are taking is lighthearted, this dramatic track will lend as sense of tongue-in-cheek humor.

Or another situation: someone on the show has performed some sort of heroic feat or did something nice for someone. Try a halo visual effect on the “hero” and use “Epic Fight.” (Super Themes 80)  Try the short version--the uplifting thematic will immediately conjure an image of a hero. Again, even if the action this person performed is mundane, the halo effect and this music will give you cheeky fun.

As we’ve said many times in these blogs, CSS Music loves films and the music that brings them to life. It may seem a little outside the box to juxtapose great film music to an unremarkable scene, but at the same time, it will definitely perk up your viewer’s ears. And in this age of so much competition, isn’t that something you want your show to do?

October 23, 2017

Technology Marches On

Getting The Most Out Of The CSS Royalty FreeMusic Library For High Tech Shows

As we’ve mentioned, CSS Music began primarily as a library for the AV-Video market of the 1980’s. And since that time, we’ve enhanced this category with new takes on this wide-ranging genre. But the question becomes: What exactly constitutes Technology music? Does it have to be comprised of tightly quantized synthesizer or washes of billowing evolving tones? Is there still a place in your shows for some old school sounds or perhaps a modern take using orchestral instruments?

While traditionally synthesized music will always work well, may we suggest listening to a few tunes from the CSS Music library that might work as well while giving you a new perspective?  For example, “Technota in D” (Project Platinum 21) uses an arpeggio piano figure, strings and power guitar while still putting one in mind of technology with a Classical twist. Or “Age Of Exploration” (Super Themes 25) where a tympani rhythm drives the music while a brass-like synthesizer delivers the melody. When you want a more contemporary feel, “Industrial Firepower” (Super Themes 42) uses rock guitar with 1980s-style drums with a definite nod to the melodic figures of that era.

When you’re looking for something quirky, “Happy Science” (Max Trax 50) combines sections of traditional technology sequencers with smatterings of swirling string section runs and a melody/harmonic progression that has a 1960’s vibe. This catchy track also jumps between a rock groove to a double time feel. Need something more sci-fi with video game appeal? Audition “Virtual Warriors” (Super Themes 27) and imagine this track underscoring your scene.

If you click on “Technology” from our Hand Picked Genre/Category Hot Lists search engine you’ll see 46 pages of very diverse industrial/technology tracks from the CSS Music library—and that’s a lot of music! We still pride ourselves on creating very strong music to service the AV-Video market while working to give you both traditional synth/sequencer tracks as well as those that incorporate new thinking using orchestral and rock elements/arrangements. When it comes to music for technological shows, we think CSS Music has it in spades!

October 16, 2017

That’s All, Folk!

What Exactly Is Folk Music Today

When you think of Folk music you might call to mind images of a 1960’s coffee house with a small stage crowded with turtle neck-dressed musicians wailing about the woes of the world. Bands like The Kingston Trio, The New Christy Minstrels, Peter, Paul & Mary or The Seekers were household names and even charted with some hit songs. We at CSS Royalty Free Music have a warm place in our hearts for this simple music genre and we’ll deconstruct the original form and where Folk music is today.

These early groups wrote/performed very simple music, usually comprised of three or four chords and unornamented melodies. The Seekers did begin to break the mold with their very poppy hits like “Georgy Girl,” “I’ll Never Find Another You” and “A World Of Our Own” that introduced catchy melodies and great vocals. Being from Australia may have contributed to their sound…or perhaps they had a visionary A&R person picking their music. Today’s bands like Fleet Foxes, Of Monsters and Men, Mumford & Sons or The Lumineers have evolved the Folk sound by introducing new melodic structure that deliver very singable themes.

Where the original Folk orchestrations used only acoustic guitar and perhaps an upright bass, these new artists are bringing in drums/percussion, mandolins, banjos, accordions, electric bass guitar and other non-folk instruments. And with these additional instruments, the music gurus have decided to deem these bands Indie Pop, Folk Rock or Alt Folk.

CSS Music has a variety of the modern Folk genres. Tunes like “Rolling Home,” (PowerTrax 28) “A Road Trip Quietly” (PowerTrax 33) or “Road Trip Anthem” (PowerTrax 34) will make you want to put on your flannel shirt and funky-cool hat.   If you want the vibe of traditional Folk, something like “Down Home Acoustic,” (Repo-File Plus 42) “Family Reunion” which also has a vocal version, (PowerTrax 37) “Memories We Made,” (Super Themes 37) or for some 1970’s flair, “Box Sliding.” (Back Trax 4) Yes, we fondly salute the Folk pioneers of the 1960s and we know you guys/gals need lots of the newer sounds. Take a tour of our Folk collection by choosing “Folk” from our Keyword Alpha Lists or simply type It in to our Bulid-A-Search. Happy hunting!