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Music for Movies: the Hollywood Sound

What makes the music for movies so special? Why has making music for media become one of the most sought-after careers in the industry? What are the challenges of this profession and how to properly prepare for succeeding at it?


Norman Ludwin, an accomplished American composer and teacher, with over 40 years of experience as a session musician and orchestrator in Hollywood, delves into the core of such questions by focusing on the three fundamental aspects of learning to write music for films: composition, orchestration, and techniques for developing your own material. His hands-on approach cuts though complexities while providing sound foundations and a consistent set of tools of the trade for the modern composer. The information provided is always supported by – and often originates from – a wealth of musical examples, where Dr. Ludwin’s unique analytical style casts light on the path from awareness to creativity.


Topics covered:


  • Workflow and Process

  • Outlining

  • Chord Substitutions

  • Textures

  • Score Reduction

  • Development Charts

  • Orchestration Insights

  • Effective Ranges

  • Instrumental Colors

  • Doublings

  • Orchestration and Arrangement Examples

  • Hollywood Sound Secrets

  • Orchestration and Motivic analysis of Maurice Ravel’s Rapsodie Espagnole Prélude à la nuit



The book also includes a range of exercises, specifically designed to assist readers in honing their orchestration abilities and further developing their musical compositions. All material comes with audio tracks, available online with reserved access.


Aimed at students and teachers of courses in Film Music, as well as aspiring composers for the media, Music for Movies captures the magic of the encounter between the two arts in a practical, approachable, and well-organized way, essential to make your music writing both meaningful and inspiring.

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