Opinion: Films scores need the sound of a real orchestra, not synthesizers

Posted on: December 17, 2013

In Sunday’s Guardian (London), Dalya Alberge writes, “Two of Britain’s leading film composers warn that the quality of music for film and TV is suffering because synthesized sounds are increasingly replacing real instruments in an effort to cut costs…. Carl Davis, whose scores include that for the World at War documentary series, said a synthesized soundtrack lacked ‘the heart’ of symphonic or instrumental music…. Christopher Gunning, who wrote the Bafta-winning score for La Vie en Rose, about Edith Piaf, was even more critical: ‘A lot of television music has got to the stage where I have to turn it off….’ Davis is concerned that the sheer proliferation of television channels is taking its toll on budgets for musicianship. Synthesized performances were ‘infinitely cheaper’ than hiring an orchestra, he said…. He would rather have ‘a single cello than something that sounds enormous but which you know is artificial.’ … But Jeff Rona, a Hollywood composer whose synthesized soundtracks includes Phantom, starring Ed Harris, … argued that improved technology had made synthesized scoring more expressive and emotional. But he admitted that, for those who paid close attention to the soundtrack, there was nothing like the sound of a real orchestra for sheer power and emotion.”

Posted December 17, 2013