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Film Music / Study 13
Beyond the actual music composition, how important is the orchestrator in the success of the film?
Should the orchestrator and composer necessarily be the same person? An observational study may be used to answer this question. Some of the questions that may be asked in an observational study include: Are the composers who have orchestrated their own music more successful? Are the films they have composed for more successful (average gross as well as critical acclaim)?
Researchers who choose to perform an empirical study should pick a theme, for simplicity say the theme for Jaws, and re-orchestrate it. Re-orchestration would result in the same melody and rhythm with a different timbre (different instruments would be used). Would the theme be as effective if trumpets played the two-note motif?
What if an electric guitar or a flute played the motif? Researchers could create the stimuli with the help of an electronic synthesizer. The theme could be played on a keyboard where the "instruments" can be changed from a single clarinet to an entire symphony orchestra with a simple press of a button.
Each version could be recorded separately and dubbed onto the Jaws video, and each subject would view only one version of the clip.
Is the actual melody more important than the instrumentation? Who would notice a difference more, the person who listens to the original melody played by a new instrument or the person who listens to a new melody played by the original instruments?
Using the original written score, which shows the instruments played at each moment of the piece, one can compose new melodies utilizing the instrumentation of the Jaws theme. Special care should be taken to make the new motifs the exact length of the old motif.
Many variables may be altered such as rhythm, pitch, dynamics, and speed.