This is a rescore for the French silent short film Le Mélomane (1903) directed by Georges Méliès in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Music (Composition and Music Production) at the Australian Institute of Music.
The film was made in 1903, during the early days of the Silent Film era. At that time, music was to enliven the audience’s experience and was not played in sync with the picture. Piano, organ and other chamber-sized ensemble were popular and accessible choices of instruments for accompaniment. The film is a comic film, about a music master leading his band to five telegraph lines for a music session, using the lines as a musical staff.
The process of the composition is as follows:
- The score shall be in the “humorous”, “quirky” mood, to reflect the comic nature of the film.
- To support the visuals, which sees a band marching in and out of the scene, the form of the score shall be a march.
- The score should utilise a small ensemble with the following instruments:
- Piano (as the main instrument)
- Accordion (to create the “organ-like” sound and add a folky tone to the score)
- Xylophone (for some humorous effect and colour)
- Oboe (for some humorous colour)
- Trumpet (for some humorous and march colour)
- Snare Drum (for the march colour)
- String Pizzicato (for the underlying harmonic rhythm)
- Because it is a modern rescoring to an old film, the composer incorporated some other film music techniques too, especially the followings:
- Creating hit points by making one of the instruments play the notes on the giant musical staff when the music master’s head lands on the line;
- Making use of the visuals on the screen by making the snare drum roll when the drummer plays his drum on the screen so that the drum sound could be interpreted as diegetic music during those moments.
All instruments are virtual instruments by Native Instruments and EastWest Sounds.