A filmmaker asked me to score a short scene from a satirical film titled “Midnight Snack”. In the scene, a man starts cooking, but becomes more and more upset as his meal doesn’t progress the way he had planned.
The filmmaker asked that I start the music in a conventional style. As the scene continues, the music style should gradually become crazier and crazier, no holds barred. What fun!
I decided to score the scene as a jazz trio; piano, bass and violin. Now, the piano and bass are not at all difficult to mock up as virtual instruments. The jazz violin, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely.
I am so glad, then, that I had invested in a fabulous virtual violin instrument, called “Joshua Bell Violin”, by a company called Embertone. For this virtual instrument, recording engineers actually recorded samples of Joshua Bell playing his Stradivarius violin! But the real magic lies in the software interface, and its automated assignments of articulations. As the “virtual instrument performer”, I have the choice to use the articulations that are automatically assigned, and to override these choices whenever I want. The instrument is extremely adjustable, to fit a variety of styles.
Here is a short video showing how the Joshua Bell Violin interface responds during a performance. At the bottom, you can see the piano keyboard being played. Of course, a violin’s lowest note is G3. However, occasionally you can see notes being played in the bass. Those are keyswitches, that I use once in a while to override the automated articulations.
The center of the screen shows the various articulations alternating, with different types of legato, spiccato, staccato, sustain, diminuendo, and so on. In addition, the slider on the left indicates the dynamics (loudness), while the slider on the right indicates the amount of vibrato.
So here is the complete scene with the jazz trio. It starts out conventionally, and gradually gets carried away with the satirical mood.