Ad­dress­ing Tem­plate Fa tigue

Future Music - - FEATURE -

For all that we’ve ad­vo­cated build­ing tem­plates to kick-start your cre­ative process, it’s in­cum­bent upon us to ad­dress the ele­phant in the room… If you al­ways work with the same tem­plate sounds, won’t that make your mu­sic dull and pre­dictable? Of course, there’s no fixed an­swer to this ques­tion as it fails to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the kind of mu­sic you make and the size of tem­plate you’re in­tend­ing to build.

Let’s sup­pose you’ve been com­mis­sioned to write a com­puter game sound­track for a hy­brid ‘sym­phony orches­tra plus elec­tronic tex­ture’ kind of score. Are you re­ally go­ing to set up ev­ery in­stru­ment of your strings, wood­wind and brass in­stru­ments ev­ery time, from scratch, for ev­ery cue? That would waste a lot of time, as those in­stru­ments are go­ing to be ‘com­mon’ to each cue. How­ever, the elec­tronic tex­tures might well vary from one cue to the next, so po­ten­tially not in­clud­ing a spe­cific group of these in ev­ery cue might help keep this side of the sound­track fresh.

The same rules can be ap­plied to any other kind of pro­duc­tion. If you write elec­tronic mu­sic and you’re work­ing through song­writ­ing ideas with a singer, hav­ing a ‘known’ col­lec­tion of sounds in a tem­plate might well save you valu­able time when a great new hook or lyri­cal idea needs putting down quickly. You can then aban­don the tem­plate al­to­gether when the pro­duc­tion re­ally starts. If the al­ter­na­tive is set­ting up ev­ery sound from scratch, tem­plates will – at the very least – get you mak­ing mu­sic more quickly.

If you’re lazy enough not to mod­ify or adapt each track with the be­spoke choices your mu­sic needs… well maybe that says more about you than it does your tem­plate!

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