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Books For Film Music Composers

I’ve found the following books for film music composers to be very useful when working with writing music to picture and generally getting set up for working with production music. They also serve as good tutorials for general music production & theory and offer advice about promoting and selling your music to film producers and getting your music placed in film & TV productions:

This Is Your Brain On Music
This Is Your Brain On Music
Daniel J. Levitin
A fascinating book that looks into the science of how we’re emotionally affected by music. The author is an experienced sound engineer, music and neuroscientist and brings his experience to rationalise and explain some of the mechanics of why we love to hear certain songs. Excellent reading for anyone with a love of music.


Music for New Media: Composing for Videogames, Web Sites, Presentations and Other Interactive Media
Music For New Media: Composing For Videogames, Web Sites, Presentations And Other Interactive Media
Paul Hoffert
Learn to: score videogames, develop music for different characters, address the standard types of scenes and cues and formats required by game publishers; develop music for web sites, use sound technologies with mobile devices to create ringtones and other sounds; create demos and portfolios for getting clients.


Cash Tracks: Compose, Produce, and Sell Your Original Soundtrack Music and Jingles
Cash Tracks: Compose, Produce, And Sell Your Original Soundtrack Music And Jingles
Jeffrey P. Fisher
Learn everything you need to know to make jingles and score video productions with this new, updated second edition of this popular book. Prepare and present your demo recordings, work with clients, craft profit-producing copy, promote your work, protect yourself legally, get the money you deserve and more.


How to Get Your Music in Film & TV
How To Get Your Music In Film & TV
Richard Jay
Tips and advice on getting your music placed in film soundtracks and on TV shows from independent musician and composer Richard Jay. A detailed look at how musicians, songwriters, publishers, and indie labels—producing every kind of music—can earn good money from placing their music into film and TV in the United States and beyond.


The Score: Interviews with Film Composers
The Score: Interviews With Film Composers
Michael Schelle
A collection of in-depth conversations with contemporary film composers of every style, background, and position in Hollywood’s hierarchy, offering a cross-section of current thoughts about the process of film composing, styles of film music, and working within today’s entertainment industry. Great interviews from film composers including Thomas Newman, James Newton Howard, Howard Shore, John Barry and many more.


From Score to Screen: Sequencers, Scores & Second Thoughts-The New Film Scoring Process
From Score To Screen: Sequencers, Scores & Second Thoughts – The New Film Scoring Process
Sonny Kompanek
With the advent of MIDI sequencers, high quality sample libraries and low-cost recording gear, just about any composer anywhere can score a film. Well-known composer Sonny Kompanek teaches this new film scoring process at the prestigious New York University and now he shares his secrets with the pages of From Score to Screen.


The Guide to MIDI Orchestration 4e
The Guide To MIDI Orchestration 4e
Paul Gilreath
An essential book for anyone working with MIDI orchestration. With detailed methods of scoring for all sections from strings through to percussion. Aimed directly at users of libraries such as East West/GPO/Vienna and other major packages but also wide enough to cover all approaches to orchestral MIDI arrangement. Essential for beginners through to pros.


Complete Guide to Film Scoring: The Art and Business of Writing Music for Movies and TV
Complete Guide To Film Scoring: The Art And Business Of Writing Music For Movies And TV
Richard Davis
I’ve found this to be a useful guide for any composer interested in learning the standard requirements for scoring to picture, eg basic film history, spotting, preparation etc (although quite US-centric). Also includes interviews with composers Danny Elfman, Elliot Goldenthal, Mark Isham, Alan Silvestri and many more.


Orchestration by Cecil Forsyth
Cecil Forsyth
Originally written in 1913, the book focuses on traditional approaches to writing for orchestra. Although not perhaps as relevant to more contemporary approaches to scoring, there is a huge amount of useful information on the different orchestral sections and is an extremely useful text for film scorers.


The Study of Orchestration (Third Edition)
The Study Of Orchestration (Third Edition)
Samuel Adler
Offers a wealth of material for music students to create a full orchestral score by choosing the appropriate instruments, instrumental combinations and instrumental techniques.