Percussion Task 6 – American Beauty

Here below are some pictures of the cymbal recordings which were adding to the score aswell as a report and video of the score itself!

The microphone was placed over the ‘bell’ of the cymbal (including inverted cymbal) to achieve a sound that would contain obvious the various harmonics the cymbals produced. I exsperimented with different mallets, fingers, pencil and a woollen mallet. The tones were then further varied through how hard I played and where I struck the mallet. The effect was meant to capture the cymbals tones from “Root Beer”.





My objective for the task was to create a percussion score for a selected clip from “American Beauty”.

Visual element/s highlighted

One part I wanted to highlight was at 1.47’ where we see the eruption of the rose petals. The bursting motion was captured using an ascending muted harp in conjunction with a cymbal being hit harder and harder with a soft mallet.

The composers approach you adopted:

I wanted to capture Thomas Newman’s use of percussion in “Root Beer”, especially the cymbal playing.  I experimented with different mallets whilst hitting the instrument at different areas in various dynamics to try and achieve contrasting percussive colours.

A MIDI/ sequencer technique you learnt:

A new sequencer technique I learnt was the use of syncing the music from the cheerleader performance. This was done by accurately chopping the audio in the sample editor before finding its tempo through the locators.

A music technique you learnt through doing the task:

A music technique I learnt was the use of creating polyrhythms through layering simple beats on top of each other often giving the impression of complex rhythms.

What did you learn through this task that is an example of practice as research?

My experimentation of using exs24’s ethnic samples gave me control over a sound’s characteristics through changing midi parameters. An instance is pitching the percussion to extreme low and high ranges.

What mark for this task would you award yourself and why?

I would give myself a 70% as I have used percussion in a way that shows stylistic traits of the original track “Root Beer” with special attention to re-creating the cymbal sounds found within the original score.

Word Count: 243


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