Marginalia, Graduate Blog

How to Create a Sound Panel Absorber

Materials

As a continuation from the previous blog, I thought I would get a little more detailed on how to create a sound panel absorber (aka bass trap). These panels help attenuate a broad range of frequencies. Usually the most troublesome in a small room is the mid to low range, and these panels, which use insulation to deaden the sound, are great for this purpose. Foam is also used quite a bit in home studios, which helps reduce high frequencies, but does not tame as broad of frequency range as the insulation based panel.

How to Create a Sound Panel Absorber

As a continuation from the previous blog, I thought I would get a little more detailed on how to create a sound panel absorber (aka bass trap). These panels help …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Graduated / Home Studios

My home studio

My home studio

We have officially graduated! Our thesis recording session at The Bridge went very smoothly, the musicians are no doubt the best I’ve ever heard.
We owe a lot of thanks to Eimear Noone, who led the orchestra in conducting, and always had great suggestions to help make the most out of our time there. Another round of applause is owed to John Rodd, who engineered and later mixed our sessions at his studio. A few students have found work directly after the semester, and some are continuing their internships. I have yet to find a full time position, but am applying to all opportunities that come my way while continuing my internship. You can take a listen to a few of our sessions below:

Graduated / Home Studios

We have officially graduated! Our thesis recording session at The Bridge went very smoothly, the musicians are no doubt the best I’ve ever heard. We owe a lot of thanks …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Semester in Los Angeles 2015

Learning about the best gelato.

Class of 2015 discovering the best gelato in LA.

The semester in LA is quickly passing by with three weeks behind us. Every morning we meet as a group at Raleigh Studios for roughly two hours of class. Visiting composers and creative professionals stop by to give advice, discuss their projects, and expand our knowledge of the scoring world. Our amazing guest lecturers during the summer semester so far have included:

Semester in Los Angeles 2015

The semester in LA is quickly passing by with three weeks behind us. Every morning we meet as a group at Raleigh Studios for roughly two hours of class. Visiting …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Journey to LA – Music Comp for the Screen

Loading  the truck, stopping at four apartments throughout Chicago.

After a week of packing, loading a moving truck, driving over 2,000 miles in a moving truck, and staying a night in a pyramid, we finally made it to LA. Our summer semester, the final semester for the Music Composition for the Screen Program, starts next week! This will include daily classes at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, as well as our individual internships with composers across the city. The final recording session (with a 30 piece orchestra) will take place during the last week of June. Take a look at photos from the journey below:

Journey to LA – Music Comp for the Screen

After a week of packing, loading a moving truck, driving over 2,000 miles in a moving truck, and staying a night in a pyramid, we finally made it to LA. …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

String Orchestra at WBEZ

Photo by John Hagley johnhagley.com

Photo by John Hagley johnhagley.com

For the third and final recording session of this semester, we decided to go with larger and more “live” room. The main advantage in a larger room is to get recordings that already have a natural space to them. Although adding reverb to this is often a great idea, starting with a already great sounding space can make the piece sound even better. We also tried a new instrumentation, focusing on the string section.

String Orchestra at WBEZ

For the third and final recording session of this semester, we decided to go with larger and more “live” room. The main advantage in a larger room is to get …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Internship in LA: Alexis Martin (Atli Örvarsson)

Atli Örvarsson

Atli Örvarsson

The capstone to the Music Composition for the screen MFA program is the summer internship in LA, where students intern with experienced Hollywood composers. Alexis Martin, graduate of the class of 2014, had the opportunity to intern with Atli Örvarsson, who’s credits include Chicago Fire, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. After the internship, Alexis was brought onto the team.

Internship in LA: Alexis Martin (Atli Örvarsson)

The capstone to the Music Composition for the screen MFA program is the summer internship in LA, where students intern with experienced Hollywood composers. Alexis Martin, graduate of the class …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Digital Audio Workstations

Many MIDI tracks in Logic X

Many MIDI tracks in Logic X

Digital Audio Workstations, or DAWs, are where we as composers spend the majority of our time. It is very important to find a workstation that meets your needs, and one that you are the most efficient in. Currently, the major contenders are Logic Pro, Cubase, ProTools, Digital Performer, and Ableton Live. I am often asked which DAW to go with from prospective and admitted students; I hope this blog can help out!

Digital Audio Workstations

Digital Audio Workstations, or DAWs, are where we as composers spend the majority of our time. It is very important to find a workstation that meets your needs, and one …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Recording Session Preparation

Score Prep

The first recording session of the semester is coming up very quick (20 piece ensemble, recorded at Chicago Recording Company): this Friday the 27th. After weeks of writing, producing, score preparation, and some conducting practice, we are feeling more prepared for the session. As this is our first time conducting and recording a group of professional musicians, this definitely will be a learning experience. Many in my class are very grateful to have observed the class of 2014’s recording sessions last year, soaking in the experience. We know the process, and how the studio is set up, and definitely remember how fast you must be. If you must make a comment, make it quick, and move on to the next take!

Recording Session Preparation

The first recording session of the semester is coming up very quick (20 piece ensemble, recorded at Chicago Recording Company): this Friday the 27th. After weeks of writing, producing, score …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

Sampling My Home Piano

Following last year’s winter project of sampling an NES, this year I thought I would sample my home piano back in Montana. There are thousands of pianos sampled, some of my favorites are Spitfire’s felt piano and even Logic’s Steinway. Why would I need another set of piano samples? The air of the room, and the unique quality of an older, slightly beat up piano make this a lot different than the other samples I use. In addition, the slightly out of tune notes actually add a real world quality to the instrument.

Sampling My Home Piano

Following last year’s winter project of sampling an NES, this year I thought I would sample my home piano back in Montana. There are thousands of pianos sampled, some of …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605

My Favorites of 2014

2014 seemed to be a pretty epic year in regards to music, films, games, and tv. Obviously, there were way too many things to list, and studying took much of my time over the last year. However, over break, I had some time to sit back and take a look at some really amazing projects. Here were a few of my favorites this year.

Interstellar

Seeing this in 70mm IMAX (at Navy Pier), really made this movie experience extraordinary. The speakers were loud, and the in-your-face score sounded outstanding. Some people thought the music was mixed too loudly over dialogue, but I didn’t think that was an issue at all. The most memorable parts of the score were definitely the huge organ swells, and the lush reverb that follows. This is a new direction for Hans, utilizing woodwinds and organ instead of his go-to brass section. I love this new direction he has taken.

My Favorites of 2014

2014 seemed to be a pretty epic year in regards to music, films, games, and tv. Obviously, there were way too many things to list, and studying took much of …

Music Composition for the Screen MFA Logan Stahley, unhello@gmail.com
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605