Film and Game Music Theory: Conveying Emotion | Will Edwards | Skillshare

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Film and Game Music Theory: Conveying Emotion

teacher avatar Will Edwards, Artist. Creative Problem Solver. Musician

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      3 Live Examples and Explanations


    • 3.

      Process Overview


    • 4.

      Introduction to Themes and Variations


    • 5.

      Using Rhythm Effectively


    • 6.

      Using Harmony Effectively


    • 7.

      Using Cadences Effectively


    • 8.

      Writing Effective Melodies


    • 9.

      Color and Timbre in Your Theme


    • 10.

      Step-By-Step: Creating Your Theme


    • 11.

      Step-By-Step: Creating a Variation


    • 12.

      Demo: Conveying a "Urgent" Mood


    • 13.

      Demo: Conveying a "Calm/Melancholy" Mood


    • 14.

      Demo: Conveying a "Spooky/Creepy" Mood


    • 15.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Learn an intuitive approach to music composition for film, TV and game music.  This workshop will not require reading or writing music notation (although examples will be available).  This workshop-style course will introduce you to the elements of music that are necessary for creating emotional moods in your compositions.  You will compose 3 different musical cues (short, 30-second compositions) representing 3 specific moods (urgent, calm and creepy). This course will introduce you to valuable music theory concepts and walk you through the process of composing these 3 cues.  You will learn when and how to use musical elements such as rhythm, harmony, melody and scales to convey emotion effectively and quickly.

This course presents examples using MIDI, audio clips and Ableton Live.  Ableton projects are available for download (so that students can follow along).  However, students can also download the audio and MIDI clips and load them into any DAW.  This course also assumes that students are familiar with basic music theory concepts - such as triads and major and minor scales.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Will Edwards

Artist. Creative Problem Solver. Musician


I am a full-time professional musician who has broad teaching experience with guitar & bass students in rock, blues, jazz and many other genres. I perform live on bass, guitar and keyboards.  In addition, I perform live electronic music improvisation.  I've devoted over 26 years to my own well-rounded musical education, focusing on a mastery of all aspects of modern music - from music theory to ear training; from live performance to composition and practice routines.

I specialize in bridging the gap between music and technology, focusing on using modern tools to demonstrate all aspects of music.  I compose and perform with Ableton and Push 2 and I have experience with Cubase, ProTools and Logic.  I'm extremely comfortable using web-based to... See full profile

Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Hi, My name is Will Edwards. This course is about film, TV and video game composition. So we're talking about writing music that conveys a specific emotion. Okay, now I wanted to introduce myself as your instructor. I've done a lot of different things in music over the last 2.5 3 decades, I've worked in bands. I've been getting artist. I've done a lot of teaching, teaching private lessons in guitar and bass. Primarily I've done recording. I ran my own recording studio for handful the years, and in that environment I did production for licensing and publication, but also production for local band singer songwriters, independent artists, that sort of thing. So originally I did my training in audio engineering with pro tools, but I've worked a lot with Q base and also able to live, which is a more sort of modern electronic music centric platform. I've done a lot off Elektronik music over the last 23 years. I do perform as a guitarist, a basis play keyboards. I've done a lot of singing vocal work. Eso I have a good experience level with different compositions, different styles, and I have done studying at the university level in music theory. So I also understand a lot about different music theory principles. And I can talk about music theory as if it's something that I know a lot about. It really do. It's actually really a fascinating topic for me and one that I often try to drive my private students towards. Now, in this course, we're gonna be talking about making three cuse. This is a workshop style course, so it's It's a project based course in the project. You're creating three cues now what's a que a que is basically a very brief piece of music , talking about 30 seconds for the context of this course, and in that 30 seconds, you want to convey a specific emotion, and sometimes that Kyu could be used in film or TV show or a video game, right? But the point is, when the players playing the game or the viewer is watching the show with a movie, you want to get them sync up in aligned with the emotion of what's supposed to be happening in the scene right away, right? So you don't want to waste any time, and you want to convey a very powerful, very familiar emotion in this course. You're gonna learn what you need to know to really convey just about any kind of emotion. But we're gonna look at three specific examples and they're gonna be the heart of your project. For this course, there's three emotions going to be urgent and calm and then creeping a creepy Khan speaks for itself. Com kind of speaks for itself. But urgent is gonna be also quite interesting because it's not just urgent in a tense way, we're going to talk about kind of urgent in a grand way, an important, significant way. Convey importance and significance, gravity with music as well in that in that part of the course. So now let's continue on. I'm gonna talk a little bit about the process and some of the different elements of music theory that we're gonna be using in the next lesson. 2. 3 Live Examples and Explanations: So here. What I want to do is just go over the three live examples and give you a little bit of explanation about what's going on. This is gonna be relatively brief over for you because we're gonna be going into each one of these three accused these emotional cues a little later on them and dedicate a lesson, each one of them. But what you see here is in green. I have all the channels I'm using for kind of my spooky, creepy sound Red, that's the calm and melancholy sound. And then blue is urgent, and this has kind of a texture of triumph to it as well. So it's kind of triumphant sound. So what we want to do here is just play these examples for you. This is the urgent example are, uh, I'm using the kidneys here to kind of create rhythmic acceleration towards the end seal. Notice that towards the end of the temple he's kind of pick up their pace. Right? So there is a use of rhythm here to kind of create a sense of acceleration and that is helping to create a sense of urgency. Right? The trump, though, that the horns, which are actually, in this context French horns. They're kind of creating this very regal, very sort of royal sound because people generally associate French horns with sort of a regal quality. So I'm leveraging that here and then I've also got a little cello going on again. I'm going to go under each of these elements in much greater detail later on. Just wanted to give you kind of a teaser in a taste of what? What's going on overall in these three projects, so that in the next few lessons when you're learning about you know, using rhythm and using harmony, you can have some kind of sense for the kind of music that, uh, I'm actually talking about this this in the calm example, Thats ones really kind of almost like a meditation. And it's interesting because in this context, for the rhythm is actually coming from kind of filtered sound. Explain that later, but there's no actual like typical rhythm in terms of drums or something like that, right? Um, it's very ethereal. It's kind of synthetic sounding. The melody is really almost not a melody at all. It's just these long, drawn out notes. But again, that consistency is kind of reflecting our sense of calm, right? It's It's helping to create a sense of calm by having a melody that is functioning as a melody in the music. But it's actually because of its stability, its consistency. It's also conveying the sense of calm now in the spooky one. Here there's a couple of cool things going on. One is a heartbeat, and there's a bell here that the bell is very interesting because you'll notice, and I'll talk about this more later. On that the bell sound and the heartbeat. They're both following at a rhythmic time, but they are not actually in the same time. Signature. So the Tubular Bells this channel right here is actually being executed in 34 time, while the drums here, that kind of Greek, creating the heartbeat sound are actually different time signatures. What that means is we're using poly rhythms. When you hear just these two examples together, you'll find that they don't exactly sync up. They kind of are always on the irregular pattern because the bell ring here is happening on 123 where the drums at Heartbeat are still working on a grid based on four, so they never sync up. Quite. And the advantage of that for me in terms of creating a spooky, creepy can't feel, is that it's disjointed, right? There's no real solid pattern. It's enough of a pattern to make the music cohesive. Because I could said earlier, Rhythm is really, really important. You really don't want a kind of give any unclear sense of rhythm even in this context. But using polyrhythms makes it really hard to nail to nail down what's happening in the rhythm. All right, so what we're gonna do next is we're gonna talk about using a rhythm in our composition coming up in the next lesson. 3. Process Overview: let's talk a little bit about the process Overview. Okay, These are the elements that we're gonna be really referring to throughout this course we're gonna be talking about rhythm and rhythm is really what helps us keep pace. Keep time. We're gonna be using that to great effect throughout this course. Of course, there's melody and harmony. These air kind of related. So harmony tends to be cords and melody tends to be sort of linear. Horizontal lines of music over time was cords sent tend to set a context. We're going to talk a little bit more about that. We're also gonna talk about cadences now in cadences. You are talking about how phrases of music conclude and how it sort of set somebody up for either some tension or some resolution. Obviously, that's gonna be important in our com que Now, the one other thing we're gonna talk about quite a lot in this course gonna used to great effect is color and Tambor. Okay, that color is sort of ah, general term. It's a little bit more intuitive. It's a limit. Ephemeral. It's difficult to nail down exactly what color means, but color has to do with sort of a quality, that sort of flavor, texture, human experience, an interpretation, if you will, and you'll see how that takes place through the use of Tambor, not Tambor, is. There's sort of a mathematical explanation for Tambor, which is literally which harmonics are at which amplitude. That probably doesn't make a lot of sense to you. But essentially you can think about Tambor is the difference between a violin and a flute and a human voice, right? So if a flute plays a perfect G and then human voice sings that exact same pitch and you hear a piano player that exact same pitch, right, you can tell the difference. That one was a voice and one was a piano. You could tell if it was a fluke, that sorting That's Tambor. It's it really is a concrete fingerprint, a signature in the sound that tells our ears and tells our brains what instrument were listening to. Now I'm gonna give you a couple of brief examples of how tambor so useful. You often hear an oboe in an orchestral arrangement to kind of convey loneliness. Right and oboes. Tambor convey is that point because it is very different from other instruments. Whereas brass, for example, a big Tubo horns, trombones and trumpets convey sort of victorious nous, right? A sense of victory and and strength and the source of things get conveyed because the Tambor is exactly like that as well. A piano could sound very powerful, but it can also sound lonely, concerned, very emotive. So we're gonna be using Color and Tambor as well throughout this course. Now, the process is really to look at each of these different elements and identify how we can use him creatively in our music and each example that I go through where we're talking about how to create our urgent and are calm and are creepy accused. You're going to see how I'm using each of these elements gonna break it down so that you know exactly how rhythms being used or exactly how harmony is being used, etcetera. Now let's continue on with course 4. Introduction to Themes and Variations: Now we all know that music's gets used all the time in important celebrations, important events, sporting events, weddings, that sort of thing. And part of the reason for this is that music conveys emotion probably better and more effectively than just about anything else. So how do we use music to convey a specific emotion when that's the only emotion we want to convey? Well, what I'm gonna introduce you to in this lesson is a concept cold theme and variation. Okay, so what is a theme and what are variations? Let's talk a little bit about that. So theme is a melodic idea. It's a melodic phrase. You could think of it as may be the thing that somebody walks away humming right, it's a tune. It's a little kind of ditty. That's what the melody is. That's what the theme is, and we create that theme based on a specific question. Who is our character? What's the character? So if we can wrap our head around who the character is, then we create a theme that sort of is like the character. Is the character bouncy? Is the character active or they slow? Are they methodical? Are they cautious for these? You know, Are they scared easily, that sort of thing? Who's the character that's gonna help us write our theme? And then the variation is, well, we put our theme into a context so we could put our theme our character into a creepy situation or an urgent situation. You see where I'm getting at, because these are the cues that we're working on in this project, so the variation can be very different from one another. For example, you could take a famous rock song, Say something by the Rolling Stones, and you could produce that with synthesizers and sort of ultra modern instrumentation. You could still recognize the song, but it would be totally different where you could do an arrangement with an orchestra, and again it would be recognizable. But it would be very different in a sort of meaningful way. So the theme is our character, who is our characters? Important question. We want to ask, and then the variation is, are setting the situation that our characters in and we can think about these things when we were making music for weddings or movies or video games. What's going on? What's the situation. Is that calm? Is it ISAT agitated? Is it nervous? Are we looking for something to get people dancing and moving? Or we're looking to get something that's gonna make people feel reflective and nostalgic. So who's the character and what situation of the end. Now we're gonna continue. We're gonna look at each one of the different elements of music that we can use, like rhythm and melody and harmony and that sort of thing and how we can use them one at a time to start framing up themes and variations. 5. Using Rhythm Effectively: so I want to talk about rhythm and concepts related to rhythm. Okay, the main reason that rhythm is so important is that it gives cohesion to your piece. Now, whether you're doing something spooky or using something calm, urgent. Whatever the emotional context is, you want it to be cohesive. Rhythm is essential. It can fluctuate. It can change, but it needs to change and fluctuate in a cohesive way. And we've got a variety of approaches to rhythm in these three examples that I prepared as part of this course. So you can see some different examples of using rhythm and then incorporate that creatively into your own cues. Now there's a couple of different elements that you want to understand when talking about rhythm. First thing is tempo. Tempo is how fast or slow something is. Then there's time signatures, which has to do with how many beats there are in a measure, and that's kind of like, you know, basically a way of measuring out music and figuring out how patterns or structure. And, of course, rhythm is essentially a regular repeating pattern. That's really what rhythm is. It could be a regular repeating pattern on a guitar or a drum. It doesn't have to be percussive in order for it to be rhythm, it just has to have a regular repeating pattern. So let's look at a couple examples. First of all, let's look at rhythm as I have it set up in our urgent que. I've got kind of this. I've got this temp unease steak celebrate, and then it gets allowed on. It starts over again. Let's look at the rhythm that I'm using in the K p. Sort of spooky que What I've got here is an actual poly rhythm, so we have a heartbeat sound, which is based on 44 time, although it is irregular intervals. And then I've got this bell. The rings in the background of the bell is on 34 times. What this polyrhythmic concept does for the listener is it helps the listener and feel uneasy because we're using a pattern here that isn't really consistent. It's cohesive because I am making sure that the 44 and 34 elements are still adhering to the same tempo, which in my project is set 214 boot beats per minute, but using the different time signatures creates this kind of disjointed pattern. So, in other words, for four and 34 only match up several bars down the way. And so the pattern is kind of too long, actually, for the listener to fully recognise, unlike a 44 pattern where you only need to keep track of four bars. In this case, we need to can keep track of many more measures than that. So it winds up making the listener feel. First of all, this music's cohesive because it does have a strict tempo. But then, on top of that, it has elements that are kind of difficult to wrap your head around. That really makes it feel a little spooky. Creepy, Uneasy conveys that kind of feeling now, in my calm example, I am actually using rhythm that's based on filtering, So this is a rhythmic filtering of a pad sound, and if you listen, it's not really the same as a drum. But I am still conveying a very steady rhythmic cohesion, so rhythm doesn't always have to be a drum or something percussive. It can be a heartbeat, but it can also just be the manner in which a specific instrument tremolo zor vibe Rato's. For example. It can be something that's not always just a drumhead and a stick, but something that is, maybe, you know you can find ways to be more creative and come up with interesting rhythmic properties in sounds that you may not have previously thought of as being rhythmic. Next, let's talk about using harmony. 6. Using Harmony Effectively: so harmony is typically based on major and minor keys. Now Major Key is generally convey a sort of upbeat, more positive, happy vibe, while minor keys do generally convey more sort of emotional, melancholy vibe. But it's important to recognize that many hit songs like dance tunes and Stuff that people Think are a lot of fun are actually written in minor keys. So don't assume that Minor is sad and Major is happy. It's more that Major is robust and kind of simple in an emotional context. It's very direct. It's very bold. Miner is much more nuanced and has more grades and more Hughes within it. It could be nostalgic. It can be sad, and we're gonna be using them in our examples so you can see how major and minor have different impacts. For example, in our urgent Q. Here we have harmony that builds up. Let's listen to that. Have it in French horns now. This is following a court progression in the key of B flat major, and it finally resolves right here on B flat Major and you can feel how that kind of is uplifting when we look at the harmony that I created, in my example spooky que. Here this is actually just a collection of minor chords. This is what you call a tonal music because there is no key center you want to think, though, about trying to use major and minor to your advantage when you're conveying an emotion. For example, major courts would be not really the right fit for spooky and creepy because they are robust and they're grounded, they'll help your listener feel secure. Where minor chords, they elicit much more broad emotional range of feelings in the listener so it can help sort of dissipate their energies, make him feel a little more uneasy and a little more disoriented. You really want to think carefully about using major and minor effectively as the harmonic structure of your cues. As you move forward through this course and the next lesson, we're gonna talk about Kate and says, So let's go ahead there now, and we'll see how cadences work in our harmony to help us create emotion context as well 7. Using Cadences Effectively: Okay, So in the last lesson, we saw how our harmonic choices specifically in the creepy Q r. Harmony is just a composite of minor chords, and they are a tonal. So these cords do not allowed here toe one unified key. But then, on the other hand, in our urgent que you have this very clear harmonic structure where every court is extracted from the key of B flat major and it is a major key. And then at the end here, it resolves on our tonic chord B flat major answer that resolution. Wen's up, making our urgent que also have that quality of triumph where it's sort of grounded and robust and strong. But cadences are important. And if we listen to the cadence in our harmony for the urgent que here that cadence right there. That's really what we call a cadence. And essentially, what's happening is that we are creating a five chord that goes to a one course. Now, if you don't know what a five chord in one court is, I'm gonna give you a brief synopsis. But you can also check out my other course that's designed to support this course where I talk a little bit more about the elements of music theory that you might be curious about. Essentially a five chord is built off the fifth scale degree off our key in this case B flat major, so that five is the note f and we haven't f chord. It's a major triumph, and it's a tense cord that wants to resolve towards the tension leading to resolution. And we want to make sure that we're using the full capabilities of the harmonic structure to them. Support our emotional experience, right? So I have this five chord, this F seven court. It's not actually fully in F seven because it's just the Triad, but it functions as a five chord in in the last, and it has tension within it that wants to lead up to the B flat major court. So in the whole section here, I'm creating a fluent collection accords extrapolated from one key. So everything's cohesive and clear to the listener. Makes it feel like even though they're in an urgent situation, there's a way forward. This is what makes this piece feel triumphant. But it's the five chord leading to the one that we really want to bring our attention to here because we're talking about, Caden says. This is what we call an authentic cadence of five toe, one cadence, and it concludes this part of music. That's really what the cadence does its conclusion. It's like a period on a sentence. So let's go ahead and listen to our harmony in the spooky cute. So in this example here we just have a series of minor chords. They're actually really is no cadence by having a Siris of unrelated minor chords and no real cadence. Even though we're listening to looping music here, there's a sense of just that. There's no cohesion. Things air all loose and there's no boundaries. It makes us feel his listeners insecure, and that really supports the emotion of being spooky and got creeped out is feeling insecure, so my choice and harmony here is helping to accentuate that particular property. So now let's listen to the harmony in my calm, cute. So once again, here we are, technically in the key of B flat major, we have a different cadence. The cadence here is 1/2 cable. What 1/2 cantons means is that our last chord is a five chord and five court here, which is again an F court, because we're still in the key of B flat major. Technically, landing on this five chord kind of sets us up. It makes us feel like we're about to go somewhere, and there we go. We land back. It's not that the piece ends with a one chord. It actually starts with a one chord, and we call it a turnaround because the five chord here, the F that happens right here that f is the five returning to the one right there. So our loop has this very kind of natural circular routine. But having 1/2 cadence ending on the five there is giving it a totally different feel from the either lack of cadence that we have in the creepy, spooky seeing or the urgent Where we have a really nice, tight, authentic cadence, it sounds, were a bust and secure. Generally, we think of four kinds of Cajun says we have authentic, which were using in our urgent example here 1/2 cadence which were using in our com que here a playgirl cadence, which is when you have a four toe one instead of a 5 to 1. We're not using that in any of these examples. People often refer to it as an all men kittens because it kind of has functionally like on our men is when you're seeing in a church service, for example. Now the fourth and final kind is a deceptive cadence, and we're not really using a deceptive cadence here. But a good example of that would be a 5 to 6. Right then, of course, as we're doing in our spooky, creepy que or at least my example, there is no cadence at all. It's just it's basically totally a tonal, and that's what we want because we want to disorient our listener. So that's an effect. Discussion on cadences. If you're interested in learning more about authentic half Playgirl and deceptive cadence, is, then check out my other course. That is kind of a support for this. For those students who don't have as much music theory background, they want to develop more knowledge on the music theory principles that we sometimes talk about. This course is really designed around the project of creating these cues, but if you want to gather more intel about these music theory principles. Check out my course music theory for conveying emotions. Okay, so in the next lesson, we're gonna talk about using melody in your theme. 8. Writing Effective Melodies: So far, we've talked about rhythm, harmony and cadences and how those different things are used in the three examples out prepared for this course and how you can use them to effectively convey emotion when you're writing music for games and film and TV. In this lesson, I want to talk about Melody, and this gets back to our theme and variation concepts off, creating a character and a situation so a melody very much needs to indicate who your character is. A melody is a set of tones over time, so it's usually the tune we get to know our memorize or whistle, that kind of thing, And we can make this tune out of three kinds of tones are pitches. I'm gonna divide these up into what I call cord tons, color tones and chromatic tones, so chord tones are tones that are actually in the cords that are happening at this particular point in time. So, for example, in my harmony here for the urgent Q, you can see my chords written out. If my melody were to consist of one of these three notes at this point in time, then one of these three notes at this point time and so on so forth as the cords changed, then I always use a tone from within that court. It could be another. Active could be higher or lower than the one actually being played in the cord. But the same note, then that's what we call using a cord tone. Then there are color tones. Thes are tons that air in our scale right there in the key. But they are not being used in our chords, and you're going to see an example of doing that in the calm cube. Finally, there's chromatic tones, thes air tones that are neither in our cord nor in our key. And they can be used to great effect to create a sense of disorientation, to create tension that then releases that sort of thing. So you want to think about your melody and your character. Court tones are going to be grounded. Robust kind of healthy and strong color tones are gonna be sort of nuanced and melancholy, potentially nostalgic and even emotive, with many more hues and shades. Let's say chromatic tones are nearly always gonna be tense. I love to cook, and a lot of times. I relate these concepts to cooking. So I think of chord tones, for example, is being like salt. There are things everybody uses all the time, and everybody has a taste for. But if you only use a, your recipe will be really boring. Color tones are kind of things like a rosemary or thyme, things that everybody has and they use all the time. But it still has a specific purpose, and it definitely changes the quality recipe. Chromatic are things that maybe people don't have is often like cayenne pepper. If you throw it into your recipe, you better know what you're doing. And that's really in a valuable way to think about chromatic tones. They really pack a punch, and sometimes that can be very disorienting for the listener in a way that not really part of the emotion that you want to convey. So now let's take a minute has look at the different melodies that I've created, so I've got this melody here in my urgent Q. Let's listen to that way, all right, so listening to that you can hear that I'm actually using a lot of chord tones. So in the first court here, C minor. I'm playing a C, which is, of course, the root of C minor. Then the Harney moves to an F court. I'm still playing a C, which is the fifth of F. Now, if you're interested in learning more about how these tribes were built and how these court turns link up, check out my other course, which is all about music theory for conveying emotion. But I'm gonna assume that you know, enough music theory and enough about triads to follow me here on this discussion of quarter tones color tens of dramatics. So then the court progression moves to G minor and we have D, which is the fifth so again accord tone. Then the chord progression moves to e flat This although it's listed his d sharp, that's just a fault of my software that it doesn't display. It is e flat. I think Dizzy Flynn, of course, is the root of my e flat court. Then the rest the progression is G minor. Here's our fifth of G minor. Then we have an a diminished court, a seven toe, one progression here, and this is different kind of authentic cadence at seven toe. One essentially functions. The same is a 5 to 1. This de flesh are poor. E flat as I'm calling it. That is actually the diminished fifth of our seven Chord are a diminished court. It's the seven chord in the key of B flat major and then resolving to F, which is the fifth off RB flats. Or actually, every note in this melody is 1/4 ton. Let's just listen to that as we play the entire que So using court tunes makes this very robust. So what we have there is a perfect example of using chord tones. Now let's listen to the com Q and see what's going on there now in this melody, I'm using long drones. I'm gonna expand this out so you can see a little bit more. What I'm doing using these drones is very interesting because as I sustain the note but the cords air changing underneath this melody, the note takes on a different quality, whether it's a cord tone or color tone or chromatic. So right here again, this is a fault of my program. It shows it is in a sharp I always think of it is B flat. But this be flap here, you see, is gonna be changing its personality has the harmony progresses. So here we can see that it's Accord tone, and then it's court tone again, and it's a court tone. But as we reached the fourth chord and this Jeroen has still continued just with this slow and steady pitch. Suddenly that B flat note or a sharp that's not in our court, it's no longer a quarto. It becomes a color tone in this context because it is not in our cord, but it is in the key again as a reminder. I'm gonna go through each one of these cues in more detail later in the course. What I want you to take away from this right now is that you wanna frame up who the character in your Q is with the Melody K think melody equals character, and in my conk you hear my melodies very static. It's very persistent. It's very relaxed. It doesn't have a lot of changes or jarring elements. It's just kind of almost very sleepy. And that is the nature of my character. I'm trying to convey calm. I want to convey a calm characters from my melody is extremely consistent, and the drone approach really conveys that effectively here as an alternative. The melody that I created in my urgent que has this ascension right to the actual contour of notes is ascending makes us feel confident, like we're achieving something and that there is some kind of urgency there. But it's also using chord tones, which makes us feel very strong and confident robust. That's helping to make the cue sound triumphant. So, in short, you want to be very thoughtful about who your character is and how melodic choices can convey that character in a convincing way. Now, in the next lesson, we're gonna talk about Color and Tambor and see how we can use that and how I'm using them . These three examples to really help convey our specific emotion. So let's move forward in the next lesson. Talk about Tambor in color 9. Color and Timbre in Your Theme: All right, So now we're talking about Tambor Color, and I want to introduce you to three principles of color. Okay, Register Range and Tambor's character. So what? His register register is how high or low on instrument is. For example, a cello generally plays lower pitches than a violin or a double bass plays lower even than a cello, so instruments generally have a register. A bass guitar. You know you don't play lead guitar lines on a bass guitar because it's got lower register than a typical guitar. Piano has an enormous set of registers, and we call that range. So there's also how many registered are included in an instrument. A violin just simply cannot play. The low tones of a double bass and a double bass just simply cannot play the high pitches of a violin. So a violin is occupying a different register. But the violin and the double bass may have a similar range, but in totally different registers. So register and ranger important considerations. Why? Well, register can be very effective when you're trying to convey specific emotions. So, for example, a high register, as I use in my spooky que Here I have this kind of glockenspiel bell sound sounds a bit like a Harry Potter piece of music. You know, it's a bit spooky. It's a little eerie and its high pitched. What high pitch and high register instruments tend to convey is that they're kind of diminutive, you know, they actually kind of make people feel small where, as a base can really convey power. But it can also convey threat, you know, so register is an important part of using color and Tambor in your theme. Then there's range. And what's the range of an instrument I mentioned a minute ago? That piano has an enormous range, while a violin has relatively little range. Then there's Tamerlan character in my urgent Que I'm using French horns and temp unease on the cello. The reason that I'm using those is because the French horns convey a sense of sort of regal nous and royalty of importance. The choice of the timpani is very orchestral. It's very booming. It's very sort of classical. It conveys a sense of tradition, and so all of that put together winds up conveying something that is very recognizable to the listener as being urgent and triumphant like we're going off to battle that kind of feel because of the instruments that I chose. And that's really what Tambor is choosing a specific set of instruments to convey a specific emotional effect Later on. When I break down each one of these cues, I'll talk about how I made terrible choices for each one of these cues. But be aware that using color and Tambor is extremely important. And when it comes to creating theme and variation, it's one of the best ways to explore different variations with your theme. Just in this example, let's take this melody from my urgent Que let's drag it over onto the piano. See how that sounds, It sounds, suddenly, has a different emotional impact. It doesn't sound, is grounded and is triumphant and regal, as it did when it was a French horn. Furthermore, if I move it over here to the glockenspiel, not here, I'm actually not hearing any sound. The reason is that my instrument, the glockenspiel, knows full well that this is out of the glockenspiel is range. I would have to move these notes up in terms of their register if I wanted to play them with a glockenspiel because a glockenspiel does not have the same extensive arrange as our piano or, in this case, the French horn as well. Eso there just a few examples of how to consider color and Tambor in your composition. Of course, you'll see later on the course, When I break down each one of these cues, I'll really explain each individual element in more detail. Now let's move forward, and I'm gonna take you through a step by step of creating your first team. 10. Step-By-Step: Creating Your Theme: All right. So we've talked a lot about how we can use all the different elements of music in our theme . Right? We talked about rhythm and melody, cadences, color and Tambor, that sort of thing. Now I want to walk you step by step for you to create your own thing. Okay? Because you need to create a project for this course and that the projects basically to be using your theme in three different variations in an urgent variation of calm variation. And then, of course, creepy one. So the first step you want to do is ask yourself Who is your character? Okay, now, we talked a little bit about how theme and variation works a few lessons and discussions ago, but give you a reminder that the character should really be about how does this character respond to situations, you know, what are their personality traits? Are they go getters? A cautious. Are they easily anxious? Are they easily intimidated? That sort of thing? Then you want to ask yourself. Okay, Well, what's their situation? Let's take the urgent queue. For example. We might want to ask ourselves what is it that's urgent about this situation? is it is time, urgency. Maybe we could use rhythm. So to create a constantly advancing pace, um, is the tension or urgency coming from sort of, Ah, wait in the room, a situation where, you know, maybe something is unspoken and it's more emotional. We're trying to use harmony, for example, to kind of pull it somebody's heart strings. So think about the situation as you make your theme. And as you make your first variation now, the next thing is you want to select an appropriate rhythm and you wanna think about Should the within rhythm be quick? Should be slow. Is it lilting thing? Is it urgent? Maybe it's even accelerating over time. Maybe it's advancing and kind of making somebody feel anxious. The next thing you want to do is look at harmony and cadences, and you want to think about how you can use cords to frame up maybe a resolution or maybe a lack of resolution. Right then, once you've got this information kind of in your head, and I might suggest even writing it down who your character is, what situation there in what is an appropriate rhythm for this? What's inappropriate harmony and cadence, right? And then then you're ready to look at developing a melody you want. You want to kind of again think of your melody as your character and and have that melody sit in the harmony in a manner that's in alignment with the character traits that you've outlined in the situation that you've outlined, right? So, for example, if the melody is jumping around, that might really indicate the kind of personality of the character. But if the melody is kind of a slave to a rhythm that's constantly changing, that might be a way of conveying some element of their situation, right the way the character is having to respond to the situation. The final thing. You're gonna look at his color and Tamar, because instrumentation is gonna convey a lot like we talked about earlier. If you use horns, it's gonna sound really grandiose and kind of royal, whereas if you use an oboe, it might sound very lonely and distant, right? So once you've got your character, once you've got your situation, then you can start thinking about using instrumentation, color and Tambor to kind of accentuate that it to make the point very clear to the listener or the player that the instruments are kind of fortifying and reinforcing the character's personality and the strains of the situation. 11. Step-By-Step: Creating a Variation: in the next three lessons, we're going to really break down exactly how to build an urgent a calm and a creepy que case. I'm gonna give you really plenty of hands on experience with give you demonstrations that you can copy and duplicate. But I want to talk a little bit more here in this lesson about a step by step approach. And I'd recommend that you kind of follow these steps one at a time when you're creating your variation, your first variation. Okay, so the first thing is, you really wanna work in Midian there. Now, the reason you want to work committee is that it enables you to take a melodic or harmonic idea. In other words, a melody or set accords and then just quickly change it up, you know? Ah, hand your melody to an oboe and hand it back to trumpet. Um, Teoh kind of see how things change. You can also speed things up, change tempos very easily with committee, and then just listen to it, Make it a little bit more intuitive. A little more of a human experience. Teoh, just listen to how does that tempo change or how does that Tambor all change affect my variation, right? So work and midi as much as possible in the next three demonstrations. You're going to see me doing that a lot. So here are the steps you're gonna follow. Okay? We're gonna experiment with changing rhythm and tempo. That's really important, because tempo and rhythm conveys emotion and very powerful way. And that's the main topic of this course. Is creating, like game music for specific emotional situations? No, no. The next step you want to look at is maybe switching between different major and minor feels so generally major minor people think of is happy and sad. But remember that minor also is very reflective, very nostalgic, very powerful. So ah, lot of hit pop songs are written in Minor key is because they're so emotive. So think about switching up between major and minor, depending on the context, you know, creepy or or happy? Urgent. Calm, those sorts of emotional context. The next thing you want to look at is experimenting with different melodies. Okay. And you're going to see me do this in the next three lessons where I give examples of building my accused talk about chord tones, color tones and chromatic case of quarter tones are literally pitches there inside the cords. And these have a tendency to sound very innocent, very grounded, very cheerful than their color tones now thes air tones that are in our scale, but not necessarily in the chords themselves. And they tend to lend a sort of gravitas, a sort of sense of gravity or waiting this right, and you're gonna see me use these in the next few examples. When, when I actually create my cues on screen for you to watch. Now 1/3 type of tone that you might want experiment with your melodies, a chromatic and a chromatic is a tone that's not in the scale. It's not in the cord, and sometimes it's a sound terrible, but sometimes they can sound really cool. A lot of a lot really great music is made using a lot of use of chromatic some. What they do is they create tension, okay, and so they convey tension. That's gonna be really helpful in, say, the creepy que, and the finalists step in the step by step that you want to follow you. Creating your variation is to experiment with different kinds of colors and Tambor's when it's a different instrumentation, different ranges. And this is where it's really helpful to be working in MIDI because you can write a melody , you can create a busy melody, right, and then maybe just copy it and simplify it. So it's not as busy, and then you can see which one do I like to? I like busy, too. I like more simplified, more broken down. But then you can also take that midi, and you can send it to a synthesizer, and then you can send it to a clarinet, consented to a violin or a piano. And you can ask yourself, Do I like the way this sounds better? Does it fit the emotion I'm trying to convey? That's all very easy to do. If you're working in Mideast, are highly recommend working and many reading your cords out, writing your notes out enmity, and you're going to see me do that in the next few lessons where I'm gonna break down for you. Exactly how I create my three cues and you can use them as kind of a starting point and a reference point for creating your own three to use your urgent que You're creepy Q And your com que so let's move forward and look at how I'm developed my three cues in this style. 12. Demo: Conveying a "Urgent" Mood: All right, so now I want to look at conveying an urgent moved, and this is gonna be a full physical demo. I'm going to go into great detail on all of these blue channels here. Okay, so we're just looking at the blue channels, and if you want to download the project, you can. If you want to download the audio files and it's also available, you can also even download the MIDI. If that's what you'd like to do that, then you can plug it into any software instruments that you have. So in this urgent Q. I have four elements of harmony Melody, another kind of rhythmic and harmonic element, which I'll explain, and then rhythm. You'll notice that in every example here, I at least have a rhythm, melody and harmony. Our discussion of cadences well, that's kind of included in the harmony and then color. And Tambor has to do with the range and register and Tambor qualities of the instruments that were choosing. So in this urgent example here, I've gone with a rhythm that's kind of accelerating and based on subdivisions, meaning I'm taking whole beats and dividing them into eighths and smaller subdivisions and I talked to earlier on the course about how he used the timpani here to kind of have this subdivide. First I go with full measure and 1/2 measure home measure again and again. Then I start doing subdivisions here, all the way to the point where I have this building crescendo, right? So I'm using subdivisions of our beats in our tempo in order to create this accelerating feel in my rhythm. So what's going on in the harmony? The harmony here is a very tonal B flat, major court progression in numeral terms. It's a 2564671 progression here. So this first chord is A to a C minor in the key of B flat. That is a to court. Then we have a five. So we have an f then we have G minor, which is a six chord in the context to be five major. Then we have a four e flat. Then we have a six g minor. Then we have a seven, which is it should diminished chord. This is an a diminished seven court which functions towards the one in what we call an authentic cadence a 7 to 1 or five toe, one cadence, the use of an authentic cadence. Here concludes this musical concept with a lot of clarity. With a lot of resolution, it really makes us feel confident and secure. That's what's happening in the rhythm, harmony and cadence. Now let's look at the melody. So the melody has this sort of ascending contour going from the lower notes, toe higher notes, kind of you can almost imagine the melody trying to climb up a mountain. And finally, it gets there at the very end. I'm using only chord tones the whole time, so every note is well grounded. It is conveying triumph through the melody, while the rhythm is conveying urgency with that subdivided X celebration. But I didn't want the urgency to feel uneasy and threatening. So I'm conveying to my listener through this a sending and very stable, cord tone based melody that everything's gonna be okay. This is redemptive, but there is some urgency. We're gonna have to do some work here. That's kind of the feel that this whole Q starts to convey to the listener. So my character, who's my character well, this character is robust. That's being conveyed by court tones to determine that's being conveyed by the way that my melody ascends here and finally arrives at the ultimate point of resolution, according tone on my one court tonic chord. So it's robust and determined and its bold. The character is bold. It's constantly making this ascent. It's determined and bold. What's the situation that my characters in? Well, it's very active because of the timpani, rhythm and the accelerating subdivisions. It's very active situation, which the character has to exert themselves is forward focused, and that is also being conveyed by my harmony because everything kind of arrives ultimately at this point of total resolution on my tonic court on that one chord. But it's also demanding because our rhythm is suggesting that things air speeding up that time is closing in our melody is moving in this ascent direction, this Ford moving focused direction and that all is conveying a sense that this is a demanding context. So let's listen to this cello part. So what I'm doing here is amusing court tones from the individual chord, still staying very grounded. But I'm creating kind of ah frenetic sense that almost like something's pounding you is the listener like you're being chased. They're sort of like there's no time, it's steady and it's predictable, but it's also never ending. It's It gives you this sense that you must have moved forward. Animal costs. That's what the cello is doing. But it's also enforcing my harmony because these are chord tones that are making up this arrangement, and at the same time it's rhythmic because it's a steady rhythm based on eighth notes in my tempo. So let's listen to that again in the whole Q. And just see how the harmony, melody and that rhythmic harmonic cello combined with the accelerating rhythm in the temple we all come together horns, air, creating a regal sense of posture and integrity. Cello is pounding us to continue. Timpani is also kind of harassing us, creating this big crescendo. So what we're getting from all of those different elements is a sense of urgency, but also redemptive urgency, a sense of triumph and regal nous. Now let's move forward and look at how I conveyed calm and melancholy in the next lesson. 13. Demo: Conveying a "Calm/Melancholy" Mood: in this lesson. I want to talk about the second cue, the calm and melancholy Q and how I'm conveying emotion here. So again, I've got the real crux of my Q. Built from a harmonic concept, arrhythmic concept and a melodic concept, my rhythm is muted. I actually am using a pad sound here that is being filtered. Now. If you don't have a bilton than these, plug ins may not be familiar to you, but essentially, this is just an automated e que and automated filter, and you can't see it from functioning. But you can hear it. Let's listen to this right? So there's kind of a quality here that is rhythmic in nature, but it's not as aggressive and persistent as a drum. It's kind of soft and muted, and I wanted that because I thought a muted rhythm would still provide the cohesion that we want from rhythm. But because it's a muted and it's kind of sonic character, you could think about it as a Tambra lcar character. It's helping to convey and reinforce the sense of calm that my harmony is again based on B flat major, but here we're using a different cadence says. I talked about earlier. I'm using what's called 1/2 kids. I'm ending on the five chord of my key of B flat. The progression starts with B flat here ends on a five chord. My harmony is still fundamentally based on B flat major, so it has the more cheerful element that a major can convey. But the half cadence also makes it seem very circular. The harmonic progression here circles in on itself like a snake eating its own tail. It's listen to just the Army, so it's very moody, right? You can feel that it's moving by small motions. There's nothing urgent here, aunt here, we've kind of concluded, but not really. That's the feeling of 1/2 kittens now, of course, my melody, as I referred to earlier, is really just using drones and these droning pitches. I get one pitch over the whole core progression, so the core progression plays under this drug. Then it repeats under this drone. Then it repeats under this trans to each one of these drone pitches get performed over this entire harmonic progression, and in so doing, each drone pitch changes from cord tone, toe color, tone and maybe even to chromatic and what that helps the listener feel and what I'm conveying through. This is a sense of solidity, stability calm. Uh, you know that there's no motion that this melody is lacking motion in such a such a severe way that it almost doesn't seem like it's a melody. But it is a melody. It's the personification of this calm, melancholy mood. Now let's consider the color and Tambor, of course, I'm using stable mid range instruments. The piano. I'm using its mid range, even though as an instrument has a very broad range from lows the highs. I'm using the mid range so it feels very stable. The fact that I'm using the middle of the instrument conveys more stability using synthetic sounds like the one that's conveying rhythm and then the melody as well, which is a very ethereal sound you can hear for yourself. The's synthetic quality is kind of convey a transcendent sense, like it's beyond this world because thes sounds and beyond this world their synthetic synthesised sounds. But then the use of the piano is also conveying nostalgia. Very grounded, an anchor. People feel. Rest assured that the pianos is around, all right. That's just part of the Tambor of a piano, for one reason could be culturally socialized. But that's just true fact. Generally, most people find the piano to be grounded and anchored. But it also has this nostalgic quality, which that really helps the melancholy part of Mike You. So who is my character? Well, in this context, my melodic character is very stable, unimposing, it's very relaxed. And what's the situation there in its very soft and it's very supportive. And so I've got this relaxed character my melody conveyed through this droning approach, and I've got this very soft, supportive setting made up of a synthetic sound, a mixed with piano and my rhythm that's giving the whole thing. Rhythmic cohesion is this very soft kind of muted filtered rhythm. So it's all conveying a soft, supportive, calm and melancholy mood. Now let's move forward and look at our last cue, the spooky que in green over here. In the next lesson, 14. Demo: Conveying a "Spooky/Creepy" Mood: I think this is the final of our three cuse. This is our spooky kind of creepy feel, and I want to talk in detail about what's going on here. You get a lot of really interesting things, so in the rhythm and mentioned this earlier, I have a heartbeat sound now. The heartbeat I chose because you know, literally conveys what's the first thing all of us do. When we feel creeped out, our heart starts beating, so I immediately elicit that. Now I got that by using a kick drum, but I'm actually using an e que here. Let's just listen to the kick drum all by itself. Sounds like a kick drum, But then I used an e que what we call a low pass filter to basically reduced. The aud ability of any of high range frequencies in the sound gives it that dull, muted sound of a heartbeat. Now the heartbeat in terms of rhythm. This is based on 44 time all these cues or using 114 beats per minute as my tempo. But this is based on a 44 time signature now combining the heartbeat with my other rhythmic element, the tubular bell Over here, we get this sound. Let's see. Gonna wait for the loop to come around so the bell happens. But the bell does not happen. Every time the heartbeat happens, you see and it doesn't even follow a regular, consistent pattern, it seems to the listing to be irregular. It's not what I'm doing here is I'm using poly rhythms, so the bell is being performed in 34 time. Well, the heartbeat is being performed in 44 time. And by doing this I will end up with an irregular synchronization, if you will. Between the bell and the heartbeat, there is a pattern to it, but the pattern takes too long for people to really recognize. This winds up conveying a spooky, creepy feeling because while it's cohesive, it lacks predictability, and that makes us feel insecure. It makes the listener feel that they're in an unstable situation they can't come to grips with. That's great for conveying, spooky, creepy. So that's what's going on in the rhythm. We've got this polyrhythms conveying an unpredictable thing. Now the bell, also kind of, you know, for whom the bell tolls has this kind of like a graveyard Sound to it. Like you know, this is the bell that rings before all the bodies come out of the graves. It's a spooky feeling, using the bells and the heartbeat, so those tampers have been chosen to also convey spooky and creepy. So what's going on in our harmony? That's also very interesting. I'm not using a key here. This is a tonal music. That chord progression is an a minor chord, followed by an E flat minor chord, followed by an F sharp minor chord, followed by a G minor chord, followed by a D flat minor court. And so what's happening there? Or a C sharp minor court? What's happening here is that I'm just using a Siris of minor chords, and they're really disorienting. But they also don't adhere toe one key, major or minor. It's a tonal. There is no key here. So essentially I'm playing with nine tone scale and that conveys even Maura uneasiness, unpredictability. There's no sense of cadence. There's no cadence in this particular piece. The unrelated minor chords air, really effective in the lack of cave ins, is a really effective at again, making the listener feel that they're in an unpredictable situation that doesn't adhere to the principles of sanity and security. Right? That's what I want. So I'm trying to convey spooky, creepy, unused. So what's happening in my melody here is very interesting. Let's listen to this. I start by arpeggio hitting an a minor triad. Then I arpeggio in a flat major. Try it back to a minor back to a flat major, so I'm fluctuating from a to a flat just by what interval of what we call a minor second or 1/2 step and minor seconds overy effective ways to convey uneasiness. Essentially, I'm creating a color tone and chromatic based melody here. There's a lot of crime Matics happening, meaning that these air notes that don't match the cord in the harmony and they don't really match our key. Of course, we're not really in the key here. It'll anyway. So the use of crow Matics and the fact that I'm shifting from a minor a flat major and there's that fluctuation of a minor second interval between and a flat as the roots of those relative cords that I'm arpeggio eating in my melody here. All of that helps to convey a sense of uneasiness. Intention, chromatic Send Your melody are great at conveying tension and nothing about the harmony. Our melody conveys resolution at any point. There's no cadence in this piece. It's never ending. It feels aimless. So who is our character while our character is meandering? You know, we've got this arpeggio hating sound that just kind of meanders the glockenspiel. Her register is very high, so it also kind of conveys this diminutive, somewhat distant feel. Very weak, very frail. And then the situation that this character is in is very eerie. There's no substance here. There's no cadence in the harmony and the Siris of minor chords that we're using just kind of go round and round and round a bit aimless, just like our melody, the rhythm that is unpredictable. Using the 34 mixed with 44 time the poly rhythm, all of it ends up to create a situation that's equally unpredictable. So we have this frail and weak character. Are melody wandering around in this very unpredictable context or situation that's being created by over them? An army? It all adds up to create a great creepy, spooky feel Let's give a one more listen and reflect on all of that. So the harmony is kind of that high end, almost like somebody scratching on glass, the rhythms air all irregular and unpredictable. The melody is very rhythmic and very predictable, but it's also very frail, and because it uses a lot of crime Matics, it also winds up being very tense and uneasy. So I hope you've learned a lot from these three examples that urgent, calm and spooky cues that prepared here for you. What you want to do is your project for this course is to create one each of these cues, so stick to the same topics. Urgent, calm and spooky. Use the tools that I've given you in these three demonstrations and try to assemble your own piece. Always think about who your character is, who your situation is. Character. That's your theme situation. That's your variation. In the next lesson. I'm gonna give you a few final thoughts. One thing I want to add before I get there is that you can download these able to projects if you want from this course, and just load them straight and able to if you're not using able to. Then I made the MIDI and audio available so you can download the harmony, melody and rhythm for each of these three cues, and you can listen to the audio signals if you want to put them into pro tools or Q base or logic or what have you used. But I also made the MIDI available for each of the clips here, so enabled in the context, each one of these little units is a clip that made the midi available to so you can bring that into your did Toby you or audio software and cook it up toe whatever software instruments he want to use. If you have any questions, of course, please reach out to me and totally committed to helping you develop these skills. If any of the music theory in this course has been unclear, like what a five court is where I'm getting the notes from these tried so and so forth, then make sure you check out my music theory for conveying emotion. Course there are covered just the music theory elements. I do refer to these examples, but it's really just the music theory, so you can take that course Now let's go ahead, and I'm going to give you my final thoughts in the next lesson. 15. Final Thoughts: All right. Well, congratulations. You've been through the whole course, and I want encourage you at this point. Make sure you share your work as you're going through, not just when it's completed. What is completed? Uh, that's kind of important that you share it so that I can see what you've done and always obviously feel free to ask me questions during the process. But also reach out. Other students listen to their cues. Maybe you'll get ideas. Maybe somebody used an instrument you didn't think of, or you can hear somebody else using chromatic sort. Color tones, quarters, that sort of thing. You'll get valuable ideas from listing other people and listening to their music. And you'll also get really valuable insights from maybe the feedback that you get on your own ideas right. So feel free and actually encourage you. Share your cues as you're working on them as well as once they're completed. Creative collaboration office Aton of benefits All right, because no matter how experienced you are, you know no matter how great your musical skills, proud as their instrument abilities are, you're always going to get a fresh perspective, and that's an important part of making good music is getting that fresh perspective from other people from people that you're collaborating with. No. All the students in this course of working on the same task, they're all interested in the same goal. Of course I'm interested in this. And if you want to ask me questions, feel free. But I suggest make sure you take advantage of this small community to collaborate, get ideas, listen to other people's cues so that you can give them feedback. Maybe you've got an idea that is really gonna cut. Turn some lights on for them right now. One thing I want to make sure you understand as well is that I've created a student portal on my website at music protest dot com ford slash three cues. The purpose of this student portal is so that I can keep in touch with you over time. And if there are new materials that I think will be a benefit to students in this course, then of course I'm going to share them with you there. So please check out the student portal of music protest dot com for its last three cues. Congratulations on only work. Post your ideas. Post your cues up there for everybody toe listen to the list in other people's music. Give them constructive feedbacks Really important that all your feedback is constructive and helpful, not just critical. And please reach asked me if you have any questions. Congratulations on completing the course.