This month I would like to bring your attention to the most basic and arguably the most important part of writing trailer music; the ability to create an entire cue with only simple four-part harmony.

When all is said and done a badly written, well-produced track is still a bad track. However, a well-written, badly-produced track is still a good track.

One of my mentors used to describe it in this way:

"There is no point in polishing a turd!"

This brings me to this month's featured trailer, The Marvels final trailer. In my breakdown, I break the composition into its basic components and you can see how the composer has used harmony in a clever way to shape their cue.

This has always been quite a high priority for me and I suggest that you consider practising sketching entire cues using just a piano or basic orchestra so that you can focus on how the track is functioning structurally with its harmony and melody.

Don't get me wrong, production DOES matter, but as a secondary to composing.

Trailer Music Monthly | Issue 6

This is all that matters

The Marvels final trailer has an interesting take on a well-used chord progression.

In the trailer, we hear - Dm | Bb | C | Bb - (i-VI-VII-i) - which is the progression we hear a lot. The composer then takes that progression adding the major 4th chord (G) so we get - Dm-Bb-G-Bb (love this move).

This isn't the only interesting part.

When the composer tacks on the flattened major VII chord (C) as the hold chord at the end of the second act - we get - Dm-Bb-G-Bb-C-C-C-C - it is just magnificent.

It's well worth listening to just for that harmonic movement. An unusual one that I don't often come across!

You can see my full breakdown of the track further down the email...

8 Trailers Worth Watching

  1. PLEASE DON'T DESTROY: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain Trailer uses that clappy, clicky drum intro I teach in this video and my course Epic Drum Kits. Plus, it's got some amazing cinematic Hip Hop in the second and first acts.
  2. T‌he Fall Guy opening is a beautiful example of that ticking-clock sound design track. It then takes a Bon Jovi classic and trailerizes it in an exciting way (so many stop-downs)
  3. Marvel Studio's Echo is a shining example of how effective a building drone can be in a trailer. The near-silence in the first 45s combined with the delayed shouts is AWESOME!
  4. The Rebel Moon trailer (a few months old now) shows how you do not need to move off the root note at all to create brilliant trailer music!
  5. I love how the Manodrome trailer uses a simple pulse and sound design to create a tense-rising track.
  6. I love the unusual quirky/jazzy piano track used in the first act of the Eileen trailer. It then goes into a rather creepy pulsing sound design track. It's so nice to hear horror-style breaths and sound used over the top of a tense building electronic track.
  7. The Wicked Little Letters trailer is hilarious and the neo-classical string track is a perfect match.
  8. I am really enjoying the trend of trailerising pop songs from the 70s and 80s and the Fingernails trailer is a great example. The Leave The World Behind trailer is another good example too.

❤ Rich's Favourite Track This Month

‌Ok, I promise I will stop self-promoting...eventually. It's just that I have been uploading my entire back catalogue of trailer music to a new YouTube channel so I am hearing some of my tracks for the first time in years and I am really proud of my output.

Piano Works 10 is one of my least-placed albums but it is actually one of my favourite albums to listen to and just enjoy the music.

This track is I think a good representation of the album as a whole, beautiful slow-burn tracks with a decidedly filmic bent.

If you enjoy this then check out the whole album.

🎹 Trailer Music Tutorials This Month

My detailed breakdown of the music used in the final Marvels trailer.

‌I show you how I wrote the music that was used in the Destiny 2: Lightfall trailer

Another breakdown of the delightful family adventure tracks used in the trailer for the Artful Dodger...(oops I used the same face on those two thumbnails)

🎬 New Placements

‌Funnily enough, I included this trailer in the TMM issue 4 as one that shows a great use of clappy, snappy drum intros without even knowing that it was my own track they used 🤣

Practice Brief for Silver & Gold Subscribers

Suppose you are one of my Silver or Gold tier subscribers. You then get access to a practice brief and professional track feedback from me each month.

This post is for subscribers with any of the tiers: Silver, Gold or Platinum

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