Compose your own film music - with Hans Zimmer and Ten Pieces
- Find out how to make music for an animation.
- Learn about using themes in film music.
- Discover composer Hans Zimmer and his Ten Pieces composition Earth.
Introducing Zimmer's film music
Music in a film has a big impact on the mood. It can change what you feel when you watch. But how do you get started making film music?
Composer Hans Zimmer has made lots of soundtracks for films like The Lion King, Madagascar and Batman. He uses instruments, voices, recorded samples and electronic sounds in his work.
He has made a new piece of music called Earth especially for Ten Pieces and has a challenge for you to make your own composition in response.
Music for Earth
In Earth there is an orchestra and a childrens’ choir.
Watch the performance and listen out for the different sounds.
Notice how the music starts with a simple melody. It develops by changing the instruments and the patterns as it repeats.
Compose your own music for Earth
Now it's your turn to start composing. You can download an animation about Earth here and follow some steps below for how to make music for it.
1. Start composing - make a plan
Watch the one minute animation and describe the different sections using words or colours. This could be captured in a table or a drawing as in these examples:
2. Start to play
3. Make new variations
Play or sing the theme again then make some changes to create new variations.
Fit these melodies to the mood and structure you wrote out before.
Here are some ideas for changing the theme by playing it backwards or adding notes.
4. Bring it together
Link the theme and variations together to fit the structure you made earlier.
Here are some ideas for linking the patterns:
- Play one after another.
- Repeat one or more of the patterns.
- Start the pattern a few notes higher or lower.
- Change the tempo - try it slower or quicker.
Play the piece with the film.
Does it fit the film or do you need some changes?
Perform your piece, record it and listen back.
How to play your composition
You can play your composition in a few different ways. Create the separate parts in music software, play the parts as a group or play each part yourself.
Record your music
When you have finished, create a recording:
- Export your track from the music software.
- Record instruments playing your piece.
- Make a video, putting your music to the film.
Send your music to the BBC
When you have finished your composition, you can send your music to BBC Young Composer competition.
Explore more KS3 Music activities from Bitesize and Ten Pieces.