View Full Version : Music/sound, separate skills

Dave Chan
08-20-2007, 03:12 PM
I know this is fairly common in the industry, in fact I have got some strange looks over the years when I tell people I am a sound designer, but not a composer. Have you folks here ever considered having a separate music and sound design forum? I admit there is a lot of crossover in skills, but they really are distinct. I mean you wouldn't ask Randy Thom to score a Pixar film or Howard Shore to make explosion sounds for an action flick. Just food for thought.

08-20-2007, 11:14 PM
I see how one can be a sound designer and not a composer.

A composer who's not able to do sound design however, seems weird to me. I know if I was a developer, I'd probably go with someone else if the composer didn't offer sound design as well.

You're designing your own sounds every day anyway in your music (unless you're stuck with using factory presets on every sample library, which should be illegal anyway).

Staffan Melin
Melin Music (http://www.melinmusic.com)

08-21-2007, 04:55 AM
I'm guessing this should probably go in a different category besides News...

You don't know how many interns I get applying here who just want to write music and can't do sound design or dialog production. Rather, it's that they don't want to.

At any rate, in the indie world, it makes sense to be able to do both. For instance, I did the sound design for Daycare Nightmare. Jesse Hopkins was the composer. Now I had to duck out the last few weeks of production for personal problems and Jesse was able to fill in some sfx for the game.

Generally, if you got the tools to write music, you got the tools to design SFX. Generally. Larger scale/budget titles, depending on dev cycle and implementation scheduling the sound designer and music composer is separate. Again, generally...but most prevalent.

For this board however, it would seem best to consolidate the categories.

08-21-2007, 07:24 AM
You're designing your own sounds every day anyway in your music (unless you're stuck with using factory presets on every sample library, which should be illegal anyway).

What? If I want a violin part in my piece, why would I try to concoct my own violin sound in some synthesizer when I can pull up a sample library with a pristine violin sample played by a professional? That's what they're for.

Re: the sound designer versus composer thing, I think it's a lot like any other department in the indie world. On a Pixar film, to carry on with the original poster's example, you'd never have the same person design, model, texture and animate a character; that's four different jobs (at least). On an indie game it's likely going to be one or two people doing all of that. If Howard Shore were an aspiring game composer with no track record, I think he might try to do some explosion sounds if it gets him a gig. :)

08-21-2007, 08:28 AM
I think the view of a composer that normally should be able to do sounddesign is just rubbish and probably just a view that comes from a non-experienced one in this area.

As a sound designer AND a composer in it's professional state I can assure you that these two differ extremely.
What says a composer has to know microphone techniques? Foley recording? Highlevel/Lowlevel soundediting and even some implementationknowledge.

On the other hand, a sound designer does not really need to know composition, harmony, instrumenttheory etc

Melin: No it's not illegal. Use of softsynths, samplers and plugins which most composers use nowadays would be useless. It's a big difference between using a SFX from a library in a game and using a SOUND from a library for the music in a game, licensewise.

I think in the end it's almost the same as comparing 2D-artists and 3D-artists. Yes, there are similarities and often a 3D-modeller who got an eye for estetics in 3D usually does have the talent for some 2D as well. That doesn't mean he automatically becomes a 2D-artist.

well, in the end, this discussion shouldn't be in here... and really, I'm not sure we need seperate sections... I don't even think we got 1 section for audiodesign yet do we (portfolio doesn't count)

08-22-2007, 09:47 PM
haha of course it's not illegal. I meant as in "should not be done at all by anyone".

And yes, I do use sample libraries too (the violin reference). But using obvious worn out articulations, and preset synth/pad/lead patches is what I'm talking about.

I know composition and sound design is different, but not offering both as an indie composer, you're shooting yourself in the foot. I've discussed this with both composers and devs. I talked to a composer recently who didn't get the job because he didn't do sound design. For an indie dev, it's much easier to hire one person rather than two.

Nicholas Singer
08-31-2007, 10:17 AM
I would consider being in charge of music and sound more as the role of a music supervisor or audio director- working exclusively as a composer obviously gives you the opportunity to focus more on the music, which some people prefer.