In any performance, the soundtrack used can be the most integral part of the performance; the choreography is based around it, it carries the emotion and narrative throughout your piece and goes hand in hand with many elements of the criteria.
Putting your soundtrack together!
There are many different ways to create and put together a soundtrack.
- One great software is Audacity. It is free to download and is already on most computers. It is easy to use and there are plenty of tutorials to be looked at online to give you step-by-step tutorials.
- Another is Garage Band. It is an Apple software so can be purchased on Macs. Also meaning you can download it on your iPhone, iPod or iPad and enhance and edit your soundtrack on the go.
Both softwares allow you to add your own recordings if you wish to make your own voiceovers or sound effects. It sounds great when your soundtrack flows from one song to another and these apps let you put tracks over each other, enabling you to achieve this effect. You can fade songs in and out, preventing you from having to have silence before the next song plays. These tips will help carry the story and help the performance flow well.
1. Make sure to allocate a good amount of time to spend creating and editing the soundtrack so that you are happy with it, the soundtrack is a very important part of your performance. I would recommend not doing the whole soundtrack at once and spending time over a period of a few weeks to complete it.
2. Transitions are important in your soundtrack, they can be used to indicate a change of scene and give your stage crew and dancers a chance to move positions or exit or enter the stage area. A very simple form of transition is to reduce the volume of one track while increasing the volume of the next, effects such as reverb or delay can be used too many applications can apply these effects for you.
3. Sound effects and other noises can be quite important for storytelling, whether that is noise from a hospital bed in a hospital scene or an explosion for a dramatic end to your performance. Voiceovers and noises can also be used as transitions, they can be used to mark the start of a new song. Adding a little bit of reverb to a voiceover could improve the quality of it, play around with other such effects on sounds you’d like to add some drama to!
4. Final editing is about making the final adjustments to your soundtrack, making sure it fits all the parameters set in the productions booklet and ultimately that you and your team are happy with it. Once all this has been done the soundtrack needs to be burned to CD before the event date, it’s recommended that you burn several copies just in case.
Creating the soundtrack can be a time-consuming process, but it’s integral to your performance. But don’t forget to have fun doing it!
Choosing the music!
It can be hard trying to find the perfect music for your piece. You might hear the perfect song whilst you’re out and then spend ages searching for the song! One app that has helped me hugely is the free app Shazam, when you go on the app and press the Shazam logo, it will recognize the song for you. It saves typing in the few lyrics you can remember into Google and listening to every suggestion! It then gives you the option to download the track and it also saves all the songs you have ‘Shazamed’. The app recognizing it will also mean it is commercially available which is perfect as all songs or sounds used must be commercial available, meaning anyone can buy them. If you are a Rock Challenge® regular, you will be familiar with a certain collection of songs which are consistently overused. Whilst all of these songs are great choices Rock Challenge®, try and think outside the box. Give the judges, other schools and the audience something new to listen to.
Consider the tempo of the music when designing the soundtrack and ensure you have the appropriate style of music for each scene. For example, if it’s a sad scene then maybe consider some slow and soft music as this can help the performers portray and those viewing feel the emotion. Contrasting this, a big happy finale using a big happy, clap along song or piece of music. If you wish to use juxtaposition, i.e. using a happy song but a sad scene. We would advise ensuring that the narrative is clear in the choreography and drama skills.
Voiceover/ Lyrics: Many teams will use lyrics or voiceover to enhance their piece. This is not a requirement but can help to highlight the key moments in the piece and enhance the emotional effect. However, please ensure the lyrics/words used are relevant to the piece, as it is there to enhance your story telling. You can as mentioned before use voiceovers/lyrics from films/soundtracks however you can also record your own! If you choose to do this ensure that the narration is clearly audible. It may affect your score if the sound is of a low quality. You can also only have a maximum of 90 seconds of voiceover throughout your soundtrack so please ensure you check this as this could also result in a penalty.
Other things to remember!
Your performance has to be between five and eight minutes, which means your soundtrack has to be at least five minutes long. If you want to use all eight minutes, please ensure that your soundtrack finishes at 8 minutes on the dot. A performance under five minutes, or going over 8 will result in a penalty.
The soundtrack is a great method for time keeping as you can track the performance down to the second! This can be very handy when designing the lighting. I would advise using the soundtrack to help with cue times for the lighting designs.
We hope this has helped! Best of luck creating your soundtracks!