Essential Reading for Film and Game Composers

The following is a list of books that I feel are incredibly useful for composers and musicians. I’ve read all of the below books myself and will add more as I read them if I feel they are worthwhile. If you like this list, make sure and check out the Resources page for even more tools that you should have!

Scoring

Mixing

Orchestration

Composition

Business

Any other books you’d recommend? Please let me know in the comments!

Written by: Emmett Cooke

Emmett Cooke is an Irish composer for film, tv and video games. His music has been used around the world by high profile companies including Sony Playstation, Ralph Lauren, ABC, CBS, NBC, Lockheed Martin and many more.

  • Ciarán Birch

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and what you know about being a composer. Absolutely love this site, it’s probably one of the best around for aspiring composers to learn from.

    • http://www.FilmandGameComposers.com Emmett Cooke

      Thanks Ciaran,

      I notice you’re from Ireland too! Glad to see some visits coming from home too! :)

      Emmett

      • http://www.oakwoodmusic.ie/ Ciaran Birch

        Yeh I thought it was great when i first came on and saw your bio down the bottom! :) Keep up the good work! :)

        Ciaran

  • http://www.facebook.com/nick.smeenk Nick Smeenk

    If I may suggest 2 books that analyze a specific filmscore:

    The music of the Lord of The rings films – Doug Adams

    In the first part this book gives an in depth analysis of all the themes used in the three LOTR films what’s the relationship between them and the story and how they work together. With little score examples.

    The second part explains every track of the Complete Recordings versions of the music. He explains what happens storywise and how the themes are used to support the story and emotions. With this book you also get a cd with some extra unreleased music and some really cool early MIDI mockups.

    I really like this book and it gives a lot of inspiration as a Film Composer. It gives great insight in how Howard Shore has put his score togheter.

    Danny Elfman’s Batman: a film score guide – Janet K Halfyard

    This book starts with a little history about superhero movies, how they changed during different decades and how Tim Burtons batman fits (or doesn’t exactly fit) within that certain decade.

    Later they discuss Danny Elman’s background and style how he got there and the controversy he rose in the beginning as not being a traditional composer.

    The most interesting part is the analysing of the score at first with the theme he used and how he constructed a whole score of it. Themewise it isn’t as specific with musical examples as The LOTR music book, but it explains his way of working and how he scored Batman. There are more books available in this series. Really interesting. I always have a special feeling when I listen to Danny Elfman’s music. A great example to me.

    • Emmett Cooke

      Hey Nick, awesome – never heard of those books actually. Will check them out now – sound very interesting!

  • Suganthan Harmless

    Thanks for the list Emmet!

Film and Game Composers

www.FilmandGameComposers.com offers a wide range of interviews, reviews, guides and tutorials for composers and musicians who are interested in writing music for film, TV and video games.

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