How to score a sequel…

It has been a long time since I originally posted about Geoff Zanelli. In that time he has worked on a number of films, taking on an increasingly prominent role. When I heard that he was taking over as lead composer for the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean film (Dead Men Tell No Tales/Salazar’s Revenge), I was excited to listen to the result. Just over a month ago1 I was lucky enough to see the film2 and I was not disappointed.

An extract from some Piratey music I wrote back in 2008. © 2008 Mark Hogan.

An extract from some Piratey music I wrote back in 2008. © 2008 Mark Hogan.

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  1. I’ve been busy writing music for an event, otherwise I would have finished this post much sooner. []
  2. I’ve seen it twice now: once in an IMAX screen and once in a more normal screen. I won’t go into the visual merits of one screen over another, but the soundtrack was unexpectedly much more vibrant in the IMAX screen. []

An early look at Pirates of the Caribbean 5…

Joachim Rønning, one of the directors of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, recently posted this brief but exciting video of the score for the movie being recorded. A sneak peak of the start of the movie can be seen in the background: most is not too interesting (the usual Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer Films logos), but you do get a few seconds of the first scene.

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Listen to Huntingdonshire…

Huntingdon Community Radio is a useful radio station to listen to when using the soon to be upgraded section of the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon (though the signal is a bit weak beyond Bar Hill). As well as playing one of the best ranges of music that I’ve heard on radio, it provides detailed information on the roads and rails around Huntingdon. However, until recently, I was puzzled by a daily occurrence on the radio station that was never announced nor acknowledged.

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Alternative cues…

I really love it when alternative cues from soundtracks, like the one below, are leaked. It’s nice to hear “fresh” developments and explorations of themes, and some of the different aspects of the corresponding scene that the composer was trying to reflect, performed and recorded to the same standard as the original soundtrack. Personally, I think they should be officially released in a similar way to some of the other “behind the scenes” elements of films, like conceptual art and deleted scenes. They’d certainly make a better addition to the soundtrack album than the remixes that some albums inexplicably include.


It’s always nice to hear alternative arrangements of well-known themes. I recently stumbled upon a new source of such arrangements: Parademics. Like The Blake Robinson Synthetic Orchestra, the music is created using some pretty good sample libraries. I think I initially came across the YouTube channel when it had little other than some fan-made Pirates of the Caribbean music, but the quantity and breadth of the music have significantly improved over the last few years. I imagine that each arrangement is far from quick to make!

Below is one of the more recent arrangements to appear – to listen to more, visit the channel on YouTube.


Do you know what’s cooler than either science or music? Both at once: scientific music! Or is it musical science?

I should’ve made a video like this featuring LocaMsg, though when I had LocaMsg running on a range of phones I was too busy experimenting and writing a dissertation about it and the results of the experiments…

Website of the month, May 2014…

The website of the month for May 2014 is the Music Timeline by Google’s Big Picture and Music Intelligence research groups, which has an interesting visualisation of the current popularity different genres of music from each of the last 64 years. You can drill down into sub-genres and artists – for example, here you can see the popularity of various film scorers. Classical music is notably excluded, as the date normally associated with it is the date of its composition, not its recording.

An interesting related website (also by Google’s Big Picture research group) is Digital Attack Map, which has a live visualisation of DDoS attacks from around the world.

Please don’t stop the echo…echo…echo…

Here’s an interesting bit of news from the world of sound: a decommissioned underground oil storage depot in the north of Scotland has been found to have the longest echo of any man-made structure anywhere in the world. Echoes in the Inchindown tunnels have been found to last for as long as 112 seconds1 with the broadband reverberation2 time for the tunnel lasting for 75 seconds.

Below you can hear an echo from Inchindown. The original sound is a pistol being fired a third of the way into the tunnel, and the microphone is the same distance from the far end.

Amusingly3, the last claim for the longest echo in a man-made structure was supposedly also from Scotland: in 1970 the echo of the solid bronze doors of the Hamilton Mausoleum slamming shut was found to last for 15 seconds.

  1. This is for a 125Hz sound. []
  2. This is the measure used in the official world record. It’s a measure across a range of frequencies rather than just one. []
  3. On another amusing note, the title of this post is a play on this. []