Battle for Heaven - score

Hi Guys, feel free to bash this one. I am having some trouble finishing it lol
Its a movie score, finale scene, imagine chariots and horses and sky vimanas :sweat_smile:


Great sound, very likeable, nothing to bash here. I guess you could have more cymbal crashes and trumpet blasts, or else you break the basic rhythm at some point with something heavier; but it’s cool just like it is. What libraries are you using?

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Thanks for the input!

primarily Kontakt for brass and staccato string sections , but it also uses a lot of live instruments, piccolo, bamboo flutes, santoor (mini harp), tabla (percussion)

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Love that opening riff. I am picturing a galactic battle of sorts (star warish) I can’t imagine the effort that went into this. I also can’t help much on the specifics of the mix :frowning:
I do know I will play this at 5:30 tomorrow morning. Coupled with my coffee, It should be a great start of the day.

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Sounds fantastic! It really seems to suit the visual you’re describing. Very exciting piece…

The only thing I was wondering is if more of a definite theme or central melody could be developed. There seems to be a lot of different ideas and motifs happening, but I really love when I can come away with a memorable hook from a movie scene.

Great stuff! :+1:


So are you the one playing the live instruments?

In this track I am playing all the woodwind sections and the flute solos, my friend is playing the tabla.
Some other small knickknacks like the shakers and sticks are added later. There is a nylon ukelele as well.

That is a great idea, perhaps that could be a good addition. I do like brass hooks… from my favorite ones like the movie “Rock” (Hans Zimmer). However, a trumpet and trombone based brass hook might be a bit abrasive for a theme revolving around angelic beings… i might do a muted french horn with woodwinds… i am now thinking outloud. Thanks for the tip!

Its really super hard to gauge this without having context because of how the motivic content has to develop around stuff that’s happening on the screen. I know its common sense, but this is a good example of how picture lock can limit the composers ability to develop stuff progressively. This movie’s really corny, but I thought this particular fight scene made good use of a balance in textures between the audio and visual. At 1:38

Sounds interesting! Would love to see a preview when it comes out!

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It’s really hard to judge the quality of a song like this without seeing the context.

The arrangement all sounds like it works together well, and each instrument is doing the job it should. I feel like there’s a lack of contrast between the light parts and the big parts, but again, that may be by design.


The project is for an asian movie. The thing with these kinds of productions is that scene isnt actually filmed and the directors are shopping for soundtracks early. In the old days, scenes were filmed and played in front of the live orchestra (I have been in that setting as well in the woodwinds section) . However today, the budget concerns have taken some of that freedom away. Things are bound by NDAs most times and all you have to go by is an idea. Which does indeed cut some feeling out and makes the tracks a bit on the “Safe” and consistent side.

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huh, interesting. Is this a trend in film music in general or is it just certain genres/budgets? It seems like the current trend in film scores is make the music that doesn’t have much of a melody. This seems to be the case with high budget movies as well.

yes that is a current trend. Take Avengers Endgame for example, the theme " so say we all " was created years before the movie was actually filmed. The Avenger directors just bought the theme and slapped on their movie.

Some other blockbuster movies also lack the "theme " element that exists in Star Wars and other older movies. I guess you can call it a trend to either cut costs or to not come across as dated.

This film music stuff is probably waaay beyond my pay grade… All I know is that I’m always a sucker for a well placed melody, no matter how simple. That just came to mind because I just saw the new Star Wars film the other night, and the different character “themes” are such a big part of the movie.

Definitely agree with @Jonathan on his point above - It would be much easier to work to actual footage… but I think @FluteCafe 's description was fairly specific.

By her description of the process though, personally if it was me bidding for the work, I’d just forget about playing it safe and go with a strong melodic motif and be damned.

I could be wrong, but IMO melody never goes out of fashion. It may not be “fashionable” at present, but strong melodies will age much better than trendy sounds.

You are not wrong, I absolutely love orchestrated melodies and melodies don’t go out of fashion. However, as with fashion, there is always the anti-fashion aspect. I started playing for a symphony at an early age. We used to do specific themes for specific characters in plays, choreographies and movies. That art is slowly getting lost.

In this particular case, I have the project already and I do have some more creative freedom than usual. I might add a bit more memorable hook to the finale scene rather than just articulations. In most cases however, the directions are pretty ironed out. As in, that the music should not be bigger than the scene, it should not be distracting or creating more drama than the scene entails etc… which is what scares most producers and directors of today away from being bold and creative. The other is also fear of being “stereotyped”. An example is the “Enterprise” theme of Star Trek Into Darkness - A beautiful Orchestral hook by Michael Giacchino that was repeated in some other movies as well, some by him like Doctor Strange and some by copycats. That has something to do with it as well that modern day composers are exploring other paths. It is also quite exhausting to keep coming up with melodies that match up with the expectations of others… scene after scene.

In my opinion theme melodies should be preserved in theatrics, however “out of fashion” it may seem… fashion always comes back!

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One way of ending it would be to reintroduce the choir you’ve got at 0:19… expanding on that while everything else peters out… letting the choir lift you to heaven, so to speak…


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Thank you for the review! I actually got a compliment once from Howard Scarr on a tune of mine: he is a synth sound designer that sometimes works with Hans Zimmer. Your song: I was expecting mellow flute music, but this was really high energy orchestral music! In some ways it sounded Eastern Indian, and other ways Middle Eastern, to me. Sounds really good & professional! I haven’t spent loads of time to achieve the goal, but it is a bit of a dream of mine for my music to end up in a movie. One person I know had an interest in putting my music in a movie of his, or put it on a radio show he had; but he is a serious Satan worshipper (he made a movie regarding Satanism), and I haven’t talked to him in ages.

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FC, I’m just listening to this again. This is really, really well done. So many textures, nice energy.

I love the orchestral quality of this. Sound real and professional to me. You have such a good knowledge of how to arrange and “think” orchestrally.

Overall a great balance of instruments, although at times the flute seems just a smidge too loud relative to the rest of the instruments (like at 2:00 or so). Not that it’s bad, but that makes it sound more DAW than live. I dunno. Just a thought.

What did you use for percussion?

You have a lot of samples here. Would be interested in knowing what you use and how you approach arranging something like this. Garritan? Kontakt libraries? This just sounds so authentic.

So, anyway, I’m very impressed! You have skills that I simply do not possess! Nicely done.

I have spoken with Hans Zimmer once, he picked my score from the masterclass and we had a chat, mentor to student. Big fan myself and hope to write for him someday!

Thank you very much. You are too kind. As for my experience with orchestral arrangements. I grew up among it. My family members were part of a symphony and wrote for movies and plays in a live setting back when I was a kid. As I grew up, I got involved with woodwinds and played in a seattle based symphonic group that composed for the seattle opera. I left to pursue a software career in California but my first love had always been symphonic. I came back to it eventually.

As for the instruments in battle for heaven, its a score written for an asian action clip. I am using a mix of live instruments and kontakt. The live instruments are bamboo flute, silver flute, piccolo, cello, santoor, tabla and shakers. Kontakt for the choir, brass sections and spicatto sections.
The approach was pretty free form actually, I kept the imagery cues in mind, fast moving chariots, arrow volleys from the sky vimanas… i chose asian instruments to keep the soundstage authentic and mixed in some " hollywood" touches.

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