Author Topic: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!  (Read 7033 times)

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Offline georgiapeach

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TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« on: September 19, 2014, 10:25:32 PM »
So excited to bring you AMAZING news Straight from Lee!!!!
 
For the first time ever, Lee will be doing a weekly Podcast all about that week's music! He will also drop by here to answer any questions you all might have!!
 
Quote

This is one I've wanted to do for a loooong time, and now we're finally doing
it—! Beginning a week from Monday (that's September 29), I'll be podcasting
about each previous Friday night's episode of The Amazing
Race
.

 
I'll be talking about the music from the episode, and how it came into being:
ethnic instrumentation and style, production technique, work flow… I'm aiming
this at anyone and everyone who's interested in music—either ethnic music, or
film/TV music, or both.

 
I can't wait to unleash this thing. It's going to be so much fun. Between now
and then, though, there's a lot of work to be done to get it
ready!


http://www.sandersmusic.net/
 
And while you are at Lee's , check out all the great projects you may not have known Lee has done! http://www.sandersmusic.net/projects-gallery/
 
Congratulations Lee!! This will be so fascinating to hear!   :hearts:
 
 
 
« Last Edit: September 29, 2014, 01:24:46 AM by georgiapeach »
"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."Phil Keoghan

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Podcast!!
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2014, 01:22:42 AM »
I am so happy to be sharing with you Lee Sanders' first WEEKLY video discussion of what went into the TAR 25 Episode 1's MUSIC!! It is a great treat to get to hear how Lee composes his music. TAR would NOT be the same without his creativity, his music binds the show together!!
Lee will be stopping in tomorrow to answer any questions you may have, so please ask away!!
 
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/rf3XUNnQZsQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/rf3XUNnQZsQ</a>
"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."Phil Keoghan


Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2014, 09:45:50 AM »
I'll be dropping in all day long to answer questions—thanks, everyone, for your support of the show! This cycle is going to be so much fun. Can't wait for you all to see it.

Also, yes, I did just get my wisdom teeth removed. I'm hoping my face will be a little less, um, swollen in future podcasts. But maybe I should just lay off the carbs.  :groan:

Offline TexasLady

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2014, 12:54:59 PM »
I am SO happy that you will come take our questions. When I started watching TAR I began noticing the music for the ending credits and I loved it! How do you decide what to feature in your music for each show?

Welcome to RFF! (And UGH on the extractions! Feel better.) :_

:bigwelcome
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Offline maf

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2014, 01:39:47 PM »
And I'm interested in the technical bits. What equipment do you use? And how much freedom do you have when you create the music?

Are you at all involved in the small musical motifs some teams sometimes get_


Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2014, 02:54:18 PM »
I am SO happy that you will come take our questions. When I started watching TAR I began noticing the music for the ending credits and I loved it! How do you decide what to feature in your music for each show?

Welcome to RFF! (And UGH on the extractions! Feel better.) :_

:bigwelcome

Don't know if I quoted that correctly, but the question is how I decide what to feature in the music for each show. The answer is that I generally don't—decisions over what music goes against picture in reality TV shows start with the picture editors, then are signed off on by producers and network as the cut of the episode goes 'up the food chain.'

In the case of Race, we do quite a bit of custom scoring per episode, so obviously that music is intended to go with certain scenes… but even then, if a producer feels the intended cue isn't working for whatever reason, a replacement will be selected from the 13 years of Race music that are already on the editors' hard drives.

If there's time (rarely!) I'll get notes and a request for revisions, but things are usually moving so fast that there's just not enough time to do that. Part of the thrill of scoring the show is that there's no time to "miss a pitch"—I generally have one shot to get the music right for a given scene.

Hope that answers the question. If you were just asking about the end credits, specifically, then I think the show producers and editors sort of powwow at the end and decide what the most iconic moment from the episode was, and sometimes they put that music in under the end credits (other times they default to the end credits cue they've been using for a while now).

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2014, 02:58:45 PM »
Hi, Lee

Its cool there was a bit of steel band in the music this leg (I used to play the instrument back in high school, so instantly recognized it!). My question is do you travel to these locales visited on the race to scout the musical culture present?

Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2014, 03:03:05 PM »
And I'm interested in the technical bits. What equipment do you use? And how much freedom do you have when you create the music?

Are you at all involved in the small musical motifs some teams sometimes get_

Quoting seemed to work, so I'll just answer this one!

(If the first couple of paragraphs below are all opaque geek-speak, please feel free to skip a bit…!).

I use Digital Performer as my sequencing software (i.e., the "writing canvas" onto which I program all the musical instructions for a given piece of music). For sample playback I use Vienna Ensemble Pro to coordinate multiple Macs, which run Kontakt, Omnisphere, and various PLAY-based libraries. Mixing is generally done "in the box" with a few pieces of outboard gear that I like, as they're needed. And if I need to create scores and parts (rare, but it happens) I'll use a separate music notation app called Finale.

As for team themes, yes! I'll sometimes be asked to write something specific to a particular team. The Cowboys are probably the most obvious example of this. The first "Cowboy Theme" was used so often that, when Jet and Cord came back each successive time for All-Stars, I created two more Cowboy Themes. The three, taken together, make a nice little Western Suite, actually.

The show is mature enough now that producers and editors sort of know what they're going to need, and we've devised a kind of language to talk about the cues I'm going to create. Beyond that, though, I'm free to write whatever occurs to me… and, in fact, I'm almost always encouraged to go as big and as wild as I want! That's one of the great fun things about The Amazing Race—painting with the sort of epic-scale brush the show so often requires is something not every composer has a chance to do.

Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2014, 03:10:55 PM »
Hi, Lee

Its cool there was a bit of steel band in the music this leg (I used to play the instrument back in high school, so instantly recognized it!). My question is do you travel to these locales visited on the race to scout the musical culture present?

I wish they'd just pack me in with the luggage! I travel a lot, and I'm always taking notes about what I hear wherever I am in the world… but I don't specifically scout out the countries on the show. If it's a place I haven't been (and many, many of them are) I will do all kinds of research.

Whether it's searching around online… or via musician friends who specialize in the style of a culture/region… or even things like taking a meeting with an embassy staffer to talk it over… there are a bunch of things I do to try to start from a place of knowing everything I can.

Having said that, I should add that, when it's time to write, I end up having to distill it down considerably! Telling the story in the most compelling way possible means that, a lot of the time, some really cool elements of a culture's music just don't convey the emotion we need.

So it's a constant balance of the three elements that make up the show: 1) travelogue, 2) action/adventure story and 3) character/relationship drama. Not necessarily in that order. Music has to be serving one or more of those at all times, and that means that often I'll need to step away from the ethnically-accurate palette and into something a little more orchestral and/or traditional. Finding the balance is always a challenge, not just for me, but for the picture editors, who place a lot of the music into the show.

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2014, 03:13:22 PM »
Start to finish, how much time are you given to do one leg usually?
"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."Phil Keoghan


Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2014, 04:05:19 PM »
I typically have 5-6 days to do the custom music for a particular episode, although it's rarely so regular as that sounds. Different cuts of episodes—and different scenes within different episodes!—often get ready at different times. So I work my way in a very roughly chronological fashion through a cycle.

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2014, 04:12:48 PM »
Gosh, that seems so fast! Do you have an all time favorite leg, or one you are particularly proud of?
"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."Phil Keoghan

Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2014, 05:58:46 PM »
I've been waiting for years for someone to ask me that! In Cycle 3, Episode 8, teams are in Zürich, where they have to run around town to find a bunch of numbers, then assemble those numbers to arrive at the combination to a safe (inside which lies their next clue). A big, active sequence that took up an entire act of the show (nine minutes or so).

For whatever reason, I got a very last-minute call to score the whole thing, completely 'to picture,' overnight. I worked around the clock, turned it in the next day, then slept for a long, long time. Maybe I should resurrect the music file and post it somewhere… I remember the mix wasn't exactly perfect, but it was exciting, edge-of-your-seat stuff to get it all finished in time.

Offline georgiapeach

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2014, 06:46:34 PM »
Oh DO post it!!  We'd love to hear it.

Thank you so much for sharing today!! We love hearing the inside stories. :funny:
"I can't speak for production, but I really like that people see us when we're traveling around the world. If you're a fan of the show, ... you're going to be more excited because you want to see what happens."Phil Keoghan

Offline tarflyonthewall

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2014, 08:08:52 PM »
I used that sequence in a speech I gave once! So, so brilliant.

Offline maf

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2014, 11:55:00 PM »
I finally got time to view the podcast and found it fascinating. I would love to hear even more which thoughts and even individual elements which went into the different pieces.

And I couldn't resist chuckling when we talked about the roadblock music being written in 11/8. I recently played Serenade by Derek Bourgeois which starts in 11/8 and after changing around a bit eventually settles in 13/8. And rumour has it he wrote this music for his own wedding. It is not easy to march stately to this piece of music.

Offline theschnauzers

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2014, 07:28:58 PM »
Lee, a question about the opening theme!

It seems to me that the arrangement currently being used is the original or something darn close to it as opposed to the arrangement introduced with TAR 13, and kept until the recent change. What's the story on that? (And for the record, I greatly preferred the original to the one used beginning with TAR 13 until recently.)
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Offline georgiapeach

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2014, 12:03:12 AM »
PODCAST 2 IS UP!! With a contest for you serious music lovers.
In this second episode of the podcast, teams travel to England—where a series of grueling tasks awaits (as usual!).

Lee talks about re-using cues from previous shows, as well as deconstructing iconic English melodies to create a tension cue for the episode. Can you decode the musical 'quotations'?
 
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/xTADsl1TP_4" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/xTADsl1TP_4</a>

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Offline Jobby

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2014, 01:21:39 AM »
I've been waiting for years for someone to ask me that! In Cycle 3, Episode 8, teams are in Zürich, where they have to run around town to find a bunch of numbers, then assemble those numbers to arrive at the combination to a safe (inside which lies their next clue). A big, active sequence that took up an entire act of the show (nine minutes or so).

I just saw that episode! What a coincidence and also the subsequent leg when JVJ and Jon and Al were racing to avoid last place. Really good and appropriate music!!!

I have a question for you though (a rather selfish one) :funny: ... have you worked on any music for the asian leg(s) [not saying which just in case it is a spoiler] visited this season and if not, will you be deconstructing some local music to create possible appropriate music for different various scenarios?
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Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2014, 09:31:22 AM »
It seems to me that the arrangement currently being used is the original or something darn close to it as opposed to the arrangement introduced with TAR 13, and kept until the recent change. What's the story on that? (And for the record, I greatly preferred the original to the one used beginning with TAR 13 until recently.)

It's a good question. John Keane composed the Main Title theme and several of the episodes on the first cycle before moving on to score CSI; I do know that he was specifically asked to do the new arrangement for Cycle 13. I'm guessing the new version is yet another update (that incorporates some of the elements from the older version), but I'm not sure.

Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2014, 10:04:36 AM »
have you worked on any music for the asian leg(s) [not saying which just in case it is a spoiler] visited this season and if not, will you be deconstructing some local music to create possible appropriate music for different various scenarios?

This is a big question, and a great one. Let me answer that this way: Researching musical styles is part of what we do for nearly every location. Even in the case of countries we've visited before, there are regional variations which can make huge differences. And part of my job is to be aware of that, and knowledgeable about those nuances. You mention Asian-location cues for this cycle, and I think I'm in the clear to answer that yes, I've written some of those recently.  :)

But.

There are a few other factors at play. First, the style and instrumentation of the local music may not lend itself well to the emotional needs of the scene. Styles that feature smaller, more delicate instruments, for example, often have to be augmented a lot to serve tense, active events. So that's a balance that we're constantly trying to achieve.

Second (and this is something I talk about on the podcast), the show editors are placing quite a bit of the music you hear. To do that, they're drawing from cues that have already been composed. They are phenomenal at their job, and they're consistently careful about keeping the music location-appropriate, but you can imagine the challenge they're facing.

We do several things to make that job easier for them (every cue, for example, has a number of alternate mixouts, that omit certain elements… so, for example, a cue might be delivered in a FULL mix, a NO ORCHESTRA mix (i.e., drums and ethnic instruments only), a NO SITAR mix (if, say, a sitar was carrying the melody line—these types of mixouts help a cue "get out of the way" during dialog-heavy moments), etc. Sometimes a cue will have eight or nine additional mixes! Cues are also organized and databased in a proprietary way once they arrive at the show.

Last thing I'll mention here (I've written a book already—!): In some cases, it's just not possible to replicate a given style. Rare, but it's happened a couple of times over the years. Usually it's because the style is dependent on local performers, or on extremely exotic instruments. It's beyond the scope of our schedule and budget to travel to, say, a certain village in Indonesia to find this one gamelan player who uses this very specific tuning.

That's the kind of thing I would love to do, btw, but it's just not realistic under the time and budget demands of the show. So again, we strike the best balance we can.

Hope that answers the question, Jobby!

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #21 on: October 07, 2014, 10:37:25 AM »
Thanks for being here, Lee! I've got a ton of questions that will come to me as I dig up my references, but for now:

Do you try to sync up your music with the scenes (or do the editors sometimes try to fit the scenes into your music)? One of my favourite scenes set to music was in TAR 5 when Colin/Christie were racing Brandon/Nicole to the Pit Stop in Dubai from opposite sides of a Detour; the former was in a dune buggy, the latter skydiving from a plane. Each time the focus shifted from one team to the other the musical cue changed, and it went back and forth for a minute or so; it was awesome!

(Would love to see a similar race to the Pit Stop with the score switching back and forth between a major and minor key between the "heroes" and the "villains"! :D)
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Offline Lee Sanders

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #22 on: October 07, 2014, 12:42:17 PM »
Thanks for being here, Lee! I've got a ton of questions that will come to me as I dig up my references, but for now:

Do you try to sync up your music with the scenes (or do the editors sometimes try to fit the scenes into your music)? One of my favourite scenes set to music was in TAR 5 when Colin/Christie were racing Brandon/Nicole to the Pit Stop in Dubai from opposite sides of a Detour; the former was in a dune buggy, the latter skydiving from a plane. Each time the focus shifted from one team to the other the musical cue changed, and it went back and forth for a minute or so; it was awesome!

(Would love to see a similar race to the Pit Stop with the score switching back and forth between a major and minor key between the "heroes" and the "villains"! :D)

So the short answer is: a bit of both. Some editors prefer to have the music written as early as possible, then use the rhythm as a guide to cutting the scene. Others like to get the edit fairly tight, then have my custom score arrive considerably later in the process to drop in. There are advantages and disadvantages to both ways of doing it.

If I'm working with a cut that's nearly locked (i.e., they're not going to tweak it much further), I'll definitely score "to picture," observing and reacting to events on-screen. If it's just a first assembly or a "string-out," where the footage isn't tightened up at all, I'll write something that includes many musical "hits" for the editors to use later, as they figure out the pacing and the dramatic beats of the scene.

Bottom line: either way, I have to write it a little loose, because I'm almost never working with a completely locked picture. Exceptions would be for the beginning of the first episode in a cycle, and for the finish line… those are much more frequently scored to locked or near-locked picture.

Offline mandk

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #23 on: October 07, 2014, 03:45:43 PM »
Hi Lee,

I wanted to ask about the music you used for the second leg of all stars (2014). What was the music played during the run to the pitstop. The intense music i mean. Thank you

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Re: TAR 25: Lee Sanders' Music Podcast!!
« Reply #24 on: October 07, 2014, 08:57:25 PM »
Wow amazing reply Lee! Thank you and I learnt so much more about the behind the scenes production of TAR.

Ok here's one last one (cause I'm greeeeeeeedy)

Any new TAR theme song soon? I loved the change during Season 14 and was hoping we'll hear another mixed up version of the theme song soon for future seasons!
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