I have been asked a few times to do tunes out of sound effects, a nice idea but often conceptually flawed… in this case Michaela Lowe from the BBC’s idea was a good one as the source material to work with was so rich in terms of pitched sounds. I completed the sound design and musical arranging in my studio before handing a Pro Tools session over to Envy for a final mix with the VO.
The brief was to take the buzzer noises from all the QI shows, and make a stirring British tune out of them. Michaela and I researched various classic British tracks and decided on Land Of Hope & Glory – I suggested that to underpin the sound effects track with a real recording would tie the whole thing together so we chose one and started by making a 60 second edit that would work in terms of buildup etc.
The next step was to take the buzzer sounds Michaela provided (dozens from several series), and edit/load them into samplers within Logic Pro (Kontakt) – I grouped them as per how I deemed they could be used: bells, horns, human, sfx tuned and rhythmic sfx. Then within each group I sorted them in to order of pitch, and then fine tuned each sample to match a note.
From that stage it was a case of trying different sequences out and getting the right balance between comedy effect and musical correctness – and also not giving the tune away too early. After getting the sequence right, I rendered the different tracks and took them into Pro Tools for fine tuning – have a listen to the end result.