When we settle down to watch a film, play a video game, or listen to a beautiful concert, we often don't consider that behind the visible contributors, there is a special figure: the music composer.
Italian musician and composer Alberto Mancini shares his international experience as a musician and sheds light on the work of a composer.
Born in 1990, Alberto started playing the piano as a child and received training in classical, blues, and improvisational music. He studied at the 'Civica Scuola di Musica Claudio Abbado' (Claudio Abbado Civic Music School) in Milan.
After graduating, he worked as a piano player in Milan for many years while dreaming of composing soundtracks until COVID struck. During Covid he started self-studying orchestration using virtual instrumentation, the composition of music through a computer software simulating the instruments and sounds of a real orchestra.
“Music allows us to better transmit certain concepts, both hidden and not. A person remembers a film much better through its music, it is absorbed in their minds and in this way it transmits many messages. This really fascinates me and a good soundtrack has got the power to make the film better or worse,” he said in an interview.
When the pandemic ended, he realised that was the career he aspired to, and started studying composition at the Italian music Conservatory Francesco Venezze in Rovigo.
His career took off when, through his school, Alberto produced the soundtrack for a short film, “Snot and Splash”, which was presented at Locarno International Film Festival.
Soon after, Alberto and his colleague Alvise Carraro, aged 27, were selected by his conservatory to produce soundtracks for six video games designed by Brunel University's game design students for the company Octopus 8 in London.
Alberto told us how music composition starts and develops. “To begin with, you read the story, see how the video game is like and the feelings that it creates in you, and then you try to link them to other music that creates that emotion,” he said.
He started the project by researching works of art and video games with a similar mood, storyline, and atmosphere to his own, and how to distinguish his work.
“It’s important to communicate with the producers to know what the core of the story is, to reflect it in music,” said Alberto. “If I insert a horn, the atmosphere will be much more epic than with a flute; whether a high string note communicates a romantic scene. Music helps the player to decode what is going on, it is a second line of narration to help you understand the game on a deeper level.”
He continued: “It was a creativity exercise. I am very pleased with all the soundtracks I made, they reflect what I want to do artistically speaking. I am also very grateful to Brunel University for allowing me to stay in the production studio for two weeks straight to produce.”
Upon returning to Italy, another significant project awaited Alberto as he was asked to as he was asked to stand on the shoulder of a giant and arrange his music.
Collaborating with Alvise Carraro, they were commissioned to arrange a memorial concert for the renowned music maestro Ennio Morricone by the Italian organisation 'Fondazione Fossano Musica.' The globally celebrated Italian composer passed away in 2020, leaving behind a legacy of numerous award-winning soundtracks, the scores of which are now owned by the Morricone family and have never been publicly released.
Alberto and Alvise's task involved listening closely to Morricone's original tracks, transcribing the scores, and rearranging them for the musical instruments available in that specific orchestra.
“Part of our job is to listen and recognise: to recognise the atmospheres, the different levels of instruments playing. Usually you can understand note by note what each instrument does, but sometimes the lightest sounds get lost in the collective, so I come up with something new, which plays well with the rest,” he explained.
Mr. Mancini's future holds many more projects, but one thing is certain: his career in music composition is steadily evolving.
Cover image: Alberto Mancini
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