Compose Music for Books
Do you want to compose music soundtracks for books, e-books and written stories?
Great, because today I have the honor to interview Marco Di Stefano, a composer who has practical experience in this niche.
First, listen to one of his compositions from the soundtrack:
1. Hello Marco, what is your background & story as a composer?
It all started back in the 90s, I was a teenager addicted to movies like “Back to the future”, “Indiana Jones” or Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti-Western.
I was totally fascinated by those soundtracks: to be more precise by the ability of those composers to translate the emotions of the stories into music.
I found this an incredibly interesting skill that I absolutely wanted to have! That is how I started to dream of becoming a composer.
The first instrument I learnt to play was the guitar, at a certain point I was lead guitar and composer in a black metal band, but with the rise of the new millennium my love for classical music kicked-off which led me to start a serious study path focusing on piano, harmony and orchestration (in parallel with my master’s degree in computer science).
During this period, I had the pleasure to study with three well known composers: Giovanni D’Aquila in Palermo, Adriano Guarnieri in Bologna and Luc Brewaeys in Bruxelles.
Today I am an IT freelance working on the dream of becoming a professional composer.
2. How do you translate the emotions of a book into a music soundtrack?
Since the beginning my approach with composition was very instinctive and driven by the inside. Today, thanks to years of studies and practice, I am much more organized and structured in my workflow but still the truly inspiration comes from my inside.
When I read a book (or do any other inspiring activity) it happens that I just have to close my eyes to hear an entire orchestra composing and playing. So, I just need to take my phone and record my voice, singing the melodies or giving details about the orchestration. This is how I compose most of my music.
There are multiple approaches when translating a book into music: sometimes I focus on a specific sentence of an entire chapter and compose fully based on the emotions I received from it, sometimes I try to reproduce the emotions of an entire chapter in the right sequence, like a real translation of the words into a piece of music.
3. How do you get a project like this, composing music for a book?
Last year I had this idea of composing a soundtrack album for a book, and fortunately I was reading “L’estate del ‘78” book from Italian writer Roberto Alajmo. I was in Sicily for my summer vacation and most of the tracks of that album have been started staring at wonderful sea’s landscapes right after I finished to read the book.
Composing for a book is for me a great experience because, differently from a movie, you are totally free to imagine everything, the locations, the actors, the situations… so it is all about your imagination. Of course, during the composition, I have been in close contact with the writer to capture his original ideas and integrate them in my work.
4. Do you know any official soundtracks for books and stories?
I do not know many, the main one I have in mind is the Op.67 of Sergej Prokof’ev “Peter and the Wolf”, one that I loved to listen to when I was a kid.
5. What are your favorite software instruments to compose with?
Two years ago I started seriously to build my sound library. My goal was to be able to simulate as much as possible the sound of a real orchestra, I am not that interested in synths or sound FX (at least till now).
After months of researches I decided I would stick to only one vendor, Spitfire Audio, to simplify the process of composing and mixing. After two years from there I have every orchestral library from them and have built my own orchestral template using my favourite instruments from multiple libraries which helps me to focus only on composing without spending time searching for the right instruments.
I also decided to make this template become a commercial product that other composers can use, and for this reason I have created www.artificialharmonics.com where one can purchase the product I called Flow, that is an integrated composition environment integrating Cubase Pro, Vienna Ensemble Pro and Lemur and that can also be used as a reference orchestral template for composing and for rendering.
6. What plans do you have for the future?
Back in April 2019 my music was used for a theater show which will eventually be played again in the next months. I am trying to focus my career into this kind of path, that is composing music for theater, writing classical albums and eventually for movies.
At this moment I am composing the music for a show which will played on theater in Italy early next year, and I am working on another album soundtrack for the book “I leoni di Sicilia”, this time for orchestra, a book which will be soon translated in several languages.
7. Thank you so much for sharing your insights Marco, where can people find you online?
It was my pleasure, and I want to thank you Mikael for your amazing work and for the opportunity to be part of your blog here.
My website where one can discover my music is www.marcodistefano.art from here you can find the link to the digital stores where my music is published (Spotify, Apple Music…)
If one is interested on my commercial products for composers then this is the website www.artificialharmonics.com
I am also quite active on YouTube, where you can find behind the scene of my compositions, tips on creating an orchestral template and other things about music https://www.youtube.com/user/marcoaround