Director’s Musical Brief by Asmae Ghani Fahim
The Poet and the King
The Poet and the King film heavily relies on traditional Iranian music. As this movie is set in a different part of the world from the western world, it requires Iranian-inspired music, soundtrack and instruments for the audience to feel they are somewhere else.
For the Poet part, I want the music to be peaceful and yet with a bit of attitude. On the other hand, for the King, part of the music should be loud and harsh. Two different kinds of music for each character will communicate to the audience that these two have completely different personalities from each other. Moreover, it doesn’t matter how hard the King tries he will never be successful in winning the Poet’s heart.
Cam’s Composing Tip for The Poet and the King:
In researching, watching and listening to instruments from other cultures, YouTube is a wonderful resource! For The Poet and the King, start by looking up the following Iranian instruments on Wikipedia & YouTube:
- Setar (the guitar-like instrument in the film);
- Daf (an Iranian frame drum you could use for accompaniment);
- Tombak (also spelled Tonbak or Tombac, which is an Iranian goblet drum you could also use for accompaniment).
Here are some specific links:
Setar and Tombak
Daf and Tombak
You are not required to use these exact instruments in your scores, as they may not be present in your sample libraries. But, listen closely and see if you can find a sound from your sample library that is close to the original Iranian instrument … and use that. However you manage it, find a way to get some Iranian-sounding instruments in there!
It’s okay to use regular string, woodwind, brass, percussion, piano, harp and synthesizer sounds from western music in your score too, but put them in the background and highlight the exotic flavours of the ethnic instruments you choose.