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Arts & Entertainment

Creating with Synths

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 21:21 min

Hans is known for his use of synths. Hans discusses how he uses synths, as he creates a song from his starter patch for us.

Hans Zimmer
Teaches Film Scoring
From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.
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The opportunity, and these devices exist to go and try and do truly wacky things. And truly wacky things-- I think that's actually unfair. But it's a tool. It's a tool just like a violin is a tool. Or if you want to get more basic, I think the thing that most kids at one point or the other get to play with is a Fender Stratocaster. Everybody's got one. Everybody knows somebody who's got one. And here's the amazing thing about the Fender Strat-- it's just a plank of wood with some strings attached to it. But it's such a great design that Stevie Ray Vaughan will sound completely different from Jeff Beck will sound completely different from Eric Clapton. And it amplifies-- it somehow amplifies the DNA of the human being, the musicality of the human being. And that's what you want the stuff to do. You don't want it to be in the way. You want it to become expressive. And you just need to break through the myth, the myth of the elitism that-- unless it's a where you can't play music on it, you know? I'm saying if it's a laptop, you can make music on it. And for instance, I'm surrounded by synthesizers, but if it really comes down to it, I use very few. And I just try to get really, really, really good at them. Because the wealth of possibilities is there, if you learn how to use it. And if you approach it as a musician, then learning is a very-- the word learning isn't so difficult. Because musicians play. So if you're playful about the thing, it actually becomes fun to experiment. And it takes you on journeys, and it takes you places you never thought you would get to. And once you know it pretty well, you can direct where the journey goes. And I think that's important. Don't let the machine control you. You have to be able to control the machine. So all these computer programs-- it doesn't matter if it's Cubase, or Logic, or Pro Tools, or Ableton Live. The best one is the one you know. There's no favoritism. I work on Cubase because I've always worked on Cubase. And the other advantage I have that everybody has is, talk to the guys who built this thing. Talk to them and tell them how your workflow is. And very often, you get them to change it, or you get them to improve it. I remember sitting there with the Cubase guys years ago and coming up with this very elite statement which was something like, "Well, you should talk to me. I'm a professional composer." And they just went, "Bullshit! You professional composers, you just have this paradigm of how you work. You always think the same way." The interesting ideas come from some kid in a garage in the Bronx who doesn't play keyboards. And he's going to come up with-- he doesn't think in the fixed metaphor of the keyboard in the classical way. He's going to come up with a tool and an invention that is revolutionary. And, you know, I had t...

Tell a story with music

Hans Zimmer didn’t see a film until he was 12 years old. Since then, he’s scored over 150 films, including Inception, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight. In his MasterClass, the self-taught Academy Award-winner teaches how he creates sounds from nothing, composes compelling character themes, and scores a movie before ever seeing it. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start film scoring.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I very much enjoyed the studies of the characters and the reasoning behind the melodies created in their image. I found that aspect to be intoxicating. I've rewatched those portions several times.

The most definitive thing that I learned was about the collaborative process between director, producer, audience and composer. It's a complex, iterative process best approached with humility and purpose.

Thank you very much to Hans for his generosity doing this Masterclass, and all the people who made it possible. Best, Juan

I have learned so much. I learned that film scoring has to stick with the story. Hans Zimmerman has taught me how to fit the tempo, tension, story, character, etc. into my music compositions and how they can fit into movie scripts and films!


A fellow student

in 1:27 of this lesson (creating with synths), the word Mr. Zimmer said, that the subtitles/captions shown as [INAUDIBLE], I believe that word is Steinway (meaning the piano brand) or Sine Wave.

A fellow student

That looks like Cubase , very different from my old version but Cubase none the less. I would love to know what he is using there to create patches.

A fellow student

When Hans brought up the oscillators and started building a new sound my mind directly thought of Deadmau5. How awesome would it be to se Hans and Deadmau5 teaming up for a track :D They are the exact opposite from each other but they both love making sound from scratch. Could be interesting.

Matt T.

Does anyone happen to know what kind of controller that is with his faders?

Rachel R.

What I loved most from this is his non-conventional way of doing things. He encourages finding your unique sound/process, which is amazing. I'm rooting for that "kid in the Bronx" - everyone has their own ideas!


"It doesn't help that you people have stolen my sustain pedal!" - Hahaha, got to love this guy! So so inspired even though I'm not in this field :)

Larissa R.

I wish there were more different samples in this lesson, I would be glad to play various synths, chords etc. I play traditional symphonic orchestra samples most of time.

A fellow student

Gotta love learning from the best. After experiencing it, Master Class is one of my best decisions lately

A fellow student

Now we are getting to what I came for, creating sounds from scratch. Thanks Hans for cooking me some meat and potatoes

New York C.

Does anyone know anything about the tablet device with the colorful bars Hans is using to control the synth attributes.