Arts & Entertainment, Music

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.

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

Topics include: Building Sounds • Hans's Starter Patch • Expression


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...

About the Instructor

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.

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Hans Zimmer

From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.

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