Join Adam Raymonda, composer for audio drama Windfall, in a cinematic soundtrack to an urban fantasy story. An immersive listening experience. Headphones recommended.
The piece of music we’re listening to in the background is the main theme from the dystopian science fiction podcast Windfall. Today, we’ll break it down and get into why and how it was made. You’re listening to How I Make Music, where audio drama composers get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and take a trip into how it was made. My name is Adam Raymonda. I’m a sound designer and composer from Syracuse, New York. And this is How I Make Music.
The show takes place in the weeks and days leading up to Contact Day, which is the celebration of when the citizens of Windfall first met Wanda. The people on the ground will say, “Wanda damn it!”, like instead of “goddamnit”. We were certainly inspired by Battlestar Galactica. And Battlestar specifically has “frack” that they use as their – instead of saying “fuck.” Right. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Right.
A big influence have been Coheed and Cambria. One of the biggest prog rock influences on me personally, that has a science fiction story that’s associated with their music, and they have these repeated themes.
3:51 FOUR VERSIONS
For the Windfall main theme, I wrote four different versions. The first version appears in the first few episodes. And then I sort of realized that tonally, it didn’t match the very intro section of the episode. So I made an alteration where we have a little bit more of a dramatic version in the second version of it. The second version comes to a more dramatic ending. The third version that I actually wrote was the outro music that appears in just about every episode. A much more chilled out version of it, too. We were trying to add some context in for the very last episode to really make sure that we were celebrating contact day, this supposedly joyous celebration of our tyrannical God queen. And I have made an orchestral arrangement of the theme, where we have big horns and brass and sort of this triumphant, sort of soaring version of the melody that allows us to kind of really feel that sort of patriotism, for Windfall.
6:52 5/4 OSTINATO
All the versions of the theme have that same core structure, there’s an ostinato, or a series of repeated notes, it’s A, C, D, G, A. And that sort of drives us forward in this 5/8 feeling that we’ve got here, which helps us feel maybe a little bit out of what we would consider normal. Most music that you might hear that’s in contemporary Western music, at least, is in 4/4. I wanted something that felt a little bit different. So that five, eight feeling that 1-2-3-4-5 really helps drive that sort of out of this world feeling.
8:39 OPERA SINGER
I recently moved to Syracuse, New York and got set up in the studio that I’m in now that was actually in the home of one of the writers of our show, Christy. She had a good friend who happened to come over one day, and Christie was telling her about Windfall and what we were working on and showed her my studio. Her friend was like, oh, I’m an opera singer. She was actually here in the United States on a visa to almost like represent the Czech Republic as like an opera singer and was working in Manhattan. And I just had to ask her, I was like, would you possibly sing on this? And Christy was like, Yeah, you got to do it. You got to sing on here. And so Pavlina (Horakova) was like, Sure, let’s let’s sing. She just came up into the studio, and we sort of improvised a couple of different things. Pavlina was nice enough to actually replace one character in the show to like one background character and an episode which was great.
10:47 DORIAN MODE
The Windfall main theme is written in a Dorian key. The happiest of all sad keys. The Dorian mode is very similar to a minor scale, your traditional natural minor scale. The sixth note in that scale is raised up. So, in this instance we’re playing in a Dorian. So it’s A B, C, D, E, F sharp, G, and then back to A up at the top there. And that F sharp kind of gives us allows it to semi feel hopeful or triumphant in certain uses.
That’s about it for this week’s episode. We’ll listen to the full track in just a moment. But before we do that, thank you for listening to How I Make Music. Catch new episodes every Wednesday on Spotify, Apple or wherever else. We’ve been listening to music featured in the audio drama called Windfall. To hear the full story or to check out my other compositions, follow the links in the show notes. We did a video of the recording of this episode, visit patreon.com/howimakemusic to check it out and to check out the studio that I work in. Visit howimakemusic.com for more on the aims of this show. How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann. For audio experiences that keep people listening, contact John Bartmann via the show notes. And now, here are the four different versions of the Windfall main theme back to back. Have fun spotting the differences! My name is Adam Raymonda and thanks for listening to How I Make Music. Catch you next Wednesday.
* Coheed & Cambria – Welcome Home
ABOUT THIS SHOW
How I Make Music is a dramatically edited sound experience where behind-the-scenes musicians get to tell their own stories. Every Wednesday, we challenge audio drama composers to break apart a song, soundtrack or composition and get into why and how it was made.
How I Make Music is created by John Bartmann. For audio experiences that keep people listening, visit johnbartmann.com