About the workshop
This workshop by guitarist/composer/songwriter Ava Mendoza will delve into different approaches to scoring film. A score can be either live or recorded, and we’ll explore both of these. Conventionally, music/sound can “tell” the viewer what is about to happen in a film or what they should feel in a given scene; the score in this sense highlights the narrative of a film. But it can also focus on more abstract elements like color, mood, pacing of cuts, and composition of shots. Music can be accompaniment to a film that takes the foreground, or the two can cooperate and complement each other as equals. What effect do these different approaches have on the film, the score, and the viewer/listener?
Free improvisation, structured improv, and written/composed sound-making are each vital musical tools. At their fundamental level, once understood these tools can be used by anyone, regardless of level, who can make a peep! We’ll look at how to use these tools in the context of film scoring, and create our own live score to a short silent film (to be selected from several options by the group during the workshop— Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin shorts will be in the running, among others). When does one of these tools work best and why?
As a “final project” we’ll record our live score at the end of class, and participants will receive a copy of the recording synced to film.
Participants should bring their own instrument, voice, laptop, synthesizer, turntable, shortwave radio, junk metal, etc etc to create sound with. Open to all levels.
About the instructor
Ava Mendoza is a Brooklyn-based guitarist, singer, songwriter and composer. Born in 1983, she started performing her own music, and as a sidewoman and collaborator in many different projects, as soon as she was old enough to get into 18+ venues. As a guitarist, Mendoza has received acclaim for her technique and viscerality. Her most ongoing work is as leader of experimental rock band Unnatural Ways, and as a solo performer on guitar/voice. In any context she is committed to bringing expressivity, energy and a wide sonic range to the music. Mendoza has toured throughout the U.S. and Europe and recorded or performed with musicians including Carla Bozulich, Fred Frith, Mick Barr, Nels Cline, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Mike Watt, Matana Roberts, Ikue Mori, Matt Mitchell, Jon Irabagon, members of Caroliner, the Violent Femmes, and more. Recordings are available on labels Tzadik, Weird Forest, Clean Feed, NotTwo, Resipiscent, and New Atlantis. She has written and performed live scores to silent films commissioned by the San Francisco Film Society, and recorded scores for Kino Lorber.
Friendly critics have quoted: “It’s… Ava Mendoza’s deconstructing of blues and punk into brutal shredfests that’s causing a ruckus in NYC’s DIY hubs” (Brad Cohan, Noisey.Vice). “A wizard on a semi-circle of effects pedals, but… equally adept with FX-less technique,” (Lars Gotrich, NPR). She was featured as one of Guitar World‘s “10 Female Guitarists You Should Know”.