The Score offers a one stop, all‑you‑can‑eat, scoring buffet for composers in a hurry.
If your musical interests include music‑to‑picture composition, Sonuscore will be a familiar name. With both a range of their own virtual instruments, and a multitude of instruments developed in collaboration with the likes of Native Instruments, Steinberg and EastWest, Sonuscore’s product résumé is very impressive. The latest addition to that catalogue, released in partnership with Best Service, is simply titled The Score. So, when it comes to scoring your next film, TV, advert or video game cue, what’s the score with The Score?
In essence, The Score represents a substantive evolution of Sonuscore’s popular The Orchestra instrument, but with a nod in the direction of Elysion in that the sound set reaches out beyond just conventional orchestral sounds. Like these earlier products, The Score can be instantly gratifying, as a few simple chords can conjure a mightily impressive multi‑instrument arrangement. However, under the hood it can also provide the user with a very deep and powerful compositional toolkit. If I attempt to cover all of the depth The Score offers, this issue of SOS might burst. What follows, therefore, is a swift overview alongside a deeper dive into one or two of the more important elements of the feature set.
In terms of that overview, The Score includes a 20GB sample‑based sound library that offers 160 individual sounds. These are organised into five categories: Orchestral, Synth, Band, World and Misc. The user can access these through three different Kontakt front ends.
The first of these provides simple playable single articulations with the option to add effects and, while 20GB could perhaps be considered ‘compact’ in modern sample library terms, The Score’s instruments really do sound very good. In part, this might be down to some sensible design decisions. For example, with the section‑based orchestral instruments, you get ensemble‑style instruments such as ‘low string sustains’ and ‘high string sustains’ rather than individual bass, cello, viola and violin options. The same ‘low’ and ‘high’ approach is used for the other instrument groups.
The second is the Ensemble engine. This is similar in concept to The Orchestra, but the ensemble now offers 10 individual instruments — each with their own sequencer options — rather than five. This engine is supplied with 120 style‑based ‘Stories’ (presets) and, whether it’s mystical and magical, ominous and tense, or joyous and magnificent (and plenty of other moods/emotions as well), there is something to suit. Within each preset, keyswitches provide real‑time switching between five different sequencer variations. These are consistently organised to provide an intro, two main performances (with increasing intensity), an outro and a single note/chord ending. Stories are also fully editable by the user (you can change all the sequencer contents) and you can create your own Stories from scratch.
The third engine — Melody — allows you to load either one or two of the individual instruments and then provides a toolset to generate melodic ideas. As we will see below, the Ensemble and Melody engines can share chord sequences, making it easy for the generated melodic lines to sit perfectly with the ensemble performance. As it’s these Ensemble and Melody engines that are the highlights of the creative process, I’ll focus on these below.
Both of these engines also offer full MIDI export capability so the performances you generate can be moved to multiple MIDI tracks within your DAW for further editing and/or triggering alternative virtual instruments should you wish. In use, The Score’s RAM demands are modest, with even the Ensemble engine presets generally coming in under 300MB. However, with 10 instruments plus effects in full flow, users of older host computers might need to keep an eye on the overall CPU demands, especially when running multiple instances.