Music Alumnus Gordy Haab on Composing Music for Star Wars

Composer Gordy Haab at his desk.

VCUarts Music alumnus Gordy Haab (BM ’00) is an award-winning composer and orchestrator whose latest projects have included the scores for two installments in the Star Wars: Battlefront series of video games. His work as the lead composer for Star Wars: Battlefront II, released in November 2017, was the subject of an interview between Haab and The Audio Spotlight. In order to capture the tone and emotions of a galaxy far, far away, Haab said that he studied the sounds of Star Wars very closely.

From the musical side of things, I dug deep into the music of the ‘Star Wars’ universe and learned the “language”. So, when I began to write my own music, speaking this language was second nature. But it was equally as important to organize myself and my process. There is over two and a half hours of music in ‘Star Wars: Battlefront II’, and my schedule was relatively short for such a tall order. So I needed to schedule out exactly how much music I needed to write per day in order to hit the deadline.

I begin by conceiving all of my music while sitting at the piano with pencil and paper. It’s a bit old fashioned, but it forces me to develop musical ideas in my “mind’s ear”, without the luxury of trial and error. I feel the end result from music I compose this way always sounds more thoughtful and crafted.

Once I have a solid sketch, I pass it off to a team member to create a synthesized mockup. This is what is then passed along to EA, DICE, Lucasfilm, Disney, and…John Williams for approval. Once approved, then I jump onto the computer and finalize my orchestration – which is then passed on to a team of copyists and Black Ribbon who prepare all of the individual parts for the recording session.

In addition to Battlefront II, Haab has scored music for the games Halo Wars 2 (2017), Star Wars: Battlefront (2015) and Star Wars: The Old Republic (2011). Through his work, he’s earned five GDC Game Audio Network Guild Awards, including Music of the Year and Best Original Soundtrack, and a BAFTA nomination for Excellence in Audio Achievement.

Read the rest of Gordy Haab’s interview with The Audio Spotlight at their website.

Listen to a clip from Star Wars: Battlefront on SoundCloud below.

Date:

January 11, 2018