Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting/musical stab


I often hear these sharp musical stabs in action movies which sound like short violin chords or some sort of horns. Can you please watch and listen to the video below (at the 1 minute mark). Can you tell me what instrument is used, is it a combination of instruments, is it a chord? I want to reproduce this sound in my midi sequencer, any tips?


Hi Vadim :

the sound you're refering  to @ approx. 1:00 in  as a "stab " ( or series of stabs over a low legato cello line ) sounds like
hard downbow violin double stops reinforced by staccato high woodwinds ( flutes , oboes ).

However,You shouldn't need to go to the trouble of reconstructing the sound  -practically every synth and sampler menu I've ever seen
has one or more sampled "orchestral stabs" available for use.

If you want to build your own:

1. with the brass, enter staccato chords ( in 8va tpts /bones )

2.  copy this whole chord to other tracks 8va up and double the chord with high w/winds ( flutes/ oboes /clarinets/ piccolo  etc )

3. on new tracks, copy w/winds -program with marcato arco strings

4. for extra power, add percussion ( tymps choked chrash cymbals )

With all that effort, IMO it's far easier to look for a sampled " stab"

good luck !

phil kelly

Musical Composition, Theory and Songwriting

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Phil Kelly


I`m a semi-retired professional music arranger with over thirty five years in all phases of the commercial music production business. I can try to answer questions regarding music arranging, theory, orchestration , and/or composition for most acoustic ensembles .( jazz band or orchestral ) I can try to offer suggestions about studio music recording procedures and some basic MIDI applications , too. In the course of my career I`ve worked with such artists as Doc Severinsen and the old Tonight Show Band, Bill Watrous, Buddy Greco, John Gary, Mel Torme, Julius LaRosa, as well as the Pop programs of the Fort Worth, Dallas, North Carolina, and Houston Symphonies, as well as library music material for ABC, ESPN, and NFL Films.

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