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Hollywood's secret weapon: the film score. It can make us laugh, cry or cheer, and nothing pulls us into onscreen action like the sweeping orchestral strains of a great soundtrack. In turn, modern film composers have their own secret weapon of choice for creating scores, and it doesn't require a studio full of expensive instruments or access to an orchestra pit. The music that millions of moviegoers experienced in such recent blockbusters as Pearl Harbor, Swordfish, Shrek and Gladiator was created using little more than the composer's creativity and Steinberg's wildly popular audio software package, Cubase.

And while it's true that any burgeoning commercial musician has the same access to this tool as the most successful of film composers, harnessing the power that Cubase offers requires some knowledgeable guidance. Creative Projects with Cubase VST, written by Keith Gemmell and published by Muska & Lipman Publishing, provides help for those who want their Cubase education to include some fun, hands-on activities ($24.95, available wherever books are sold or online at www.muskalipman.com).

Having already provided Cubase users with a great "how to" book--the popular Cubase Power!--Muska & Lipman Publishing is back to fill out readers' understanding of Cubase with a book that takes a unique "what to do" approach to the application. The goals of Creative Projects with Cubase VST is to foster the Cubase user's creativity and help build effective song composition and production skills, as well as provide valuable insight into getting musical ideas in the first place. The author's informal writing style sets the tone for a friendly learning experience.

The essence of Creative Projects with Cubase VST is a series of practical projects that teach composition through example. Aimed at musicians and students interested in writing for markets such as performance, computer games, TV soundtracks, advertising jingles and multimedia presentations, this book teaches a complete variety of styles and composition techniques. Step-by-step examples provide opportunities for readers to compose, develop, record and mix ideas into a satisfying whole.

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