A 1950's Orchestra On My Computer

August 6, 2018

Alex Ball is an award-winning British composer and music producer for film and television.

Alex gained a first-class honours degree in composition for professional media from the University of Brighton in 2007 and has since successfully carved out a career as a composer and music supervisor.

Alex has composed, arranged, sourced and licensed music for hundreds of TV commercials for major brands such as Virgin Holidays, Ballantine’s Whiskey, HP Sauce, Jameson, Douwe Egberts, Ribena, Ladbrokes, O2, Transport for London, Siemens, Bathstore, Currys PC World, Gulf Air, Hyundai, Direct Line, The Big Issue, Havana Club Rum, Blue Cross, RBS, NatWest, IKEA, Boots no 7 and many more.

Outside of advertising, Alex composed and produced music for the BAFTA nominated “Tee & Mo”, and has had his music used in Netflix “Stranger Things”, BBC’s “The Apprentice” and MTV’s “The City”. Dipping into film scores, Alex scored Martyn Pick’s “Evil Never dies” (2013) and Chris Landy’s “Pixel Soldier” (with Scott Hazell), the latter of which was selected for the London Short Film Festival and the British Shorts Film Festival in Berlin. In 2016, Alex composed the score for Coda Film’s “The Final Reel”, a feature length documentary about the history of UK cinema, directed by Jonathan Blagrove and narrated by Sir John Hurt. The film was selected for the Foyle Film Festival and the Cambridge Film Festival and has screened at independent cinemas in the UK.

His Youtube Channel

Alex has a unique and fun way to present some of his work on Youtube while maintaining the highest standards of quality. I have known Alex for about 14 years & have just recently come across his Youtube channel that I think will interest all who come to this website. So I will be starting near the beginning and posting his videos for some light entertainment. You may wish to subscribe to his youtube channel, but if you want to get a bit of extra info regarding some of the videos I suggest you stay tuned to this blog, as we may well do some special write ups relating to the technology and processes involved in recording this music.

Part 1


This is "A Canadian in Mayfair" by Angela Morley (1924 - 2009) created from scratch using virtual instruments. Alex used a copy of the full score.

Sounds used:

Strings: Spitfire Audio - Chamber Strings

Harp: Orchestral Tools - Symphonic Sphere

Woodwinds: Spitfire Audio - BML Woodwinds & Albion

Brass: Cinesamples - Cinebrass Core

Drums: Native Instruments - Abbey Road Vintage Drums

Orchestral Percussion: Native Instruments - Kontakt Library

FX - Izotope Vinyl, U-he Satin, Waves CLA-2A, T-racks (various), Cubase reverb / eq / stereo imaging.

Composition © Angela Morley

Recording © Alex Ball


Part 2


A complete re-recording of Robert Farnon's "Portrait of a Flirt" from 1955, realised with virtual instruments. A follow up to "My Computer is a 1950s Orchestra" which featured "A Canadian in Mayfair" by Angela Morley. Funnily enough, Morley's piece was based on Farnon's and was a tribute to him.

Sounds used:

Strings: Spitfire Audio Chamber Strings & Orchestral Tools OSR

Brass: Cinesamples Cinebrass Core and Cinebrass PRO

Woodwinds: Spitfire Audio Symphonic Woodwinds

Percussion: Spitfire Audio Joby Burgess Percussion

Harp: Orchestral Tools Symphonic Sphere

Sequencer: Cubase 6

FX: Mixed in mono using Izotope Vinyl, U-he Satin, Waves, T-racks

Score: Hired from the Light Music Society

Composition © Robert Farnon

Recording © Alex Ball


Part 3


The third piece in the "My Computer is a 1950s orchestra" series. A complete re-make of Edward White's famous composition "Puffin' Billy" (1952), realised with virtual instruments.

Sounds used:

Strings: Spitfire Audio Chamber Strings

Brass: Sample Modelling Trombones, Sample Modelling Trumpets, Cinesamples Cinebrass Core, Cinebrass PRO,

Woodwinds: Spitfire Audio Symphonic Woodwinds, Spitfire Albion Woodwinds

Percussion: Spitfire Audio Joby Burgess Percussion

Harps: Orchestral Tools Symphonic Sphere

Sequencer: Cubase 6

FX: Mixed in using Waves Abbey Road Vinyl, V-series compressors and eqs, U-he Satin on the mix bus, T-racks for mastering

Score: Hired from the Light Music Society. It was a Piano Conductor score, so had to work out the full orchestration by ear. Hopefully got it right (or close enough).

Composition © Edward White

Recording © Alex Ball


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