Monday, December 27, 2010

Music and Sound Drive Great TV Shows

Watching films, television shows and commercials is as much an aural experience as it is a visual one. Original music and sound design work hand in hand with picture to define characters, propel the plot and make advertising memorable. Four of the best in this field talk about the essential role their work plays on screens big and small.

Scoring a Mini-Movie Each Week

Scoring the music for the AMC Network political thriller, Rubicon, is an intense experience for Peter Nashel, a partner in Duotone Audio Group in New York City ( The point of the soundtrack for this intriguing tale of intelligence analysts, he says, "is to play out what's happening with the characters internally — which is an exciting role for music to play."

Episodes of Rubicon offer many opportunities for Nashel's music to take center stage. "From very early on, the executive producer, Henry Bromell, and I discussed the importance of score in both setting the tone for the show and creating an interior world for the characters. Because there are long stretches in the show that are dialogue-free, this allowed the score ample opportunity to accomplish both of those things."

To Nashel's knowledge, "it wasn't an intentional filmmaking decision to have long stretches without dialogue. It just developed that way organically. Both Henry and I agreed that some of our favorite shows had little or no music, so we were very vigilant about not 'over-using' score even though there were long stretches without dialogue. I think we found a great balance."

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