Composer Conversations – Interviews with contemporary composers

We always learn from those that have ‘been there done that’. I certainly need to find those that have more knowledge so that they can impart on me their experiences in life and certainly in music.

I came across a wonderful resource called Composer Conversations hosted by Berlin based composer Daniel Vezza. In this article we hear from forward thinking and influential composers who have so much knowledge to share. It is great to hear other composers talk about their journey and their influences.

Composer Conversations is an outlet where composers can discuss their experiences living and working in the contemporary music world, the effect it has on their approach to music making, and hopefully in the process break down some of the mythology about what a composer is.

In short it is a weekly interview series that focuses on the politics and daily life of the international new music scene from the point of view of the people living in it, alongside the music that the featured composer has written. These long form conversations often drift into other regions of the composer’s life outside of aesthetics and are meant to be informal, accessible, personal in nature, and above all candid.

One I found really enthralling is from composer Fred Lerdahl. One of his major pieces of music took him years and took so much out of him that his next work that he considered worthy was after almost five years. Fred is a New York based composer whose music has been commissioned and performed by major chamber ensembles and orchestras. His seminal book A Generative Theory of Tonal Music, co-authored with linguist Ray Jackendoff, is a founding document for the growing field of the cognitive science of music. He studied at Lawrence University, Princeton, and Tanglewood.

Fred Lerdahl

Fred Lerdahl

He has taught at UC/Berkeley, Harvard, and Michigan, and since 1991 has been Fritz Reiner Professor of Musical Composition at Columbia University, where he directs the composition program. Three of his works composed since 2000 – Time after Time for chamber ensemble, the Third String Quartet, and Arches for cello and chamber orchestra – have been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in music. You can listen to more of his music at


Listen here!


Two really cool free online courses on Notation and Sound from FutureLearn.

Critical Listening for Studio Production – From Queen’s University Belfast

This free online course is a technical ear training programme designed to improve critical listening in a music studio context.


About the course

There are many qualities required to be a skilled sound engineer: the theoretical knowledge of sound and audio, the technical mastery of studio hardware and software, and diplomatic people skills, for example. But perhaps the most obvious (and often overlooked) quality required of all sound engineers is the ability to listen.

Sound engineers must constantly evaluate the sound quality of individual sound sources in a mix and evaluate how these sound sources interrelate with one another. The ability to listen critically and make these judgements is a skill that must be learnt through trial and error and repeated practice. This free online course aims to provide you with tools for developing and refining the critical listening skills relevant to contemporary sound engineering and will be of interest to musicians, sound enthusiasts and experienced sound engineers alike.

The course begins by examining the nature of sound and how properties of sound (frequency, amplitude and sound intensity, for example) are expressed. The relationship between these physical properties and the more subjective characteristics of music such as pitch, loudness, dynamic range and timbre is then examined. The remainder of the course focuses on the signal processing techniques commonly used by sound engineers when mixing multitrack recordings – for example, equalisation, compression and reverberation.

On completion of the course you will have a thorough understanding of the workflow involved when mixing a multitrack recording and will have developed the critical listening skills necessary to make informed judgements regarding individual and overall sound quality.




From Ink To Sound: Decoding Musical ManuscriptsUniversity of Basel



Travel through the history of musical notation, learning how to decode medieval music manuscripts, with this free online course.

About the course

Nowadays music is all around us: we listen to it while we are on our way to work, when preparing lunch or even while showering. All this music is written down in its own language – the notation system. But did you ever wonder where this came from? Have you ever looked at a medieval music manuscript and wondered how to read it?In this free online course, we will answer the key questions, including:

  • What happens to music when we write it down? How did this evolve through history?
  • Who wrote down music? And why?
  • Which strategies of visualization came into play?
  • Are notes just another scripture?
  • How does it help us play and listen to music today, if we understand how music was written in earlier times?

Transcribe early music manuscripts

This course will enable you to understand the theoretical and practical principles of reading musical notation from the Middle Ages until the Early Modern Period. We will show you how to decode and transcribe early notational systems. And we will discuss the challenges and principles of music notation, referring to semiotic approaches and visual theory.

Enjoy medieval music

As well as the theoretical and practical parts, this course offers more than 15 recordings of ancient music performances provided by musicians of the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis – the renowned institution for ancient music in Basel. These will give you the opportunity to listen to many of the musical pieces that we will discuss during the seven weeks.


A new regular listing of useful info, interviews and articles on composing for film from around the web! #1

It’s been ages since I have written anything and seeing great sites like who constantly post great content for their subscribers and readers – well they inspired me to do the same. Yes it takes a bit of effort finding good content but it helps having some good reading laid out in front of you – kind of ‘made easy’! I would encourage interaction and also post a few links yourselves if you ave something good that you may have read recently.

Here’s three great articles to get started with!

* A great article by Mary Sollosi a blogger from FilmIndependant.orgDanny Elfman & Thomas Newman on the Chaos of Scoring a Film HERE

* has a great article about Mad Max score composer Junkie Xl: Workflow and Tutorials  HERE

* are full of great resources and here is an article featuring the legendary Vangelis: On Film Music Composing HERE

Don’t forget to either send us or post it as a reply if you find something on film scoring worth sharing!




Abbey Road News: Get inside with Google and the latest mastering for India

News channels and the press around the globe have been getting excited about the new feature from Google. This time it’s stroll around Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood whilst learning about the history, try your hand at mixing, watch some iconic videos and hear some of the many tracks recorded at the legendary studios. Head on inside! The only thing you won’t be able to get your hands on is a brownie from the Restaurant!! Too good! (Google!! Add that feature on the next upgrade?)

You get a chance to look inside all three main studios as well as a mastering studio where you will catch a glimpse of Christian Wright, one of the finest mastering engineers who has been busy of late mastering tracks featured in a new Indian film released today. Nanak-Shah-Fakir-poster The film Nanak Shah Fakir is an epic about Guru Nanak the founder of the Sikh Faith. The score is by Finnish composer Tuomas Kantelinen with songs by legendary Indian Music Director Uttam Singh.  Oscar winning composer AR Rahman presented the film and was the score mentor.


For more info on Mastering your Indian projects at Abbey Road call one of the team in Mumbai (details on the contact page) who will help you choose the right engineer best suited to your music and will help you through the process.

Abbey Road’s Geoff Pesche Talks Mastering

As you well know Bohemia represents Abbey Road Studios in India for Mastering, a crucial stage of the music making process. Recently PRS for Music, UK one the world’s largest performing rights organisations and also a co-sponsor of our Mumbai Composers Lab interviewed one of the leading Mastering Engineers in the UK Geoff Pesche. Geoff has mastered many great tracks and before joining Abbey Road Studios some 9 years ago he worked at The Townhouse, Tape One, Masterpiece and Utopia. In this revealing interview he talks through the mastering process, what it is and why you need it and about some of the great records he has worked on. Many thanks to PRS For Music’s M-Magazine for the Clip.

Musings on Abbey Road…

There is always that feeling that once you have been in Abbey Road Studios you don’t really want to be anywhere else.


Of course there are fabulous studios all over the world. One of my other favourites is the glorious Yash Raj Film’s Audio Wing in Bombay and its fab main studio with genius chief engineer Shantanu Hudlikar.


Recording Sgt Pepper in Studio 2 circa 1967


Microphone lust with George & Paul.

I came across this amazing picture of the Beatles in Studio 2 at Abbey Road during the recordings for Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The instruments still exist and if you are recording there you can use them and many of the other great bits of gear scattered (in a nice way) around the studios, cupboards and corridors. Oh and the mic below  I think is in the Microphone cupboard. If you are really nice you might get to use it.

Abbey Road ATM

Yours Truly with two beautiful babes!

Last year whilst we were running BMI’s Bass Camp working in studio 3  there was a wonderful array of desks set up that an Australian artist had been using in conjunction with the main desk in the control room.  I love the fact that the studios are still alive with the past but embraces modern technology as we all should. The place has such a history and that exudes from every wall, nook and cranny.

If you want to know more about Abbey Road check out the website or….if you get a chance go to this event shown below in the video next time it happens!! If any of our Indian composers, producers or musicians are visiting London and are interested in using the studio either to record, mix or master and want to have a tour let us know and we can fix it up for you.


Don’t forget you can master your music through the online mastering service as have many great Indian artists, film companies and labels. Get in touch and we’ll help you through the process and find you the best engineer for your project. For more info and technical specifications check here! or drop me an email.




Some of the pics I grabbed from this cool website with thanks!


Bohemia Junction. Where West really does meet East!

Well folks it has taken a while but we are thrilled that the new site is up and running. Many thanks to the guys behind the scenes making it all happen. Joshua, Akash & Snehal have done us proud!

We are really keen to highlight the best of the West to India and the best of India back. Working in India is always a joy and bringing new products and services to the ever growing entertainment industry in Mumbai is a great honour. Mastering of course exists in India with some good guys at the helm although there are no specialist studios specifically aimed at mastering. When we took on the mantle of representing Abbey RFront of building final IMG_4091oad for India we knew we had been given a glorious task. Working with what is probably the most famous music brand in the world is daunting but exciting. If you take away the name you still have some of the best mastering engineers in the world all holed up in leafy St John’s Wood – a rather nice part of London. If you come out of St John’s Wood tube station and take a left you will arrive, after a short walk at Lord’s Cricket ground. If you take a right – well more of a straight then right you’ll arrive at Abbey Road. Music and Cricket all in the hood! What joy! Sounds a bit like India to me!

Well we are already working with some great names in India and have mastered some wonderful films, albums and songs. Roll up, roll up and get you next project mastered with us. We’ll find you the perfect engineer out of our ten award winning guys. We’ll fix a price and then get you hooked up with London and off you go. Wait for your tracks to come back with some very special fairy dust added! Well it is far deeper than that but you’ll notice a big difference on top of your already great mix! If you want to try things out do get in touch and we’ll see you through the process.

Our other exciting project is the representation of FAMES Project and their Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra and Studio M1. Not much has to be said about them. Watch the video with a dear friend Oscar nominated composer Javier Navrette talking up the great team out in Skopje, Macedonia. Such a wonderful composer.

The great thing about recording the orchestra in Skopje is that not only do you get a damn good price and great quality playing you can stay right where you are in your studio in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Chandigarh, Shimla or wherever you do your music if you so wish! The studio uses Source Connect which hooks you up with the studio and you get the audio being recorded right into your studio or place of work. You also get a video stream of the orchestra and you can talk directly to the team and conductor! We can help you orchestrate your parts and prepare everyt2hing ready for the orchestra to play. If you have that already done even better! Call us up and we’ll get you a great quote within a few hours!

Have a peruse and thanks for visiting the site. I’ll talk more about our Songwriting Camps and other activities in another post. In the meantime happy music making and have a splendid day!



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