Christmas came early

If you are a media composer, you know what I  mean.

For the layman: as composers we work with music publishers and libraries that pitch (and hopefully place) our music to shows, adverts, films. This is a great way to stay busy in between projects and it helps to build a personal catalog of music that’s ready to be licensed when the right opportunity arises.

The holiday season is obviously a great opportunity for music publishers. There is a large need for “seasonal” music to sell products or provide the right background to the Christmas special of whatever show and we are called to help on this task providing material they can pitch.

christmas came early for the media composer - Alessandro Mastroianni's Blog

Sounds like fun? Sure. It can be.

Writing Christmas music means you can use a boatload of sleigh bells on pretty much anything, including a techno beat. And glockenspiel, crotales, you name it. Not to mention that major seventh chord with a ninth in the melody that makes your heart melt (or cringe), but let’s not get technical.

If you love Christmas and are a media composer, you’re in the right business, because Christmas comes early. Very early. I’m talking September, or August, as has happened to me this year.

It means you can spend the summer writing winter music, and if you live in Italy without air conditioning like I do, that’s a tremendous help. It also means that if you don’t have a full time assistant (yes, that’s also me) you’ll have a lovely time bouncing down stems, creating alternative mixes and my all time favorite (yes, I’m being sarcastic): 15, 30, 60, 90 seconds edits for use in commercials. And those timings are also slightly different (by a few frames) in the U.S. and in Europe.

Luckily, this year I spent a lot of time transcribing Alexander Desplat’s music and it came in handy when I was asked to write minimal, orchestral, mysterious, night Christmas music. I did actually make up this description but after a good talk with the publisher I understood that that was what they meant. I also decided to stay clear from sleigh bells this year but hey, it’s just September.

If you’re interested, here’s an example I can share. I hope you like celesta!