Root Notes come home to roost


Collage Architecture Studio

Project duration

2 weeks

Project requirement

Soundtrack for an architectural short film

If you haven’t yet heard the works of Ludovico Einaudi… wait, let me rephrase. 

If you’ve ever needed to power through a particularly high intensity work day, one where you needed to churn out a presentation, a document or an audit and all you had was a pair of headphones and all the music in the world to help you through it – pick Ludovico Einaudi. 

Born in 1955, Einaudi is a modern master of classical composition, narrating stories through a minimalism inspired piano composition style. There’s never too much happening in an Einaudi piece, but every bit of it seems poignant. His notes have meaning and a certain weight, his tunes have personality and gravitas enough for the listener to imagine an entire soap opera or war time drama with their eyes closed. It is no wonder that so many architectural firms use the work of Einaudi (if they can afford it) or pieces inspired by the Italian master as the background score for films that showcase the brilliance in design and execution of their own work.

Here’s the obvious: good architecture comes at a premium.  The best advert for an architecture firm (or any design company) is their previous work. A showcase of such work must both look and sound classy, thought through, deliberate and artistic, and yet somehow must sound good – precisely the brief that Collage Architecture Studio presented us with for a video of their latest project – a pristine residential condo in the outskirts of Bengaluru. 

In our books, there’s two ways to approach a project like this. Approach-1 involves the use of neutral ambient sounds and natural folly sounds (sounds of birds chirping, footsteps, keys etc) to create a sonic environment that goes largely unnoticed, thereby positioning the visuals as the “hero”. The second approach maps imagery and sound more closely, using music as an added storytelling tool that changes in accordance to the camerawork – It was mutually decided between us and the client that this is the right way to go. 
The composition itself played out like actually building a house – we started with wind like sounds to go with shots of nature – flowers, trees, and the sun. Scenes of the house itself were accompanied by an Enauldi like piano riff. As the video progressed, we built more on top of the piano piece, creating a quiet melody suited to the aesthetics of the house. 
Musical concept used: The root note
In music theory, the root note is the pitch that establishes the tonality of a musical key, chord, or scale. The root of a chord gives the chord its name and establishes the relationship between all other notes in the chord. For instance, in a C major chord, the C note is the root of the chord. 
We used this concept throughout the track, basing the entire composition around the root note. We created small deviations from it and brought the tune back to the root note, giving the whole sound a feeling of home. 
The choice of instrumentation was influenced by the need to “keep things quiet” yet not uninteresting. The track was mostly composed in piano which is often associated with a premium sonic feel. We also added a “bells” segment, a wind chime like sound signifying good vibrations and a positive, homely energy.