Max Rubell

Storytelling Through Music

Music for film, television, web content, video games, advertising, and other creative media.

The Woman Next Door (excerpt)

Media: Film

Instrumentation: Piano, Limited WInds

Showcases: Character Interaction & Relationship


Scoring a relationship or interaction between two different characters is the greatest joy a film composer can experience.  In this scene, we have our protagonist (a shy, socially awkward man) and the love interest (a seemingly social but troubled woman).  They have never met, but the protagonist can hear her life through his paper-thin walls.  He empathizes with her moments.  Her joyous moments.  Her sad moments.  What the music has to reinforce in this scene is that a relationship can exist even with minimal to zero contact.

The piano is the protagonist.  It expresses itself infrequently, and when it does it rings out until silence consumes it.  He's not the social butterfly that his love interest is.  His self expression is muted and articulate.  Careful and precise.  The meandering and always falling harmonic structure is akin to sighing.  There is a flute and a clarinet present for just a moment to contribute a small element of "romantic fantasy".

As he drops down against the wall with her, the harmonies fall downwards with him.  And the last notes of the piano caress the listener just as he is caressing the wall between them.