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3 September 2014
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Music Box

Snuff Box Title Theme

I can't be in love if it's plastic
to live on my own just seems tragic
but we'll raise our swords high when our day comes
you thought it was gold but it was bronze
so, get here in time when our day comes
you thought it was gold but it was bronze

© Words and music Matt Berry 2005

Matt Berry on the music of Snuff Box

You composed, scored and performed all the music in the series yourself. Was that always the intention?

Yes, definitely. I composed and performed the music for the BBC THREE rock opera AD/BC last year, and although it was a large undertaking, I realised I could do it. That was twenty-eight minutes of non-stop music, so six half hours was going to be a further challenge. I played all the instruments myself - not because I'm a control freak but because I tend to work at around 4am, and realised I would have trouble getting other musicians to join me at that time of the morning. I always knew due to my own tastes that music would feature heavily in Snuff Box. Music is a very important aspect in any visual idea, but it seems to be something of an afterthought in TV at the moment.

Did you approach the composition of the incidental music in a different way to the dance set piece numbers?

Not really. I've always been a fan of noticeable incidental film music (the James Bond films and Yan Tiersen's score for Amelie spring to mind) and never really subscribed to the theory that incidental music should pass unnoticed so the viewer is not distracted. I think the viewer can deal with the two sensations at once and separate them.

As for the set pieces, I kept them as 'showy' as possible and always incorporated the title theme. I always liked the Dennis Potter music set pieces. But unlike Potter, instead of using existing music (which I feel to be the perceived approach) I was intent on using my own songs.

What composers influenced the Snuff Box score?

There would be quite a few, but in terms of orchestration I would say that I was listening to a lot of Ronnie Hazelhurst, Ron Grainer and Tony Hatch, whom I incidentally phoned to ask advice on brass arrangements. I had always been a huge fan of how Hatch used and featured brass, especially the pieces such as Sportsnight - and even what he did with Petula Clark's Downtown. What he did was make the best of a small amount of musicians in a small room with a small amount of money.

Hazlehurst and Grainer to an extent never sacrificed melody when composing incidental music, which is a rule I shall try and stick to. I also realise that due to the nature of the show (certainly not to everyone's taste) I may never get the chance to score or produce my own TV series again, so I approached the music as I would a film score. Why not?

Finally, what is the Snuff Box score?

Easy, two chords: D Minor7 and G9. That's all it is for six episodes - the equivalent of three hours. What a swizz!

MP3 download instructions

You can listen to some exclusive Snuff Box music by Matt Berry by clicking on the buttons at the top of the page. Here's how to download them to your computer - follow the instructions according to your web browser:

Internet Explorer

For PC: Right-click, select 'Save Target As...' and choose where to save the file.

For Mac: Ctrl-click, select 'Download Link to Disk' and choose where to save the file.


Right-click (PC) or ctrl-click (Mac), select 'save link as' and choose where to save the file.

Safari (Mac only)

Ctrl-click, select 'Download Linked File' and choose where to save the file.

Snuff Box MP3s

Click on a title to listen or see below for download instructions.

Title Theme End Title Fight Theme (Acoustic) The Hangman's Song Stick The Empty Room

© Matt Berry 2005

More music on bbc.co.uk/comedy

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