Film Music

A passion of mine for many years, my work in the broad area that is film music (and other moving image mediums) has included a variety of projects covering short cartoons, music for documentary, advertising and idents, live music for silent film of the 1920s, and a full re-scoring of a contemporary film. My interests have taken me down many stylistic paths, so it's hard to choose just a few examples, but here they are.

I've also uploaded a few audio clips. These excerpts are without visuals because either I can't post them for copyright reasons (even under fair use/educational guidelines), or because they have been used as demos pitches for advertising and television. Other tracks are examples of library music written with moving images in mind which have not been specifically synchronised to visuals.

The clips below should be visible in all major desktop browsers (as either flash or html5 videos), ipads, iphones, and most other mobile devices. Although lower quality videos will be loaded by default for those using certain mobile phones, I would recommend only viewing these clips using a broadband/wifi internet connection as opposed to mobile 3G data plans as these files are quite large!

Excerpts from re-scoring of "In Bruges"

Role: Composer/Conductor and all editing, mixing and mastering
Purpose: Final project for masters degree
Performers: Jack Hurst, Jeff Spencer, Jerry Wigens, Martin Kingston, Patrick Browne, Thomas Bush and Yoshinori Hayashi
Visuals: Copyright © Focus Films 2008
Written and directed by: Martin McDonagh

For further information about this film see


For my final masters degree project, I completed a full re-scoring of the film "In Bruges", originally scored by Carter Burwell. Excerpts of this score are in the above clip, although the score actually lasts for around 40 minutes. The purpose of this project was to look at the way that performers can contribute creatively to the overall sound of a film score by using more flexible scoring techniques than those traditionally used, and this particular score was recorded in just over 4 hours, without prior rehearsal, using simple skeleton scores, lead sheets, chord sequences, melodic fragments, open forms, and text based instruction to be developed on the fly under my direction and later edited and mixed by myself into the finished "demonstration" score by myself.

My score presents the narrative from a different perspective to that of the original score, focusing primarily on the perspective of the character Ken and his relationship with Ray, whilst also following Ray's journey throughout the course of the film, all the time treating Bruges itself as a character. In taking a more active role to interpret the relationships of the characters, the score also highlights aspects of comedy, romance, and drama in the film.

A full accompanying dissertation is available on request and has the title An approach to flexible film scoring in the digital domain. I can also supply music used from this re-scoring for use in other projects (either as recorded or re-recorded).

Pearl & Dean Digital ident

Role: Composer/Sound design and production
Client: Pearl & Dean Cinema Advertising


Probably the shortest thing I have ever composed! An ident for Pearl & Dean's digital branding. The focus here was on creating detailed texture within a very short space of time, using just one chord. A variety of sampled and synthesised sounds were used in various layers and orchestrated to create a rich, but "sparkling" wave of sound, designed to grab the listeners ear in a pleasing way whilst drawing their eyes to the screen

Spotted Dogfish

Role: Composer/Orchestrator and production
Purpose: Educational re-scoring.

A piece of orchestral scoring for wildlife documentary, produced using a sample library. This piece was produced as part of an educational exercise. I have two versions of this particular piece. This one has the "comedy" ending.

La Antenna

Role: Composer/Orchestrator and production
Purpose: Educational re-scoring.

For further information about this film see

A short clip from the modern silent film "La Antenna" by Esteban Sapir, re-scored by myself using piano and a range of sample based instruments/sounds created from my own recordings of a female singer.

Here I was using the concept of "the voice", something key to the narrative of the film, as a starting point for designing the sound world of the score. There are a variety of vocal based sounds, which are all treated and manipulated to a different extent. The more organ or synthesiser like sounds are the most extreme examples of this (e.g. the TV sound), and represent the idea of a "machine" withdrawing, and then controlling and manipulating the voice of the people, whilst the more obviously human sounds represent the people within the film and their stifled voices. Finally the purest vocal samples (i.e. at the very end) are reserved for an individual in the film who has their own voice, and represents hope for the characters in the film.

The use of a piano helps to tie all of this together, and of course allows me as a composer to delve into the many associations between pianos and silent film music whilst developing my own musical language within this. Again, this music was produced as an educational exercise, and this clip is just a very short extract from the original film.

Jack & Jill

Role: Composer/Orchestrator and music production
Purpose: Animated short cartoon for the web (see video for full credits).

A reinterpretation of the classic Jack & Jill story, written by Howard Cohen and produced by Dani Devereux.

Pearl & Dean Future Film

Role: Arranger/Sound design and production
Based on the theme "Asteroid" composed by: Pete Moore
Client: Pearl & Dean Cinema Advertising


This futuristic version of Pete Moore's classic "Asteroid" theme for Pearl & Dean was created for use in their Future Film festival in London's Leicester Square.

Galopogas (BBC competition visuals)

Role: Composer/Orchestrator and production
Purpose: Music for visuals provided for competition.

A piece of orchestral scoring for wildlife documentary, produced using a sample library. The visuals here, from the series Galapagos, were released by the BBC as part of a composer's competition.

Hellingly Asylum

Role: Composer
Purpose: Experimental music set to photography.

See for more of Neal's photography.

This music was produced using orchestral percussion samples and a set of turntables, using various experimental techniques. This leaned heavily on the use of old, degraded vinyl records as sound sources, linking in well with the photography of a building that is abandoned and in a state of degradation itself.

Audio Clips

All music copyright Peter Riley except adaptations as noted.