‘Only Murders in the Building’ composer Siddhartha Khosla on scoring a silent episode [Exclusive Video Interview]

Siddhartha Khosla has a hat trick of Emmy nominations this year, two of which are for “Only Murders in the Building,” for composing the addictive theme and the show’s score. For the latter category, he submitted “The Boy from 6B,” the standout Season 1 episode told from the perspective of Theo (James Caverly), who’s deaf, with no dialogue until one sentence at the end. And at one point in the process, there was going to be no music in the episode either.

Julie Monroe, our editor was key in this. Cherien Dabis, who directed the episode — key.  We all work together very early on in terms of finding what it was,” Khosla tells Gold Derby at our Meet the Experts: Composers panel (watch the exclusive video interview above). “At one point, there was gonna be no music. It was just going to be sound design. But then as we were cutting and seeing picture, all of a sudden, we decided, no, there needs to be a lot of music to help drive the narrative here.”

Without dialogue, Khosla’s music would be “under a microscope” for the first time on the show as it would be at the forefront of scenes as opposed to underscore for dialogue. The six-time Emmy nominee brought out the melodies more to tell the story, culminating with a lush, full rendition of the score at end of the episode in the flashback scene that revealed that Theo had pushed Zoe (Olivia Reis) off the Arconia roof 10 years ago.

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“One thing we did realize in the process was this also had to be some of the biggest score of the season. There are some smaller, intimate moments, but that moment where he pushes her off the roof is like the most operatic we’d ever been in season,” Khosla shares. “And the score there, I had to make it as sweeping and operatic as possible because it was the only thing driving it.”

While the whole episode was challenging — “I’ve never scored a silent movie before” — the most difficult part was spotting it. “How much music do we really want? When do we want it to drive the story? When do we want the ALS portion of it to drive the story?” Khosla says of the questions they were asking. “Spotting an episode is everything, where you decide to put music and where you decide not to. And I think that ultimately was a challenge. It could’ve been wall-to-wall [music], I could’ve scored the whole thing. It would’ve lost its magic, but I think here, that was the challenge of when do we want to score?”

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