Music for TV Composing for Drama – Tongue Tided

I recently worked on a short film with the immensely talented John Grey (who I’ve actually been working with on a music video too). The film Tongue-Tied tells the story of a man with a crippling speech impediment and the loneliness that comes along with it. By spying on the text messages of others, he is able to take glimpses into their lives and form his own unique, temporary bonds. To him, even the most basic human connection is completely out of reach… until one day he meets a girl with a habit just like his own…

The amount of music required in the film was quite minimal but the musical arises at the key point in the film so it had to be spot on. The key area of focus was the end (spolier alert) where he finally makes contact with the girl. It would have been quite easy at this point to pull out a stock feel good ‘punch the air’ anthem out of the air (e.g. Take That Greatest Day) but we really wanted to give the piece some bite and some real soulfulness with a small slice of eeriness and melancholy thrown in to truly reflect the characters in the piece.

I wanted reflect the rhythms of the train journey and give a sense of building and emotional excitement. The music gradually gets faster but does not resolve to a major chord until the last chord of end of the credits. With the fragile characters involved, I wanted to give the impression to the viewer that this is a massively brave first step for them both and, whilst it’s exciting, it’s not your classic ‘happy ever after’ style ending (I also thought that with the perceived hard times the two characters had been through, they perhaps might be quite apprehensive of the whole situation themselves… I wanted to reflect a feeling of almost melancholic happiness!).

With the main melody I wanted to reflect a sense of hope from the start and I used quite a repetitive hook to reflect the repetitive life of the main character. I used the melody for both the male and female characters to hopefully give a initial sense of unity between them. I managed to convince the wonderful voice and viola playing of Helen Riley of Bells in the Birches to sing the melody of for the female character and play some viola at the end. Thanks a lot Helen!


It was an immensely fun project to work on. I had a massive respect for John’s work after seeing his film Breathless (which I really recommend watching) so it was great to finally work on a drama together. You can see what we came up with here:

Let me know what you think!