Jay Gruska was in charge of writing all of the music for this movie. He has been gracious enough
to answer several questions about not only the score, but the movie as well. NOTTFO would like to thank Jay Gruska
for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer questions for me. He just appeared at a musical opening in Palo
Alto back in April, and has been working on the score to new episodes of CW's "Supernatural" as well as tackling
other projects. Mr. Gruska conversed with me for some time, although only the questions relating to the film, the focal point of the interview, are being listed here:
NOTTFO: The burning question - what is the name of the ragtime piano theme playing on the wax
cylinder gramophone every time someone dies, and where can I acquire a copy?
Jay Gruska (JG): The name of that piece is.....wait for it.........RAGTIME PIANO. Isn't that
original? I am
including an mp3 for you here Christopher, but I DON"T WANT YOU TO GIVE AWAY OR DISTRIBUTE IT
IN ANY WAY PLEASE.
NOTTFO: Thank you SO much! You have my solemn promise that nobody
else will ever be able to access
the MP3 you sent me... EVER. It is, by far, one of the coolest things I have ever received, and
it with my life. Thank you again! (Now I can alternate between the four other tracks I have plus
while I work on the site, although I will probably listen to this one a little more, now.) I do
love it! Thank
NOTTFO: What is the technical name of the device playing the ragtime piano theme? A wax cylinder player,
phonograph or gramophone?
JG: I don't remember, but gramophone is most likely.
NOTTFO: Is there an official soundtrack and where can I acquire a copy?
NOTTFO: I've heard
that in 1996, the ragtime piano theme was changed due to temporary copyright
issues, and that
the temporary replacement music is a little creepier. Can you tell me all you know
about this song?
JG: Well, since I wrote that piece and don't know anything about a replacement--I'm
curious as well. Why
would there be copyright issues if I composed it???
NOTTFO: Did writing
this score help influence your musical direction in terms of writing future scores?
JG: Only in that, every score one writes informs future work in one way or another. I
did particularly enjoy
the 'older' style of writing though.
NOTTFO: Did you study
Hitchcock or Bernard Hermann to get a better feel in the direction used in the
film or did you already have a basic idea for the music in your head?
JG: 'Study' might be too conscientious a word, I certainly did some listening to Mr.
NOTTFO: Were you
given a copy of the script to read and study in order to gain insight and did you
coordinate your music around this script?
JG: No, and in general, unless there is music that is needed before a film is shot, I
prefer to NOT read a
script first, lest I make my own movie in my head. My job is to respond to
and support the images that
the director designed and filmed. Geography, performance tone and
pacing, lighting and era are my
biggest 'insight' factors, generally speaking.
NOTTFO: What was your
fondest memory while working on this score?
JG: Recording the score at the Fox scoring stage.
NOTTFO: Do you know
of any alternate or cut scenes that never made the final cut?
JG: No, but I'm sure there were plenty....as there always are.
NOTTFO: Explain your choice and usage of woodwinds in creating the musical style and feel you were
JG: Well to some extent it was a function of budget and what that score could afford, but bass
clarinet/contra bass clarinet and oboe worked their way into the writing. It gave me both a lyrical
expression in the oboe and the low clarinets afforded a good ominous color variation from the string
NOTTFO: You state on your website, "I was limited to a mid size string orchestra with 2 woodwinds". Why is
this? Was this all they would provide you with, or was it a personal preference?
JG: As I said in the last response, I had a budget to work within, so the orchestra size and amount of time
to record with them was determined by this. An unfortunate common scenario in film scoring, certainly
NOTTFO: You also state that Armin Steiner engineering at FOX studios, in addition to the great
musicians in L.A., helped you to create "the right sound". I agree. How happy are you, after all was said
and done, with the score and the final film in general?
JG: I was pleased with most of the orchestra performance, although frankly, I wish I'd had a bit more time
to work with them.
NOTTFO: Can you tell me what the two classical songs were that were playing in the Garden Cafe during
the exchanges between Alan and Elaine? I used to have a copy of both, years ago, but for the life of me
can't remember - I think the first is Vivaldi, but I really prefer a definitive answer (for the site's sake).
JG: I haven't seen the film in 20 years, I have no idea. I had nothing to do with choosing that music.
NOTTFO: Dennis Ricotta is listed as "Music Editor". What was his job and how did that relate to yours?
JG: A music editor edits music if it needs to be lengthened or shortened, as well as supplying
the composer with notes from the 'spotting session' --which is where the composer sits with
director/producers and decides where and what tone music should be.
NOTTFO: Were you given total creative control of the project?
NOTTFO: Is there anything you would have changed about the movie?
JG: Well, I haven't watched the movie in 20 years....so I guess not. And since you're devoting a website to
I thank you again for everything you have done. You have created a masterful score that perfectly compliments the film and your list of accomplishments is overwhelming.