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Fronteras Extra: Federico Chavez-Blanco On Writing Music For Film

Federico Chavez-Blanco
Federico Chavez-Blanco

Composer Federico Chavez-Blanco, who is a native of Mexico and San Antonio resident, has written music for telenovelas such as “Azul Tequila” and “Señora,” and on a number of films and documentaries.

He was commissioned to compose the music for this year’s San Antonio Tricentennial celebrations, and said scoring music for movies or TV depends on what the music director or music supervisor envisions for the program.

“Very early when I was composing music for cheap movies back in Mexico, I was told by a great musician, ‘You need to listen to all kinds of music. You need to start dissecting that music to learn what makes it stand (apart) from other genres.’ When (the producers) ask for a certain style, what they’re looking (for) is not the style, it’s probably one style or one riff that they like when they give you the examples. That’s when your craft needs to show up.”

Chavez-Blanco says it’s vital to know how a film is paced in order to find the right musical colors.

“You need to create a (rhythm) or a melody that is not bothering what’s going on visually,” he said. “Sonically, the dialogue is the first instrument you need to take care of. You need to protect the dialogue, then try to fill with accents with melodies, with rhythms, all the gaps that are in between the dialogue.”

Norma Martinez can be reached by email at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter @NormDog1

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1