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Student-Composed Short Film Score “Caminandes Llamigos” Featured in Symphonic Band Performance

June 3, 2021

Student composer Aarush Bothra (BM, percussion performance, BS mechanical engineering) will have his piece “Caminandes Llamigos” featured in the next Symphonic Band performance, airing virtually on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVw_yAphR94) on June 10 at 7:30 pm. Bothra initially composed this piece to accompany a short film for the Indie Music Competition; the Symphonic Band will perform “Caminandes Llamigos” with the film playing in the background during the program to present the full experience to the audience. 

Bothra began composing the piece as barebones as possible, with only piano, percussion, and glockenspiel. This helped him reduce the music to the essential elements and told him “what to prioritize during the orchestration.” 

The tone was inspired by the style of composer Frank Ticheli. One of the biggest influences was a work titled “Blue Shades.” Bothra noted, “Towards the end of ‘Blue Shades’ there is a section with a driving bassline with a clarinet solo on top. I took that idea and the intensity that came with it to form the music for the scene on the minecart.” Additionally, Bothra also found inspiration in Ticheli’s orchestration, particularly “the way that he transitions melodic figures between instruments extremely smoothly,” which can be seen in the scene where the llama and penguin drop into the cave. 

During the composition process, Bothra encountered a few differences between composing for film versus traditional composition methods. “I found that I had much less time to develop my musical ideas. Everything happens so quickly that there is little time to get a lot of repetitions. I also found that change in the mood of the film happens very quickly, and it can be difficult to capture that in music.” Additionally, he learned that silence needs to be limited when composing for an animated film without dialogue. 

Since the film was a comedy, Bothra “really wanted the music itself to be humorous as well.” He took some time and looked into the subject, but found little research on it. One day, he happened to come across a helpful Leonard Bernstein lecture, which inspired several sections of the film, including the main theme at the beginning.

Overall, Bothra learned “quite a lot about orchestrating for wind ensembles.” He noted that “it was much easier to focus on what kind of timbre I wanted in a certain section, and that would guide what instruments I wanted for the melody and what instrument I wanted for the harmony.” 

As for future works, Bothra is working on background music for a live video game and another short film score for the School of Music percussion ensemble. 

The Symphonic Band Virtual Performance will air on June 10 at 7:30 pm at the YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVw_yAphR94). This performance is free and open to the public. You can view the program at: http://z.umn.edu/6wfw.