The center of tonal gravity

One thing that interests me is the phenomenon of a tonal center. The fact that, when listening to music, we all have a strong sense of key. In other words; we know when we are “home” or “away” when listening to a tune or a song. We feel safe and the song feels complete (and predictable) when it stops on the tonic. I.e. the root of the scale, or key. We can create surprising and sometimes funny effects when going in another direction than the expected note or chord. We all have the ability to decide which key is being the center or root of a song. We can do this from just a few notes in a melody. One example is the second half of “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”, where the melody goes; G, F, E, D. From this we can deduct that the key is C.

blinka We can feel that the tonal gravity is pulling us towards a C.

This is a very universal and strong force. Scientists claim that we are born with this ability.

Why does this matter? Well, we all like to have a sense of bearing when listening to music. We don’t like it when we are lost. Also, with this strong sense of tonal gravity, we are amused when the music takes an unexpected turn. This keeps our brains entertained. If the music is too predictable, we get bored. If the music is too unpredictable and totally lacking any “flirting” with the tonal center, we get lost. Finding the right balance between the predictable and the surprising is a never ending quest for any composer, songwriter and music listener. The “right formula” is, of course, a matter of personal taste and depending on the context in which the music will be used.

The standard way today, of depicting the relationship between notes and chords is either by a circle of fifths or ascending scales with corresponding chords. (see pictures below)


The Swiss mathematician Leonard Euler made one of the earliest attempts of mapping the relationship between notes with pure intervals. His map is from 1739 and is organized in columns of perfect fifths and rows of major thirds. This gives a two dimensional map of the notes and their relationship. It is interesting to see that the major triads of a key is represented by a L-shape in the map and that the key itself creates a bigger, sort of L-shape in the map (see picture below).


In the picture, the triad box is marking the triad of a C major chord, that consists of the notes C, G and E. If we would move the triad box one column to the left, it would highlight a F major chord that consists of the notes F, A and C. You may have noticed that within each “scale box” (the fat L-shape), the tonic, in this case C, has the shortest average distance from all other notes. British mathematician Christopher Longuet-Higgins suggested that this may be one of the reasons for our strong sense of percieved tonal gravity.

I think that Euler’s map gives a picture of a wide open musical landscape opposed to the more closed circle of fifths. It truthfully displays that the note G is closer or more related to C than C#. It also gives a good graphic representation of modulation between different keys. It shows us that the walls between different keys aren’t that thick. If you move the triad box in the picture above, one row up, you’ll get an E major chord (the notes E, G# and B). E major is an alien chord in the key of C, but it still has two of it’s notes (E and B) within the boundries of the key of C. Thus, the chord E is related to the key of C. Not in the nearest family, but maybe like a cousin? An example of this can be heard in the song “Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay”. If it was to be played in the key of C, the beginning of the chord progression would be: C, E, F. This sounds perfectly natural, even though it is not entirely in the key of C. A pleasant balance between the unexpected and predictable.

Euler’s map is a beautiful and fluent graphic representation of the relationship between notes, chords and keys. Now, let’s make some music!

Our Mission – Composing for Film

Whatever projects we’re working on, we always try to express something meaningful, beautiful, relevant and hopefully, personal with our music. We like to work together, feeding of each others ideas and strengths, but we can just as well work independently, depending on the project at hand. Either way, we always have the creative support of the group, which is very helpful for a successful end result.

We’d like to help you at every stage of the film making process. We think it’s a good thing to be a part of the process early on, but we are very used to adapt our workflow to suit your current needs.

We have composed music scores for film and television since 1998. In these projects our task has been to tell the “unseen story” with music, e.g. emphasize emotions, build expectations, frighten and surprise. We have a strong grasp of storytelling and can help the director and producer to express their story musically. We think that a thorough spotting session is a good starting point for a fruitful and successful scoring of a film. That way, the director, producer and composer, can lay the foundation for the score; Which mood and what meaning should the music have? Where should it start and stop? When should there be silence?

We can also help you with source music, such as music in restaurants and clubs, songs on radio and tunes that are performed by the actors.

The ability to make a believable orchestral mockup or music demo, is a valuable tool when discussing the score. When you have good representation early in the process, of the possible end result, it is much easier for everybody to give relevant feedback to the ideas presented. You can listen to en example of an orchestral mockup here. We take pride in delivering relevant and good sounding music demos and orchestral mockups. A believable mockup is also very helpful for the orchestrator/copyist, producing sheet music, and the recording engineer, capturing the music.

Our experience and understanding of sound design (foley, SFX, atmosphere, etc) also helps us make a better score that will fit nicely with the rest of the sounds in the film. We like to cooperate and correspond with the post-production sound department, to make sure that our efforts doesn’t collide.

At the end of the scoring process, we mix, master and label the music-files. We deliver stereo mixes, 5.1 mixes or STEMS in any desired format.

In our career we have scored a large number of feature films such as “Miraklet i Viskan”, “Prästen i paradiset”, “Irene Huss” and “Maria Wern”. We also have composed for Swedish Television. TV-dramas like “Kniven i hjärtat”, “Saltön”, “STHLM” and “Möbelhandlarens Dotter”.

Our employers have been; Zodiac, Eyeworks, SVT Drama, Fundament Film, TV4 Drama, Yellowbird, Moviemakers, Götafilm, Giraff film, Garage film, Illusion film, among others.

Our Mission – Recording

Time to make it personal?
We like to create and design our own sounds as much as possible. Whether it’s a soundscape for a film, or recording songs for artists, it’s important for us to always make it personal.
Our goal is to do something different than just selecting presets of somebody else’s music or musical intentions.

Over the years we have actually accumulated something of a sound library ourselves. We have lots of unused samples of rhythms, fx and various instruments.

If time is a factor and the deadline looms over our heads, we can at least browse through our own presets, for a quick and customized result.

We like to experiment with all sorts of gadgets, like the Agafon from the 40’s, to create interesting sounds and rhythms. We also like to capture our ideas in the best possible way. We like to use michprophones such as: Schoeps CMC-65, Neumann USM69, Gefell UMT70, AKG C-414, Neumann TLM184, Heil Sound, Electro-Voice RE-320, Shure, Neumann TLM170, Sennheiser, etc…


We try to make the place as functional and creative as possible.


Main recording, mixing, and mastering room. This is the place where many of our productions get the final touch. It is equipped with a comfy sofa where you can relax and enjoy watching and commenting on the movie. We also have a matching popcorn machine. ;)

Technical stuff:
  • Accurate sync to picture displayed on a big screen, Full HD, LED monitor
  • 5.1 mixing and monitoring with Genelec 1031A + Genelec 7070 subwoofer
  • Acoustically treated by Eora Sound Engineering
  • Computer power from two custom built XI-Machines and a Mac
  • Nice, analog outboard, such as UAD 1776, Lexicon and preamps by API, SSL and Harrison
  • Easy hands-on-mixing and DAW-control is done with Nucleus
  • Mixing with the power of SSL’s legendary sound tools, UAD, Algorithmix, FabFilter, BrainWorx, Oxford and others
  • Editing and syncing to picture is done in SSL Soundscape. Midi is handled by Logic Pro X. Reaper is used for additional tasks and ProTools is used for compatibility


This is obviously where most of the recording takes place. Plenty of room for a five-piece band to sweat out some great music. It has a very tight sound with a short but balanced ambience. Adjacent you’ll find two smaller booths for separated audio sources during recording sessions. Audio connections to all studios are installed for flexible setups. The room is also blessed with plenty of sunlight…

Technical Stuff:
  • Acoustically treated with diffusors and absorbents
  • Microphones such as AKG (C414), Schoeps (CMC-64 & CMC-65), Neumann (TLM170, USM69, TLM103, KM184), Sennheiser (MD421, E906, E904, MKH 416), Heil Sound (PR 40), Gefell (UMT170S), Shure (BETA 91A, SM7 B, BETA52, SM57, SM58), Beyerdynamic (TG I50d), Electro-Voice (RE320)
  • 4 x 8ch individual monitoring
  • Lots of microphone stands and custom-made quality cables ;)


The ProTools suite. The place for music editing and mixing. Music’s being mixed either ”in-the-box” with ProTools or with the help of some nice hardware outboard, such as the Studer console.

Technical Stuff:
  • Mac Pro
  • ProTools HD
  • Roister monitors
  • Studer 12ch analog console


Studio for smaller projects and composition. This is a place for working fast and quickly realize musical ideas. It can also serve as a fast editing/mockup studio, when reviewing cues in the main control room. It allows us to work in parallell. For example; During a spotting session in the Main Control Room, one of us can use this studio to produce fast mockups of the ideas discussed. These mockups are then sent to the Main Control Room for further review and/or approval. A very efficent workflow.

Technical Stuff:
  • Logic Pro X and SSL Soundscape
  • Vienna Symphonic Library
  • API & RME pre-amps
  • Genelec 8030 monitoring