Kristin Øhrn Dyrud

Part 1: The Beginning
Composer Kristin ÃØhrn Dyrud
Working on The Attic Door as a composer has been an incredibly rewarding experience. I was brought on board in the summer of 2007 when a mutual filmmaker friend brought Danny and me together. I was introduced to the story through communicating with Danny over email and reading the script. As the editing process started a few months later, I got the chance to watch different evolving versions of the film. After watching the first cut I spent a whole week, partially in a cold and quiet loft in Norway, which seemed to be a good environment to try to get underneath the skin of this movie. I focused solely on the film and its dramatic and emotional content without thinking of music at all. I felt it was crucial to understand the film 110 % to be able to come up with the right musical concept later. I had the luxury of time to do this and wanted to take full advantage of it. So I spent my time reflecting and doing research such as listening to a lot of contemporary music (Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Stephen Scott, John Cage) and watching movies with unusual scores (There Will Be Blood and No Country For Old Men).

Then I started working out ideas that I presented to Danny and our producer Erica. The first round of ideas demonstrated how we could maximize the instruments to create as full of a sound as possible, whereas the second round was focused on how to do as much as possible dramatically with as few musical elements as possible. We ended up steering away from a lot of the ideas that were created during this period, but one of the ideas that we stuck with was the decision to limit the sound to four instruments only and that we wanted to use these instruments in every possible way. The idea was to represent how Caroline and Darrell utilize the natural resources surrounding them in order to survive. Interesting and creative solutions happen when you set limitations for yourself, which is what we strove for. I chose the viola, cello, contrabass and piano because of their timbre and versatility. The idea of writing a string based score without having a single violin seemed attractive to me because it was something I had never done before. And I felt that the sound of the lower strings better represented the story of the film. The piano was also great because some of the non traditional effects such as fish line bowing, rubbing and hitting the strings inside the instrument created unique colors that well accompanied the dramatic content of the scary scenes (listen to the example below). My goal was to make as organic of a score as possible, so there are no effects other than what naturally comes from the instruments.

Learn more about Kristin by visiting her website:

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