In “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre” the music is scored for three cellos.  And Friday evening three cello players were sitting in my living room practicing their cello parts for the shoot.  Because for key scenes, you won’t just be hearing the cellos played, you will be seeing them played too.

That’s Mark Peters, Martine McKinney and Mathew Gnagy playing in my living room.  The 3 Ms, as I like to affectionately refer to them.  And you will see them on screen in “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre”.

But you won’t hear them play.  They actually will be play-syncing.  Acting as doubles for the three cellists who were recorded months ago performing the Tell-Tale score.

Remember when I posted this video?



Todd Maki, who is responsible for the sound of “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre” made this video while in his engineering booth monitoring the three cello players being recorded in his living room.

In Ohio.

I was following this all live from my laptop in Brooklyn.  I could hear all perfectly well, yet my view of the players and Todd was via video monitoring screens sharing space with other elements on my MacBook.

I have yet to meet Todd in person, or the three cellists who beautifully played my score.


Let’s take a closer look at the screenshot from Todd’s video.  That’s Robin Hasenflug,  Scott Burns and Michael Gelfand.



It wasn’t my plan initially to have one trio of cellists play the soundtrack and a whole other trio of cellists play on camera.  But when it became clear that Todd would take on nearly all sound responsibilities, recording the cellists and editing and mixing the final soundtrack, the practical solution was that Ohio cellists would play for the microphone, and New York cellists would play for the camera.

You see, the cellos not only comprise the musical accompaniment to the protagonist’s remembrances of the week he stalked and murdered his roommate, and how his victim’s tell-tale heart drove him to mad confession of his crime.

No, the cellos, and cello players, also insert themselves into the narrative of the film adaptation. In important, tell-tale ways.



That’s Mathew Gnagy.










Mark Peters









Martine McKinney







I don’t want to say too much more about how they will appear on screen in the film, since much of it should be a bit of a surprise.

I will let slip though that in at least one crucial scene the 3 Ms will be arrayed as they were Friday night in my living room.

And that shot will be in black and white.

Version 3


About dannyashkenasi

I'm a composer with over 40 years experience creating music theater. I'm also an actor, writer, director, producer, teacher and general enthusiast for the arts.
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