Music Editing 101

In addition to sharing my specific experiences as music editor for THE SIMPSONS, I also describe in detail the job of music editing itself. When I meet people for the first time and answer “music editing” when asked what I do for a living, I often get that half-smile and semi-nod usually followed by, “Oh, you write the music?” Um, no. My job is a little difficult to sum up in one or two sentences. The simple explanation I give most often is, “the composer is the creative guy who dreams up the music, I am the technical guy who makes sure it gets into the show on time and in sync.” Thankfully for me, there’s more to it than that but that answer usually does the trick. If you’d like the detailed version of what music editing is all about, then click here and read through my “seven steps of music editing”. The blogs are posted in reverse order, so scroll to the bottom, click on “Older Posts” and start with “The Music Spotting Session”. Thanks for giving it a try and leave me a question if there’s anything more you’d like to know.

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192 thoughts on “Music Editing 101

    • I believe you’re asking about RHAPSODY IN BLUE by George Gershwin, but to be honest I’m not 100% certain. I need more detail about the scene or how many minutes into the episode is this cue.

  1. Hello! I would love to know the name of a certain piano theme that plays in various episodes. I remember hearing the theme in chapter 13, season 23. Right before Marge gives Homer his Valentine’s gifs. Minute 3:30

    • The work is titled LOVE IS BLUE. French orchestra leader Paul Mauriat’s version from 1968 is the most well-known in the U. S. and is the version we have featured on the show. Thanks for a great question.

  2. Hey man great blog I was wondering what the classical song was when homer is talking to the spanish spy villan dude near the end of ep20 season 23 “The spy who learned me”

  3. Ep. 9 ‘Homer Goes to Prep School’ at the end, after Lisa’s speech and before the zombie comet.

    I noticed that you said in an earlier post it was composed by Haydn. But I’m unable to locate the exact piece.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. Hi Chris!

    I am an aspiring filmmaker at Chapman University. I have a minor in audio technology for film and music, which involves learning about film scores, music editing, sound design, Foley/ADR, and a few other topics. I came with my film music class to a scoring session for a Simpsons episode last year and fell in love with what you do. I have loved film scores my whole life and would love to get into that side of the industry. Is there any advice you can give me as to what I should work on in my free time so that I can continue pursuing a career in this industry? I am currently taking Pro Tools certification courses in school and want to do as much as I can to enter the industry. Working in a career that involves being around TV or film scores is a dream of mine and any information you can provide to me such as good places to pursue internships or classes I should take would be great!

    Thanks!

    Adam Ginell

    • There is no direct or laid-out path to success in this biz.

      The best advice I can give anyone is to pick a specific field – in film music do you want to compose? Edit? Engineer? Play an instrument? – and work tirelessly to hone that skill.

      The other part of getting a job is all about networking and your people skills. This is the ultimate team environment and your ability to get along and play nicely with others – and to not take it personally when barked at by directors, producers, post supervisors, etc. – is as important as your ability to do the job.

      As for internships, the Television Academy offers annual summer internships, but, of course, the 2015 spots are filled. You can find out more here: http://www.emmys.com/internship

      Good luck to you. Never give up. Don’t take no for an answer. If you have an ounce of quit in you this is not the field for you.

  5. Hello Chris ! I’m a huge fan and i’m looking for two songs :
    -S23 ep13 “the daughter also rises” : when lisa and nick are in a café, we hear a trumpet playing a song wich looks like “la vie en rose” of Edith Piaf.
    -S24 ep7 “The day the earth stood cool” : when the town is becoming cool : there is a music played by the decemberists.
    I’m looking for the titles of this song and if we can buy or download them !
    Thanks !

    • The cue from THE DAUGHTER ALSO RISES is an original work by ALF CLAUSEN titled AAH, PAREE! that is supposed to make you think of LA VIE EN ROSE. I guess Alf succeeded!

      The cues performed by THE DECEMBERISTS are original works, composed for our show, and, interestingly, just have generic titles like DECEMBERISTS SIMPSONS 30 SECONDS and DECEMBERISTS SIMPSONS 45 SECONDS.

      Sadly for our fans (and for me as well) that vast majority of the music from the show is NOT currently available for download or streaming. FOX owns all the original music and has not, as yet, released the music for online purchase. Maybe this will change in the future.

      Thanks for your questions and for reading my blog.

  6. Hi,
    in S18E11, what is the name of the song played by the radio station “Chill Thunder Light”? Hope you can help me like last time =)
    Greetings from Germany

    • It’s an original composition by father-son duo Alf & Scott Clausen titled (aptly) “Chill Thunder Light”. All the cues for the quick trip around the radio dial are named the same as the radio stations.

  7. Hello, I want to know the title of a classical music in the simpsons season 24 episode, 11 where God is vacuuming the earth. I’ve been searching for a while now, with no luck. Do you happen to know that classical music?

  8. What’s the name of the song (and who performed it) that’s played a few times in the episode “Adventures in Baby Getting” (season 24). No lyrics and it sounds like something from the 20’s?

    • The name of the song is “That’s You, Baby”, composed by CON CONRAD, ARCHIE GOTTLER, and SIDNEY MITCHELL. The song was first popular in 1929. The version for our episode was arranged by Alf Clausen.

      Thanks for reading the blog and asking a question.

  9. Hi…chris.. in season 24, bart take a piano lesson and then zhenya start to sing, i love that russian song, can you please tell me who is the singer and the titled of that song? That would make me happy.. thank you

    • It’s an old American torch song called “Makin’ Whoopee” and we set parody Russian lyrics to it. The singer is Jane Krakowski, probably best known for her role on “30 Rock”. Now you’re happy!

  10. Hi, Chris, what was the name of the music played during the end credits of Bart of Darkness? Thanks so much. Graeme.

  11. Do you know the name of the piano piece that is playing in season 19 episode 15 after Marge volunteers Lisa to join the ballet school and Lisa bumps into everyone?

  12. Hello. I’m looking for the music piece in season 7 episode 10. I want the music in the credit line at Matt Groening’s request. Thank you 🙂

  13. Hi. In The Simpsons Season 24 Episode 1, Where Homer asked Bart he remembers, “when we were New York” Homer played the xylophone, and music was nice Jazz chill. What was song name or artist?

    Another question. In the Season 25 Episode 21. Pay Pal. Where Homer and Marge organized a party for Lisa, which they dismantled quickly. There’s an orchestra in the background are playing a song. What is orchestra or, artist and name of song?

    • The jazzy cue from S24, E1 is called “Cooley Most’s Lullaby”, an original cue by Alf Clausen. The action cue from S25, E21 is the theme from “The Streets of San Francisco”, a popular TV cop show from the 70s starring a young Michael Douglas. The theme was written by Patrick Williams and aranged for our show by Alf Clausen.

  14. I would like to know the musical piece Skinner played while the tutors were fighting in the lounge season 22 episode 10

  15. Hello,
    What is the music in the couch gag of season 25 episode 3, the hobbit parody?
    Is it an Alf Clausen original?
    Thank You.

  16. Awesome blog man. I’m wondering if you know the song playing in Treehouse of Horror VI during the Homer Cubed segment. There is a scene where Homer is looking into the fish pond and BEAUTIFUL music is playing in the background. I am aware that the music does somewhat resemble the game Myst, but I cant find the exact music from the show anywhere. Cheers c:

  17. hi chris!! 🙂

    i need you help!!! season 25 cap 3…4 regrettings and a funeral.I would like to know the name of the theme what plays when Mr. Burns is youngl in paris … please! dying to know that topic! 🙂
    thank u! 🙂

  18. Hi! I love to have found this page, thank you so much!

    I’ve always wondered what these songs are, if you don’t mind researching for me:
    On season 4 episode 17, “Last exit to Springfield”, when Burns and Smithers run the plant by themselves, is it a version of Clausen’s “Land of Chocolate”?

    And on season 17 episode 7, “The last of the Red Hat Mamas”, the song playing when Martha Quimby presses the buttons and the girls appear (xD)

    • S4-E17 cue is titled “A Fitting Flitting” and it was a “variation” of “The Land of Chocolate”, both composed by Alf Clausen.

      S17-E7 cue is “Music to Watch Girls By” composed by Sid Ramin and made popular in various versions by Bob Crewe, Andy Williams, and Herb Alpert. The song was also prominently featured in Pepsi commercials in the 1960s. Alf arranged and recorded the version heard in the episode in the style of the Herb Alpert arrangement.

      Thanks for visiting my blog!

    • what’s the name of all the song in the episode 21 from season 24 (especially the one when they chase Carl after he get back in his car around 11min )

      • Many of the cues in this episode were written for us by the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. All music for the episode is original except for one of their songs “Olsen Olsen” in act 3.

  19. Thanks for your work here, you have a great ear for music! I am wondering if you know what the Django Reinhardt-esque music is for the couch gad in “Diggs” episode 12 of season 25?

    • The couch gag for “Diggs” was directed & animated by French film maker Sylvain Chomet. He also composed the music which is simply titled “Sylvain Chomet Couch Gag”. He also directed the Academy Award-Nominated feature-length animated film “The Triplets of Bellville”.

    • I need to know the song in the end of the episode 18 of season 22 when the magician start the dance with her wife. Thanks for your help and time.

      • It was a pleasure for me. I have one more question is there any option how can i hear it whole on internet?

      • Sadly, no Simpsons music is available for purchase or download at this time other than the 3 CDs we’ve released previously. Maybe some day FOX will loosen up and make the music available.

  20. Hey what is the song or melodies name at the end of season 25 episode 18, the melody start playing when they show what is still to come in the following episodes of the simpsons?

  21. please let me know what the song at the end of the simpson episode/end credits that was aired 04/13/14 season 25 ep 18 i think it is…
    some piano/smooth beat music without words had a really neat chord progression…
    thank you so very much… 🙂

  22. I’m dying to find out what’s the song played during the end credits of season 9 episode 12 -‘bart carny’!!?
    its a funky disco song, thanks for any help!

  23. The classical piece that plays in ‘Diggs’ when Bart first meets Diggs and is asking why he transferred to that school instead of another. The ‘other’ school is being shown when the piece plays.

    • If you mean the episode about Bart & Diggs and falconry, then it’s an original composition for the episode by ALF CLAUSEN titled “Diggs is Outta Here”. The editor had placed a temp music cue in this scene with solo piano and Alf was asked to write his own version that felt sad and lonely. I hope I understood your question.

  24. Hi, thanks for your work, always loved the music from Simpsons. Great tunes at the right time.. 🙂

    What’s playing in the 12th episode (“Diggs”) when the credits start (20:38-20:43)? The same music when Diggs rides his bike (19:55-20:02)..

    • It’s an original composition for the episode by ALF CLAUSEN titled “Diggs is Outta Here”. The editor had placed a temp music cue in this scene with solo piano and Alf was asked to write his own version that felt sad and lonely. Thanks for asking.

  25. Hello Chris. What’s the first part of music playing in season 25 episode 11 and 12 during the end credits ? I know that the second part was NFL Theme on FOX (e11) and traditional simpsons end (e12).

    • In S25-E11, the cue is titled “Who?”. In S25-E12 the cue is titled “Diggs is Outta Here” – both are original compositions for their respective episodes by Alf Clausen. Thanks for the question.

  26. Can you please tell me the name of the piano song played when homer was sent to jail in the episode “steal this episode” it is the ninth episode in the 25th season

      • In regards to Alf’s “Homer’s Lament”, where can I find it? There’s nothing on iTunes unfortunately

      • Sadly, none of Alf’s underscore cues are available for download. It’s a huge legal tangle with FOX owning the music and having to repay the orchestra musicians. We keep hoping that they’ll be released someday, but we’re not holding our collective breath. Thanks for your interest.

  27. Hello, please tell me what is the melody name at 20:25 Simpsons season 25 episode 8 that sound with the final titles (first of second in the mix) Thank you and sorry for my English.

    • My records show S25E8 to be our Christmas episode, which had End Credits music that was a blend of The Simpsons theme with traditional Christmas carols. If this isn’t the episode you’re thinking of, then either let me know the episode number (i. e. SABF01) or give me a brief description of the story in the episode. Thanks.

      • Thank you, it is a second melody in final titers (final credits) of S25E8 (Christmas episode) starts at 20:28 after traditional Simpsons melody when the “and Harry Shearer” titers on the screen. Thank you.

      • The Christmas Carols heard in the End Credits are, in order: CAROL OF THE BELLS, JINGLE BELLS, DECK THE HALLS, and O TANNENBAUM. The one you are asking about is CAROL OF THE BELLS. Hope this is helpful.

  28. Hi!
    In Season 24 Episode 3 “Adventures in Baby-Getting”. What is the title of the song played, when Bart and his friends spy on Lisa who is going to Skinner. Its played at about 12:00min.
    thanks!

  29. Hi,
    what is the name of the music in S06E01 “Bart of darkness” starting at 07:45 when they do their perfomance in the pool? I searched everywhere, but didnt find anything. Thank you

    • It’s an original composition by Alf Clausen titled “E. W. Phone Home”. The E. W. in the title refers to Esther Williams, a competitive-swimmer-turned-film-star, who made numerous movies for MGM in the 50s & 60s that featured elaborate water sequences like the one in “Bart of Darkness”.

      I’m glad you enjoy our show.

  30. hello there, could anyone tell me what music is played in the couch scene of season 25 ep 4 it is classical violin i believe , thank you

    • It’s an original composition for the episode by ALF CLAUSEN titled “A Gravitational Homage”. The couch gag and the accompanying music are parodies of the movie “Gravity”. I appreciate the question!

  31. hi u know the name of the piano song of homer beeing handcuffed in season 25 episode 9 – ”steal this episode” since minute 15 and 40 secondes until minute 16 and 5 secondes? best regards i will wait you best regards i really like the song 😦

  32. I have always wondered what is the classical music pieces called in S24E14 when Abe enters the ring or when bart enters the baseballfield ? would be nice to know!

  33. Hey, awesome blog! I’ve even very curious to know the name of the jazz piece played during the closing credits of S25E06 The Kid is All Right. Do you happen to know offhand?

    Thanks,
    Scott

    • It’s called “Blues for Kobe”, an original composition by Alf Clausen. If you listen carefully, you’ll notice that the main motif in this cue is the same as the motif when Lisa the Saxophone first starts walking toward the jazz festival in the Main Title “Music Ville” sequence.

  34. hi Chris, i was watching season 24 episode 13, hardly kirk-ing and there is a very short classical peace at the beginning right after the game of thrones music ends.. ik reminds me kinda of something that could be from ennio morricone but i can’t find it.. could you please help me?
    thanks!
    Jurgen, Belgium.

    • The kiddie video that Homer is watching at the start of the episode has two well-known classical pieces in it. First, Mozart’s Piano Concerto #21 in C-Major, then, after a brief pause, Debussy’s “Claire de Lune”.

      • Ow yeah! thanks a lot! its in the second part of mozart i was lookig for, an dante.. now i sleep again.. 😀
        Thanks, Chris!
        Grts from Belgium.. if your ever around here i’ll by you a belgian beer with belgian fries! 😉

    • Unfortunately, due to a huge, complicated web of legal entanglement (permissions, right, royalties, residuals), none of the music from the show is available for purchase or download other than the music that has been made available on our 3 previous CD releases.

      Alf and I have discussed the possibility of another CD featuring cues (the previous CDs were all about songs and various versions of the theme), so we’ll see if that ever comes to pass.

      Let FOX know you’d like to have the music available for download and let’s see what happens!

  35. Hello Chris,
    I have been looking for some of the music featured in The Simpsons for so long, and all in vain. I hope you wouldn’t mind helping me out. I’ve got a few ones I’m wondering about (they’re all from season 24):
    – Ep. 7 ‘The Day the Earth Stood Cool’ when we’re shown Springfield’s transformation into a “cool” town, then we see The Decemberists playing it in class.
    – Ep. 8 ‘To Cur with Love’ when Homer’s playing Villageville.
    – Ep. 9 ‘Homer Goes to Prep School’ at the end, after Lisa’s speech and before the zombie comet.
    – Ep.15 ‘Black-Eyed Please’ when Mrs. Krabappel brings Bart to Lisa’s class.

    I really appreciate your answering everyone’s questions. Have a most pleasant day!

    • From “The Day the Earth Stood Cool”: It is an original composition by THE DECEMBERISTS that they wrote for us. It has the generic title “Decemberists Simpsons 45 Seconds”.

      From “To Cur With Love”: An original composition by Alf Clausen entitled “Midievil Mood”

      From “Homer Goes to Prep School”: String Quartet # 5 by Franz Haydn

      From “Black-Eyed Please”: An original composition by Alf Clausen entitled “No Coda!” – this cue is suggestive of the score from “The Omen”

  36. Hi, I’m looking for the classical music piece in season 24 episode 22. It’s in the very beginning when homer is thinking about his 1st anniversary. When marge and homer are walking through this mall (homer has hair). Thank you in advance
    Best.

    • Well, it’s not a classical work but a piece of film music. It’s the theme from one of the most popular movies of the 70s, “Love Story” composed by Francis Lai.

      Thanks for your question.

  37. Hi. I’m looking for a music that was played on the 12th episode of 24th season.
    It was like jazz music end of the show.
    Thank you and sorry for my bad English

  38. hey,
    could you tell me the name of the composition which Zhenya plays when Bart and Marge enters the house in the episode 20 of the season 24. It starts from 6.30.
    Thank you in advance.
    Best.

  39. Hey,
    could you please tell me the name of music which bart plays in 24×20 (The fabulous faker boy) from 11:50? That one where are ghosts of Beethowen and Mozart.
    It’s so dark and dramatic, I love it..
    Thanks

  40. Hello Chris, I was wondering if you can tell me what the classical music homer starts to play on the piano in the episode with billy the kid as a zombie?

  41. Hi Chris! Can you tell me the name of the song and the composer of the classical piano piece that plays when the credits roll on ep. 20 season 24? It’s been driving me crazy. Thank you!

  42. Hi Chris,

    In the up-to-date episode “Dark-Knight-Court” as Bart swears he didn’t do it: What is the name of this music? Homer says, he doesn’t like that sound. The scene takes place in the kitchen.
    Reminds me of Hector Berlioz Symphony Fantastique somehow.

    Thank you!

    • The motif is from the 3rd movement of Chopin’s Piano Sonata #2, sub-titled “Funeral March”. The 11 notes we used in the cue you asked about have been used countless times in cartoons to signify death or very bad news. I don’t know which cartoon or film was the first to use it, but it’s been used very often over the years.

      If you’re interested in more info, click here.

      Thanks so much.

  43. What was the music playing in the couch sequence of the episode “Beware my Cheating Bart”. The music with the whistling.

    • The name of the song is “That’s You Baby” composed by George Olsen. The script is credited to Bill Odenkirk, so he may have been the one to request using it in the show. However, other writers often contribute jokes, dialog and other suggestions to the script during the re-writing process so I cannot be certain that it was Bill’s idea. Our orchestrator Dell Hake did the arrangement for the episode. One of things I most enjoyed about using this piece in the End Credits was how it beautifully married with the cursive writing font of the credits. I thought they went together perfectly. PABF18 script page

  44. Hi, Im looking for the music or theme that Lisa play with her sax on the episode “Smart and Smarter” (Season 15) when she is at the museum. Is the same music that Maggie play at the end of the episode. I´d like to know the name of that music. Thanks

    • The tune that plays while Lisa is exploring the museum is “Moon River” by Henry Mancini. Alf Clausen then wrote an accompanying sax jazz lick for Lisa to play called “Over the River”. Maggie plays “Over the River” at the end of the episode. Thanks for the question.

  45. Hi,

    In The Simpsons Season 23 Episode 20 The spy who learned me. What is the title of the music playing while Homer was enjoying his 8 weeks payed vacation it played until barney caught a plastic bag in his mouth while sleeping.

    thanks!

      • and what about the song as Homer and Marge walk away together under the moonlight towards the end of the same episode? (S23E20) Claire de lune?

      • Hi Chris!

        Firstly I would like to say that I truly admire your work and enjoy following your blog!

        My question for you is regarding Season 1 Episode 9 “Life in the Fast Lane”. What song is played during the scene where Homer carries Marge out of the Nuclear Power Plant? It sounds like “Up Where We Belong” however it is a different version. I’ve been looking around the internet for quite some time now with no luck in finding it.

        Thanks so much for your help!

  46. Seems like a simple enough request: “What was the title and artist at the end of the show when Principle Skinner was standing alone in the street?”, episode 500 (“At Long Last Leave”). Allison Krause I got, this one I didn’t. It was in the credits, I missed it, my fault. But a search on GodAlmighty Google shows NOTHING!
    Will you be my new savior? Prostration and lifelong worship will follow.
    Thank you.

    • “We’ll Meet Again” which was made popular by British singer Vera Lynn in the 1930s. Studio singer Susie Stevens Logan sang it for our version in the 500th episode.

      Your lifelong worship may now commence.

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