Meet Bleeding Fingers Music Editor, Harsha Thangirala

Jenny Poole
4 min readJan 5, 2023

Harsha Thangirala was born in Hong Kong, raised in Singapore, and later moved to Boston to study at the Berklee College of Music where he discovered his talents as a Music Editor and Audio Engineer.

Upon graduating from Berklee in 2020, Thangirala moved to LA and quickly found himself at Bleeding Fingers Music in Santa Monica. He has assisted composers and helped realize scores for clients such as Netflix, National Geographic, The History Channel, and BBC and was recently promoted to Music Editor at Bleeding Fingers Music.

In this interview, I spoke with Thangirala about his documentary experience, including his most recent project, Frozen Planet II.

Music Editor, Harsha Thangirala

Frozen Planet II was a huge hit. What was your favorite part about working on the project?

I think my favorite part of working on Frozen Planet II was doing some of the additional music editings on the behind-the-scenes footage. Watching the camera crew and production team work to capture the groundbreaking footage in the show was incredibly captivating and being able to edit music to those sequences and bring that struggle and dedication into focus was an absolute delight.

Much of your recent work is in nature documentaries. What draws you to these projects?

One of the biggest things about nature documentaries that draw me to them is not just the obvious beauty of the natural world, but for me at least, these documentaries and docu-series have a purpose to first of all educate the viewer on the wonders of nature and the intricacies of ecosystems, but also to raise awareness on how humans are destroying those ecosystems and in some cases ravaging the natural world. They often illuminate the issues of conservation and climate change, some of the biggest problems humans face today. I’m drawn to this purposeful filmmaking that seeks to have a tangible impact on the viewer.

When working on nature documentaries, do a lot of your sounds come from nature itself, or do you use different sounds and instruments to duplicate sounds or set the mood of the scene?

Frozen Planet II

I think that on the music side of nature documentaries, the use of real animal sounds can get tricky as you never want to be competing with the effects that the sound department would be mixing in or that might have been recorded on the day. More often than not, there is a process of finding sounds that fit into the soundscape of the scene without clashing or distracting from the events happening in the scene. For example, using a flute to emulate a birdcall, where the viewer can obviously tell that they are hearing a flute and not a birdcall and so aren’t distracted or confused by the audio of the scene.

How important is collaboration in the music department? How many people are typically on your team?

Collaboration is perhaps one of the most important aspects of working in the music department, especially as a music editor when you are often working with either one or two composers, their assistants, and a score supervisor and need to be able to communicate clearly about deadlines, deliveries, but most importantly artistic vision. Without a strong sense of teamwork and a collaborative spirit, a project can very quickly fall apart, especially when there are at least 3 or 4 people on the team.

Congratulations on your recent promotion to music editor! What are some responsibilities of a music editor that some people might be surprised to learn?

Thank you! I think that music editing is one of those less well-known roles in the film industry but vital to the success and painless delivery of the music to the film’s producers, directors, and mix engineers. One of the first major responsibilities of a music editor on a project is to put together the temp music for a project — music from anywhere. Cut to the first cut of the project with the director to dial in the musical feel and direction of the film or episode. Another major responsibility happens when the clock starts to run down on a composer, and they don’t have enough time to write all the music for the film before the deadline and it is up to the music editor to take music from one scene and to chop it up and rearrange it to make it work in another scene. As you can probably see, the role of a music editor on a project can get quite creative!

Where can our readers stay up to date with you?

You can find me at my website, which is www.harshathangirala.com, or at my Instagram, @harshathangirala. To keep up with many of the projects I work on, I would suggest following the Bleeding Fingers Instagram, @bleedingfingersmusic.

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Jenny Poole

Film, TV & Music Journalist, Writer & Teacher. Over 10 years covering the entertainment industries, working with major US and Global outlets.