Students Compose Music Reflecting The Flavours Of Various Dishes


Ever believed that a dish could change the notes and symphonies can change according ti the taste of a dish? Well, the Professor at Berklee College of Music asks his students to compose music after a dish. A composer himself, Ben Houge wants to shoe people that music can make meals meaningful.

Houge’s vision is of a whole new generation of musicians who will study how music can magnify the taste, texture and temperature of the dish. He himself has composed music by scoring video games and believes that if music can transform an image and make it evoke a happy or a nostalgic feeling then it can do the same for food.

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Elliot Burleson, the executive chef of Berklee’s dining hall, prepared two soups – white gazpacho and ginger carrot soup with tarragon crème fraiche. Houge described the flavours to his students as due to the crème fraiche, the carrot soup flavour stayed longer on the palate. Gazpacho on the other hand faded quicker. He asked his students to compose music that reflected the intensity of the flavours of the soups.

Houge explained to FOOD & WINE, “There was a bloom to the ginger over time. People were interested in the cream, because it lingered on the palate. [The students] composed lower frequency music with warmer tones.” He has also been collaborating with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and chefs like Jason Bond of Cambridge’s Bondir to create “food operas”. He once scored a frothy asparagus foam and paired it with sounds of wind chimes to represent the popping bubbles in the foam.

He also has a setup with Bondir where the customers will be given iPads or speakers controlled by him as he changes the song pairing it with every course. Houge told FOOD & WINE “In the class as well in the events with chefs, music and food together, it helps people focus. The music can suggest different ways to think about the dining experience. It gets people to pay attention.”

Shruti Anand

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