Make Better Music 26: Be a Musical Masterchef

make better music. Trebuchet magazine
make better music. Trebuchet magazine

Make peanut butter music

My addiction to NEW AUSTRALIAN MASTERCHEF is complete.

Despite how much I learn about cooking by watching it, I find so many of the things they say about being a chef, also apply to being a musician. The one notable exception is Heston Blumenthal saying “if you can find any other way to thicken a sauce aside from using flour, do that instead” which is good advice when you are a chef, but I can find no musical equivalent.

One subject that crops up a lot is the contrast of textures and flavours, not only with themselves but with each other. This is one case where there is a definite musical link.

A good dish will have fine flavours and textures, and these will contrast and compliment each other. In music you want strong elements as your main “flavours” – a strong melody, or bassline or whatever. To really show this off at its best you need something that will contrast with it, something almost the opposite. To show off how crunchy one thing is, you might want to use something gooey. To show of how rich another ingredient is, you might contrast it with something light or bland.

Try this in your music: find names for how things sound to you, crunchy or smooth and contrast the elements that make up your dish, I mean track. Think about the flavours and the textures, the rhythms and timbres and melodic shapes. Mix up opposites.

I put sweet chili sauce on a peanut butter sandwich the other day, as a spicy alternative to jam.

Was odd…
…but sort of interesting.

Make some peanut butter and sweet chili sauce music tonight!


Make Better Music is updated every Tuesday.
Image: Francesco Marino /


About Dave Graham 70 Articles
David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition, the classic text on twentieth century harmony by Vincent Persichetti, Henry Mancini's Sounds and Scores, Rimsky-Korsakov's excellent books on orchestration as well as studying any scores that intrigued me. He is a founder member of two bands, avant pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith, and have performed across Europe with them.

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