We spent some time, early this semester, listening to how film music is inspired by traditional classical music – some of it very directly. For these last few weekly listenings of 2016, let’s compare how two different composers will compose for films in a series.
This is interesting because the composer who is doing a sequel is trying to do a couple things. First, he wants to use themes the listener will recognize from the other film/s. Second, he will add his own themes and twists to the original “fingerprint” of the soundtrack. They shouldn’t sound too similar and they should sound too different. I’ll use a couple really obvious themes for examples.
This week, we’ll compare the themes of Harry Potter movies. There were four different composers over the series, but we’ll only compare two of them – Patrick Doyle and Alexandre Desplat (In case you’re wondering, John Williams composed all the original themes). The reason I’ve chosen these is so we can compare the way Voldemort is musically portrayed.
In Doyle’s version, we hear a dissonance, pounding rhythm, and the orchestra being used to create almost unpleasant sounds. It helps us to understand Voldemort’s unattractive and alien appearance after being apparently dead for so long.
Desplat’s version uses similar devices to create a similar and yet different sound for a similar scene – one in which Harry and Voldemort fight face to face. The pounding rhythm is most familiar, yet there is more emphasis on choral and brass themes.
Can you find other similarities and differences?