In Praise of Music

In Westeros, everyone can hear you scream!

This is a slight deviation from the main themes of the blog, but I want to give a shout out to the composers for serial TV series.  I don’t mean the likes of Law and Order: You know the Bum-Bum of Law and Order, but do Benson and Stabler have their own themes?  I’m talking about Battlestar Galactica (Bear McCreary) and Game of Thrones (Ramin Djawadi) and similar real serials.  Wagner may be a little unpopular due to his virulent antisemitism, and Hector Berlioz may be a little obscure, but the idea of the Leitmotiv and idee fixe, or a musical theme that traces a character or concept through an artistic work is thankfully alive and well.  One of the joys I’ve had in both these series is the musical progression of the themes the composers of these series have set forth.  McCreary chose both characters and plot themes to shape his musical ethos.  It is not an accident that it is a melody, interpreted by Starbuck and the Final Five, that determine the fate of the fleet – The Music of the Cosmos, however it may be interpreted.

The melodies of Game of Thrones are oriented more toward the different Houses than  specific characters.  The Starks have a Norse palette, and the Lannisters make use of the “Rains of Castamere” tune.  The cue for the Red Wedding near the end of Season 3 of GoT makes use of that song – which explores the dangers of opposing House Lannister-  to signal the assassination of our beloved Starks.  But the series has also seen the evolution of Daenerys’ theme as the progress of destiny and the progressing threat of the Others of the North.  It is worth it to take a gander at the sound tracks of these series. It has added to my enjoyment of these series.

The job of TV composers is to stay in the background, but serial narratives have in some programs have opened a venue for talented musicians to explore the possibilities of this genre.  Kudos to you, McCreary an Djawadi!

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