Film scores with just a few themes/motifs?

Discussion in 'Soundtracks Discussion' started by composerguy78, May 11, 2018.

  1. Ethos

    Ethos Senior Member

    About Schmidt by Rolf Kent is a great one.
  2. Paul Grymaud

    Paul Grymaud Senior Member

    Hum... "Out of Africa", John Barry !

    Main theme, great melody easily memorizable. Only a few notes... Start at 1:22
    And a real good developpment ! Nice orchestration (violins, cellos, horns (flute)...)

    Another example: "Exodus", Ernest Gold. Jesus ! What a great melody

    Also, "Lawrence of Arabia", Maurice Jarre. Great melody

    Always great (but simple) melodies. And then the arrangements.
    They are other examples, of course

    Melody: that's the key of success...
    jesc126 and composerguy78 like this.
  3. thesteelydane

    thesteelydane Senior Member

    Apr 9, 2015
    This might seem like a crazy suggestion, but if you really want to learn to develop a simple theme, I suggest learning some traditional tonal counterpoint, especially by analyzing some Bach in depth. Try the 15 two voice inventions. Almost all of them are super short motifs masterfully spun into entire compositions. All the techniques you learn from that, like imitation, diminution, expansion, inversion, retrograde etc is the building block of stretching a theme for an entire movie. And by learning from the greatest of them all, in a style that’s not applicable to film music, you will force yourself to learn to apply these techniques in your OWN way, and that’s ultimatly more interesting than copying film music.

    Just a thought....
  4. OP

    composerguy78 Senior Member

    Sep 1, 2011
    Thank you so much everyone! All great suggestions to check out.

    Thanks for suggesting the Bach variations - a good in-depth study for sure!
  5. Rohann

    Rohann Professional Forum Browser

    Feb 2, 2017
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Oft overlooked, Joe Hisaishi's work for Studio Ghibli. Often only one or two main themes in a film, which are peppered throughout the whole score. Beautiful orchestration and composition in general:
  6. jackifus

    jackifus New Member

    Jul 9, 2017
    About Bach…

    Bergman’s Wild Strawberries has lovely thematic development and integration…

    The score is based upon s fugal subject from Bach that begins with a rising fifth followed by a semitone above that then falls back to the tonic through a figure.

    You can hear the composer develop the tension of that rising semitone as it is associated with a number of visual and narrative themes … developing the openness of the fifth in association with other themes …

    Bach’s fugue itself is heard in the piano played by a character who, just as the second voice would enter, is taken by the hand where she and her lover eat together ~ the score picking up the fugue from her foreground playing…
  7. DJJ

    DJJ New Member

    Dec 28, 2015
    Carter Burwell - Miller's Crossing score.

  8. mgb

    mgb New Member

    Sep 13, 2017
    Had to mention the Dune soundtrack here!
  9. MA-Simon

    MA-Simon Senior Member

    Jul 23, 2011
    The Dinotopia Soundtrack probably:

    3 part Mini-Series though, but the maintheme is everywhere. So much earworm humming after I watched it.
  10. Saxer

    Saxer Senior Member

    Mar 30, 2008

Share This Page