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Looking at Danny Elfmans – Theme for Batman.

The following youtube video plays us the Batman theme. Notice how the melody through out changes slightly either in rhythm, key or timbre but sticks to that recognizable melody this is what creates the suspense and keeps the listener interested in the atmosphere that the music portrays. Not to mention that its recognizable even a drastic variation of the original melody and the listener will still depict it as the Batman theme.

Similarly the main theme tune from the 1977 hit Sci-Fi movie Star Wars composed by John William’s. Of which also has a strong melodic progression, underlying harmonics and rhythmic pattern residing through out.

Here I’ve tried to recreate a simplified version of the original melody using Logic which sounds as follows:

and the score:




From the melody shown above I’ve gone on to make my own theme following a similar melodic pattern.

and the score for it.



Variation 1.

and the score:



Variation 2.

and the score:


Variation 3.

and the score:

Variation 4.

and the score:

Variation 5.

and the score:

For this Task I looked at Theme and Variation.

Based on the Theme of a famous composer for film, in my case John Williams – Star Wars. I set out to create my own Theme tune that followed a similar melodic pattern, i.e. same timing and interval spacing but using different notes. I listened to John William’s theme and attempted to make my own version. I then planned to create 5 different variations of the original theme without losing that recognisable melodic pattern. Either by adding in extra notes between intervals, repeating different sections or lengthening individual notes.

The key notes in my theme are G, C & D Like in Alfred Hitchock’s film Psycho were the composer uses different variations of just 4 notes Asharp, C, E, Fsharp. I would see my theme vary around my 3 notes said before. With these three notes as the root as long as they stay in the same place for each hit point the theme will stay recognisable through out despite what other notes play alongside.

I also learnt about scoring in Notation format from this task and found it interesting how the notes on the stave relate to the notes in Piano roll, similarly how the different intervals in piano roll are portrayed in notation format. Something I’m beginning to understand.

Looking at how a variation of a melody can help change the energies of a composition without losing the original melody was difficult but through trial and error I was able to come up with 5 variations that I felt made good use of compositional techniques and subsequently I now have more of an idea of where I’m going to take my compositions for film in the future.

I felt I did this task well but possibly could have come up with a better theme that ended with a stronger note, be it the notes before did not build up to the crescendo I was aiming for or the melody was not strong enough in the first place, but either way the variations show that I have made an effort to manipulate the groove and feel with out losing the recognisable theme which was the main point. Therefore based on the Assessment guidelines I would give my self a mark of;

50-59%  “Satisfactory knowledge base that begins to explore and analyse the theory and ethical issues of the discipline”.



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