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KarolynByers
ProfessorFlp
HistoryofFilmMusic
21December2012
JohnWilliamsv.AlexandreDesplat:ApproachestoFilmScoringfortheHarryPotterSeries
I.Introduction
TheeightfilmseriesbasedontheHarryPotternovelsbyJ.K.Rowlingincludes
compositionsbyfourdifferentcomposers.BeginningwithJohnWilliamsin2001,theHarryPotter
filmsovertheyearshavealsobeenscoredbycomposersPatrickDoyle,NicholasHooperand
AlexandreDesplat. Thecomposersusedifferentapproachestothefilmscoreandseekdifferent
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levelsofinteractionbetweenthemusicandfilm.InordertounderstandhowDesplatandWilliams
eachcontributesomethinguniquefortheirrespectivefilms,thispaperwillprimarilyfocusonthe
musicfromHarryPotterandtheSorcerersStone,andHarryPotterandtheDeathlyHallows,
andthedifferingapproachesandstylesundertakenbycomposersWilliamsandDesplat.
Thetechniquesofthetwocomposersvaryimmensely.JohnWilliamsiswidelyrecognized
asoneofthegreatestfilmcomposersinthelastfortyyearshismusichasgainedhiminternational
fameandhegreatlyincreasedthepopularityoffilmmusicwithhisstrikinglymemorablethemes.
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Hiscompositionalstyleprimarilyreinforcesideasthatareseenonscreen,whileAlexandreDesplat
isabitmoresubtlewithhisscoring.Ratherthandoublingtheactiononscreen,Desplatdisplays
emotionsoractionsthatarenotnecessarilyportrayedbyanythingvisually.However,since
Williamscomposedmusicforthefirstthreefilms,heestablishedcertainmotivesandthemesthat
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JohnWilliamscomposedthemusicforthefirstthreefilms.Thescoretothefourthfilmwascomposedby
PatrickDoyle.ThefifthandsixthfilmscoreswerecomposedbyNicholasHooper,andAlexandreDesplat
composedthemusicforthefinaltwofilms.
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JonBurlingame,SoundandVision:60yearsofMotionPictureSoundtracks,(NewYork:BillboardBooks,
2000),186.
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Desplatuses,ifinfrequently.AlthoughassertingsomecontinuitywiththemesthatWilliams
established,Desplatcreatesanatmospherethatenhancesthefilmviewingexperience,butina
muchmoresubtleandnuancedfashionthanWilliamsheaccomplishesthisprimarilythrough
relianceonrhythmicdrive,romanticism,andspecialeffects. Incontrast,Williamsusesillustrative
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musicandcomposesthemostmemorablethemesofHarryPotterthatarewidelyrecognizedasthe
iconicsoundtrackoftheHarryPotterenterprise.
II.JohnWilliams,HarryPotterandtheSorcerersStone
WilliamssleitmotifsinHarryPotterandtheSorcerersStonearememorable,melodicand
abletobesungeasily.ThemostimportantleitmotifsinthefirstfilmincludeHedwigstheme,
Harrystheme,theVoldemortmotif,andthefriendshipmotif.However,Hedwigsthemeand
Harrysthemearetheonlymotifsthatarerecalledfrequentlyinfuturefilms.Harrysthemeis
derivedfromHedwigstheme,andalthoughnoresearchhassuggestedthatthereisadistinction
betweenthetwo,inmyownanalysis,Ihaveseparatedthetwothemes.
HedwigsTheme
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Here,romanticismreferstothedynamiccolorsandrichnesscreatedthroughbeautifullydissonantchords
exaggeratedgesturesandenhancedinstrumentation.Specialeffectsisusedtoindicateanumberof
elementsincludingelectronicmanipulations,minimalism,andothernontraditionalWesternsounds:mostly
focusedonhowcertaininstrumentsareused,andthevariousnoisestheycancreate.
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HarrysTheme
AlthoughIfindthemtobecloselyrelated,Imoreoftenfindonethemespecificallyassociatedwith
Hedwigandflying,andtheotherthemecloselyaffiliatedwithHarry.Forexample,Harrystheme
occursinthefilmswhenHarrymakesgrandentrances,particularlytoemphasizeaheroicmeasure
orindicateHarrysbraverythisisacommonideathatrecursthroughoutalleightfilms,andthusI
havedesignatedthisportionasHarrystheme.Hedwigstheme,ontheotherhand,isclosely
affiliatedwithowls,flyingandthemagicalpresencewithinHogwarts.
Throughtherecognitionandfamiliarityofthesemotifs,Williamscreatesanexperiencefor
thefilmviewerstoconnectandengagewiththefilm.Sometimes,themotivesprovideaclarityor
suggestanideathatforeshadowsthenarrativeonscreen.Forexample,thefirsttimetheVoldemort
motifentersiswhenHarrybuyshiswand.Thewandmaker,Mr.Ollivander,seemsperturbedby
theparticularwandthathaschosenHarry,eventuallyrevealingtoHarrythatarelatedwandwas
responsibleforthedeathofHarrysparents.WhenHarryinquiresabouttheotherwandowner,
Ollivanderrefusestospeakhisname,butthethemeimmediatelyreturnsawholestephigherwhen
Ollivandersayshewhomustnotbenamedslightlylaterintheirconversation.
TheVoldemortmotif:
Thetranspositionissignificantbecausethewholestepincreasesthetensioninthemusic,andalso
putsitinahigherregisterwithmoreflatsinthekeysignature.Theaudienceautomaticallyhears
thisasmoresinisterthanitsinitialappearance,andthisexploiteddarknessemphasizesthepowerof
theevilwizard.Thisideaofclarityispresentlaterinthefilm,aswell.AtHogwarts,Harry
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venturesintotheForbiddenForestandencountersamysterioushoodedfigure.Withoutthemusic,
theaudiencemaynotassociatethefigurewithVoldemort,butassoonasHarryseesthefigure,the
Voldemortmotifenters.AlthoughHarrydoesnotrealizewhomhesees,themotifindicatesthe
unknownfigureisVoldemort.
Inadditiontotheleitmotificnatureofthethemes,Williamsseamlesslytransitionsthrough
histhemestomakebroaderconnectionsbetweencharactersorideasthathavemotifs.Whileeating
inaLondonpub,TheLeakyCauldron,HarryasksHagridformoreinformationabouthisparents,
whenHarryuttersyouknowwho,theVoldemortmotifplaysimmediatelythethemerepeats
threetimeswithharmonicmanipulationsandascendingsequenceswitheachrotation.AsHagrid
beginstalkinglessaboutVoldemortandmoreaboutHarry,thecelestegraduallyentersand
eventuallyplaysHarrysthemewhenHagridsays,youretheboywholived.Thissceneis
significantbecauseitunderscoresWilliamssabilitytoconnectthemes,andtransformsmoothlyto
makewiderassociations.Fromthethematictransitioninthisexample,wecangatherthe
underlyinglinkbetweenHarryandVoldemort,eventhoughneitherofthemrealizethefullextent
oftheirconnectionyet.
Williamscomposeswithtechniquessuchasmickeymousingandillustrativemusic.
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Specifically,inHarryPotterandtheSorcerersStone,Williamsalsousesmusicasanindicatorof
magicalpresence. Atthebeginningofthefilm,Williamsusesillustrativemusictoilluminatethe
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magicalsurroundings.Onscreen,weseeashadowofacatmorphingintoawitch.Astheshadow
ofthecatgetstallerandtransforms,themusicrisesinpitchandrepetitionwithanunderlying
crescendountilthetransformationiscomplete.Duringthisshot,theascendingregisterinthemusic
directlycorrespondstothevisualonthescreen,andenhancestheviewing.Similarly,atthe
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Brazelon,196.
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JamieWebster"TheMusicofHarryPotter:ChangeandContinuityintheFirstFiveFilms"(Ph.D.
dissertation,UniversityofOregon,2009),25.
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beginningofthefilm,thepresenceofmusicindicatesthepresenceofmagic.Whenthefilmbegins,
thecelestehasthemelody,andonscreen,anowlsitsontopofasignreadingPrivetDriveoutof
nowhere,astrangelookingwizard(thatwelaterlearnisProfessorDumbledore)appears,andashe
performsmagic,themusicmickeymousestoimitatehim.ThemusicswellseachtimeDumbledore
turnsoffastreetlampwithhisdeluminator,amagicaldevicethatcancaptureandrelease
surroundinglight.Atthispoint,theinstrumentationismysticalsounding,includingaharp,celeste,
windchimes,andothervariouspercussion.Williamsusesillustrativemusicandmickeymousingto
reinforcethevisualimage.
Inhisthemes,Williamsalsoreinforcesmoodofthescene.WiththeFriendship/lovemotif,
Harryreminiscesabouthisfriends,parents,orHogwarts.DuringHarrysfirstnightatHogwarts,
thefriendship/lovemotifplaysatapianodynamicasHarrysitsinhiswindowsillwithHedwig,
staringoutsideatthegrandnessthatencompassestheHogwartsgrounds.Themusicinthisscene
whencombinedwithHarryscontemplativefacerepresentsHarrysthoughtsandfeelingsabout
hisnewsurroundings.
Friendship/lovemotif
Thefriendship/lovemotifsdiatonicismcontrastssignificantlywiththechromaticalterationsof
Hedwigstheme.ThediatonicismisreminiscentandreflectiveofHarryslongingtofindaplace
thatfeelslikeaproperhome,whereasthechromaticismandwrongnotefeelinginHedwigs
themerepresentstheunknownmysteriesandgrandeurofthewizardingworld.Thefriendship/love
motifismorestableduetoitsdiatonicism,whereasHedwigsthemeislesspredictable,whichalso
mirroringthespontaneityofthemagicalworld.Laterinthefilm,thefriendship/lovemotifappears
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whenHarryseeshisdeceasedparentsinanenchantedmirror:thethemeplaysasheisremindedof
thelifehecouldhavehadifitVoldemortneverkilledhisparents.Again,thethemereflectsthis
reminiscingmomentduetoitslyricismandsimplemelodyincombinationwiththepuzzled,yet
mesmerized,lookonHarrysface,themusicexploitstheideaofsomethingHarrynever
experiencedgrowingup:love.Lastly,attheendofthefilmthethemeisplayedinbrass
instrumentsasHarry,RonandHermione,boardtheHogwartsExpress,andHarrysays,Imnot
goinghome,notreally,meaningthatheconsidersHogwartstobehishomenow.Thegrandiose
instrumentationexemplifiesthechangestheyearhasbrought,andratherthanthismotifbeingused
inareflectivemanner,itsexploitationreferstoHarryschangesandsymbolizesthegrandeurhe
canexpectatHogwarts.
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III.AlexandreDesplat,HarryPotterandtheDeathlyHallows
HedwigsthemehasbecomethemosticonicfortheHarryPotterfilmfranchise.Desplat
feelsitwouldhavebeendisrespectfulandstupidformenottouseitatthecrucialmomentswhere
weneedtorefertothesetenyearsoffriendshipsthatwe'veallhadwiththesecharacters...
HedwigsThemedoes[recur]alotmoreinPart1wherelossofinnocencewasthemaintheme
ofthefilm...Nowwe'rebackinHogwartswherethebattletakesplace,andallthefriendsare
theresoitmadesensetohaveitthere.Also,attheendofthefilmwhenwesaygoodbyetothese
threekidswhoarebecomingadultsandarelookingtowardsanewlife,theJohnWilliamstheme
ispresent. Despitehisdifferingcompositionalstyle,Desplatdoeschoosetoincorporatesomeof
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WilliamssthemesinbothpartsofHarryPotterandtheDeathlyHallows,sometimeswithdrastic
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Thisfriendship/lovemotifappearsintheEpilogueoftheseventhfilm,whenHarryskidsleavefor
Hogwarts.
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ThisquotationwasextractedfromaninterviewcreditedtoWarnerBrothersbutreleasedonaHarryPotter
fansite,TheLeakyCauldron
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alterations.HarrysthemeappearstosuggesttheinnateheroismofHarry,andtoexploitvictories
ofgood(Harry,andthegroupofwitchesandwizardsthatmakeuptheantiVoldemortmovement,
theOrderofthePhoenix)triumphingevil(Voldemort,andhisfollowers).Thefirstoccurrenceof
HarrysthemeisinPartII,whenHarrysreturntoHogwartsisrevealed.DesplatusesHarrys
themeinitsoriginal,unalteredform,tosignifyHarryspresenceandtoindicatethemeaningofhis
returntoHogwarts.Untilthismoment,themusicusedasyncopated,unsteadyrhythmicdrive,trills
andprominentdissonancestoincreasetension.Additionally,heincreasestheregistergrowing
outwardfromthemiddleregister,hereachesextremehighandlowpitchesintherangeof
instruments.Heconstantlyaddsanewlayertothetexturetoexploitthehighregisteredtrillsand
stringtremolos.Furthermore,theoveralltensionstrengthensduetoacrescendoandsudden
decreaseoftexturebeforethearrivalofHarrystheme.ThissceneexemplifiesDesplatsrhythmic
drivethatultimatelyrevelsinthegrandeurofHarrystheme.WhenHarry,Ron,andHermione,are
walkingthroughthetunneltogetintoHogwarts,therhythmbeginssteadyandpulsating.Asthe
scenecontinuesandthethreegetclosertoHogwarts(andthecamerafilmssinisteractshappening
outside,suchasVoldemortsfollowersincludingtheevilcreaturesdementors),therhythm
becomesmoredrivingandintense,withrhythmicdissonance,therhythmsbecomedestabilized,
andeventually,themusicsuddenlyeruptsintoHarrystheme.Thissceneindicatesasignificant
turningpointinthefilm,becauseHarrysarrivalatHogwarts,particularlyaccompaniedbyHarrys
theme,demonstratestheheroismofHarry,andforeshadowshisvictory.Later,afterProfessor
SnapesremovalfromHogwarts,thissamemusicalgestureandrhetoricisaccomplishedProfessor
McGonagallduelsProfessorSnape,andhisdismissalisimmediatelyfollowedbyHarrystheme,
furtherindicatingthepowerofHarryandhisheroicendeavorstosaveHogwarts.
AlthoughWilliamssthemesarepresentinDesplatsscore,sometimestheyappear
manipulated,fragmented,intensifiedwithchromaticismorharmonicallyaltered.WhenHedwig
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diesatthebeginningofPartI,Hedwigsthemebrieflyplays,butoutoftime,withsignificant
chromaticalterationsinthemelody,anditbreaksoffquicklythesedeformationsofHedwigs
themesuggestthatwithherdeath,herthemealsodies.Herthemedoesnotcomebackinfulluntil
HarryhasdefeatedVoldemortitdoeshowever,returnfragmentedandstillmanipulated.Whenthe
studentsofHogwartsfirstenterthegreathallinPartII,Hedwigsthemeplays,butmuchmore
sinisterthanusual.Therearenopitchalterationsofthetheme,buttheaccompanimenthasentirely
collapsed,withvariedinstrumentation,andtherhythmicaugmentationhasbeenappliedtothe
themetointensifytheslowmotionfeeling.Hornsplaythetheme,butthereisaheavyemphasison
allstrings,allofwhomappeartobeplayingintheirlowestavailableregisters.Theupperstrings
movebyhalfstepstocreatedissonancesthroughharmonicsuspensions,whilethelowerstrings
sustainatonicpedal.Thestringsarealsoemphasizedbecauseanascendingcellomelodyprecedes
Hedwigsthemetheuneasydissonancesagainstastagnantbassmakesthethemeappeardarker,
buttheeffectDesplatcommunicatesoccursthroughthecombinationofthesolohornwiththe
increasinglydissonantstrings.
Throughmanipulations,distortions,rescoring,andnewcontextualizations,Desplat
managestotakethemesfromWilliamsandshapethemintoanewstylethataccuratelyfollowsthe
progressionofthefilmseries.Becausethebookshaveatendencytodarkenandbecome
increasinglycomplexastheseriesprogresses,thefilmscapturethiselement,andDesplatscareful
useoftheinitialthemesdisplayshisknowledgeoftheseriesevolution,andrecognitionofthe
comingofagetale.Harryisnolongerelevenyearsold,learningabouthismagicalworld,but
ratherseventeenandfightingtheevilwizardwhothreatensallelementsofthemagicalworld,and
DesplatsscorereflectsthisnewimageryofHarry,Ron,andHermione,outsideofHogwarts.
IncontrasttoWilliams,Desplatsoriginalthemesuserhythmicdriveandspecialeffectstofully
captureanarrayofemotionsandelementsinhisthemes,whicharenotalwaysvisually
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represented.Desplatsthemesarebasedprimarilyonrhythmicelements,andnotincredibly
melodicorlyric.InaninterviewwithDanielSchweiger,Desplatadmittedthathewishedto
composeanorchestralscorewithasmanyinventivesoundsaspossible. Experimental
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compositionaltechniquesareemployedprimarilyinthehorcruxtheme,butotherrhythmicbased
themesincludeobliviate,Lilysthemeandbattlemusic.Desplatalsoseemstofavorspecialeffects
ratherthanusingagrandioseinstrumentationheusesspecialeffectstocreatetensionorasabasic
foundationtosupporthisthemes.Tocreatespecialeffects,Desplatseemsmoreinterestedinhow
instrumentsareused,ratherthanwhatspecificallyisused.However,healsousesexotic
instruments,includingBrazilianinstrumentssuchasatamborin,pandeiro,anddjembes.While
Williamsseemstofavorbrassinstrumentsfortriumphantthemesorfanfares,Desplatprefers
experimentaltechniques,specialeffects,andmotifspurelyfoundedinrhythmicdrive.
Desplatsexperimentalcompositiontechniquesincludehisthemeforthehorcruxes,the
magicalobjectsHarrymustdestroyinordertodefeatVoldemort.Electronicallymanipulated
soundsthatmostlyconsistofscreechingnoisesandwhirringsoundsindicatethepresenceofa
horcrux.Themusicusedforthehorcruxthemeisbothinternaldiegeticandnondiegetic.When
Harry,Ron,andHermionebreakintotheministryofmagic,HarrycanhearthehorcruxAlthough
theotherscannotheartheartifact,Harryhearstheelectronicallymanipulatedsoundsofthe
horcrux.Belowthismysticalscreeching,aviolinplaysahigh,slowmoving,chromaticmelody
accompaniedbyflutesandminormodeorchestralaccompaniment.Themelodykeepsaccentuating
theleadingtone,whichcreatesastrongdissonanceagainsttherestoftheaccompaniment.As
Harrylocatesthehorcrux,themusicappearstokeepdiminishingthemusicdarkensandvii
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chordsaccompanythemelody,whichhasshiftedtoalowerregister,inthecello.Thethemeis
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AlexandreDesplat,interviewbyDanielSchweiger,"TheDeathlyHallowsComposerAlexandreDesplat,"FilmMusicMagazine,
November09,2010.
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extremelyhighpitchedandunstable,withadrasticmanipulationonsomekindofpercussion
instrument,perhapsbecausethemusicisreflectingtheinstabilityofhorcruxes.BecauseHarrycan
hearthem,thehorcruxesareinternaldiegetic.However,theothercharacterscannothearthem,but
thescreechingindicatestotheviewersthatahorcruxispresent,sotheyarealsonondiegetic.The
scenesinvolvinghorcruxesdemonstrateDesplatsapproachesandinterestinexperimental
electronicmanipulationstocreatespecialeffects.PartIofthefilmopenswiththeelectronicnoises
thatwelaterassociatewithhorcruxes,combinedwithHedwigstheme.Byusingthescreeching
noisesandusingspecialeffects,DesplatcreatesanatmospherethatrepresentsHarrysconnection
withthehorcruxes(throughhisuseofinternaldiegeticmusic),andgeneratesaconsistentand
creepingeerinesstotheaudience.
TheObliviatethemeopensPartIandDesplatclaimsthisthemedrivestheentirefirstfilm.
Desplatclaimedthisthemerepresentedasenseofsorrow,lossofinnocence,butstillwitha
propellingmotor...[This]piece...isthethefirstmelodythatyoullhear.Anditsthemusicthat
goeswiththethemewherethethreeherosleavetheirfamilies,leavetheirhomesandgotothe
unknown.Theygoontheroadtofightthedarkforcesanditcapturestheiranxiety,theirfears,
theirsadness.Andthatswhythisthemewillberecurringinvariousshadesalloverthefilm. As
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HermioneandHarrygetreadytoseparatefromtheirfamilies,thisthemeplayswithasteadyhorn
melody,butanuneasydrivingrhythmandintermittentpercussion.Themelodyistransferred
throughthehorn,fluteandcello,becomingmoreexpressivewitheachrepetition,particularlywhen
playedinthecelloduetotheamountofvibrato,andsuddenchangetoalowerregister.Afterthis,
thethemeisplayedbyallstrings,thelargerinstrumentationaddingtotheromanticizedelementof
thetheme.
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ThisisfromaninterviewcreditedtoWarnerBros.butlocatedontheHarryPotterfansite
TheLeakyCauldron.
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Desplatspeaksabouttheinfluenceofdeathanddarknesswithinthethemesintheseventh
film,especiallyLilystheme.ThisthemeopensPartII,andaccordingtoDesplat,ghost[s]the
filmallalongand[is]themusicthreadthatwilltakeusfromthebeginningtotheendofthefilm.
Sothat'soneelementofdeath,thepeoplethatyoumiss,thepeoplethatyoulongfor,thesorrow,
andthequestionaboutdeath. WhenLilysthemefirstentersatthebeginningofthefilm,
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everythingvisualisdark.TheWarnerBrotherslogoisdark,andsurroundedbystormclouds.As
thethemecontinues,thefilmtransitionstoanevilbeingrepresentingabsolutedespair,dementors,
thenmovestoadarkHogwarts.Thecombinationofseveraldarkelementsrepresentthedarkness
thatLilysthemeencompasses.
Lilystheme
Lilysthemeisinc#minor,andbuiltentirelyuponapedalsustainedC#inthelowstrings.Popular
JapanesesingerMai,thenenterswithasolemnmelodywithapurevoiceupperstringsenterto
addintensitythroughthedissonanceofthecloseharmonies.Asthethemeprogresses,itbecomes
moreromanticizedindespairinglyrichharmoniesasthestringseventuallytakeoverthevoices
theme.Thethemeoverallisslowandsad,thesadnessreflectedbythelowregisterinthestring
melody.LilysthemeispurelyreminiscentofdeathandshadowsPartII,mostlyappearingattimes
whendeathseemsclosesttoHarry.Laterinthefilm,Lilysthemeplayswithagrand
instrumentationandfastertempowhenHarry,Ron,andHermionebreakintothewizardingbank,
Gringotts,andescapeonadragon.Astheyflyintotheunknownwhileridingthedragon,Lilys
themeplaysintheupperstringstheappearanceofLilysthemehererepresentsthedangerofthe
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ThisisfromaninterviewcreditedtoWarnerBros.butlocatedontheHarryPotterfansite
TheLeakyCauldron.
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dragon,andeverythingthethreeriskedbybreakingintothebank.Also,Lilysthemeappears
whenHarryisabouttofacedeathdirectly.Harryfindsoutthathemustsacrificehimselfinorderto
savethewizardingcommunity,andasheventuresintotheforestontheHogwartsgroundstoface
Voldemort,Lilysthemeplays.Harryseeshisparentsthroughanenchantedstonethatcan
reawakenthespiritsofthedead.Althoughitcannotreturnhisparentsinfullbeing,Harrycansee
andtalktothem.Duringthisscene,Lilysthemeplayssoftly,reminiscentofthedeadlytaskahead
andsendingcourageandprovidingcomforttoHarry.Lilysthemeispassedbetweenthepiano,
strings,andvoice.Here,thethemehasbeensignificantlyslowedthroughrhythmicaugmentation,
andfragmentationinthepiano.
ThebattlethemeisoneofDesplatsoriginalthemesthatexemplifieshisrhythmicdrivethe
themecapturesthesettingofthebattle,asitsfirstappearanceoccurswhenProfessorMcGonagall
enchantsthesuitsofarmortoprotectHogwarts.Theprominentrepetitiverhythmicdriveand
melodicsequencingpushesthethemeforward,whichaddsintensitytothebattlefightingscenesin
whichitisused.Thereisnolyricalthemeormelodythatcouldbesunginthistheme,asits
rhythmicbaseistoostrong.
Battletheme,layer1
Thebattlethemebeginssimply,andhasastrongminimalistquality.Asyoucanseeinthediagram,
thereismuchrepetitionbeforesomethingchanges,andthisisanincompleterotationofthetheme.
Thethemecontinuouslyhaslayersaddedtoittothickenthetexture,andcombinedwitha
Mannheimcrescendo,whichstrengthenstheeffect.Overall,thethemeevolvesslowlyand
graduallybecomesmorecomplexwitheachadditionallayer,whichilluminatestheminimalist
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influence.Thestringsinitiallybegintherhythmicpattern,followedbydissonantbrasschordal
accompaniment,staggeredpercussionentrances(beginningwiththesnaredrumwhichpushesthe
rhythmforwardevenmore),ahorncountermelody,chorus,andattheheightofitsorchestration,
higherstringsenterwitharhythmicdiminutionvariantoftheinitialrhythmictheme.Asthetheme
progresses,thenumberoflayersincreasetheamountofdissonance.Thethemedoesnotbegin
incrediblydissonant,butbytheend,toneclustersappearandalso,rhythmicdissonanceis
prominent.Becauseofthefrequentrepetitionandconstantadditionoflayers,thisthemebuilds
suspenseandtension.Laterinthefilm,thisthemeappearsasHarry,Ron,andHermione,make
theirwaythroughthemiddleofthebattle.Theyareattemptingtoreachadestination,butthebattle
holdsthemback.Duringthisscene,theBattlethemeisplaying,buttheminimalistqualitiesand
gradualmusicalprocessdoesnotappropriatelyreflectthechaosofthesurroundingbattle.Inan
interview,Desplatadmittedcomposingforthebattlesceneconsistedof[balancing]emotionand
action.Sometimesit[is]goodtofeeltheadrenalineofthebattle,andsometimesit[is]goodtotake
itfromabirdseyeviewandhavemoreofadistantlooktoit.Withthisbirdseyeview,youcan
sometimescreateadeeperemotion. Insuchsceneswherethemusicdoesnotnecessarilydepict
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thebattle,themusicsuggestsaninternaldialogueofcharacterswhocontemplatethefurtherthe
implicationsofwar,andwhatthismeansforthemagicalworld.Thefinaloccurrenceofthebattle
themehappensduringthelastscenebeforetheepilogue.AsthecamerazoomsinonHarry,Ron,
andHermionewithrichstringchordsinthebackground,apercussioninstrumentplaysthefirst
layerofthebattletheme,whichrepresentsthechaostheyrecentlyencountered,butthechordsin
thestringsrepresentthepossibilitiesthatnowlieaheadwiththeirendeavorsfirmlyinthepast.
TheepilogueoftheseventhfilmmirrorstheendingofTheSorcerersStone.Attheendof
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ThistoocomesfromaninterviewcreditedtoWarnerBros.butlocatedontheHarryPotterfansite
TheLeakyCauldron.
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thefirstfilm,JohnWilliamsusesthefriendship/lovemotifasHarrytalkswithHagrid,andagain
whenHarryboardstheHogwartsExpress.Duringtheepilogue,Desplatusesthesamethemeas
HarryschildrengotoHogwarts,evenwithquitesimilarinstrumentation.Here,thethemeretreats
backtotheinnocenceandnewmagicaladventuresthatWilliamssthemeinitiallyestablishedfor
theseries.Thisparallelissignificantbecauseofthedrasticmanipulationsthathaveoccurred
throughouttheseries,andultimately,thisthemereturnsnearlyinitsoriginalform,exemplifyingthe
poweroffriendshipandlovethatWilliamssdesignatedwiththistheme.
Intheearlierfilmswhereplotswerelighterandnotascomplex,Williamssthemeswere
wellreceivedandappropriatefortheageofthecharacters.However,thedarknessanddifferent
elementsthatDesplatbringstotheseventhfilmsissignificantbecauseofitsinteractionwiththe
film.Althoughthemusicmaynotbememorableormelodicenoughtostandalone,itgreatly
enhancesthefilmduetoitsrichnessofharmonies,specialeffects,andexperimentaltechniques,
andarestlessrhythmicdrivethatpushesthewholefilmforward.Asthefirstcomposerforthe
saga,Williamsestablishedthethemesthatallsubsequentcomposersincorporatedsomehow
Desplatsinterpretationandutilityofthesethemesismeaningfulbecausehecomposesthe
soundtracktothefinalfilm,andtheepilogueespeciallymakesuseofmanythemesthatWilliams
wrote,includingthereturnofthefriendship/lovemotif.Theapproachestoscoringdiffer
tremendously,andwhileWilliamsmayhavecomposedthethemesthataremostwidelyrecognized
asiconictotheseries,Desplatsmusicgreatlycomplementsthevisualimageryandoftenaddsa
newdynamictothefilm.Essentially,thetwocomposerseachhaveauniquestyle,andbothmade
significantimpactsonthefilmmusicofHarryPotter,eachcastingacertainlightandadding
differentelementstotheexperience.
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