on the soundtrack

So because listening to the soundtrack over and over again is how I prefer to relive things I’ve seen, I’ve been listening to a lot of the Sherlock soundtrack on Spotify. (Well, and I don’t own the show on DVD or Blu Ray either, so I’ve been listening to it a-lot-a-lot…) And there are parts where Hans Zimmer’s soundtrack for the Robert Downey Jr. movies clearly played an influence–not just in instrument choice, but in melody shape. For instance, listen to the drop that happens 0:20-0:23:

Sound familiar, that carnivalesque BUM bum BUM bum, fat and sassy in the brass? And the little head-toss of the strings afterward? It should. Listen to 1:18-1:31:

I started it early enough to see the change, but the drop happens at 1:25. See? That–for lack of better words, because I really don’t have them, untrained musically as I remain–tipsy swaggering big-top sound. They kept that, David Arnold and Michael Price. It’s a whimsical sound, for all that the show takes itself more seriously, I think, than did the movies.

Something else I find fascinating is the song that plays, in the movies versus in the show, when Sherlock dies. The show has a separate theme, first seen in Season One’s “War,” for when things get serious and sad for Sherlock. We hear this theme again, more somber still, at Sherlock’s graveside:

Hear that swell kick in at 1:16 (before the main theme)? That is Sherlock’s theme. Thus, even though, on-screen, we’re focusing on his death, the music we are told to associate with his death is not in fact his own theme: it references something greater, the war between him and Moriarty. In the movies, however, when we think Sherlock is dead, we get a very soft and hesitant, but still familiar version of Sherlock’s own theme:

Which says what, exactly? That the Sherlock of BBC Sherlock is an entity unto himself, separate from the war between him and Moriarty, and that in the movies, the essence of Sherlock is bound up in all those almost-deaths, the miraculous returns? (Of course, you could argue the the other way too, given that, in that last scene of BBC Sherlock season two, we are met with Sherlock’s theme when we, too, are told that “Yep, he made it! Look, he’s standing right here!”)

I’m not sure what it says, but I thought the choices made by the respective composers were interesting, especially so close together in time.


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