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Themes & Emotions

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Nicolas Pacheco

on 7 July 2016

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Transcript of Themes & Emotions

Logo
Theme: War/Battle
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Theme: War/Battle
Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Analysis
This scene is the final battle between Anakin and Obi Wan and this is perhaps the theme where Williams does his best work. The mood in this scene is one of darkness and intenstity due to Anakin's betrayal of the Republic. WIlliam's uses a variety of instruments starting off with fast pulsating violins that accentuate the light saber movement. The main melody of the scene is strong brass instruments amplifying the two jedis' power. He adds higher pitched strings and flutes in at some points in a minor key that seem to add to the sadness and evil of Anikan.
Themes & Emotions
Emotion: Sadness
The GodFather
Theme: War/Battle
Star Wars 3
By: Nick Pacheco
Composer: John Williams
Year: 2005
Composer: John Williams
Year: 2005
Analysis
This scene in Harry Potter is interesting and different from the Star Wars battle because it is much slower paced and more set on darkness. The rhythm of the music is not nearly as fast and not as strong trumpets are used in the melody. Williams primarily uses higher pitched eerie sounding strings and woodwinds to portray this theme of darkness and battle. There are a few parts in the scene where the action begins to pick up and similar techniques are used to that in Star Wars. He uses strong sounding trumpets and french horns as the two duel. The tone temporarily switches to a hopeful and lighthearted one as Harry escapes Voldemort.
Composer: John Williams
Year: 1981
Analysis
This is a particularly interesting battle scene to analyze because there is a strong comedic aspect to this movie that Williams needs to adapt his music to match. The main melody is fast rhythmic trumpets and violins with trumpets playing strong, minor key notes that match Jone's punches and attacks in the movie which lightens the mood. Williams also utilizes a fast bass drum in this scene to keep the tempo of the scene up and also to make it seem more dangerous. It is also interesting how in some points when something funny happens on the screen, the music stays very serious and sort of contradicts the mood. Williams uses this technique throughout the Indiana Jones movie to match the mood of the whole film.
Composer: Nina Rota
Year: 1972
Analysis
This scene in the Godfather is when Michael's sister finds out that Michael has killed her husband. Fascinatingly enough when his sister confronts him about it, she is crying, screaming, and waling but there is little to no music playing. Rota uses the silence to accentuate his sister's loss and show her empty feelings. At the end of the scene as his sister leaves, the eerie Clarinet melody that is the theme song of the Godfather is played slow and with no underlying music such as drums or strings. A piano is also added to the scene to make is seem slower and more calm, though the family is set in despair. Whenever this theme plays it signifies that the Godfather has "struck" and this scene shows the aftermath of Michael's murder. Rota chooses to use this technique of silence in this scene, but other composers score a sad scene much differently.
Emotion: Sadness
Toy Story 3
Composer: Randy Newman
Year: 2010
Analysis
This clip seems to be the end of the toys as they are all being lowered into the incinerator and they all hold hands as they are about to die. The main melody is a two beat strong base drum, snare drum, and loud brass winds. This builds suspense and gives the audience a sense of hopelessness. Underneath the main melody there is an abundance of low strings that magnify the mood of sadness as the toys hold hands and are lowered into the fire. Newman molds the music around the scene to make it seem somewhat sacrificial but also so the audience can reflect on how far the toys have come, but that the end has reached.
Emotion: Sadness
The Theory of Everything
Composer: Jóhann Jóhannsson
Year: 2014
Analysis
This clip from The Theory of Everything shows Stephen Hawking's wife telling him that she does not love him anymore partly because of his illness. The scene starts playing music directly after Stephen's wife says "I have loved you". The music starts with a simple two beat alternating piano piece that amplifies the emotions in this at this particular scene. The piano melody descends in pitch accentuating the pure sadness that Stephen is feeling as he cannot overcome his illness. As the scene progresses a slow violin is played which is perhaps the most common way of scoring sad music. In this scene Jóhannsson uses the two simple instruments to score a quiet yet extremely effective scene of sadness.
Theme: Overcoming
Pursuit of Happyness
Composer: Andrea Guerra
Year: 2006
Analysis
Guerra in this scene represents the theme of overcoming in a joyful and happy way. As Chris has tried out for the job of being a broker, he is finally invited to join the firm after defeating all odds, being homeless with one kid. The music starts with low violins that have an uplifting faith to them. The music though in this scene is sort of secondary to the dialogue but is still extremely important to the development of the scene. As Chris walks in the street, a xylophone plays over the strings adding even more joy to the scene and making it even more up beat. As the scene progresses Chris starts to cry and the violins start to play an extremely uplifting yet slow melody. Guerra utilizes the overcoming theme in this song to express joy, but other composers use express the theme of overcoming much differently
Theme: Overcoming
Facing the Giants

Composer: Mark Willard
Year: 2006
Analysis
This scene in Facing the Giants is when the Coach pushes Brock Taylor to overcome himself and his pain. As Brock "death crawls" his coach yells in his ear telling him to push himself as hard as he can. As Brock keeps death crawling Willard adds a slow melodic string and brass correlation that ascends in pitch creating a feeling of suspense and amazement. This pattern of ascending pitch is often used to amplify characters strength and ability to overcome. Also, the music makes the scene seem much more dramatic and inspirational which and shows Brocks ability to overcome. It is interesting how Willard uses a slow melody and beat to do this though because during many scenes with this music intensity, composers usually veer towards a fast paced beat with strong loud brass and deep percussion.
Theme: Overcoming
Unbroken
Composer: Alexandre Desplat
Year: 2014
Analysis
At the most intense scene in this movie, Hugh lifts the beam over his head after being beat and worked nearly to death in the Japanese camp. As Hugh raises the beam over his head, slow violins play and signify hope as well as bring a very dramatic aspect to the scene. The strings then interestingly begin to slowly rise in notes and provide a feeling of hope even though Hugh continually gets beat afterward. The melody is slow and dramatic to accentuate the scenes mood. Also, there are occasional loud big bass drums that seem to represent the heart and pride of Hugh.
Theme: Love
Titanic
Composer: James Horner
Year: 1997
Analysis
Titanic is one of the most famous romantic movies of all time and that has a large part to do with the composing of James Horner. In this scene, Jack and Rose sneak off around the ship and develops into a sort of romantic scene. We often see a pattern of slow rhythmic melodies in love scenes developed by composers as we do here. The scene starts off with a slow romantic mood with a piano softly playing. String instruments play a high pitch slow melody underlying the piano. As the two characters kiss, the music gets louder and more intense showing the passionate love the two share. Horner does an excellent job of making the scene more dramatic and allows the audience to understand the Jack and Rose's love.
Theme: Love
The Notebook
Composer: Aaron Zigman
Year: 2004
Analysis
This scene in the Notebook starts out with a slow sequence of strings that makes the scene more romantic and dramatic as many composers use this strategy. As Allie and Noah are on the canoe it starts to rain and the characters laugh and the music starts to get louder and a bit faster. As the two board the dock, Allie asks Noah "Why didn't you write me", changing the mood of the scene drastically. The music turns to silence for a few moments while dialogue is taking place, which also helps build the suspense of the scene. Then, Allie and Noah start to kiss and Zigman then infuses a strong, sequence of strings and a drum, showing the passion the two have for one another. Typically, the music melodies during love scenes involve slow strings that are followed by a strong bass or woodwinds as the scene progresses. Zigman uses this technique to show the love of the characters.
Theme: Love
Up
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Year: 2009
Analysis
This love scene is very different from the typically scored dramatic love scene that is in most romantic movies. This particular love scene is a love scene that is joyful and shows Carl and Ellie in their younger days and the process of them falling in love. This scene is scored much differently and it starts off with a very upbeat, medium speed melody. The main melody seems to be one string instrument that is loud and is the focus of the scene. As the scene progresses, the main instrument that is playing the melody switched to a piano, which could possibly represent the aging process the audience is viewing. The main melody stays the same tune though, of upbeat and happy. This is very different from most love scenes that are filled with remarkable passion and dramatized by the slow string and woodwind melodies.
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