Roller Coaster Scoring
How often can you change moods and how quickly?
That was the question that I posed myself as I worked on this film, and so I looked at the master John Williams for advice, especially his cartoony Indiana Jones scores, including my favourite of the four Indy scores: The Temple of Doom.
The answer is: pretty damn quick.
There are some scenes, like that one in the airplane when the pilots and leave them to crash, or when they are leaving the Indian village to start their journey to Pankot Palace, where the music there is fragmented, changing from theme to theme very quickly, only presenting a bit of one theme then a bit of the other.
I have also realized that this type of fragmented, stop-and-go music happens in scenes that are preparation for action.
And so yesterday I scored a scene that presented many things quickly; running, despair, sadness, reunion, meeting and comedy, all in the span of like 40 seconds or so.
It was a transitory scene that is leading to the longer sections of the ending.
At first I admit I tried to play through the scene and it didn’t work. But when I watched the completed cue with the image, I knew it didn’t work, but I also knew why and how to fix it.
So I followed every part of the scene; started quick and breathless and a bit funny, sad and h0llow winds, then romantic strings have a quick swell (presenting two themes in counterpoint) and then a quick descent into humour before stopping right before the punch line.
This might sound schizophrenic, but here’s the paradox;
- the first cue which was more melodic and musically coherent totally stuck out
- But this more active, “roller coaster” cue with all its ups and downs actually blends seamlessly with the scene since it follows it so well, disappearing in the story even if mixed in loud.
How cool is that!