What’s a Theme? (“Comforting Skin” Jan.5 2011)
As you know I am currently scoring the feature film “Comforting Skin.”
For this film I am taking a somewhat thematic approach to the score. By “somewhat’ I mean that there are not really any character themes, but more like state-of-mind themes.
Actually, there is a character theme for the only non-human character in the film, which is pretty funny when you think about it. (I won’t say more about that really unusual character, but I will say its not animal or vegetable…)
So you see, leitmotif writing is not just for character, but can also be mood, state-of-mind, place, mood, etc… depends on the movie and the genre.
I am writing a cue today for a pivotal scene and I took great care this morning in making sure I would use the right melodic material by paying close attention to the scenes around it. I don’t want my themes to overstay their welcome or be underplayed. It’s all about balance.
Also, the cue continues after that pivotal moment into something less important. At first I was playing that lesser scene with one of the main themes, but it was too much.
So instead I opted for introducing some other material, less melodic.
I think of this like a secondary theme in a rondo, a bridge in a song, an episode in a fugue or invention. All these elements of musical form create variety and contrast, it is important to get away from home so that the return home has more impact.
So that secondary, passing musical material makes musical sense and dramatic sense.
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