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Best of 2023: Analysing Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar Theme Song

In 2014, the Nolan brother’s science fiction film Interstellar took the box office by storm, quickly gaining a cult following and critical acclaim. With a full soundtrack by German composer Hans Zimmer, the music mirrors the film’s themes of time, isolation, and human connection.

Today, our music composition lecturer, Elena Alekseeva, will break down the film’s main theme song and give you an insight into the musical techniques being utilised.

Elena talks through the piece’s key signature, A natural minor, and how Zimmer uses pedal point, in this case, the E note, to build out a background pulse throughout the song. Zimmer mimics the constant ticking of a clock with repeated notes and breaks out into more complex melodies in different octaves later on, to build out the track’s dynamics and add more intensity.

If you’re interested in learning more about music theory, music composition or recording, you can enrol now to study here at Point Blank in LondonLA or online.

Using Spitfire Audio’s Hans Zimmer software instrument, Elena shows us the theme’s shifting chord progression between different sections and discusses Zimmer’s choice of chords, like Gadd6 or Fmajor7, to further involve the song’s pedal point.

We also learn about the effective use of arpeggios to add more dynamics and intensity in certain sections of the piece and how the original use of ornamentation dates back to Baroque music, as the harpsichord had limited natural dynamics.

If you enjoyed Elena’s analysis of the Interstellar theme song and want to study music composition further, you can learn more about our courses at Point Blank by clicking here.

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