Film score for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Musical magic on stage, in books and on film
Ever wondered how and why film scores are so evocative? The University of Exeter’s music scholars are setting out to help guide an audience through a magical tour of the Orchestra, with music from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Beauty and the Beast.
On Saturday 6 November at 4.30pm the musicians will perform at the Northcott Theatre as part of the EXEtreme Imagination Children and Young People’s Literature Festival.
The performance will reflect how literature is portrayed in film and the music within the film. The books of Tolkien, JK Rowling and Hans Christian Anderson which have been turned into successful films have equally memorable film scores. Music is used in film to create a mood and enhance the pictures on the screen and thereby play a major role in creating an association with a place, character or situation. The most famous film composer of his generation is John Williams who composed E.T., Jaws, Superman and Indiana Jones. John Williams also composed the music for the Harry Potter films. The main theme is entitled ‘Hedwig’s theme’ after the Snowy Owl who is a magical bird and friend to Harry; this is the music most associated with the film. There are strong associations with pictures and characters which go with that particular piece of music, in particular the sense of magic chords; slightly weird and out of the usual melodic landscape, with unexpected and slightly haunting notes.
Marion Wood, Director of Music said ‘A composer takes can take a single melody or theme and transform it in many amazing ways. A theme that identifies with a particular character can change depending if the mood is sad or the character is in danger, or whether the scene is relaxed and happy. There is a sense in which the music takes the melody you recognise and can add other textures or harmonies which can change how we perceive that character's emotional state. So the theme can be played slowly or faster, on different instruments or in different keys and by creating a different emotional effect you get a better sense of the character. There is a consistent sense of identity despite the changing mood.’
As part of the performance the audience will be invited to meet members of the orchestra and see their instruments close-up, and hear how instrument families work together. The woodwind family of the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon will also be shown in their entirety as the Harry Potter score includes instruments such as the alto flute which is rare, bigger and longer than the flute or the contra bassoon which is a super big bassoon. There is likely to be a bit of audience participation with chants of ‘Double, double toil and trouble….’ From the film ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’.
Lord of the Rings which was composed by Howard Shaw uses the principle chords which are very reflective of the subject matter according to Marion Wood, as there is again a sense of magic. A short suite from Lord of the Rings will be played by the University's Concert band, which contains yet more exciting instruments such as the Saxophone, Euphonium, and Tenor Horn, which are not found in orchestras. Music from Beauty & the Beast will round up the concert and provide something for the younger members of the audience.
Just how evocative the music of films can be will be shown by the whole of the concert programme which encourages the audience to listen and be transported back to the world of Hogwarts and Quidditch, Helm's Deep and the Shire, or the Castle of the Beast.
Date: 5 November 2010