Although, music is an independent art, nowadays, it also plays an important role in cinematography. It can share the mood of film with the audience and explain emotions of the film’s characters. Many soundtracks for the films have become extremely popular after the release and even those people, who did not watch film can recognize main music theme. The great example is “Pirates of the Caribbean” soundtrack, where main theme is “He’s a pirate” by Klaus Badelt. In this essay, I will describe its technical features and emotions it gives to the listener.
This soundtrack is very lively and fast, because it has allegro tempo. It starts with dramatic throbbing string intro. The sound is quiet in the beginning, but then it is going on crescendo, which creates thrilling mood and prepares to the main melody. Suddenly, the full orchestra involves to the music. The lead role have strings, their voice became much stronger. However, we can also hear percussion which emphasize downbeat. It is very important detail, because the melody has anacrusis, so it starts before downbeat, but the main accent is on it. This feature makes music epic. There is one more detail, which has dramatic effect. The whole melody is played mostly on staccato, so it made me feel worried.
The melody consists of four parts. The first part’s melody repeats with another harmony in second part. Next, it became higher and louder, but then returns to the tonic. These four parts creates main theme, which then develops. First time it is played mainly be violas and cellos. To contrast, then violins have the main role, because second time the theme repeats in alt. While violins play melody, cellos and violas go down and create prolonged background. This makes composition more powerful. Then it has culmination and final also led by violins. For me it was the of the most emotional moment in the piece.
After that, melody is developed by brass section of the orchestra. It is not so affective to make some contrast. The brass instruments have prolonged and persistent melody, while cellos create pulsing background which provides maintaining tense mood of the music. This melody also repeats in alt with violins, so it prepares listener to the next part of the melody. It is necessary, because then sharp and exciting theme appears. Percussion and brass strengthen it. All of them play staccato and this creates very dramatic mood, so we can call this moment a culmination of whole soundtrack. Next, previous music repeats with reprise. The soundtrack finishes with gong which makes ending epic.
The composition “He’s a pirate” was created in 2003 for the Disney movie “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”. At first, Hans Zimmer was asked to write the whole soundtrack, but finally Klaus Badelt, other German compositor, did it. This piece then appeared in next films about the Pirates of the Caribbean. It became wide known and is still popular. It was also released on CD with some remixes of it.
The original movie has a lot of adventures and dramatic moments. It is a fantasy film about pirate and blacksmith, who rescue kidnapped Elizabeth Swann, governor’s daughter. This film dynamic, because main characters has a lot of difficulties and dangers on their way. The plot is based on pirate life, which is risky and dangerous, so music should communicate it. The main purpose for the composer was to make it fast and dramatic. I was always tensed, while listening, and I could feel that danger is everywhere. Nevertheless, it also provide me feeling that main characters are brave and strong enough, so they could stand it. We can see them as heroic and fair people, which have difficult circumstances in their lives, but every of them fights for their lives and happiness.
Although, this film is mainly focused on pirate adventures, there is also a love story in it. In my view, main soundtrack shares it also. It is full of dramatism to share, what actions people are ready to do for each other. In my view, the composition is very emotional. It made me thrilled and attracts attention to film events.
Big influence also have instruments, which are used in this piece. The main role have strings and it is very important. Percussion is also significant. It makes accents in music and emphasize rhythm. It has no electronic instruments, so it makes music corresponds to the epoch. The movie is based on pirate legends and folklore, so the soundtrack should fit it. In my view, composer managed to do it brilliantly and using orchestra was the best option. According to Klaus Badelt, “We recorded it in Los Angeles with local musicians. We recorded it in four days.” It is quite difficult to record soundtrack to the movie in such short period, so I can call him talented composer.
Huge role has a dynamics in this piece. When it is time for heroic acts music is on crescendo and in culminate moments it is played on forte. When the composer needs to make contrast, he makes music more quiet and stable, so the listener can calm down. Combination of whole of this musical features makes the composition magnificent and breathtaking.
There are two historical and cultural aspects, which I need to consider for this composition. The first is modern epoch, because it is a new movie, filmed in 2003. Second aspect is piracy in the Caribbean, which was on its peak in 17th century. Through the second aspect, this music shares the atmosphere of that time. The music makes me emphasize main characters on the film, who lived in that epoch. It also makes me understand their mood and even their lifestyle, which was typical in that area. Nevertheless, the main aspect is modern. This composition was written in modern time. We cannot know exactly which music had pirates, but they definitely had not orchestras on their ships. Through this aspect listener can feel and understand, that everything in this film is only fantasy. It is just a piece of art, but it is not a part of our everyday life. It is also important to understand, that lifestyle of pirates was not as fun as it shown in the movie, although it was dangerous. Therefore, I can consider this soundtrack as a modern review of pirate epoch. “The whole point about the Pirates score was that it was trying to reinvent the whole genre”, says Hans Zimmer, second composer.
This composition is the great example of music influence on movie. It has all of the features to transfer listener to the film and share emotions of main characters. Every detail has its own role and has a big effect of the listener’s impression. Some people can listen to it without a movie, but the soundtrack is a part of it, so to have a proper effect it should be listened in the context of the film.