Meet Patrick Doyle, a Scottish film composer born April 6, 1953. He’s well-known for his other scores, Brave, Thor, Eragon, and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. He’s been actively writing over 55 major scores since 1982.
In writing his score and its performance by the 65-piece London Symphony Orchestra, it offers:
• fanfares and flourishes for the prince
• magical sounds for the fairy godmother
• furious chase music for the pumpkin-coach getaway
• warm, lyrical music for Ella’s special relationship with her birth parents
• English folksong tradition for a song that becomes another of “Cinderella’s” key themes: “Lavender’s Blue,”
• choral notes for the transformation of Cinderella’s dress (suggesting “a gift from above,” he says)
• her isolation in the attic (“an ethereal, melancholy touch”)
• Cate Blanchett’s wicked stepmother (“a slightly more mysterious, otherworldly sense”)
Each of these themes offer great insight and inspiration (for your students) of how movie music is composed to help convey the deeper and subtle elements of characters, emotions, and backgrounds or environments. This makes the whole movie experience of story line, video, and sound, an unforgettable experience for many, and part of Disney’s secret to its success.
Here are two of the movie’s many themes (visit YouTube for samples of the full score, or purchase online):
In this strong and moving theme, Mr. Doyle uses the emotion of the octave interval to evoke a sense of strength with the main character, Cinderella. This is one of the many versions of this theme throughout the score, also heard in the tracks:
- Pumpkins and Mice
- Searching the Kingdom
- Courage and Kindness
- The Stag
The piccolo trumpet and French Horns add to the regal nature of this theme. Typically, this type of theme fills the listener with excitement, and sometimes, to tears. (The suspensions help, too!)
English Folk Song – Lavender’s Blue
Here, Mr. Doyle used this folk song in playful ways, again in different and slight changes throughout… listen to it in the tracks, ‘Who is She’ and ‘Courage and Kindness’ for examples of this. I’ve represented it here in two keys, in case you want to use this with your students on recorder, for example, and the first key is too difficult.