What makes a TV theme tune so catchy? We have ranked one of the best and delved into the geeky fact of why they’re mini musical masterpieces.
It is a high quality artwork for a TV present’s theme tune to be catchy however not irritating. It takes a mix of an ideal melody, quirky instrumentation and a singular sound to be memorable.
So, here is our rating of one of the best TV theme tunes from a music concept viewpoint.
The Vicar of Dibley
We’re beginning off the countdown with a traditional, as a result of who doesn’t love The Vicar of Dibley?
Howard Goodall units the phrases from Psalm 23 of the bible, in any other case referred to as ‘The Lord is my Shepherd’, to a mild vocal melody. The melody is first given to a solo violin accompanied by the organ. It then passes to a solo soprano, with the violin now punctuating vocal phrases with a counter melody right here and there.
The good goose-bump second is when the total choir joins in and the melody develops, earlier than it comes proper again right down to the modest soprano, organ and violin.
The Apprentice takes its theme tune from certainly one of Prokofiev’s most interesting works, the ballet Romeo and Juliet. The music comes from Act One of many ballet, from a motion referred to as ‘Dance of the Knights’ (in any other case referred to as ‘The Montagues and Capulets’).
The music kicks off with a bombastic minor third interval within the french horns which is met by the tenuto higher strings in a call-and-answer sample. This was alleged to symbolize the 2 rival households, the Montagues and the Capulets. The dissonance of the combating households lends itself to the combating we see on The Apprentice, too.
As extra devices, melodies and timbres are added into the combination, the suspense builds to an climax, earlier than abruptly ending in an ideal cadence and leaving us wanting extra.
The sheer drama on this music is an ideal backdrop for Lord Sugar’s less-than-subtle method to teaching the contestants on The Apprentice.
The Nice British Bake Off
Tom Howe composed this theme tune which encapsulates the enjoyment of The Nice British Bake Off.
The start of the piece feels as in the event you’ve set off a timer, able to bake towards the clock, however then the higher strings are available and make you’re feeling all jolly, forgetting about that crème anglaise that’s getting ready to splitting.
It’s easy, however excellent for a TV present a few bunting-clad tent stuffed with desserts.
Two issues work brilliantly nicely within the Physician Who theme tune: first, the melody, and second, the distinctive sound.
To take the melody first: the melody has turn into so well-known that it’s recognisable throughout the first three notes. That’s an indication of an iconic piece of music –hats off to composer Ron Grainer who composed the unique melody.
The music additionally has a compelling mid-section that unexpectedly goes to the foremost key earlier than it goes again into the mysterious cloud of the principle theme tune.
Secondly – and right here’s what makes this music an absolute winner – the soundworld is unimaginable.
Digital results mixed with a symphony orchestra thrust you into one other world, as if moving into the Physician’s trusty tardis. Enjoyable reality – this was in reality one of many first digital TV theme tunes.
We bounce straight right into a 1920s Vaudeville present with The Muppets Present theme tune. The raspy trumpet that performs the melody alongside the puppets units the stage for an all-singing all-dancing present. The melody has an uncommon and quite disjointed rhythm, however put it towards the strong accompaniment and you’ve got an ideal piece of music.
The repeating four-note bass riff we hear within the bassoon is simply as catchy because the melody itself. The cyclical nature of the music permits the music to develop on high of it.
Is it too far to liken it to a modern-day Pachelbel’s Canon? We expect not.
Okay, so that is one other classical music cop-out, but it surely actually is the proper theme tune for Jonathan Creek.
The music was initially composed by Camille Saint-Saëns for violin and orchestra. The piece, Danse Macabre, is about in a graveyard. The violin represents demise as he summons the lifeless in a graveyard. So the music is totally becoming for Jonathan Creek, a sequence a few magician’s assistant who solves apparently supernatural mysteries utilizing his information of trickery.
We hear numerous devices within the orchestra paint an image of the dancing skeletons; Saint-Saëns makes explicit use of the xylophone to mimic the sounds of rattling bones.
What makes music sound cool? If any tune has the successful method, it is ‘Purple Proper Hand’ by Nick Cave & The Dangerous Seeds.
The Peaky Blinders theme tune exudes a suave nonchalance from Nick Cave’s deep vocals. The insidious really feel of the vocals, which may resemble extra of a mumble than a melody at factors, completely encapsulates the gritty world of early 1900s Birmingham and the darkish underworld that Peaky Blinders is about in.
The Pink Panther
Henry Mancini demonstrates his musical genius with the cool-as-a-cucumber theme to The Pink Panther.
It’s certainly one of TV’s prime examples of a personality leitmotif (a chunk of music representing a personality). The melody (performed on the saxophone) is an angular and chromatic tune which depicts the character of the Panther.
Throw this in with a laid-back jazzy beat, brassy instrumentation that evokes a way of ‘cool cat’ like no different, and the chromatic ascending and descending phrases that maintain you in your toes, and you’ve got your self a Mancini masterpiece.
From 2010 to 2015, Downton Abbey dominated our tv screens. Not solely did the Crawley household seize the hearts of the nation, however the evocative opening theme tune did too.
Composer John Lunn combines syncopated strings, an insistent piano melody, a mixture of staccato and legato strains, and a melancholic, longing melody to create the Downton Abbey sound.
All the things we love about Poirot is encapsulated on this one piece written by Christopher Gunning – mischief, thriller and moustaches all come alive within the clean melody performed, unusually, on the saxophone.
The saxophone solo evokes each the fashionable period of the present, and a sneaky suspicion that mischief isn’t distant. Pair this with a heavy-handed honky-tonk piano accompaniment and a descending bass line within the decrease strings that retains you in your toes, and you’ve got your self an iconic theme tune.
Scratch beneath the floor of this seemingly harmless melody, and identical to Poirot, the harmless exterior seems to be a ruse. It’s the musical equal of the Belgian detective’s wry smile, what’s to not love?
Sport of Thrones
Ramin Djawadi has made a reputation for himself with the epic theme to Sport of Thrones. When he was approached by producers to compose the rating, he was famously informed to keep away from flutes and violins that are, of their phrases, ‘overused’ in fantasy soundtracks.
So Djawadi led the theme with a solo cello as an alternative. This now-famous theme is immediately recognisable for its timbre in addition to the melody.
The rating has all the things you’d need in a monumental theme tune – a catchy melody, a driving drive from the percussion, and a sound that immediately associates itself with the world of the present.
It’s truthful to say that Danny Elfman is a musical genius – not solely can he write a catchy tune, however to attain it for a whole symphony orchestra, choir, automotive horn and faculty bell in a key that’s continually altering is sort of remarkable.
The music opens with a choir singing a tritone interval, in any other case referred to as the satan’s interval. The music springboards off this misleadingly calm opening and catapults right into a chaotic world of musical insanity.
The music is made up of iconic melodies interspersed with frantic chromaticism, unique percussion, absurd sound results, a reasonably epic saxophone riff, string pizzicato and a splash of swing music thrown into the combination for good measure.
If we wish to be actually geeky, the important thing modifications into a variety of totally different modes – C lydian, B lydian, E lydian, again to C lydian and D flat lydian. Check out this wonderful visible evaluation to see precisely what occurs.
Danny Elfman ignores all the standard guidelines of modulation, concord, diatonicism… and we love it.