Incidental Music

Incidental Music: def. (noun)- music used in a film as a background to create or enhance a particular atmosphere, otherwise known as a score

Monday, January 14, 2013

And the January Composer of the Month is...

Hi everyone! I'm back from my adventure in Nicaragua! It was absolutely wonderful. Unfortunately, I didn't get to the chance to listen to any of the native music, but I did hear some samples of the pop music that's popular there-It's called "reggaeton" and here's what it sounds like-groovy and good for dancing. My group had the opportunity to take a dancing class while we were there, and we did some shaking and moving to this kind of music :) Super fun!

Danny Elfman
Today, I'd like to introduce you to the January Composer of the Month...Danny Elfman-the composer for all the Tim Burton movies (A.K.A. your nightmares), the Simpsons TV show theme, Batman, and Spiderman! I had fun reading about his journey to becoming a composer because it is kinda unconventional. Daniel Robert Elfman was born May 29, 1953. He was interested in movies as an art form from an early age, but his interest in until high school. He was friends with many artistically inclined individuals, some of whom were musicians. He didn't play any instruments, but watching his friends play their music made him want to learn. 

Young Danny in Oingo Boingo
After high school, he decided to buy a violin and go traveling the world instead of going to college right away. He stayed with his brother Richard in France for awhile, where the brothers toured with a group called the Grand Magic Circus, a musical theatre group. After touring with this group for a few months, Danny separated from Richard and went to Africa for a year, where he learned how to play drums in addition to improving his skill on the violin. While he was in Africa, Richard had returned to the US and started his own musical theatre group called the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. When Danny returned, Richard invited him to be the group's musical director. He also sang and played trombone, violin, and percussion in the group. After the Mystic Knights disbanded, Danny formed the punk band Oingo Boingo, which toured until 1995. Here's one of their hit songs.

While Elfman was touring with Oingo Boingo, he began writing movie scores! His first score was for "Forbidden Zone" in 1982, which was written and directed by his brother. His work on this soundtrack and for Oingo Boingo attracted the attention of Tim Burton, who was beginning work on a movie called "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." Burton hired Elfman to score this film in 1982, and the rest is history! Since that time,  Elfman has been one of Hollywood's most prominent composers. In addition to his collaborations with Tim Burton (which include Batman, the Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland, and most recently, Frankenweenie), Elfman has worked on many blockbuster films films, including the Spiderman trilogy, the Men in Black trilogy, and the first Mission Impossible

What most impressed me about Elfman is the fact that he is self taught! He has little to no formal musical training. He taught himself all he knows about music! I think that's amazing and possibly reveals a little bit of musical genius :) Another interesting fact: He is actually the singing voice of Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas! I didn't know that before. I chose him to be our composer for the month because in 2012, he released SIX new scores. He's been busy, so I think he needs a bit of love and appreciation. 

That's all I have for this week! Come back next week for Part Two on my series about the scoring process! Assignment for the Week: Listen to Danny Elfman!

1 comment:

  1. I listened to Danny Elfman and can say that his music reaches to part of my soul that says "withhold the good stuff." It's not that his music writing isn't good...I think he's very good. But since my body responds to music either positively (accept in) or negatively (keep out)...this was one girl who said keep out. Only because it has haunting melodies. I guess I remember when my mother had classical music playing on the radio all day AND those evil sounding violins right before I went to bed freaked me out a little. Here's to Danny...what he writes is appropriate for the genre in which he writes for and it's well done. It creeps this girl out which is probably exactly what he wanted :-) Give him the stars!