The 2018 Emmy nominees for music composition have been announced, and the shows themselves couldn’t be more different. But they have one thing in common. Which is how they have enhanced the story with extremely emotional melodies. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time not getting emotionally invested in shows on a regular day. But add in music to match those emotions, and I’m literally a mess. When it comes to TV shows and movies, we hardly think about the music that goes into making them successful. In this post, we will explore some of the nominees and what makes their score unique.
Game of Thrones – HBO
Composer Ramin Djawadi received two nominations this year. Making it his fifth and sixth nominations since 2006. One was for “The Dragon and the Wolf”, which was included as part of the season seven finale. It included musical payoffs for themes hinted at earlier in the season, including a love theme for Jon and Daenerys, and a horrifying march for the Army of the Dead. Djawadi had this to say about the music:
“Over the seasons, I’ve enjoyed planting themes and then developing them further. And usually, in the last episode, I’m able to bring the main theme back in different arrangements.”
Think about that for a moment. He’s taking music and bringing the theme from the show forward. Now, I’m not saying that I don’t notice the music at all. But I am saying that the music doesn’t typically come forward for me in the same way that other themes might.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones – Netflix
Sean Callery, who won a 2016 Emmy for his “Jessica Jones” theme, is being nominated for the final episode of the second season. The episode is known as “AKA Playground”. If you haven’t seen the season, it was a lot darker this year, as Jessica develops a relationship with her mother. I won’t give any spoilers away, but this is quite the twist. Callery describes the music this way:
“[The music] has to feel very alive and human. I was a classical pianist who played jazz on weekends in college. This was an opportunity to return to more improvisational forms, but it had to be structured to work as a score.”
He’s not wrong. The music has to be structured in a way that’s going to evoke those emotional responses. So far, I can see why these shows are being nominated.
SEAL Team – CBS
The last nominee on our list is the CBS freshman drama SEAL Team. Composers W.G. Snuffy Walden and A. Patrick Rose for the episode “Pattern of Life”. T takes place almost entirely in the house of a suspected Yemeni terrorist. Because of the setting, the composers felt that they needed to bring some of the “flavor of Yemen while still maintaining the sound we established for the show”.
While I hate to sound ignorant, this is certainly an area that I hadn’t explored much. Or even given much thought, if I’m being honest. That’s not to say that I don’t hear the music, or think that it’s important, but I don’t really remember what that sounds like, necessarily. That said, I will likely think about it more as I watch TV shows and movies.