Music Scores in TV and Film Adaptations

A week or so back, I heard the most wonderful interview on BBC R4’s Woman’s Hour with Debbie Wiseman who wrote the score for the BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. Debbie plays parts of the score live on the piano and explains how they relate to the book and the characters. I have the first couple of episodes recorded, but I haven’t watched them yet. The small extracts of music I heard during this interview made me think about how books inspire music. 

The score that sprung to mind immediately was Neville’s Waltz from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It is a beautiful piece which sees Neville practising his ballroom dancing before the yule ball. I love that scene, although I don’t recall it from the actual book. Along with Neville’s Waltz is Hedwig’s Theme which I think perfectly captures the secret magical world which sits so closely beside our own. 

One of my longstanding favourite sound tracks are the three which go with Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The orchestral score is so beautiful and tranquil whilst in the Shire, rapidly changing to robust choral music when the black riders approach. When I need to blank everything out, and work, or think, this is the CD which gets played. The Knife In The Dark when Frodo is stabbed by a Black Rider always gives me goosebumps.

Another wonderful soundtrack is Sherlock from the BBC. The Game Is On is fantastic and has a real feel of daring-do about it. 

Last but by no means least is the wonderful Bookshop Band, who write music based on books. I’ve seen them at Mr B’s and they are fantastic. Check out their website to see all their wonderful compositions. 

Do you have music related to reading which you really love?


Harry Potter From Page To Screen By Bob McCabe

ISBN: 978-0857687753

Published By Titan Books Ltd

This book is enormous! It is very large and very heavy, and no wonder, inside it contains all any Potter fan could wish to know about the movies.

I remember seeing the first Potter movie, we went to an early showing and the place was packed with people all dressed up as witches and wizards. The atmosphere was one of extreme excitement and pure joy. There were gasps as we saw the Hogwarts Express on the screen for the first time and an awed silence as the castle came into view.

What always rather frustrated me with the movies, was not the massive plot holes, but the fact that so much detail was packed into the set of every scene it was impossible to appreciate it all. This book makes up for all of that with some wonderful stills from the movie as well as details on how the sets were developed with conceptual drawings all the way through to the final item being placed in the shot.

The narrative is fun and informative and explains how some of the camera trickery was done, such as turning Robbie Coltrane into the half giant, Hagrid. What really makes this book is the photographs and illustrations. I can see Potter fans having many a happy hour wallowing in all the detail.

Get yourself down to Flourish and Blotts and purchase a copy for a few Galleons, it’s marvellous.