Item Details

Composing with Types and Flexible Modules: John Williams’ Two-Note Ostinato for Jaws and its Use in Film-Music History

Issue: Vol 5 No. 1-2 (2012)

Journal: Journal of Film Music

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/jfm.v5i1-2.165


Creator of more than one hundred film scores, John Williams is one of the world’s most successful film composers. In his long career, Williams (b. 1932) has written music for practically every genre from science fiction to comedy. The question arises: how does he create his highly differentiated scores so quickly? One answer lies in his componential system of riffs and motifs he develops like building blocks—basic patterns that are varied and adapted from film to film, depending upon the specific situation at hand. These building blocks can be traced back to musical idioms originally formed in the nineteenth century, subsequently adapted for silent films and then for talkies.

Author: Peter Moormann

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