• Jemma Van Der Byl

Autumn term - week 10

Hello Sounding Out families

We are about halfway through our second national lockdown and I wonder how you are filling your time when you are not at school? If you are anything like me, you will be watching LOTS of films! When you watch films, do you ever find yourself listening to the music in the background?

This week one of the most famous and influential FILM COMPOSERS of all time has been in the news. Did you know the same person wrote the music to all these films? How many have you seen?


Star Wars

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Home Alone


Jurassic Park

Harry Potter

JOHN WILLIAMS is an American composer who has written music for over 100 films! He was given the RPS Gold medal, which is one of the highest awards in music, for introducing orchestral music to millions of people.

He has a particular skill for writing extremely memorable themes. Even if you have never seen the film, you have probably heard this exciting music from Raiders of the Lost Ark. John Williams is conducting the large orchestra in this performance.

John Williams borrowed an idea from classical composers (such as WAGNER) who introduce each character in their operas with a different theme (or LEITMOTIF). Here is the theme for Darth Vadar – suitably scary!

Music in films helps to set the mood and tell us about how the characters are feeling, but have you ever thought about what films would be like with NO MUSIC?

WATCH this final scene from the first Star Wars film. You can tell by listening to the music that the characters are feeling proud and cheerful after defeating the enemy in battle!

Now WATCH it again with the music taken out. Although everyone is still smiling, without John William’s triumphant music it all looks a bit…..well…. awkward! (I think someone has also had fun changing Chewbacca’s voice….). The music at the start of this is NOT by John Williams but a composer called Gustav HOLST.

Finally, here’s a great clip of a musician playing Hedwig’s theme from Harry Potter, on a wonderful instrument called a GLASS HARP. Please don’t try this with your family’s best glasses!

Enjoy watching some films this weekend and listen closely to the music!

Have a great week!


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