Music of Westworld

Westworld

Hi everyone!

Today ‘s post will be dealing with a recent TV series: Westworld. Since its first episode on the 2nd of October (2016), it got popular: people linked it to Games of Thrones, thinking it could dethrone it. Well, I don’t really know if it did, but I’ve seen the TV series, and I loved it! It was unpredictable, complicated, but very well made. Totally fascinating.

It was created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, directed by Michael Crichton, and released on HBO.  HBO also released Games of Thrones; you know, the episodes are about 55min or 1h each. Well that’s the same here.

The story sets in Westworld, an amusement park where people can go; androids live there and of course those who wander in the park are allowed to do whatever they want to them… and they are invincible. These androids are being controlled by the creator of this world and have their own characteristics. It is actually full of mysteries, and if you haven’t watched it yet, I suggest you do it!

Undoubtedly, my main interest about this TV series is the choice of the music, by the composer Ramin Djawadi. He indeed composed everything, but he also took musical pieces from classical music and songs.

Oh, and there’s something I forgot to mention: Games of Thrones fans, Ramin Djawadi is also the composer of Games of Thrones, along with Prison Break, Person of Interest, etc. Yup. He’s amazing.

I won’t dwell on the main theme even though it’s really good – maybe another time. I just got a reason to talk about classical music, so you have to understand how I feel right now.

Classical Music

For those who want to watch the TV series or haven’t finished it:

Spoilers says our dear Riversong (Dr Who).

I will put some videos, so you might be spoiled, OK?

The most relevant music in this TV series is a musical piece composed by Claude Debussy: Rêverie.

Of course Ramin Djawadi modified it, which gives this:

Rêverie is used to brainwash the androids (I know how ironic that is, as they don’t have a real brain). The name actually means “daydream”, “dream”, and the place that has been created makes us think about the act of dreaming – that’s why the music works pretty well here. The end of the music composed by Ramin Djawadi highlights how dangerous and fake the world is – the fakeness can be felt through the corruption of the original musical piece, which seems robotic due to the digital sounds, and the danger is brought by the violins and the piano which is a bit dissonant (still at the end).

On the 8th episode, there are two classical pieces that can be heard.

First, my favourite:

It starts at 0:54.  The music is The Swan Lake Waltz, composed by Tchaikovsky. The music enhances the fact Maeve reached a goal, and at the beginning as it is smooth and “perfect”: it gives the impression that what she does is easy to do. Which is also true.  She has a triumphant smile at the end & at the same time there are the last notes of the piece, which are majestic. I truly think this music was absolutely perfect for this scene.

This is the second scene:

That’s when Dolores has a flashback. The piece was composed by Frédéric Chopin, it’s the Waltz op69 n°1. It actually gives a nice memory but the fact that the exact same small part is repeated constantly underlines the control over the androids.

Songs from the player piano

What I love about what Ramin Djawadi did, is the music he composed with a player piano… based on real songs. As the world is fictional, you cannot put the songs as they were originally composed, because it sets in a Western world and the songs are too contemporary for that. His solution was to use a player piano, giving a ragtime vibe. Wanna know what ragtime could be? Here is an example:

Please don’t be mad about my example, but it exactly makes me think about that.

Now here is the real thing with Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden):

If you don’t know the original, well, you should watch it. The song is awesome, but the video is creepy. I warned you. It almost traumatized me when I was little.

Ramin Djawadi also composed this kind of music for: 

 

Well, that’s it! I hope you guys liked to know more about the choice of music in Westworld.

See you next week!

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