07.29.2009

Also Sprach Zarathustra in Movie Previews

Posted by AJ Harbison at 10:24 am

This past weekend, my lovely wife and I went to see Up, Pixar’s latest movie (I know, you don’t have to tell me how far behind I am in seeing it…). It was really awesome, by the way–probably the most emotionally powerful and best-looking animated movie I’ve ever seen. But before the movie started, we were watching the previews, and I noticed that two of them in a row used the exact same music in their trailers. (One was Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, but I can’t remember what the other one was.) The music was the opening to Also Sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss, perhaps best known as the theme to the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. (I guarantee you know this theme; if that doesn’t sound familiar, watch the YouTube clip below.)

This piece has been used bazillions of times in movies, commercials, previews, etc.; in these two trailers, it was being used as a parody of itself–a monumental, epic theme played humorously against animated films. But it struck me as pretty ridiculous that two animated previews in a row used the exact same music for the exact same purpose. Doesn’t anyone have any original ideas for music anymore? Why don’t they get a young up-and-coming composer of rocking music to write a new theme for them?

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Comments

  1. Gravatar

    Rachel on 08.09.2009

    I’d hire you.

  2. Gravatar

    AJ Harbison on 08.10.2009

    Thanks Rachel! I’d love to work for you.

    AJ Harbison

  3. Gravatar

    Ryan Fleming on 08.12.2009

    It does seem odd that soooo many movie/film/TV shows use this theme. However, I do not believe that they use this theme because it is so epic sounding (although it is definately one of the most epic pieces of music ever composed IMHO). I think they use this piece because it has been used so many times before. They use it because people automatically and instantaneously connect with it. If a new piece of music was used (even if it were just as epic) it wouldn’t connect with the audience in the same way.

    I think another piece that has this same effect is the them song from “Chariots of Fire”. It is always played in a situation of great victory. It is also commonly used as a parody of itself in quite the same way as “Also Sprach Zarathustra” was used in the two movies.

    I do agree however that having it used back-to-back does take away most of the effect of the piece. And I would encourage you to compose a piece that some day will have the same effect on audiences around the world!

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