November 21, 2014

Writing Music: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Soundtracks are incredible writing music. As music crafted around stories and meant to evoke the narrative itself, a movie soundtrack can evoke emotions, pacing, atmosphere, and climax. I have a lot of movie soundtracks in my collection and some of them frequently make it into my writing music mixes.

In the realm of soundtracks as amazing writing music, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is an amazing soundtrack. It’s great movie music scored by John Williams. When Williams was hired to score Sorcerer’s Stone, had been in the business for 30 years and scored everything from Star Wars to Jurassic Park. You can hear some hints of that earlier work in this score, but it’s definitely got a distinct sound as well.All of the HP soundtracks are good, but Williams’ original is the best. It established a lot of the memorable musical themes that wended their way through all eight films.

The key track here is “Hedwig’s Theme.” You probably think of this one as “The Harry Potter Theme”. It’s the leitmotif most familiar to anyone who’s seen the film. On this album, “Hedwig’s Theme” is also the name for the “credits scene” music track, which dips and soars through all the film’s key music moments. There’s energy in the track, and whimsy, and magic. That track has more plays in my iTunes list than any other.

I suppose there’s some need to be invested in the Harry Potter series to really enjoy this soundtrack. I have read the books, I have watched the films, and I have enjoyed them all. For me, this is not just music that suggests a story; it reminds me of a story I love. And when I’m thinking of stories I love, I want to tell stories of my own. That’s what writing music is supposed to do, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone does it in spades.

In general, I definitely recommend that any writer looking for some inspirational brain candy consider snagging the soundtracks to their favorite movies. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may not be your particular speed; if not, then find the soundtrack for any story that you enjoyed. It doesn’t even have to be a great soundtrack by a top composer; it just needs to reach into your brain and flip that writing switch.

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