Cinematic music is fascinating to me. It moves the story of the movie along and the movie itself is nothing without it (at least it is a completely different movie).
I’m interested in deconstructing the sound of cinematic music and Hans Zimmer is one of the composers at the forefront.
Here I have assembled what little I have learned about Hans Zimmer and his music.
Last updated: 4-February-2019
Shepard Tones and Ticking
Hans Zimmer uses the Shepard Tone auditory illusion along with a ticking sound in several of his compositions:
- Sherlock Holmes
- The Dark Night (2 films)
The Prestige scored by Julian also has this as a Shepard Risset Glissando.
Other examples can be found in this YouTube video.
A Shepard Risset Glissando is when there are not defined steps between the notes. It is like a continuous rising/dropping sound that does not go anywhere. It is an illusion.
Shepard tones can be made with Izotope’s Mobius Filter placed on a synth or instrument tone.
Scale and Key
Hans says that D is a good key in his Master Class video.
Deconstructing some of his compositions, I find this:
- 160 bpm, A minor, 163 bpm
- An Ideal of Hope, C major, 80 bpm
- Call of Duty MW2, F major, 78 bpm
- Dark Knight Rises, G major, 174 bpm
- Deliver Us, A minor, 72 bpm
- Dream Is Collapsing, G minor, 127 bpm
- Epilogue Crysis 2, D minor, 79 bpm
- Hoist The Colors, F minor, 103 bpm
- Interstellar, A minor, 96 bpm
- Jack Sparrow, D minor, 100 bpm
- Mombasa, A minor, 145 bpm
- No Time For Caution, C major, 60 bpm
- Now We Are Free, F# minor, 68 bpm
- The Lion King – This Land, C major, 64 bpm
- The Red Capes Are Coming, A minor, 111 bpm
- The Rock Theme, A flat major, 84 bpm
- Time, E minor, 63 bpm
- We Are Now Free, A major, 68 bpm
So I do not find him using D major in what he has already done.