Zimmer's Battle theme from Gladiator

  • Created by: Noxas
  • Created on: 10-12-19 11:31

Opening Scene

  • opens with a 4 bar melodic phrase on the brass, gives an antiphonal feel, apprihensive 
  • melodic span of a minor 6th
  • modulation from tonic (D minor) to relative F major, uplifing and optimistic
  • Dominant pedal on C, sense of strength
  • ostinato, common in film music, builds tension
  • Militaristic percussion helps set the scene and builds a driving rhythm to push the tension onwards
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Horde Say No

  • use of silence for dramatic effect
  • low male vocal sounds with vibrato, harmonic unease (F-E-E-G#), creates ethnicity
  • use of sound effects, wind and wave sounds and tonic pedal with added delay
  • low guitar sound, semiquavers, unsettled and threatening sound
  • avoids regular ostinati, builts tension and creates anticipation
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The Battle

  • increasingly chromatic melodic shapes
  • use of pedals, often inverted
  • brass used underneath, similar to hunting horns, evokes the image of the battle truly starting
  • cross-rhythms, accented weak beats, destabilise time signature
  • opening theme presented multiple times in tonic key, states the control the army have
  • 5/4 time signature, accents on 1, 3, and 5 - very unstable and unusual
  • surging crescendos, sudden diminuendo and string trills
  • bells and gongs bring a chaotic tone
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  • tonal shift to C major, dominant pedal (G), marks turning point
  • no resolution to tonic, instead to A minor, interrupted cadence
  • main theme presented in major key, still mournful
  • strings paired with Lisa Gerrard's haunting vocals, very mournful
  • 4-3 and sharpened 4-3 suspensions, similar to Lydian mode
  • dotted minims, lots of space
  • slower harmonic rhythm
  • modal ending (Em - A)
  • lack of resolution of C, despite Dominant pedal, unsettled and odd
  • absence of driving percussion 
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