Myersvision: Theme Music

This blog is a friend of the arts, especially music, so I was thrilled when Audre Myers submitted a review of various programs’ theme music.

Theme music does a great deal to set the tone and mood for a show; we all instantly recognize the difference between the theme music for, say, a cheesy Eighties family sitcom and a brooding detective serial.

Perhaps the greatest theme music composer of all time is Mike Post, who wrote music for Law and OrderQuantum LeapMagnum, P.I., and The A-Team, among others.  You’ve never heard of him, but you’ve certainly heard his music:

Audre has quite a few examples for your consideration, and they’re all interesting in their own way.  Even the ones she doesn’t like are, as she acknowledges, fitting to their respective shows.

With that, here is Audre’s overview of theme music:

I like theme music; I think many of us can hum the opening theme music to our favorite programs – maybe even if we’re not watching. Theme music used to bother me; let’s get to the story already, I thought. But there’s a reason they tie opening (and often closing) music to the name of the program and the stars who are the characters. We hear the music and, like those famous trained dogs, we react with the kind of response the writers and producers wanted to instill.

I really like the music for West Wing. It has a sense of weight and import as well a line of melancholy along with something springy and hopeful. That’s an awful lot of information to pack into an opening theme but listen and decide …

The biggest fan of The Walking Dead has to be yours truly but the theme music irritates me. Ok; it drives me crazy. Millions of people love that stupidly irritating cello piece played by Yoyo Ma but it has the same effect on me – it’s like three notes played over and over and over again. Nails on a chalkboard! (Bach: Cello Suite No.1 in G Major) In any event, with that energy and sense of immediacy and urgency and impending doom of the Walking Dead series music grates on my nerves and a lot of the time I turn the sound down. Considering the premise of the series – it’s perfect! But I don’t like it. What do you think?

Big fan of all things English, the theme song to Last Tango in Halifax is an unadulterated delight! I especially like the little ‘pixie dance’ at the end of the music. Charming!

Everyone’s favorite – well, those of a certain age, anyway – is the theme music from MASH. How tickled were you when you found out the title of it? Do you remember the name? “Suicide is Painless”. What a name!

Among the themes I like a lot, Haven has a special place. Haven was a TV series based on the Stephen King book, The Colorado Kid. Something’s not quite right in Haven, Maine … strange things happen there and the character Audrey is pivotal. I think you can find Haven on Plex, maybe on YouTube … not real sure except it’s no longer available on Netflix, which is where I saw the series in the first place. Welcome to Haven …

And then there’s the theme music to Captain Kangaroo. Do you remember? How happy and perky is this?

Theme music has a definite place in the world; it can tie us to place and time, it can relate to our lives or our memories, it can introduce us to notes and sounds we’ve not encountered before. It creates atmosphere, anticipation, deeper enjoyment. Theme music is a good thing and by and large – I’m a big fan.


23 thoughts on “Myersvision: Theme Music

  1. Phew! I came out unscathed by Port in regard to my comdemnation of Cello Suite 1 in G Major; I was afraid I might be handed my walking papers, lol!

    Liked by 2 people

    • 😂 No, no, I agree with your assessment, at least in part. The piece is good, but it’s suffered from overuse and overexposure. It’s like Lynyrd Skynyrd on classic rock radio—great band, great songs, too much airplay. Both are examples of the concept—not always true!—that “familiarity breeds contempt.”

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Brilliant talking piece, Audre. I’ve linked it to TCW but I reckon the posters who come here to read will comment on it over there. Probably because you can link in tunes there and you can’t do it here.

    I put up Stranger Things title sequence because I love it. I also quite enjoy the theme to Dexter, which is pretty clever. You’ve got a normalised start to the day with some pretty mischievous music.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I wish WP made it easy for commenters to post links. I know it often flags those as spam, or requires moderator approval. I need to tinker around in the settings sometime to see if there is a way I can relax those restrictions, but I suspect they are baked into the pie.

      But, yes! Wonderful piece from Audre. I was giddy when it popped up in my inbox. What a great concept!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I love the music for The Walking Dead, by the way. The repetition of those notes reflects the repetition of life and death, which is pretty much your whole basis for the series. Ambling, walking towards what exactly? You end pretty much as you begin.

    The title sequence was great too until they changed it for animation in, what was it, the 7th, 8th series? As much as I like the animation, it was one change too much for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Once again … you impress me with your ‘awareness’ of things. I actually like the animation but I can see where it wouldn’t meet your standards. I think I like the animation because there’s a kind of atmospheric similarity to Little Nightmares, if you know what I mean.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I know what you mean but it coincided with the loss of my favourite character and the link, however, tenuous, bothered me.

        I sent Tyler my review of Stranger Things, by the way. After your recommendation and watching it twice, I had to get my own thoughts down. I included the title sequence/theme tune with a nice comparison alongside it. You’ll have to let me know your thoughts when it goes up.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’ll be working (hopefully) to get that scheduled today, so I will let you know when it will post. It will likely go up next week, just gotta look at my other posts and submissions.

        I finished my #2 review yesterday afternoon. I’m increasingly thankful for the Hono[u]rable Mention posts; I missed some _amazing_ films that, had I approached the list more thoughtfully, would have made it in (and definitely over _Krull_—ha!).

        Liked by 2 people

    • Cheers and ditto. 🙂

      Regarding the video links, I remember you could post those on DA’s site at one point (I haven’t tried in a while so I don’t know if you still can) but you can’t here, despite the fact that both sites use the same platform.

      I can post from the tablet here but I can’t on NEO. It seems really weird.

      Liked by 2 people

      • NEO has had all sorts of issues with posting. I’ll be logged into WordPress fully and completely, and it won’t recognize it out of the box. I’m not sure what the difference is. Maybe he’s using instead of; the former is more geared towards developers (I think) and has more sandbox functionality, whereas the latter (which I use) is more user-friendly, but limited (especially at lower tiers).

        Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, there’s something really janky going on with his comments. It’s a testament to the quality of the writing and discourse that people are willing to jump through those additional hoops to comment. Most people won’t take that extra step just to leave a one-sentence comment.

      Liked by 2 people

      • TCW posters wouldn’t leave you one line sentences. Ask Audre about Peter Evans and she’ll give you some idea of the scope in which some commenters on there go.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Yes, I’m happy we decided on honourable mentions. A few films that missed the cut would, at any other time, have entered this list. There are a few that I started to write which will be featured heavily on that list. I’m writing it in genres so I can organise better.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. 39 – we love our Peter Evans; he uses more words in a comment than I use in a month, lol. But he’s very much worth reading – smart man.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s