The Music of Thrones
By Winter Is Coming on in Speculation.

One aspect of the production we haven’t discussed here yet is the musical score. Over at Westeros there is a rather lengthy thread discussing just that. It seems that most people are falling into one of four camps when it comes to the soundtrack for Thrones.

1) Contemporary music. Generally heavy metal or rock. Think A Knight’s Tale. While I admit there is something appealing about the idea of seeing the Battle of the Blackwater with some heavy metal riffs in the background, I don’t think this is the best idea. Despite the obvious anachronistic elements something like this would present, this series is more about character interaction than epic battles. It seems HBO has realized this and is focusing on the characters in this adapation and rock music just doesn’t play well behind straight dialogue.

2) Medieval-style music. Think dulcimers, harps and flutes. While this sounds interesting in theory, I don’t know if it would work. The average television audience isn’t necessarily a fan, or even familiar with medieval era music, and it could be a turn off for those more accustomed to a traditional orchestrated score.

3) No music. Other than possibly some renditions of the songs contained within the narrative (The Bear and the Maiden Fair, The Rains of Castamere, etc.) I don’t know about this idea. Music does a great job heightening the drama, suspense or intensity of a moment. Not having any score at all may detract from these moments. But I would take this over rock or medieval era music.

4) A traditional orchestrated score. Think John Williams or Howard Shore. Although I doubt this production would get composers of that level. There are a number of names being mentioned as possibilities however. Since I’ve never heard of them I’ll leave that debate to those who are more familiar with television music composers. I think this approach would work best. It is familiar to the viewers and works well within the genre (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc.).


  1. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I think that a middle way to medieval/celtic and some kind of metal it would fit.
    It depends on the scene/character :)


  2. ryan dunn
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    i think it’s obvious they are going to have a traditional score, however they will find a more contemporary composer to do it, think michael andrews.

  3. Ausir
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    How about Bear McCreary?

  4. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    A traditional score is by far the best.

    Contempory music will not work for most of the scenes. It does not allow you the creative freedom needed.

    No music is just as bad. The difference between a good movie/show and a great one is almost always the music. A good score elevates the action on-screen.

    Medieval music just does not allow the same flexibility of a traditional orchestra.

    I really hope it goes with a traditional orchestra.

  5. Aoede
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    @ the AnonyMouse above me:

    A good score may elevate the action on-screen, but sometimes the best score is no score. I’m not just throwing aphorisms at you–as with other art forms, certain works may be best expressed when one of its elements is consideredly [sic] proportional to the others, whether the disproportionalization consists of minimalization or unusual emphasis. (In any case, minimalization of an element serves to emphasize another element.)

  6. the irregular contributor
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I’d say a traditional orchestral score would work best…Has anyone else here seen nbc’s new show, Kings? It does a pretty good job of using music to elevate dramatic moments, quite like what I’d like to see in a production of A Game of Thrones.

  7. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    The Wire, one of the most critically acclaimed shows in the history of television (and my personal favorite) had no score. However, no score does not mean no music. Most shows without a score use diegetic music; that is, music that emanates from a source within the scene. In this case AGoT would feature medieval-style music if musicians are in the scene. I really, really don’t think having “no-music” would detract from the drama, if anything it would heighten the realism of the characters’ interactions. And realism is a theme rarely found in the high fantasy genre but explicit in GRRM’s works.

  8. Ben
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    The way I see it going down is having orchestral music as the score, with aforementioned diegetic music entering the scene when appropriate.

  9. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m also on-board with no score and diegetic music. I seriously doubt medeival style music would be a turn-off for anyone, and the orchestral score for fantasy and science fiction is a huge cliche at this point, as well as not really being fitting for Martin’s work. They can crack it out for big battles, maybe, but for most of the dialogue-driven story, I’d rather have it orchestra-free. A musical score reminds you you’re watching TV. I prefer immersion.

  10. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    It’d be the BEST if they went with traditional music with viking/folk metal music, like music from Turisas, Eluveitie, Ensiferum, Moonsorrow, Korpiklaani and such. The viking/folk metal music would do WONDERS for battle scenes.

    If you don’t know any of these bands you should listen to them (especially Turisas) because they will get you PUMPED and you will want to go and do battle on the Trident!

  11. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I forgot two other GREAT bands in there as well: Finntroll and Amon Amarth.

    Check them out.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    *hopes for Bear McCreary!*

  13. Dan
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    I seriously hope metal music of any kind won’t be included; it’s just too cheesy, and it has absolutely no place whatsoever in Martin’s world.

  14. SubTech Zero
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Anyone who wants metal has lost their mind.

    Deadwood rarely used music, only sparsely peppering its episodes with score to highlight exceptionally dramatic moments. They would sometimes go episodes and episodes without any music at all.

    I am opposed to the diegetic approach. It worked great for the Wire (awesome fucking show) – but I don’t think it would serve this program in the same way.

  15. Aoede
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    @ SubTech Zero:

    What, so you don’t want even a snatch of Rains of Castamere in the background? And the Bear and the Maiden Fair was a plot point. You can’t just say “no diegetic music at all”.

  16. John Reynolds
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Metal music would be absolutely terrible. I actually think little to no music would really fit the bare bones feel the series has well.

  17. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Hehe, though I am a fan of the folk/vikling metal bands mentioned earlier I think that the metal aspect wouldn’t really fit my vision of ASOIAF. Now if you pull the metal part out of it and go for a more traditional approach it would fit better. Now perhaps the best option for music if it were to be used would be a combination of traditional pagan/celtic/viking music with an orchestral backing… Corvus Corax, a german mitelalter band, has held a number of concerts with a certain orchestra (I cannot recall which at the moment). But the sound was incredible – nothing like a typical orchestral piece.

    I think music is important and can definitely augment the show, but too much of it can take away some of the grittiness of the setting.

  18. ulix
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    “Music does a great job heightening the drama, suspense or intensity of a moment.”

    It can work both ways.
    In many TV-Dramas I’ve seen the music destroyed the drama for me by making the scene too cheesy to bear (Battlestar Galactica, I’m looking at you). I don’t think that music is a good device for heightening drama (and, if at all, only when used very very carefully).
    It is, however, a good device for creating suspense and to accompany action-sequences (Doctor Who, I’m looking at you).

    I’m a fan of the “no-score” or the “classical score, but used cautiously” approach.

    Metal would be a disaster and destroy the show for me (as it would for many others).
    Luckily I’m sure that this show would never ever be greenlit with any kind of metal in it.
    I wouldn’t wanna see it then anyway.

  19. Lordnedshead
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    IMO the only way to do it right is orchestral. Diegetic music (had to look that up heh) would work in specific areas(Bear & The Maiden Fair, Rains of Castamere), but if you ever watch prescored clips of movies you quickly see how the music can add to the drama of the scene if used appropriately.
    Its totaly possible to do an orchestral score with medieval elements to it. You could have a lute section in place of violins in certain places as a quick example.
    The big music idea that I've always thought would be pretty cool would be to give all the PoV characters their own themes within the score. Something similar, though not as blatant as Peter and the Wolf. Elements of the same theme could be used for members of the same House, but could be distinguished by using different instruments for the characters. For instance, the Stark theme could be played for Eddard featuring an oboe while Catelynn could use a similar theme but played largely with violas. Also characters of more than one House could feature elements of different themes. Cat could be largely Stark with a bit of the Tulley theme mixed into it whereas Ned would be purely Stark.
    Using the theming creatively could really bring some interesting musical foreshadowing into play. Scenes with Joff Myrycella and Tommen could be mysteriously devoid of the Baratheon theme. Jon's scenes could start out all Stark and gradually shift more and more into the Night's Watch theme. The music during his flight from Castle Black could be a dueling master piece between the two themes that represents the inner struggle he is facing between his duties to the Watch versus his familial ties.
    This is largely a brainstorm, but I'd love to see some form of these ideas in the series. It would be a nice way to subtely pay homage to Martin's use of PoV chapters without actually throwing a redundant character title up at the start of each new PoV scene.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted March 30, 2009 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    Nothing like a lot of music and a lot of camera cuts to totally break my immersion. Sopranos had VERY little music. Sopranos was the best show of all time.

  21. Børre
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    Metal would be simply comical. And thus suck! And i love metal, but it would just be downright stupid to use.

    I’m sure they will go with the traditional orchestrated stuff. I like the idea of a theme for each house.

  22. Marko
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    A great score is one you only notice when you stop wathcing :) hope they achieve that – and I’d prefer classical orchestrated pieces with period elements/colouring which would blend with the plot-crucial feature songs as best as possible.

  23. Stark's Ghost
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    digitech when appropriate, and orchestra for the rest. I dont know if many of you have played the video-game series elder scrolls, but that is a medievil game who’s music I have always pictured when I read GoT. It just seems perfect.

  24. Stark's Ghost
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    srry…just a spelling change diegetic score not digitech haha

    Oh by the way. T-pain and Lonely Island should be considered lol

  25. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    No music in Deadwood? Were you deaf? The music in Deadwood always swelled right before critical action cues. When you heard the high pitched tingling, you knew something was about to go down.

    Number 4. Period. This is a no brainer. Every character has a theme, plot twists have a theme, action has a theme, each location has a theme.

    On the other hand, I want to hear Japanese drum music to Dany’s wedding to Khal Drogo. For a bad example, think the action music of Naruto whenever who ever’s fighting finally gets it together, with the drums and the “huah”‘s and “Hut”‘s intersparced in.

  26. Rer
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    4 Cellos playing covers

    These guys are amazing musicians.

  27. Børre
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    What a stupid idea!!

  28. Børre
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    And exactly what is amazing about them anyway? They aren’t particularly skilled, and just because they play metal with something other than guitars doesn’t make them geniuses or anything impressive at all.

    I’m not trying to be a jackass btw, this is just what i feel.

  29. red snow
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    I’d probably prefer non-intrusive music rather than “x’s new single in all good shops now” interuptions.
    I’d still like a fantasy based rock for battle scenes and the like. I’m thinking in the style of Led Zeppelins more whimsical songs eg “battle of evermore”, “Stairway to heaven”.
    I’ve mentioned this on ASOIAF forums that the recent Black Mountain album, “in the future”, would be perfect (with vocals removed). Then again I’m biased as that was the album I was mostly listening to when reading the series.

    I can’t help but think of scenes involving Ned when thinking of this song

    and for general evil scheming and so forth

    Come to think of it, music for POV characters could be cool if down well.

  30. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I agree. Let’s put this metal thing to rest once and for all. It ain’t going to happen.

    Also, I would like to see it before I make a decision about music. lighting, mood, cinematography, all play a part. Can’t help but think that there are some moments that NEED orchestral music. We’ll see I guess.

  31. Adam Whitehead
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    A traditional score is the way to go, although that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or predictable. Bear McCreary’s name is being bandied around as he is simply, by some considerable distance, the best TV composer working at the moment, and his work on BSG and other shows demonstrates his versatility and employment of non-traditional and non-Western instruments (particularly useful for the eastern scenes, I’m thinking). So him all the way.

    HBO shows usually use music appropriat to the era they are depicting or something appropriate, like ROME’s interesting score, so I think a rock/metal approach is (thankfully) out.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I think the best way to do it would be a traditional score, with medieval music during certain scenes like feasts (where it would make sense to have minstrels and singers on the screen).
    There doesn’t have to be music during dialogue, except as I said when it fits with the “background noises”, but there’s quite a lot of scenes that could benefit from music. As a single example, think of the Others. When they are mentioned in the books, Martin always mentions the coldness around them. This can’t be conveyed just by their appearance, but a suitably creepy music in the background can help convey the feeling.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Definitely the best for this production would be soem glamfolk

  34. SubTech Zero
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    To Anonymous regarding Deadwood:

    Yes, there WERE musical cues in that show. But what I was trying to say was that music was RARELY used. There were no musical scores playing in the background throughout scenes – it was usually just a light touch here and there to, as you’ve said, hihglight “critical action cues”.

    I may have been exaggerating a bit when I said they go “episodes and episodes” with no music at all, but go back and watch the show again – there’s practically NO MUSIC in an episode, especially compared to your average movie or TV show, which has music all over the freakin place.

  35. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    What about the Glamfolk, though?
    It would be great for metal/rock lovers and for traditional music lovers too!

    And for really quick, tough action they should go with some radical scat/electro & slapbass – that would be da sh%t!

  36. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Bear Mccreary, simple as that. Or this guy –

  37. KC
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I second everyone who’s said Bear McCreary. He’s an amazing up-and-coming composer and looks set to be one of the greatest composer of all time. His knowledge of world instruments and deft hand with leitmotifs would be perfect for a show with such a wide diversity of characters and emotional tones. Bear McCreary, all the way.

  38. loco73
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    While I don’t mind Bear McCreary, his work on “Battlestar Galactica”, and “Terminator: The Sarah Connoc Chronicles” was quite good I am not as enthusiastic about him as others here on this thread. And for crying out loud, no modern music…NO, NO, NO…no synthesizers, not heavy metal or folk songs…none of that cheasy crap.

    Please this is not some second hand wannabe fantasy epic…ASOIF deserves a full-fledged traditional/classical soundtrack on the scale of the LOTR music, therefore Howard Shore would be most welcome as an addition to the project! If not, I would not mind Harry Gregson-Williams, he did a tremendous job with the soundtrack to “Kingdom Of Heaven”, a CD which I own and have listen again and again to.

    Better yet, HBO should stick with its in-house talent so to speak, composers with whom they have already dealt with and have a proven track record. I am thinking specifically of Jeff Beal whose soundtrack for “ROME” is a genuine work of great quality. Besides him the team of Rob Lane and Joseph Vitarelli who colaborated on the amazing soundtrack for “John Adams”. I have both the soundtracks on CD, on my IPod and listen to them quite frequently. Any of these composers would be great for the pilot and the potential series.

  39. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Maybe something with orchestra, choirs, something like Gregorian, Era,
    some songs from Adiemus


    maybe some music by Alan Silvestri for Beowulf, I think of Sansa when I hear this song

    or the maybe wildings coming to attack the Wall (What we need is a hero, I did not win the race)

    or Vangelis

  40. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    I’m not a great fan of recent fantasy/historical films’ soundtracks. Even though they have their moments, the parts where “the greatest emotions” are in hand (i.e. the massive battle scenes or some romance stuff or if someone important/innocent dies… etc) the music becomes annoingly pompous and underlining. I wish AGoT would keep as much distance as possible to that kind of, ah, sounds. Subtlety is the thing

  41. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    I listen metal too, but I agree that medieval music, orchestra, etc. Forgot to mention Hans Zimmer, he was on my mind while writing Alan Silvestri. But again, I could find songs from different artists that would be great for some scenes!


  42. Maggie ~:)
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    There are So Many great musicians out there who fuse folk/medieval/pop/metal. The Mediaeval Baebes earned Many a new fan when they were featured in a recent BBC production of The Virgin Queen. The music was perfect. Renaissance sounding, yet accessible to audiences of today. And the Folk Metal genre is Brimming with so much talent! Why narrow the music down to just one style? The stories of this project are Dynamic. The music should be as well.

  43. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    i sincerely hope they have a score in this series. but if they do, they need to do it right. someone said that if the score is good, you don’t hear it until you stop watching the movie (or something like that). i agree with that. (check out apocalyptica)

    they should also have the diegetic music as well. i have always wanted to hear how ‘the rains of castamere’, and ‘the bear and the maiden fair’ sounded to Mr. Martin. They are both also relevant to the plot at some point.

  44. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Metal music? Hey its A Game of Thrones, not Heavy Metal the Tv show. Give it its own score. HBO usally dose a great job with its music on shows. Deadwood, John Adams, Rome all had great music in.

  45. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I fall partially into the camp with No music and Medieval music.

    Like in The Wire I think that the only music on the show should originate from a source. At parties we should hear the harp and flute players while at battle we should hear battle drums etc.

    The reason for this is that I hate being slapped in the face about what I should feel, like most tv-shows nowadays does. (*cough* lost *cough*)
    And a way to slap you really hard is to have sad music when you are supposed to feel sad and ominous music when you are supposed to feel tension. And if they are really treating us like babies they put in slow motion to the sad music. (*cough* Lost again *cough*) I hate it.

    But if done correctly it can allso be good. But it is hard.
    Having music telling you how to feel is just another way to dumb it down for the big audience.

  46. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    All of you people that said that using metal would be comical, a joke or a mistake…YOUR FACES ARE COMICAL, JOKES OR MISTAKES!

    When dealing with Viking/Folk metal, you’re not dealing with your average “American” sounding metal that uses the same chords for every song and the lyrics are about worshipping abusive step fathers. When dealing with Viking/Folk metal, you are dealing with bands that, yes, use guitars and drums, but they also use instruments in the likes of violins, acordians, herdy-gerdies, flutes, iron-whistles, bag pipes, mandolas, and so on. It’s not just “metal”, it’s an original type of music. I’m not saying that all of the music for the show should be Viking/Folk metal, but during the intense scenes, espeically the battle scenes, it would work FABULOUSLY!

    Give it a shot and just listen to Turisas and you’ll hear what I’m talking about. Plus, if you want to get really PUMPED, just listen to Eluveities “Your Gaulish War”. It’s what makes babies.

  47. Aoede
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Point being, you shouldn’t need the music to get pumped.

  48. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink—NvVE

    This is a link to composition written by a composer not sure what language, but the inspiration was from the books, seems to fit the north…

  49. Ryan Dunn
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    let’s stop calling it METAL. there might be some modern instrumentation like guitars, however it will be a composed score. there will be a theme as was harry potter and lotr.

    however, this will be a little more contemporary i think, and more sparse. there’s obviously going to be plenty diegetic parts, as the books have singers galore, marillion, blue bard, etc. etc., not to mention reoccurring songs all the time.

    so, a more sparsely-composed-LOTR, with diegetic music when appropriate. and the arrangements will be a little more contemporary than was LOTR which stayed fairly medieval throughout.

    anyone disagree?


  50. Anonymous
    Posted March 31, 2009 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    >All of you people that said that >using metal would be comical, a >joke or a mistake…YOUR FACES ARE >COMICAL, JOKES OR MISTAKES!

    Oh please, come on…
    As much as i love metal, i don´t believe this would work in any way. The use of electric guitars and drums would sound anachronistic and also would drive away a huge part of the audience.

    Besides, i would be highly suprised if the makers would consider the use of metal, be it pagan, viking or any other subgenre, a viable option. This whole discussion just sounds like wishfull thinking to me.

    Personally, i would prefer a mix of options 2) und 4) because i believe the "traditionel orchestrated score"-thing is a bit overdone, especially in this genre, but a crossover between this two styles could sound fresh and unique. Also, it wouldn´t drive away the potential audience, like a metal score almost certainly would. After all, we all want this series to survive until the end of the story, or do we not?

  51. Børre
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    “No, no! I’m not saying you should eat shit – i’m talking about shit with SPRINKLES on it!”

    Any kind of metal would be comical – Viking/folk metal too.

  52. Anonymous
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Little to no score/mostly diegetic music = Forces the viewer to remain in the scene, actors forced to act their @sses off. Bravo!

    Intense score = Easy to figure out what’s going on. Uses sounds the viewer has heard in other media to clue them in on a scene’s dynamics. Meh.

    When you guys read AGoT, did you have a score running in your head? I didn’t, and I know that my experience reading the novel did not suffer from any lack of drama or intensity without it. I don’t want to be hearing anything in a scene that the characters themselves aren’t hearing.

    Season premiere: The Others
    Season finale: The Dragons

    My pet idea is to use diegetic music for all “natural” scenes in the show. Save the scores for the “supernatural” (and of course the opening credits). If Cersei is conspiring, I’d rather just hear the minstrel in the background. But when Daenerys steps into the fire, well…

  53. Anonymous
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    Traditional orchestrated score but i strongly believe that there needs to be a mix of medieval influences in it (i.e sort of a hybrid). Also as for composers I would love to see Bear, but I also enjoy the Tudor sound track. Either of those two would be suffice for me.

  54. Anonymous
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    “My pet idea is to use diegetic music for all “natural” scenes in the show. Save the scores for the “supernatural” (and of course the opening credits). If Cersei is conspiring, I’d rather just hear the minstrel in the background. But when Daenerys steps into the fire, well…”
    I agree with that but I would also add score to first glimpse of locations (rather not characters that might be cheesy – expect it would work great with Tyron in court). As for battles I always preferred scores to occur after – diegetic works far better, expect in ACoK I have always imaged a score for when the blackwater rush is on fire and the town watches in horror.

  55. Anonymous
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    that is post to be diegetic works far better during and before…

  56. Anonymous
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The best in my opinion is #4 with a little bit of #1, #2, and #3. I’m thinking along the lines of Lord of the Rings for most of the score. However since it is a character drama I believe there should be not a lot music when the characters are talking because it will sound over the top. So the music should be subdued. Of course there needs to be a little homage to the medival style and the songs that appeared in the seris. When I think about contemparary music, I did think of metal. Which would sound soooo dumb. In the line of contemparary I’m thinking of the creepy music on Lost that played ever time the smoke monster came out or the Others were mentioned. (Hey, The Others that sounds familiar for some reason hmmm). Or maybe the ominous sound that played in the Dark Knight everytime the Joker was up to no good. That is comtemparary music all of it. I think that it could work.

  57. world-dancer
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Contemporary music? The contemporary aspect of Knights Tale is the reason I’ve never seen it. If you used “contemporary” music on Game of Thrones it would be a major strike against me buying HBO to watch it.

    I agree with Maggie about the Mediaeval Baebes being a good standard for getting the right sound in. This is a contemporary group that takes Renaissance and Medival tunes and poems and orchestrates them to either original music or for a full band of old instruments that have the correct flavor. I think some of their work would be appropriate, and that there are likely other groups that fit this category. Definitely the sort of people who should be asked to work on the Rains and Bear songs. And I definitely want to hear those two pieces of music.

    I think the vocals should be mixed with orchestral music and silence. I don’t want anything to predominate because all three of these approaches have their place. I can’t imagine music in council chambers as anything but a distraction. At the same time, I can’t imagine the battle sequences without some music, otherwise you have only random yelling and weapons clanking, which isn’t aurally artistic.

  58. Alex
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Traditional Score.

    The other ideas are just stupid, especially the “no-score”.

  59. Winkler J
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    This is a serious adult themed series. Keep it classic: a classical score to set the mood, no more is needed, any less would not feel as polished or well done.

  60. Joseph Ackerman
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    A traditional composed score for the soundtrack, with medieval music “in scene”.

    And while their style of music would be inappropriate, it tickles me to think of seeing the screen credit “Music by Marillion.”

  61. Aoede
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    A note to future commenters:

    The best way to make others accept your opinion is to insult the other opinions, then leave.

  62. Lordnedshead
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    Actually now that I htink about it, Bobby McFarrin doing the entire score with just his voice and a loop machine would be tight! “Don’t worry be Hodor” ;P

  63. ulix
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    If you guys say you’d like to hear Metal, then I say HipHop. I mean, come on?
    If Metal is okay and appropriate, why wouldn’t Rap music be?

    …maybe because both are incredibly horrible and extremely stupid ideas…

    …just maybe.

  64. High and Mighty Jeffrey
    Posted April 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    All you need to make a good Game of Thrones soundtrack is Sting and a lute. Enough said.

  65. stratomunchkin
    Posted April 2, 2009 at 3:20 am | Permalink

    Probably a mix between something akin to the NSBG soundtrack for the larger score and medieval music for actual background music in non-action castle scenes.

  66. red snow
    Posted April 2, 2009 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    I’d like to add that I wouldn’t want a band, like “Black Mountain”, to do the score – rather a professional making a score in that kind of vein.

    It’s probably the least important factor in the show as far as I’m concerned. Get the script, casting, sets and SFX sorted first.

  67. Mr. Truth
    Posted April 2, 2009 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Bear McCreary would be excellent. His work on both Battlestar Galactica and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles are some of the best musical scores on television. If they got him to do ASOFAI I would buy every soundtrack!

  68. Anonymous
    Posted April 2, 2009 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    Qyburn would not work well with Dr Feelgood.

  69. KC
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Gotta disagree with the person who said it’s the least important factor in the show. A good score can absolutely make or break a series.

  70. Aoede
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    KC: “Least important” does not mean “unimportant”. It IS the least important factor; speaking on my own behalf, if I’d meant “unimportant” I wouldn’t have bothered to include it as a factor at all. Capice?

  71. Anonymous
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    They should get someone like…

    Clint Mansell (

    Just imagine this song for the Red Wedding, he has some really good songs that would fit in well as background music

  72. KC
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Don’t believe I actually said “unimportant” either, I just thoroughly disagree that it’s the least important. I’d take crappy FX and even sub-par sets and costumes over a bad score any day. The score is much more tied up in the emotional arc of any given episode, and of the series in general, which I think in the end can easily overcome crappy production values. There have been plenty of good shows with bad production values and bad shows with good ones, but a score can absolutely sink an episode of television, or conversely elevate it far above where it would have been without one.

  73. Eric
    Posted April 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think they are going to take any pre-existing music and use that.

    Simply put, a well done soundtrack or score can add a lot to show/movie. By well done, I mean using the music in the right way to add to scenes when appropriate and have nothing playing when it is appropriate.

    On the other end of the spectrum, a poor soundtrack can hurt a show or movie just as much.

    I just want to see them do the show right, however that ends up being done. Music or no music, just get it right.

  74. Anonymous
    Posted April 4, 2009 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Needn’t divide ‘medieval’ and ‘traditional’. A good composer could easily incorporate medieval elements (modal melodies, a sparser timbre, chant) while making them more acceptable for modern audiences.

    That said, don’t rule out ‘no score’. I would have mocked the idea if I hadn’t spent a week watching the Wire, which has no score. I could easily see it be diagetic music with additional ‘point music’, as it were, for certain scenes.

    Partly I say this because I’m tired of swelling Romantic lushness in every TV show or film I watch. It rarely adds to the effect. Take BSG – I loved the short, sparse, drum cues it had (and All Along the Watchtower was brilliant), but cried internally when the terribly cliched irish love song music came in for the Adamas. Please! It’s been nearly 100 years! DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!

    Yes, a score can be a wonderful thing. Williams made Star Wars. I suspect that Glass made the Truman Show (yes, it had great ideas and acting, but the climax wouldn’t have worked, imo, without Glass’ inspired transcendental score, and the choice of the Mozart march was genius). Band of Brothers would have been greatly diminished without Kamen, and some parts of it wouldn’t have worked at all (his reorchestration of When I Am Laid in Earth really made the death camp episode – a song that can bring tears by itself in any circumstances, although I wish Purcell had been credited more fully). Goldsmith maybe made LA Confidential; Zimmer definitely made Gladiator (if only he hadn’t reused the same music in every film). But Kamen and Glass and Williams are great composers. A score can break a scene more easily than it can make it, especially when people lean on it too much.

    Those who doubt that medieval music can be affective with a modern audience, incidentally, should go and listen to the original When I Am Laid in Earth, which is devastating – although of course it’s far too late for the time period.

    I loved A Knight’s Tale, though I don’t like pop/rock music – the score was perfect for the film and the story. But it wouldn’t be for ASOIAF.

  75. Rer
    Posted April 6, 2009 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I feel that the music shouldn’t be done in medieval style for two reasons…

    1.- The book is a fantasy novel and has no christian influence which permeates the monophonic style of music. So medieval music wouldn’t fit very well in world without a christian church or our traditional god.

    2.- Medieval music is god awful, through most of this period the music was picked due to a lack of metal strings. Also the music followed no guide lines to rhythm or harmony and was largely flat in its sound and sounded very chant like. Listen to some of the authentic music from the period, and I mean authentic and not the stuff you see on TV or a ren fair, because it’s god awful.

    Until the Renaissance era began music was very amateur in nature and to add in the fact that it was monotone also makes it very unpleasant to most people who are accustomed to music from scale with proper pitch, tone and harmony.

    So in my opinion the music should be anything except medieval, if they do choose that music type it will sound like ass and most people would immediately change the channel out of annoyance.

  76. Rer
    Posted April 6, 2009 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    -When I am Laid in Earth-

    Actually “When I am Laid in Earth” is Opera. Opera reached popularity in english spociety around the 17th century, far from medieval music. Here’s an insert from Wikipedia about the first opera…

    “Dafne by Jacopo Peri was the earliest composition considered opera, as understood today. It was written around 1597″

    Also a definition of medieval period…

    “The Middle Ages of European history (adjective form mediaeval or medieval) are a period in history which lasted for roughly a millennium, commonly dated from the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century to the beginning of the Early Modern Period in the 16th century”

  77. Aoede
    Posted April 7, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink


    1. While it’s true that most animals, including humans, are born with a certain amount of neophobia (due to evolutionary pressure), “different” does not always equate to “unpleasant”.

    2. I’m actually quite surprised that you would bring up Christianity as an objection. Look at Christmas, or Gothic cathedrals — a lot of the accoutrements of Christianity were actually appropriated from pre-Christian cultures. Furthermore, even discounting that, Westeros has its own Christianity-analogue, as far as atmosphere goes: the Seven (see ASoIaF’s TVTropes page if you want elaboration).

  78. Anonymous
    Posted April 7, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    What rer said, except I don't find it god awful, just not appropriate.

    What we have written from the medieval era is mostly Christian music, but even the music written as ballads and by troubadours is very foreign to common modern ears.

    What is heard around played as "medieval" music is often either renaissance or modern interpretations heavily inspired by modern folk music.

    In Hollywood "medieval" music has very little to do with the music of the period, it is mostly folkmusic.

    But I really wouldn't mind, this IS fantasy, and whatever avokes the feeling of the world would suit me…

    Another possibility is bands like this:


  79. Anonymous
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    I think that Nick Cave would be awesome for GOT. He stuff is very moodly and the songs have great melodies. Some movies he’s done are “The Proposition” and “The Assassination of Jesse James”. If you came remember those movies, I think that you’d agree.

  80. Rer
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Aoede I’m not against change or something different. I’m just saying (in a long round a bout way) that I would like timber, scale, rhythm and all that stuff if there is music n the series and that an argument for authentic Medieval music isn’t what most people think it is. Just because the music is authentic Medieval doesn’t automatically make it the first choice for a fantasy novel.

    I’m not saying a new musical twist to music played on medieval instruments isn’t a good option because it might be, but the medieval music style wouldn’t be a very pleasant experience for the vast majority.

  81. Rer
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I did like the music from “The Proposition” and “The Assassination of Jesse James”.

  82. Rer
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  83. N.D.Fast
    Posted April 10, 2009 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    Although I may be the only person on the face of the planet who actually liked Kingdom of Heaven (my guilty pleasure…), I think that it had a really good score. I could picture something similar to that for GOT.

  84. Anonymous
    Posted May 6, 2009 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    I think the heavy metal/hard rock option is hands down the worst, tackiest way to go. Fantasy has too big a connection to heavy metal anyway, on screen it translates to utter cheese.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind no actual score, with the music coming from within the scenes themselves (and probably rather medieval), I think it would add so much to the realism (which is what I like ASOIAF for), but I don’t know if it’ll work on television with mainstream tastes. I like that ASOIAF can be a little out of the mainstream, but I don’t think most of the audience would respond well. Too experimental. But I could be wrong and would love to be.

    I don’t think a LOTR-style score in particular suits the story, and something grand and orchestral, like someone said, has become cliche in fantasy stories. Lush and orchestral and grand, well there are big moments in ASOIAF, but Martin always puts a twist on how they come out (ie, we get the battles from the viewpoint of an intellectual unathletic dwarf, a mother, a captive princess, etc). I don’t think the score should be so conventional, ASOIAF isn’t about conventional heroics. So I’d go for a somewhat left of center composer who could riff on medieval style music.

  1. […] Is Coming: Well this at least confirms that there will be a traditional score. There had been some discussion of using only medieval-style music or having no score at all. Or using, the dreaded, modern music. […]

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