12. Why do television programmes have theme tunes? (That is, the music conventionally played over the opening credits of a television programme.) Choose a television theme tune and discuss: •
its expressive qualities (e.g. happy, sad, fast-paced, slow) •
The cultural associations that it inspires. For example, what other kinds of music does it refer to? Is the theme tune what you would expect in relation to the genre of the programme?
Theme music in general can be anything from the recognisable leitmotif in Jaws which plays as the shark is about to attack, in purely musical terms a theme is the most recognisable part of a piece upon which the entire composition is based. In television however, it is far more simple. It is a relatively short, instant discernible tune that can, in some cases, make or break a series. One of the most important aspects of a television series’ popularity is the theme tune. Having a theme that is immediately recognisable to audiences can go a long way in influencing its success. Whether it simply be a melodic tune or a lyricised song it strikes a memorable chord in the collective brain of the viewer and brings back familiar memories of said television show. The mere mention of a well known theme can send fans into a frenzy and with it more people can be informed of a series’ existence making it even more popular and well known. The theme from The Big Bang Theory is perfect example of a theme being instantly recognisable. The first melodic sequence immediately reminds the listener of the show, it’s content and it’s characters.
Another reason behind television shows having them tunes is simply because it is a good way to introduce the show. As the theme is usually played during the opening credits of a programme it can also serve as a vessel to introduce the main cast/characters of the show. It gives time for the producers, directors and creators to be given their credit for the show as well. The theme can also being changed and...
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