Pirates of the Caribbean hit theaters in 2003 and was almost universally loved from the get go. Fans couldn’t help but love Johnny Depp‘s roguish and charming Jack Sparrow, Keira Knightley‘s adventurous and beautiful Elizabeth Swan, and Orlando Bloom‘s dashing and honorable Will Turner.
The story had the odd effect of making fans love both the protagonists and the antagonists, and everything was elevated by the soundtrack that injected energy into every scene.
I always thought this was a Hans Zimmer soundtrack and was surprised to find out that he had passed the work of to someone else. A quick search revealed that Big Z was busy finishing the score to The Last Samurai, and he passed the bulk of the work off to his friend Klaus Badelt. Zimmer did help to contribute some themes, but Badelt is credited with composing the music and later conducting the scoring sessions.
Badelt built his career by collaborating with Zimmer on the Oscar-nominated scores to The Thin Red Line and The Prince of Egypt. He also co-wrote and co-produced the score to the blockbuster Gladiator.
In 2004, he started his own film music company, Theme Park Studios. After contributing to some of the biggest blockbuster hits of the early 2000’s, Badelt’s composing has slowed down and diversified.
He’s A Pirate
Badelt uses a variety of compositional techniques to bring energy and a pirate vibe to the music.
First, most of the melodies have narrow ranges, moving stepwise like many old sea shanties sung by sailors for hundreds of years.
Second, many of the songs have a lively rhythmic motor grooving underneath the melody that bring the music tons of energy.
Third, the entire score is written for full orchestra, providing a depth of sound that makes the movie feel more EPIC.
This tune is in a jaunty 6/8 but grooves better if you can feel it in a big One. Keep the tune lively and light, always moving forward. Make sure every note starts with a clear ping, like the sound of a swashbuckling swordfight, and try not to get seasick.
This sequence will improve your sound, articulation, tongue coordination, and minor scales.
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