Music by Patrick Hartnett for Thomas the Rhymer
Not to brag or anything, but Patrick is a classically trained composer and I am knocked out by his music.
I am lucky in the fact that he loved Thomas the Rhymer and was inspired to write music for the website. The following 5 pieces (Sylvie, Catherine, Elphame Wood, Dan and Rosie) are the beginning of his ongoing project, with others to be added.
As you know from the Trivia page, I like to explain how things came about, so imagine how thrilled I was when he not only composed, played and recorded this music but also gave me sleeve-notes (just like a real CD).
Music always sounds tinny on my computer speakers. I have downloaded Patrick’s tracks onto my Mp3 player and they sound great. Download each one of Patrick's tracks by clicking on the picture.
Sleeve Notes by Patrick Hartnett
Theme wise, I wanted Elphame and its fairy characters to sound completely different from the 'mortal characters'. The mood is set by underlying drum beats (mostly timpani) chromatic scales, shifting tonality (with an emphasis on minor keys) and a heavy use of sliding semi-tone motifs. Brass fanfares and 'Elphame horns' add grandeur and menace to the world of Queen Sylvie.
I had great fun with Catherine, I think she is my favourite character in the book. In fact, I enjoyed writing her theme so much, it ended up being longer than the other pieces. Her character is beautifully written in the book and makes me laugh out loud, so the music is quirky and full of humour. There is a serious side to Catherine too: like her the music is tenacious and keeps going (and going). She takes the Elphame horns and trumpets and uses them in a more positive way.
Elphame Wood – speaks for itself really. The dissonant chords and drum-beats are interrupted by fanfares to remind you that you are in Queen Sylvie's kingdom. In the first chapter Sylvie calls Jack 'Frere Jacques' and her rhyme has the same syllable scheme as the song. I used an incomplete, minor key version of Frere Jacques as a recurring bass theme to add to the sinister mood.
Sylvie’s tune is in triple time but more of a sarabande than a waltz. It's a little uncertain in terms of key with a descending chromatic bass and pronounced semi-tone motifs in the second phrase. It opens with a fanfare suggesting the slow opening of the tails of the albino peacocks, the eyes reflecting her unblinking gaze. The chromatic bass is almost querulous as she argues with Thomas and transforms into a sweet harp melody as she tries to seduce Jack, Ken and Catherine with her honeyed tones.
4 Additional Pieces by Patrick Hartnett
Thanks to Patrick for his permission to use 4 early musical sketches he composed for Thomas the Rhymer