Music by Patrick Hartnett for Thomas the Rhymer


Patrick is a classically trained composer and I am knocked out by his music. I am lucky 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) were the result.


Sleeve Notes by Patrick Hartnett

The music for the ' mortal' characters has a completely different feel, dominated by major keys, quirky themes and less conventional instrumentation.

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.


 Dan imprisoned by Sylvie is given falling chromatics and slow drum beats. They are overlaid by Sylvie's theme, a little discordant and ending not in the refined dance Sylvie would like, but rather with a battle to wake up and see what's going on


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.

Elphame Wood.mp3


I love the warmth and madness of Rosie’s character. I went for a simple, quirky waltz contrasting with Sylvie's sinister slow dance theme as a contrast. Rosie makes me feel good and I hope the music has the same effect.


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

Early musical sketches composed for Thomas the Rhymer 



Theme in Minor Key

Theme in Minor Key.mp3

Second Pastorale

Second Pastorale.mp3

Closing Lament

Closing Lament.mp3