Musical Themes in the Dark Knight Trilogy, Part 5 of 6: The Dark Knight Rises — 11 Comments

  1. While the movie might be rather sub-par, it’s clear that the music was extremely well thought out. This is a very impressive analysis as well, and take it from somebody who is usually quite mean online.

    • Yes, that’s the thing about Zimmer’s music – it is definitely well thought out, especially in high profile projects like this. I think Zimmer’s greatest asset as a composer is his sense of the dramatic, that is, how to shape his music to the emotional arc of each scene. It always feels just right. And this film is no exception!

  2. This article is fantastic. I’d love some help – I have the soundtrack to “The Dark Knight Rises” – I cannot for the life of me find the piece where Batman appears for the first time in the tunnel (just after he fired his EMP gun and gets back on his bike) – specifically 59 sec into the clip embedded above. Could you help me out here? Thanks.

    • Hi Jonathan. Thanks for your comment. The answer to your question seems to be that the music you seek in the film is not on the soundtrack because it was not part of that film’s score to start with. Here’s what it says on the Wikipedia page for The Dark Knight Rises score under “Risen from Darkness”, which is the cue used at this point in the film: “This track is not the one used within the film, however, but is instead the initial cue before it underwent re-editing. The version used in the film itself makes heavy use of temp tracks lifted directly from the previous two films (as opposed to the new variations on those cues found in here) and the middle section is edited differently as well. Additionally, the rising note at the beginning of the track is shorter in the film.”

  3. I have been enjoying these Dark Knight posts and your writing on Bernard Hermann as well. You have really done a great analysis. One point I might differ on is that in the first attempt to escape from the pit I believe the chanting is in 6/8, not in Bane’s 5/4. It seems to be urging Bruce on rather than being in support of Bane.It is pretty cool how it morphs into the 4/4 march as Bruce suceeds.
    I also have a hard time finding the beginning of the 5/4 ostinato when it is playing in the score. Any tips on how to find the downbeat?

    • Thanks for your kind words! So in the scene of the first escape attempt, the chanting is definitely in 5/4. It’s easier to hear if you count eighth notes rather than quarters: the 2+2+3+3 pattern is certainly there. As for finding the downbeat, the quicker 2+2 beats tend to sound like pickups to me, so the first 3-eighth beat sounds like a downbeat to me. But I’m sure there are others who will hear the downbeat on the first 2-eighth beat instead.

      • OK, I got it! took a little while but now I hear it, you’re right the key is to count in eighth notes.
        I am working on transcribing music from the Psycho score, my hope is to arrange it for rock band. (wacky idea I guess) I’d love to hear your thoughts.

        • A rock version of Psycho? Actually, I could see that working in a strange way. Like so much rock music, Herrmann’s music is highly rhythmic and composed of short spans that loop into ostinatos. The harmony is of course the big thing that will sound very different, especially in that score (I presume you’ll be working with the Prelude). I could also see it working in adapted form – something like taking an accompanimental loop and extending it further while improvising new material overtop. There are so many things that could be done with that material.

          • Yes, I think it will work but I would have to say I have no idea what it might ultimately sound like. My first step is transcribing the cues, which is challenging in the more dissonant parts, then to try orchestrating them differently and adding some drum parts.
            The Prelude really suits itself to this but I am also working on some other cues. The Madhouse is a wonderfully dissonant piece. Temptation also works really well, it is the cue playing while Marion packs her bags and contemplates running off with the money.
            I like the idea of improvising over some loops, I will work with that. I appreciate your thoughts. I really like your own music, if you are Mark Richards the composer, your Hamlet is riveting. I am also awed by your work in this blog, you have such a great grasp of musical ideas.
            Maybe I’ll send you some stuff later this summer if I get anywhere. Thanks!

          • Yes, I am the one who wrote that Hamlet opera. Thanks for your kind words. As for Psycho, there is a piano version of the prelude in the AFI’s Top 25 Film Scores piano book. It doesn’t have other cues you mention, but it may be a start. Sure, send me some music if you like. Always happy to give feedback.

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