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People are always quick to gush over the newest film score because of its “epic proportions” or its “new and unique sound”. It’s true that many of today’s film composers are masters at creating character themes, epic battle soundtracks, or quiet reflective moments through their music. However, there are some composers that see a scene in a movie and realize that what it needs most is nothing.


The art of using silence or “negative musical space” is ancient in concept. The idea of turning an expectation of sound on its head can be found in many cultures around the world…

Comic book depiction of the Joker

What do Nelson Riddle, Danny Elfman, Shirley Walker, Hans Zimmer, and Hildur Guðnadóttir have in common? They have all tried their hands at creating a musical sound that encapsulates a fiendish clown prince of crime. The Joker has had many different iterations through the decades. Each came with its own actor, look, and context. With so many different versions of the same character existing out in the world, it only makes sense that the music used to represent him would change too. As the character evolves, so does his soundscape.

Who is the Joker?

The 6 heroes of the Justice League

Perhaps one of the most talked about movie releases in the past few years, the recent HBO Max exclusive Zack Snyder cut of Justice League seems to have taken the world by storm. Die-hard fans of DC comics had been pushing to see this unreleased, 4-hour long cut of the movie ever since the original version came out in 2017. Many mixed reviews combined with a history of struggle for the first release of Justice League made for many fans calling it cringeworthy. …

Din Djarin a.k.a “The Mandalorian” and Grogu a.k.a “The child”

A bass recorder plays back and forth in perfect 5th’s between G and D. Just this sound alone is enough to invoke excitement for Star Wars and Disney+ fans alike. Those 2 notes are all it takes for someone to recognize the newly iconic theme for The Mandalorian. This Disney+ exclusive series has thrilled fans as the first ever live action Star Wars TV show and the music has in small part helped it become the most streamed show on any streaming platform as of 2020.

The score for the Mandalorian is becoming internationally recognized as one of the best…

Film scores are the emotional backbone of every movie. Film composers and their music are able to pull at the heartstrings of audiences worldwide and allow the dialogue to be properly conveyed through the screen. It is so integral to the movie experience that we have specific awards dedicated to multiple aspects of the music making process within film. The experience of recording a film score is often lengthy and involves large scale studios that can accommodate many musicians at once. However, during the past year COVID-19 has changed the rules completely. These unprecedented times created not only lack of…

Most of us learned from a young age that in the context of music, major is equal to happy and minor relates to sad. However, emotional representation is often much more complex than that. These complexities run the gambit of emotional possibilities and are not confined by musical genre. One way to demonstrate this is by delving into the usage of the minor iv chord in various contexts.

Roman Numerals in Music

Now you may be asking yourself: “What the heck does minor iv even mean? Why are their Roman numerals involved? How do I even read Roman numerals?”. …

As someone who loves to sit down at a computer and write, I find it easier to focus when I have music on in the background. However, when background music has lyrics it can become distracting and cause me to go back and reread passages multiple times. I found the solution to this problem in a fairly recent develop in music that has created a new genre of music perfect for this situation.

Spotify Lo-Fi Hip Hop art

What is Lofi music?

Low fidelity hip hop (Lofi for short) refers to a specific genre of music with quite a unique aesthetic. The term “low fidelity” specifically refers to the…

The iconic hero Black Lightning


If you were able to catch the opening episode of the newest season (season 4) of Black Lightning on the CW, you were probably struck by the dramatic music in the background. This episode entitled The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter One sets up an emotional journey that our favorite electric superhero has to make through his own inner turmoil. Fresh off the wounds of the lives lost in the war against Markovia, Jefferson Pierce AKA Black Lightning has to wrestle with his inner guilt. …

“There once was a ship that put to sea

And the name of that ship was the Billy o’ Tea

The winds blew hard, her bow dipped down

Blow, me bully boys, blow”

If you read these words in the melody of the newly popularized “Wellerman” sea shanty, then you are probably a part of the millions of other people who have come on board to sea shanty Tik Tok.

Tik Tok in Quarantine

Tik Tok Logo

In the past year, while people around the world have been stuck in their houses, Tik Tok grew exponentially in popularity. According to an article from CNBC, Tik Tok’s monthly…

Galatians 3:28 says “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” This is the kind of Christian viewpoint that can help us while sifting through the mass quantity of cultures (and music-cultures within them) that exist around this world that God created. …

Austin Testerman

Professional music instructor focused on analyzing musical concepts and trends in popular music.

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