How Hans Zimmer changed film music forever
Stories & Ideas

Fri 13 Jan 2017

How Hans Zimmer changed film music forever

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Exploring the Hans Zimmer Impact

Dan Golding's fantastic video essay on film music poses the very important question: is film music unoriginal?  This video is a response to the very amusing Every Frame A Painting video, "The Marvel Symphonic Universe".

We spoke with the man who changed it all, Hans Zimmer, about scoring music for Dreamworks animated feature films for our touring exhibition, Dreamworks Animation.


There is no sound to begin with. There is nothing. There is an empty page. There’s a blank page and then somebody comes and starts doodling a character and then you start building the sonic world around this character. You can take them anywhere you want and it’s not just sound effects.  Sound effects and music suddenly become one because we really are trying to immerse the audience in a world that we are creating and it’s an abstract, surrealistic world. The whole reason to do animation is to do something that you can’t really do in live action. 

So, you start thinking right away; “What is the sonic world that I’m gonna be involved in?” You know, what’s this place going to sound like? You get to paint just the way the animators get to paint. You get to paint with sound. 

And how can we push the boundaries of reality? Because, God, reality is for wimps! 

The one problem in animation, is it happens one frame at a time. One of the things I forever try to do in the music I do for animation is, I try to overemphasise the energy that real people really playing their instruments can give you. Music is real time and music is energy and music is performance. The final little cherry on top of the cake of all this beautiful animation is a bunch of musicians just playing their socks off and rocking out.