Stage & Screen
Film & TV: Heroes
This activity is for classroom use. Your teacher will have further material to use alongside the clips and information below.
Here is music from two famous film soundtracks. What type of character do you think the music is describing: good, evil, mysterious, dangerous, sneaky, adventurous…? What is it about the music that makes you think about the character in this way?
Think about how music can be used to make us feel a certain way about a character. Can you think of the different ways in which a composer may use musical elements such as tempo, instruments or dynamics to match the character of a super hero?
Would an upbeat and energetic tempo be a better match for a super hero compared to a very slow one…?
Now we’re going to see whether any of your ideas have been used by real film composers! After each music track we listen to, think about how a specific musical element has been used (rhythm, pitch and instruments) and whether it matches with anyone’s ideas from the class.
Rhythm: Clap along to the opening rhythm of the march from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Pitch: This next clip is a heroic fanfare from The Adventures of Robin Hood. How does the composer change the pitch to make the music sound grand and triumphant?
Instruments: From the clips of music that we’ve listened to so far, can you name the two sections of the orchestra (or families of instruments) that have been used in every single one?
There are four different sections or families in the orchestra: Strings, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion.
Now, the following music from the film Romeo and Juliet doesn’t sound heroic compared to the other music we’ve listened to – what musical aspects are missing?
You are now going to compose your very own hero theme for the animation below! Use your knowledge from the previous activities to help you choose the instruments, rhythms and pitches that will bring your character to life.
Ostinato: A short repeated rhythmic or melodic idea
Pitch: Whether a note is high or low
Rhythm: A combination of notes that are of different lengths or durations
Tempo: The speed of a piece of music
All media credits – titles, composers, artists, sources etc. – may be found in the Teacher Sheet, accessed from the Info box at the top of this page.