The Maestro: the impact and development of the film scores of Hans Zimmer from 1991 to 2010

Gonzalez, Lucy Jane (2012) The Maestro: the impact and development of the film scores of Hans Zimmer from 1991 to 2010. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The aim of this dissertation is to analyse the scores of Hans Zimmer between the years of 1991 and 2010. The investigation will focus on four case studies from this time period, Thelma and Louise (Scott, 1991), The Lion King (Allers & Minkoff, 1994), Pearl Harbor (Bay, 2001) and Inception (Nolan, 2010). Respectively, the study will be divided into four chapters, each looking at one film, with specific focus on the production context in which Zimmer worked, his musical influences for the scores, and detailed textual analyses of the film’s final scenes.
    Hans Zimmer has grown in prominence in recent years, and his name has come to be widely recognised. Case studies will be used in order to examine the potential reasons behind his success, and in what ways his musical style has developed since 1991. To do this, the theories of Philip Tagg in his article on musical semiotics are brought in. Here, he offers ideas concerning how we universally read various types of signs when we hear music. Using Tagg’s theories as a basis, the argument is put forward that Zimmer’s music communicates signs through semiotics. Consequently, emotions are evoked in the filmic audience as these signs are read, resulting in a particular response.
    In order to provide an unbiased, objective view of Zimmer’s work and development as a composer, the study includes one example of a score that was not as well received, PearlHarbor. The inclusion of this film allows for analysis concerning the reasons why Zimmer’s standards faltered, rather than focusing entirely on his critically acclaimed event films. The variety of score types and styles allow for a wide range of arguments and a detailed reading of Zimmer’s scores as semiotically significant.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2014 15:14
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:32

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