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James Bond Theme Music By Monty Norman

Peter Clark

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It's going to be the theme from Moonraker on Sunday. My other, better and in this instance at least wiser half has determined the the main James Bond theme tune blasting out after a sung Mass might be a bit too much.


Anyway, I watched Moonraker last night and two things occured to me about the music: (i) one of John Barry's hallmarks seems to be a minor dominant; this is used frequently in his many scores, including Moonraker. (It occurs also in You Only Live Twice, for example.) (ii) the flattened sixth (Moonraker is in B major) - given that Moonraker is set partly in space, this musical device, which is established in the first bar of the theme song, seems to suggest the expanse and darkness of space; I only say this because it is used frequently in scores for the Star Trek TV series and films.


Is this a fair analysis or is my imagination just running wild?



Perhaps more a case of over-interpretation. Film and TV scores seem to be largely based on well worn formulae, particularly with regard to harmonic progressions; much of it is pretty generic, although John Barry does do it pretty well.


The minor dominant to which you refer isn't, though, developed as a tonal centre, but is probably there as a way of simply adding a bit of variety. I'm not sure about the flattened sixth in Moonraker. It's surely also important to recognise that not every vertical coincidence of notes adds up to a discrete harmony.

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  • 2 months later...
Peter, Suggest you try contacting Roger Sayer at Rochester Cathedral.

He and his former Organ Scholar have commissioned arrangements - for organ duet! - of several James Bond themes, with which they are now touring the world.


Hope this helps.




To resurrect an old theme, I see that Roger Sayer and Charles Andrews are playing a concert of their James Bond duets at All Souls Langham Place on Monday 15th Septmber at 730pm..."the name's Bombarde... that will be a Viol Mollterz, shaken not stirred please!"



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