Unusual Music Scoring In TV

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One more thing about Glee: I don’t know how long they’ll be able to keep up the gimmick of having a vocal music score (often consisting of vocal versions of familiar music like “Soul Bossa Nova” and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony). That’s the sort of gimmick that’s the first thing to go after the first 13 episodes. But it kind of works, not only because it fits the tone of the show but because it prevents this show from being as over-scored as most network hour-long shows. Shows with orchestral scores these days tend to smother every scene in soundtrack music; this show can’t do that, because vocal music doesn’t fade into the background as easily — you notice it, so they have to reserve it for moments when it’s okay to notice the musical scoring.

I also kind of like the idea of doing something a little different with the musical score. There are so many cliches associated with TV scoring these days that the happy, sad, funny and suspenseful cues all seem to sound exactly the same from show to show.

Other shows that have experimented with vocal music scores include the cartoon A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (where the producer sang his ideas for doo-wop tunes into a tape recorder, and the composer transcribed them and turned them into a Little Shop Of Horrors-style score) and the first few seasons of Happy Days scored by Pete King and Frank Comstock, though they alternated between vocal and orchestral cues. And Seinfeld, obviously, had a sound that was unusual for TV at the time, though it soon became a cliche. (Interestingly, the composer experimented with adding wordless vocals to that show, too, but Seinfeld and David stopped him after one episode.)


What are some shows that you think had an unusual or original approach to the musical scoring?

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