On Air Now
The Full Works Concert with Jane Jones 8pm - 10pm
Ramin Djawadi's score for the epic fantasy series Game Of Thrones is integral to its success. Huge percussion, sweeping strings and bombastic themes make it a truly exhilarating listen, so here's our guide to some of the best music from the show.
What better place to start? Ramin Djawadi shows himself to be capable of atmospheric and anthemic melodies, and this is fast becoming an iconic soundtrack theme. Undoubtedly this is one of the most important TV soundtracks of recent years, and this is the piece that kicks it off.
Taken from early on in the first season of Game Of Thrones, this moody piece sets a dark tone for the remainder of the action… until some of Djawadi's trademark crashing percussion reminds us just how exciting it can be.
Using eastern-sounding instrumentation and pitch-sliding strings, there's a definite otherworldly quality at work here. It's not an immediately romantic theme, but then nothing is quite as it seems in this show…
With a title like that you can obviously expect some rather violent music. Once it kicks in with shrieking flute and those fantastic galloping drums, you can see why Djawadi got the job.
One of the show's main characters, Jon Snow (no relation to the newsreader, we're assured), is given his own theme. It's actually a rather close musical relative of the show's main theme, too.
Violence and general dismemberment take up quite a large amount of the plot in Game Of Thrones. It begs the question, how do you write music for someone to be killed to? The answer is like this.
A typically dramatic series of percussion smashes kicks this piece, and indeed the second season, off nicely. However, there's a more reflective middle section that suggests the drama in this series is even more complex than the first.
This is where the second season's soundtrack starts to become far darker than the first. Queasy-sounding chords in the strings and brass battle with that heavy percussion throughout.
This reflective courtship theme (it accompanies a scene with characters Robb Stark and Talisa Maegyr) prefigures a huge plot point in the second series, so its romance is intriguingly subdued.
Far from a rousing drinking song, the sombre mood of the second season continues wit screeching-high violins, before calming nicely and showing how good Djawadi is at writing for strings.
Unlike the previous track, this one does exactly what it says on the tin. It's brief, clattering and bombastic - all the things that you'd expect from a thunderous battle. Here are stars Sean Bean and Peter Dinklage, sitting rather than standing.
Subtly referring to the circulatory main theme, but with a nice dab of flute over the top, the mother in question is Daenerys Targaryen, played by British actress Emilia Clarke.
Ending the soundtrack to the second series with confusion and murkiness, the devilish bassline in the lower strings is the thing to watch out for here. And it ends on a huge musical question mark, too - presumably we'll have to explore the third season soundtrack for answers. Oh, and that's Diana Rigg of The Avengers in the pic.
In the third season, Robb tells Talisa he must attack Casterly Rock and should ask for help to Walder Frey. Robb informs Catelyn of the plan and they arrive to the Twins. Bran, Hodor, Meera and Jojen march north of the Wall, and the title of this song comes from Bran's line "Please Sam, I have to go north". It also features the melody of the House Stark theme (Goodbye Brother).
The fourth season and second episode of the show features Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós. They appear as a group of musicians serenading the royal couple at their wedding reception with "The Rains of Castamere", an enchanting song also performed in season two by The National.
A highlight in season five is the fight at Daznak's pit, where Daenerys spots Mormont among the combatants. A fierce attack breaks out with the Sons of the Harpy, who surround Daenerys and her supporters. Just as all hope seems lost, Drogon arrives, so she mounts it and flies away from the pit. Crescendos, repeated figures in the strings and eerie glissandos all add tension in the soundtrack.
By season six, the Stark forces are pinned by Bolton soldiers, but rescued by the Knights of the Vale — and Jon brutally beats Ramsay, taking him prisoner. In this dramatic track, we hear rich orchestration with tremolo strings, crashing cymbals and the bass drum playing with a march-like quality.