Name: Jack Morgan Student no: 15735 Case Study: Hans Zimmer
2 – Word Count: 3459 Student no. 15735
Case Study – Hans Zimmer This case study will explore the life and works of one of the most prominent and inventive film and music composers of modern times, Hans Zimmer. His extraordinary ability to span an extensively wide range of genres and formats with extreme competence is extremely influential and inspiring. Zimmer is a pioneer in his field, with his use of both electronic and orchestral elements within film scores. Zimmers success in creating the scores for some of the most celebrated films, and his ability to encapsulate in the music the overriding themes, and personalities of the characters in modern day cinema is what makes him so special. I have chosen to write on this subject as it is completely relevant to my interest in the field. This case study includes a discussion of the early life of Hans Zimmer, his entrance into the world of Hollywood composition, his influences and growth as a composer and leads to a more in-depth discussion of the work on his most current films, as well as a brief look at the studio and equipment he uses. Born in Frankfurt, Germany on September 12th 1957 Hans Florian Zimmer is acknowledged as one of the most pioneering, innovative, successful, influential and sought after composers in Hollywood today (IMDB, no date). His interest in music began at a very early age and he began playing the piano at the age of three, although he had little or no formal music education or training throughout his early life (Gillespie, 2001). Despite his lack of training, Zimmer knew he wanted to be a composer by the age of six and this coincided with an important event in the young Zimmer’s life; the death of his father. He is quoted as saying in an interview with CNN Worldbeat; "My dad died when I was six, that's when I decided I was going to become really serious about music, because it was my refuge” (CNN Worldbeat cited by IMDB, no date). During his early teens his family moved all over Europe before settling in London when Zimmer was 14 years old. Throughout his childhood his passion for music meant he neglected his schoolwork and as a result was expelled from several different schools (Shelton, no date). After finally finishing school he began his professional music career by composing advertising jingles for Air Edel associates and playing in rock bands (Ankeny, no date). It was during this period that Zimmer found success as a member of The Buggles, an English new wave synthpop group, and had a hit single with ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’. It is said that this worldwide hit helped ‘usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to be shown on MTV’ (IMDB, no date). His talent on the keyboard and synthesisers would continue to be significant throughout his career although this is perhaps the first event that might have suggested at the huge amount of success and appreciation he would go on to enjoy as a composer. Zimmer is known to have favoured the Moog synthesiser when performing and creating music for these groups, a preference that has endured the span of his career. It was also during this period that we see Zimmer first combining the use of computers with live music on stage with other successful groups (Shelton, no date). This combination has been a constant throughout Zimmer’s professional career and his talent in merging the two elements is part of what has earned him the success and appreciation he currently enjoys. The diversity of his talent is also seen in his ability to span genres such as new wave UK punk, as well as Spanish pop music.
3 – Word Count: 3459 Student no. 15735 However, Zimmer would not remain a part of the pop scene for long. He felt inhibited by having to write in just one style of music and felt his creativity was restrained. It was at this time that he first went to work with Stanley Myers who...