It feels like its been 4.5 billion years but it’s finally here! Yes, that’s right folks, the series nine soundtrack is about to land. To celebrate this exciting release we’ve put together a look back at Murray Gold’s companion themes and how they reflect the fabulous women of new Who!
Rose’s theme oozes with a beautiful sense of curious wonder, emphasising her young nature. The slow, delicate piano adds to this, creating a breath-taking feeling of character and charm. It matches her personality and sense of adventure as it gently hints at something more over the course of the piece. It’s a very emotional listen, making us almost weep! The wind based flute (literally have no idea how to describe this?)undertones feel almost sad, insinuating her backstory and feeling of being lost and not knowing what she’s doing with her life. She says in Parting of the Ways; ‘The Doctor showed me a better way of living your life’ and this scene comes to mind when listening to her theme. As the song continues, it almost takes a different direction, especially towards the end. Getting louder and more exciting it hints at her life changing and a new adventure beginning-her life with The Doctor. The memorable tune completely reflects her life and personality and is instantly recognisable to any who fan, showing Murray Gold’s complete genius in creating music to reflect a characters feelings and life.
Martha’s theme is soft and gentle, with a sweetness and gentility that makes it almost a lullaby. The depth of the melody sounds wise and knowing and to me, speaks of her strong morals, sense of purpose and wisdom in her craft. This is balanced with the higher lilt, seeming to emphasise Martha’s sense of adventure and her adoration for seeing new worlds. There’s a sadder feeling to part of this higher tune, when the percussion fades away and you’re left listening to just the vocal. It’s simple and sweet and rings of her love of the Doctor. It’s a perfect representation of her – the balance between strong and soft, clever and kind. It’s one of my favourite companion themes, especially with the majestic full orchestral flourish at the end, it’s as if she sings to the universe and it plays back to her, thanking her.
A Noble Girl About Town
In comparison to Rose and Martha’s themes, Donna’s is very upbeat and different. From the first beat you can hear the comedy reflected in her dedicated piece. It’s a fast-paced, sassy affair, encompassing Donna as she was at the beginning of series 4 rather than throughout. I’m not a massive fan of this theme, it feels as if Donna is being condensed down to purely comedic value – there’s nothing heroic or emotional about the music, I’ve even heard someone describe it as ‘life music’, ouch. It’s also very repetitive, not stopping for a change in tempo or shift in melody which feels very unfair for Donna as after all, she’s the Doctor Donna – she deserves some grandeur! Of course Donna is downright hilarious at times, but she brings so much more than just that to the show. In the last 10 seconds there’s a comedic ‘honk’ from a trumpet which pretty much says it all. Justice for Donna having a beautiful theme please!
Amy’s theme is strong and slow, with a wonderful choir of singers taking the main stage of the piece. It perfectly matches the fairy-tale theme of the seasons Amy appeared in with its delicate and sweet beginning and soft tones. Melanie Pappenheim’s voice is powerful and haunting, creating a sense that the character has a more complicated personality. The beautiful use of the gentle piano adds a dainty hint and creates a feeling of girlish wonder about the character, making us think of younger Amelia or Amy when she’s in a tough situation. As the song continues, the instruments and voices get louder hinting at the characters strong willed nature in her. This also feels like the song is growing and changing, just as the character does from appearing as Amelia and then as older Amy. And then, as it slowly trails off to a slow end, the music gets darker and more mysterious and loses the main voice. This is Murray’s way of reflecting the darker side to Amy Pond’s life; her years of waiting for her Doctor to come back and the trouble it has caused her.
Clara’s theme in series 7 feels fresh and exciting, reflecting the characters presence in The Doctor’s life after losing the Pond’s. This is relevant as she was, of course, ‘Born to save The Doctor’. It’s fast high pitched tones make it feel homely and comforting, almost perfectly symbolising her baby-sitting role (and later on, her role as a teacher). It is a relatively simple and dainty piece, with beautiful tones that match her personality. It stands out for a while as quite sensible like the character herself, staying with one tone and pace for most of the song. Eventually though, it starts to slow and change and the layering of instruments builds a mysterious feeling as it trails off into deeper sounds and tones. The impossible girl has a seemingly mysterious theme that can never quite be worked out, making the audience question the character as the original episodes in series seven set out to do.
Bill’s theme is a more complex piece that weaves all parts of her life experience and personality. It opens with a light-hearted upbeat tempo and piano melody that very much represents Bill’s positivity, enthusiasm for life and eagerness to learn. It feels friendly and familiar, like a good friend greeting you. The tone shifts towards the middle, almost unwrapping the layers of her life and focusing more on the deep grief she carries around daily for her mother. The music in this part comes in waves, almost like currents of sadness that overcome Bill’s positive nature and leave her feeling very much alone. The choir in this arrangement evokes the feel of a solemn hymn, almost a funeral setting. With the piece then warping and crashing around you, a sense of memory or flash back comes to the forefront and feels like you’re plunged into some of Bill’s darkest moments. The melody then pitches and becomes in contrast, hopeful and light again, almost euphoric in the high angelic notes. It speaks of Bill’s resistance and hope and of the love and trust she holds in The Doctor. Her passion for truly living comes through the most in her theme – she feels everything so much, both the highs and the lows. This is represented perfectly in this theme.
Which is your favourite companion theme or which do you think represents its character best? Let us know!
The Series Nine soundtrack is available from the 27th of April!