Film Music (XII) – Variations of a theme in “Atonement”


This is my last writing for elective diary blog. In this last text I want to talk about the movie “Atonement”. Dario Marianelli is the composer of the music in Atonement.  In my older post, I’ve always talked about fluent theme and effect usage in movies to create a balance. However, in this movie, you can easily be aware of the dominance of music. There is not any balance among the movie and its music. There is always a loud music to create tension. We can say that the movie is based on musical elements to create emotions. Actually, in my opinion, it can create contradiction about my old posts, but they are all very successful about tension and orienting the emotions, because composer has composed very fluent, meaningful and understandable themes with continuity. In addition, he has used sound design techniques in his music with using non-instrumental elements.

Composer pays attention to timbre. His orchestration technique is based on allocating themes to all parts of the orchestra and also, when you listen his works, you can easily realize that he is a pianist composer, because in his orchestration we can hear the right hand-left hand of the piano writing style. When an instrument plays a theme or does a solo, other parts of the orchestra accompany like the left hand of a piano music.

From the beginning to the end of the movie, almost the same theme is heard in different instruments with little changes, so music don’t bore. It prevents to disperse from what you are used to hear and constructs a unity. In addition, all parts of the orchestra create a dialog with the theme; it is not like monodic music. It is like the simulation of texts which is used in the movie.


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