Category: Outlander

Outlander: The Way Out, The Gathering and Rent

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“The Way Out,” “The Gathering” and “Rent” were exciting to score, because they broadened the scope of the series and pushed me to further explore Scottish folk songs and instrumentation. They were challenges, however, because each had a unique tone. While the story obviously has a larger structure that plays out incrementally, each episode is it own unique adventure. Nevertheless, I feel like I have found the soul of the score by this point, having firmly established character themes and having introduced at least a dozen traditional Scottish folk songs. (more…)

Outlander: Castle Leoch

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With its entire storyline set in eighteenth century Scotland, “Castle Leoch” is more representative of the typical sound of Outlander than the first episode, which spent a fair amount of time establishing characters in the 1940’s. In this episode, we get to know our Scottish characters, including Jamie, Mrs. Fitz and the rest of the MacKenzie clan, especially the Laird, Colum and his brother Dougal. In my blog last week, I discussed how I incorporated Scottish instruments and folk music into the orchestral texture. For this week’s episode, I brought those influences to the forefront, striving to make the MacKenzie’s world as authentic as possible. (more…)

Outlander: Sassenach

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Outlander, the epic new series from Ronald D. Moore based on Diana Gabaldon’s epic novels, is a project that combines many of my passions. I get to score a sweeping narrative, collaborate with world-class musicians, and integrate the Scottish instrumentation and folk music I’ve adored my whole life. (I have already written a whole blog entry about my experiences with Scottish music, and its impact on my life). In the coming weeks I will write about my creative process scoring each episode of this incredible series. For those new to my blog, I tend to get into pretty intense musical detail regarding themes, composition, orchestration, performance and history. I hope that this blog can be a resource as you journey through the series, highlighting the musical threads that guide the story.

SPOILERS AHEAD: For the uninitiated, Outlander follows Claire, a WWII nurse who accidentally travels through time from 1945 to the highlands of Scotland in 1743. From the beginning, I wanted to draw predominantly from Scottish instrumentation and folk music. Instruments such as the fiddle, bagpipes, accordion, penny whistle, accordion and bodhrán (a type of frame drum) form the backbone of the score, supported by orchestral strings, haunting vocals and larger percussion. (more…)

Comic Con 2014 Highlights

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As another July comes to a close, I find myself once again coming down off the multi-day adrenaline rush that is San Diego Comic Con. This year, there were so many exciting events relating to my projects that there was no way for me to catch them all. Nevertheless, Comic Con 2014 was a memorable and thrilling experience, filled with revelations about my current projects and announcements of new ones.  (more…)

Outlander Fans’ Guide to My Music

Dear Outlander Fans,

OUT_Logo_SmallFrom the instant Ron Moore and Diana Gabaldon announced my involvement in Outlander as the series composer at the fan event last January, I have been overwhelmed by fan support and enthusiasm. Every day, I see comments from fans eagerly awaiting the moment when they can hear what I will bring to this iconic franchise. I know how much this series matters to you, and how important it is that every aspect of the story is treated with respect and passion in translation from the page to the screen. I am very touched that Outlander fans have placed this tremendous faith in my work, and I hope that my music will live up to, or surpass, the very high expectations. With the premiere of Outlander on STARZ just a few weeks away, I want to introduce myself to you all, to tell you a little about where I’m coming from and what I hope to accomplish with my score for this series.

I have only visited Scotland once so far, when I was a very young child, and yet Scottish music and culture has been an obsession of mine for nearly my entire life. Growing up in Bellingham, WA, my friends and I attended the Highland Games every summer for over a decade. This was the highlight of the summer for me, watching the Caber Toss and the bagpipe bands while wolfing down copious amounts of red meat. (more…)

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