Main theme from Planet Earth II by Hans Zimmer
Planet Earth II is a BBC nature documentary series, first released in 2016 and narrated by Sir David Attenborough. At the end of the final episode he said:
Zimmer is known for integrating traditional orchestral textures with electronic sounds – here he has written mainly for strings and light synth sounds.
- A solo cello, accompanied by lower strings, opens the music with the main theme in 3/2 time
- With each 4-bar phrase more instruments are added, gradually building the orchestral texture.
- At 00:52 a new idea is heard with sparkling flute flourishes perhaps representing bird song.
- Percussion enters at 01:21, joining the main string theme and giving energy and momentum to the music.
- At 01:47 the excitement builds, as upper strings climb into the higher register and voices enter.
- At 02:13 a modulation to the dominant key provides the climactic moment of the piece before it draws to a conclusion.
Things to consider
The main theme is very simple, using only 7 notes in 4 bars – how can you create a simple theme where layers are added every 8-bars, to build the excitement?
How important is the role of the percussion in this music?
How different would the music sound without it?
Image Credit: Greg Nunes