Jane Eyre

Score Analysis

The Score

Dario Marianelli’s score for Jane Eyre paints the movie with a mysteriously dramatic expressionist brush. Its ever evolving rhythmic melodic figure, played in the fiddle, creates a trans-like sensation of growing emotions desperate to burst out as the main character Jane Eyre builds up her own held feelings throughout the movie. The score uses a combination of strings, harp, piano, voice and solo fiddle in order to create a delicate foggy sound picture of rural England in the mid 19c.

Post-Romantic Techniques

The film’s opening cue “Wandering Jane” starts with a modal (aeolian) ostinato-like rhythmic pattern played on the fiddle over block chords played by the rest of these strings in tremolo. The first violins then play an ostinato built on ascending 5ths generating dissonant intervals with the fiddle which now plays a rhythmic figure using varying metter. The result is a long emotional crescendo built on repetition that increases in chromaticism and rhythmic complexity, a perfect metaphor for Jane Eyre’s emotional journey.

In the cue “A Game of Badminton” played over scenes of Jane Eyre having fun on the outdoors functions as a bittersweet neutral underlying tone in the likes of Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie” pieces. The 6/8 metered homophonic piece is written in the phrygian mode with an accompaniment that fluctuates between G minor and F minor. The melody line is filled with repeated notes and often emphasizes non chord tones as it descends in stepwise motion before leaping up into ever growing intervals and ending the piece on a forth above from the root of the accompaniment chord. The result is a resting feeling of dissatisfaction that isn’t chaotic nor dramatic.

The movie’s final cue “Awaken” puts together all of the previously mentioned techniques into a Wagnerian crescendo that scores Jane’s re-encounter with Rochester, her love interest. The piece begins with the phrygian harmonic figure of “A Game of Badminton” played on the piano. Then the rhythmic figure of the cue switches to the harp and string orchestra playing in dorian modality with chords moving in seconds. This section is supported by a fiddle melody rich in arpegios that grows in range as the accompaniment raizes in dynamics until a climax is reached. The piece then suddenly drops in dynamics and once more ends in a no chord tone.

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Copyright © Luís Zanforlin 2016