Patrick Doyle Talks Mike Newell and “Goblet of Fire” (Updated)


Feb 11, 2009

Posted by SueTLC

Last week we told you acclaimed Scottish composer Patrick Doyle (Henry V, Gosford Park) would be here in the US to hold a special screening of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire at Syracuse University in New York. The Daily Orange has a report online of the event, where Patrick Doyle discussed his score for GoF, working with director Mike Newell, and becoming part of the Harry Potter world. The piece notes that Mr. Doyle felt “working on “Harry Potter” was unusual, he said, because he worked
closely with the director as well as the sound designer, editor and
conductor to integrate the music and make it an essential part of the
film. “

The article continues: “Doyle was chosen by Mike Newell, the director of the fourth film, for
three reasons: His sense of drama, his sense of magic, and his sense of
humor. Doyle had previously worked with Newell on the movies “Into the
West” and “Donnie Brasco.” Newell wanted him to work on the film over a
period of a year, taking part in the process from the beginning stages.

Newell also influenced Doyle’s score.

“The director’s
vision definitely helps,” Doyle said. “You’re inspired by the script,
costumes, enthusiasm of the director and the characters.”

On the reaction by Harry Potter fans: “But Doyle couldn’t foresee what writing the score for “Harry Potter”
would unleash for his career. Becoming a part of a worldwide sensation
was something he didn’t see coming.

“I had already done nearly 14 movies so from my perspective, I was doing rather well,” he said.

“It’s incredible how people get gaga over ‘Harry Potter.’ As much as I
appreciate it, in many ways, it was just another film,” he said.”

Update: TLC Reader Kerry was fortunate to attend the event, and sent in a lengthy report on the proceedings. Of note are two passages on Mr. Doyle and the music heard in GoF. Enjoy! Thanks so much Kerry!

size=”3″ face=”Times New Roman”>In response to a question from
a professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, Mr. Doyle went on to
discuss his ideas surrounding his abilities to create sonic meaning
in the films for which he composes scores. He began by saying that you
need, first and foremost, a sympathetic and flexible sound engineer.
Without it, you’ll be struggling
to find the right balance which will
often result in a confusing sonic environment for the audience. He went
on to say that good film composers take into account both diegetic and
non-diegetic soundscapes (that’s both the underscoring and the sound
happening within the characters’ environment ’ such as music from
the Wizarding Wireless playing in the Weasley’s kitchen or the stomping
of the staffs of Durmstrang students ’ for those of you keeping score
at home). Fortunately for Mr. Doyle (and, in turn, for us Harry Potter
fans), he had the opportunity to be involved in the entire process.
He also said that the meticulous and almost militaristic schedule for
filming was also a tremendous help to him. He said that he “probably
has a bad case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” and this schedule
was very much akin to his creative style. To further the discussion
of his vision for the sonic environment for the film, another student
asked him about his level of control over the choices for “Mickey
Mousing” (that’s the instrumental sound you hear to reflect an action
’ such as when Harry is flying away from the dragon and you hear an
ascending glissando from the orchestra or when you hear the accented
rhythms on the drums when the Durmstrang students enter the Great Hall
and do their indigenous-style dance), to which Mr. Doyle told us that
he had complete control over those particular moments in the film. At
this point, he quoted Shakespeare by saying “brevity is the soul of
whit”, which to him, was an expression of his feeling of freedom when
composing a score for a film that has already been completed. He said
it was a joy to know that you’d be hearing something at a particular
point and it made it that much easier to compose the film score.

size=”3″ face=”Times New Roman”>A long conversation was then
had about his techniques surrounding his compositions how technology
has transformed his career. Mr. Doyle said that, after having been a
composer for 30+ years, he now has the courage and confidence to notate
what he hears with his inner ear, whereas before he never really trusted
himself. This
statement was in reference to his ability to improvise
a waltz (Neville’s Waltz) for the scene in which Mcgonagall is teaching
the Gryffindor students how to dance. He said that he improvised a melody
for the rehearsal with the expectation that he’d write something else
to be used in the final score, but the production team liked it so much
that they kept it for taping. Mr. Doyle also spoke about his vision
for the Hogwarts Song, which was never used for the film. He told us
how the deadline was fast approaching and he had nothing to offer in
his meeting. When in the taxi on his way to the meeting, Mr. Doyle found
inspiration. He envisioned the four tables in the Great Hall all standing
and singing the song in a round. This prompted another question about
his favorite places to compose, to which he responded, “I’ve written
in the toilet, but only once!” His advice when facing writer’s block
is to “open yourself up and chill out”. He then described his old
techniques for composing which often included using a broken Fisher
Price tape recorder. Recently Mr. Doyle has begun using the program
Logic for his notation, after much trepidation, but said that it has
“changed his life”.

size=”3″ face=”Times New Roman”>Overall, the evening was enjoyable
and often peppered with anecdotes. Mr. Doyle told us about how he admires
Irving Berlin for his simplicity, saying that “Irving Berlin is the
King!” He went on to tell us about a particular instance when Mr.
Berlin was asked for his permission to use a song in a film and, at
99-years-old, Mr. Berlin said that he had “plans for that song”
and would not give his permission to use it in the film. To that, Mr.
Doyle said, “I want to have plans when I’m 99-years old!” He also
told us about his childhood in a musical family. In particular, he told
us about how one of his aunts would refuse to sing unless the lights
were turned off, so he’d be sitting there in his family living room
when he was fourteen listening to this disembodied voice coming from
the corner of the room. He said that it was a very strange experience,
especially to a fourteen-year-old boy, but admitted that when she sang
with the lights on you’d wish that she had turned the lights back
off again! One anecdote that stuck out was his process for gauging his
success for some of the music that he hoped to use in Harry Potter
and the Goblet of Fire.
He told us about how he would play some
of the music for his children to see if it passed “the cool test”.
Apparently, Mr. Doyle is “very cool” in the eyes of his children,
and I would have to agree. Very, very cool!

28 Responses to Patrick Doyle Talks Mike Newell and “Goblet of Fire” (Updated)

Avatar Imageluna.quibbler says: i love GoF!!! first?!!Avatar ImageBrad Ausrotas says: I don't love GoF, but screw him for calling it 'just another film'. If it's Potter, then it's so much more.Avatar Imagewizardinventor says: I loved his score! It really fit with the film and captures the feel of the story. I wish that they would bring him back in part 1 or 2, but it does not seem likely.Avatar ImageThursdayschild says: I did go to this last night but was unable to stay for more than one question at the Q & A afterward. Mr. Doyle's credentials are amazing, he is a very talented man. He was an actor for 10 years and is also classically trained in voice. The event was not as well attended as I thought it would be and most in attendance were the music students as the portion after the film was actually a class for them. Also, this audience reacted more to the film than audiences I'd sat in at the theatre. Still, it was great to see the movie and listen to someone speak who was so closely involved in it. I wish I could have stayed.Avatar Imagemhaeyemhaeye says: I love all the Potter films. GOF is awesome.Avatar Imagekiwimci says: I never really liked the score when it 1st came out with the film because it wasn't Williams. But it has really grown on me and had elements of Williams I just think throughout the film the music was edited in a bit too loud? Does that make sense? Sometimes it was just too prominent in moments of action for me, but I do like the soundtrackAvatar ImageGinevra86 says: I went last night, too... should I still send a report?Avatar ImageAynil says: GoF is my least favorite movie...Avatar ImageErinM says: I love the music in the film, but I was more hopeful that he was as enthralled with the movies as I am! Just another movie? Nuh-uh.Avatar ImageGinevra86 says: He seemed to really appreciate the magic of the films... and had a lot more inpute on creative choices that didn't deal with the music, I was surprised to find out. He is definitely a character! I wish you all could have been there to listen to this guy... he's a hoot! :DAvatar Imagekbicprez says: Great music score aside, GOF is still not a good film. I was very disappointed with what Mike Newell did with such a great story.Avatar ImageSophie Treklemmer says: There's really nothing more to say after Brad Ausrotas' comment ^_^ Avatar Imagebadger666 says: Cool! Very interesting.Avatar Imagecheeserpleaser says: I never knew that Newell possessed such a fantastic sense of humor and easiness. That said, I still enjoy listening to his euphonic soundtrack for the Goblet of Fire.Avatar Imagedcrazmo says: I think GoF is a great film, a terrific distillation of the book. I know I'm going to get slammed for this, but the whole SPEW subplot was nothing more than unnecessary comic filler anyway, I didn't miss it at all. But Doyle's score did nothing for me. After the richness of John William's previous endeavors, Doyle's was completely lacking in melody and substance.Avatar ImageThe Hufflepuff Giraffe says: Wow, Patrick Doyle does sound really cool. This is really interesting.Avatar Imagehermyone08 says: I love the music from Goblet of FireAvatar ImageCatherine says: GOF is amazing! it is my second favorite book to DH!Avatar Imagenddulac says: This was really an interesting read. I would love to read or hear Jo's comments on her creative process and how she approaches writing fiction.Avatar Imagecalliet2b4g says: wow that was coolAvatar ImageProfessorPotter says: That was a very cool update, indeed. Patrick Doyle's score was wonderful with many great tracks and diversity on the album. Hearing his method in scoring is intriguing but puzzling as to how he can afford to spend all that time during the film production to do one film score. Usually, composers do a score within 1 month after a film has been completed so they can work on other films in the same year. Its not usual for a composer to be involved throughout production. Love the Mr Berlin anecdote! Avatar ImageThio says: Did Kerry get some house points for this? I think it's fair... it would motivate readers to send you news even more! Though I don't know if you would want this kind of competition in leaky's mail boxes... Just saw GoF yesterday with a friend while hearing the Pottercasters commentaries! It was so scary!! Me and my friend made comments and few seconds later Melissa, John and Sue would say the exact same thing... OoAvatar Imagebandmum says: I watched GOF not long ago, and as I sat through the end credits, it occurred to me how most other HP's had rather upbeat, triumphant music over the credits. This one however, stayed with the melancholy of having lost Cedric. After that piece finished, I was surprised to hear one of the songs from the ball. It was the final song playing as Ron & Hermione squabbled on their way out, and also a little sad. I don't recall any other credit music having lyrics.I thought both were rather interesting musical choices.Avatar ImageAccioCloak says: Thanks for the report Kerry!Avatar ImageZivlok says: Great scoop, Kerry!Avatar Imagemugglemom4 says: I really liked the score and it was neat getting to learn more about how he creates. Avatar ImageGarden State Geek says: Just another film. Hmmm. I guess for him. Avatar ImageBradyboy says: I loved Goblet Of Fire, my favorite movie!

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