Music of the Harry Potter films

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John Williams, composer of the first three films and creator of Hedwig's Theme.

The music of the Harry Potter film series was recorded and released in conjunction with the post-production and releases of each of the eight corresponding films.

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (2001), composed and conducted by John Williams (1) and orchestrated by Conrad Pope and Eddie Karam
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002), composed by John Williams (2), adapted and conducted by William Ross, and orchestrated by Conrad Pope and Eddie Karam
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004), composed and conducted by John Williams (3) and orchestrated by Conrad Pope and Eddie Karam
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), composed by Patrick Doyle
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007), composed by Nicholas Hooper (1)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009), composed by Nicholas Hooper (2)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows − Part 1 (2010), composed and conducted by Alexandre Desplat (1), and orchestrated by Conrad Pope
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows − Part 2 (2011), composed and conducted by Alexandre Desplat (2), and orchestrated by Conrad Pope[1][2]

Other musicians associated with the film soundtracks include Jarvis Cocker, The Ordinary Boys and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Musicians associated with the Harry Potter video game soundtracks include Jeremy Soule and James Hannigan.

Throughout the series, each composer manages to create new themes for certain characters, items, locations, and ideas.

Principal leitmotifs[edit]

First appearance in The Philosopher's Stone[edit]

Hedwig's Theme
The dominant theme closely identified with and used in all of the Harry Potter films to date. Though titled "Hedwig's Theme" it doesn't specifically represent Hedwig the owl but rather the wider idea of magic and the Wizarding World. The theme featured prominently in the trailers and promotional material prior to the film's release - not common practice among films and composers. A concert piece of the same name also exists and is frequently performed by amateur and professional musicians alike. This arrangement can be found on the original motion picture soundtrack. MIDI sequence
Family Portrait
A tender, warm melody notably heard when Harry is thinking of his parents or when he sees them (as in the Mirror of Erised sequence), and in grand statements during "A Change of Season" and "Leaving Hogwarts”. Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.
The Dursleys' Theme
A Tuba like melody played in Philosopher's Stone and Chamber of Secrets. In Philosopher's Stone as Uncle Vernon tears a Hogwarts letter and in Chamber of Secrets as Vernon drills bars on Harry's window.
Harry's Wondrous World
Similarly structured to the family theme, this is associated with Harry and his friendship with Ron and Hermione.
Nimbus 2000
Fluttery and sweeping theme associated with the Nimbus 2000 and flying. The second portion of the piece "Hedwig's Theme" is based on this theme, and a more bombastic version is heard in "The Quidditch Match". Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Voldemort's Theme
Theme associated with the Dark Lord Voldemort - this is the dark, rising dance-like melody heard in "The Quidditch Match" and "The Face of Voldemort", after Voldemort's face is revealed. Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
You-Know-Who's Theme
Theme associated with the Dark Lord Voldemort - this is different to the other Voldemort theme; it is primarily performed by low winds or brass and appears in "The Face of Voldemort" just before Voldemort's face is revealed, as Quirrell is unravelling his turban.Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
The Stone Motif
This is the three-note motif associated with the Philosopher's Stone, sometimes identified as another of Voldemort's themes. Though it is used in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets for general danger or mystery, a significant part of that score was adapted by William Ross from the first film and so its original representation remains unknown. This motif heavily features in the track "The Face of Voldemort" and the climax of "The Gringott's Vault". Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Diagon Alley
Played in Diagon Alley, though does not heard in the original released film (only the album). Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Magic Community
A festive theme heard in the film during the Diagon Alley sequence and later entering the Great Hall. Neither can be heard on the album, though a variation appears at the end of "Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters and Journey to Hogwarts" just after Hogwarts is first revealed.
Hogwarts' Forever!
A noble, brass-oriented march. Despite the name, theme is always associated with Gryffindor. A grander, more intricate version of this theme is used as a Quidditch.
Quidditch
Fanfare theme played during the Quidditch matches. The "B" theme is an adaptation of the "Hogwarts" theme.
Christmas at Hogwarts
Played when winter arrives. Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Forest Motif
Ominous string motif associated with the Dark Forest. Also heard in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Dark Motif
Played at the intro of Philosopher's Stone and in Chamber of Secrets, The Intro of Arrival of Baby Harry.In Chamber of Secrets it's played in Prologue Book II:Escape from the Dursleys and Cakes for Crabbe and Goyle
Theme for Voldemort's Past/Sadness Theme
a variation of Hedwig's Theme first heard when Ollivander suspects that Voldemort's wand's brother might be suitable for Harry. It is also used in Chamber of Secrets with different instrumentation when Harry and Ron visit the petrified Hermione in the hospital wing.

First appearance in The Chamber of Secrets[edit]

The Chamber of Secrets motif
A dark and mysterious theme similarly structured to "Hedwig's Theme" which is associated with the Chamber of Secrets. A second, more frantic motif consisting of rising strings is also part of this theme, often underlying the first idea. A concert arrangement of these two ideas exists on the original motion picture soundtrack.
Fawkes the Phoenix
A beautiful and heroic theme for Dumbledore's pet phoenix. It closely resembles the Chamber theme in structure but contrasts sharply in mood.
Gilderoy Lockhart
A pompous, comedic theme heard a few times in the movie when Gilderoy Lockhart appears. Strings and harpsichord primarily play it.
Dobby the House-Elf
A light, quirky but tender theme employing woodwinds and strings.
Moaning Myrtle
Chromatic, chordal theme primarily performed by women's vocals, associated with the ghost Myrtle. It becomes quite playful, later played by winds.
The Flying Car
A rhythmic, playful motif played when the Weasley's flying car is flown to Hogwarts and later escapes to the Forest.
The Spiders
A descending string motif associated with the spiders, in particular the Acromantulas living in the Forest. It comprises 8-note phrases, suggesting the legs of a spider.

First appearance in The Prisoner of Azkaban[edit]

Double Trouble
a distinctly Renaissance-sounding choral piece. The Renaissance style is created using period instruments such as the recorder and harpsichord and the limited range of the melody. The children's choir used is the London Oratory School Schola. [1] The lyrics are from a scene in Shakespeare's Macbeth, in which three witches surrounding a couldron cast a spell. It is structurally based on the Nimbus 2000 theme.
Buckbeak's theme
A majestic, "soaring" theme largely using strings. It is heard twice in the film; when Harry first rides Buckbeak and later when he and Hermione rescue Sirius.
A Window to the Past
A poignant theme used to represent the last connections to Harry's family, most notably Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, making heavy use of period instruments such as the recorder and harpsichord. [2]
The Patronus theme
Sung by an ethereal chorus, more a chord progression than actual motif or theme. Associated with the "Expecto Patronum" spell, it is poignantly layered with the "Past" theme during the climax of the film.
The Dark Omen motif
An ominous four-note motif associated with the Grim or Sirius Black in his animal form, notably heard in "Quidditch, Third Year" and "The Knight Bus"
Peter Pettigrew's Theme
An eerie harpsichord motif, it only consists of three notes though the first is repeated several times. It is not heard at all on the soundtrack album, but is frequently associated with Peter Pettigrew in the film.
Quidditch Fugue
A fugal idea which can be heard during the Quidditch match against Hufflepuff. It was later adapted by Nicholas Hooper and used for the Quidditch match in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

First appearance in The Goblet of Fire[edit]

Hogwarts' March
Heard before and after the Maze Sequence.
Hogwarts Hymn
Chorale for Strings.
Beauxbatons Theme
Theme associated with the Beauxbatons School and Madame Maxime.
The Quidditch World Cup
Themes for the Irish / Bulgarian (also used for Durmstrang) Quidditch Team. The Durmstrang theme was used in the original teaser trailer for the film.
Harry's Theme
New theme representing Harry, it appears notably as Harry asks Cho out to the Yule Ball and during Priori Incantatem as the echo of his parents rise from Voldemort's wand. A full version of the theme appears on the soundtrack, called "Harry in Winter".
The Goblet of Fire
Main motif of the Score, a rising minor key and very ominous theme. It also represents Voldemort at times. It is used in "Frank Dies", "The Goblet of Fire" and "Voldemort".
Golden Egg
Theme for the First Task. Heard during the First Task and before the Quidditch World Cup.
Neville's Waltz
A slow, stately orchestral waltz, this theme is played within the film by Professor McGonagall as she gives Gryffindor students a dance lesson for the Yule Ball. Afterwards, the theme continues as background music, with Neville Longbottom seen waltzing by himself and humming it, then as Harry and Ron search for Yule Ball partners and Hermione observes Viktor Krum being tailed by his fan club.
Potter Waltz
This livelier waltz is used for the opening of the Yule Ball.

First appearance in The Order of the Phoenix[edit]

Professor Umbridge (theme)
Theme for the new Ministry-appointed Defence Against the Dark Arts Teacher/High Inquisitor Dolores Umbridge. Comprises two sections; the first a descending motif in high winds and glockenspiel accompanied by heavy brass and the secondary part a pompous, rising march. As the score progresses the theme becomes more ominous, reflecting the true nature of the cruel and callous Umbridge.
Possession
A slow, rising motif representing Voldemort's slow and calculated possession of Harry.
Luna
Theme for Luna Lovegood. This very wispy piece well reflects the strangeness of the character.
Fireworks
A semi-rock modern music theme used for the Weasley Twins' departure while Dolores Umbridge takes the headmistress position in Hogwarts. It appears again in Half-Blood Prince during the visit to the Twins jokeshop.
Dumbledore's Army (theme)
Theme for the Dumbledore's Army. First heard when the Hogwarts students in Hog's head sign up to assemble the Army. It is heard again during the Quidditch trials in Half-Blood Prince.
Flight of the Order of the Phoenix
Another prominent theme represents the Order of the Phoenix. This rousing theme plays as the Advance Guard spirits Harry away from 4 Privet Drive.
The Ministry of Magic
A great Japanese Taiko drum was used for a deeper sound in the percussion.
Loved Ones and Leaving
Nicholas Hooper used three seemingly separate sections: the first is a sad and desolate theme representing the pain of Sirius's death, secondly a rather quirky theme apparently acknowledging Luna Lovegood and lastly, the ending part - a great finish full of lush strings, warm brass, decorated with recurring piccolo, flute and violin ostinati.

First appearance in The Half-Blood Prince[edit]

Death Eaters theme
A theme accosiated with the Death Eaters. It is a dark, brooding piece that gradually builds up to a crescendo. It is heard during the opening, The Burrow Attack and when Malfoy lets the Death Eaters into Hogwarts. It is played by a string, brass and percussion ensmble . Can be heard on the tracks "Opening", "Into the Rushes", and "Malfoy's Mission".
Dumbledore's theme
A subtle choral piece played whenever Dumbledore is present. Can be heard on the tracks "In Noctem", "Dumbledore's Speech", and "Dumbledore's Foreboding". A much more powerful variation of the theme can be heard on the track "Journey to the Cave". A more emotional variation is heard in "Opening" and "Dumbledore's Farewell". In Deathly Hallows part 2 "Dumbledore's Farewell" is heard during the pensieve sequence.
Malfoy
A mysterious piece that can be heard on "Malfoy's Mission" In the film, it can be heard when Malfoy is in the Room of Requirement and when he is talking to Snape outside of the Christmas party. A variation of the theme can be heard when Harry, Ron and Hermione are spying on Malfoy in Borgin and Burkes.
Slughorn's Theme
A mysterious but gentle piece played on woodwind. It is heard when Slughorn shows Harry his photographs and talks of having known Harry's mother, Lily. Later Harry mentions Lily's sacrifice to influence Slughorn to give up his memory. It can be heard on the track "Slughorn's Confession".
Ginny
A soft piece played on a classical guitar. It is heard when Harry first sees her at the Burrow and when she kisses him in the Room of Requirement. It can be heard on the tracks "Ginny" and "When Ginny Kissed Harry".
Hermione's Theme
A gentle, emotional piece played on a harp as she confesses her feeling for Ron to Harry and later as she comforts Ron in the Hospital wing after his poisoning. It can be heard on the track "Harry and Hermione".

First appearance in The Deathly Hallows: Part 1[edit]

The Trio Theme (Main Theme)
A theme associated with the trio and serves as main theme, notably heard in "Obliviate", "At the Burrow", "The Will", "Ron Leaves", "Death Eaters", "Hermione's Parents", "Ron's Speech", "The Deathly Hallows", and "Harry's Sacrifice". Desplat has stated that this theme represents the "loss of innocence" of the trio.
Band of Brothers Theme
Desplat created a new theme for Joy and Hope which he refers to as the "Band of Brothers" theme, since it plays whenever the Order of the Phoenix or other friends are on screen. It can be heard during "Polyjuice Potion", "Sky Battle", "At the Burrow", "Harry and Ginny" ,"Grimmauld Place", "Neville", "Battlefield" and "Showdown". It is also used as a theme for Neville.
Death Eaters
A string ostinato motif associated with the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters, notably heard in "Snape to Malfoy Manor" and "Death Eaters".
Voldemort's Theme
The descening theme for Voldemort can be heard several times through the film. It is the most clear when Harry and Voldemort meet during the Battle of the Seven Potters. Can be heard in "Sky Battle" and "Voldemort". It is also tied to the "Death Eater" ostinato, notably heard in "Snape to Malfoy Manor" and the second half of "Death Eaters".
Dobby's Theme
Theme associated with Dobby, notably heard in "Dobby" and briefly in "Rescuing Hermione".
Horcruxes Theme
A mystery melody associated with the Horcruxes. can be heard on the tracks "The Locket", "Dobby", "Bathilda Bagshot", "Destroying the Locket", "Underworld", and "Broomsticks and Fire".
Ron and Hermione Romance Theme
Desplat created this theme specifically for Ron and Hermione's undying love for each other. It is heard in "Ron's Speech" and when Ron and Hermione kiss in the Chamber of Secrets. It's a relative of the main theme.
Lovegood
A quirky theme representing Luna and Xenophelius.
Bellatrix
A fast-paced violin theme representing her insanity and harsh nature.

First appearance in The Deathly Hallows: Part 2[edit]

Lily's Theme
Theme associated with Lily Evans, Harry Potter and Severus Snape. It is the main theme of Part 2. It is a vocal theme (performed by Joe Hisaishi's daughter, Mai Fujisawa), which can be heard on the tracks "Lily's Theme", "Snape's Demise", "The Resurrection Stone", and "Voldemort's End". A broader, more majestic rendition is heard in "Dragon Flight"
The Dumbledore Theme
This theme is about Dumbledore's dark past and can be heard during "The Will", "Detonators", the bonus track "The Dumbledores", and "The Elder Wand". An unreleased alternate version from Part 1 is heard in Part 2 when the trio meets with Aberforth Dumbledore.
Statues Theme
This motif is the second main theme of Part 2 and is used for the epic moments in the movie. It can be heard in "A New Headmaster", "Panic Inside Hogwarts", "Statues", "Courtyard Apocalypse", "The Resurrection Stone", and "A New Beginning".
Deathly Hallows Theme
This mysterious theme represents the Deathly Hallows. It also seems to have solified itself around Xenophilius Lovegood. It appears in "Godric's Hollow Graveyard", "Lovegood", "The Tale of Three Brothers", and "The Deathly Hallows". A new recording of parts of "The Deathly Hallows" appears in Part 2 as the trio consults Ollivander.
Theme of Grief
This is perhaps the most emotional theme which is only used a few times in the film on crucial sad moments, and it's the continuation of the main theme. The first time you hear this theme is during "Obliviate", it's heard in "At The Burrow", "Ron Leaves", "Farewell to Dobby" and "Harry's Sacrifice".
Bureaucratic Theme
A funny theme which can be heard when Harry walks past Umbridge's office and sees all the employers making the guide against mudbloods. Can be heard in "Detonators".
Battlefield
A fast march that relates to the statues theme. It can be heard several times during "The Grey Lady", "Showdown" and "Battlefield".
Gringotts Cart Ride
This action theme is used for the chart ride in Gringotts and the Escape on the Dragon. Notably heard during "The Tunnel", "Underworld", and "Dragon Flight".
Resurrection Theme
Only appearing in Part 2, this theme is heard at the beginning of "The Resurrection Stone" and in the unreleased cue "Harry is Dead".
Severus and Lily
A sombre theme representing Snape's memories in the pensive, heard in "Severus and Lily".
Neville the Hero
A soft violin theme that plays during Neville's speech to Voldemort.

References[edit]