Theme Songs

Well, my new favorite theme song is for HBO’s John Adams mini-series, the last episode of which aired last night. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s the opening sequence:

A co-worker pointed out that it bears a striking similarity to the Last of the Mohicans theme:

Both are sentimental tunes meant to evoke historic struggle and passion and whatnot, while also being American and old-timey. They’re using similar melodies and instrumentation to acceive this effect, which kind of makes sense — but they even seem to be in the same key! Isn’t that a trifle odd? Do certain keys engender universal reactions? Is one key more “American” than another? Or is the John Adams theme just a complete rip off?

[EDIT: If you are a nerd and you want a demonstration of the two themes sharing the same key, play them both at the same time. No dissonance!]

Theme songs aside, I’m a big fan of John Adams mostly because of Paul Giamatti’s acting. I’ve been a vague PG fan since his role in Duets, but my love was very much envigorated with Sideways and re-ignited once more with John Adams. He’s just so good at playing grumpy, outspoken guys. It’s great!


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