Music of Caprica

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For the music of Caprica, composer Bear McCreary strove to create a soundscape reminiscent of, but vastly different from that of its predecessor, calling it a "distant cousin" of Battlestar Galactica. The music includes the continued use of leitmotifes for characters, events and places - but with a decidedly more "western" feel; the distinctly ethnic instrumentation and percussion from Battlestar Galactica, while featured in Caprica, is heard in a diminished capacity. [1]

Main Title Music

Beginning in the series' second episode, "Rebirth," a main title sequence is established utilizing a theme from the pilot episode - the Graystone Family Theme - as an overarching theme for Caprica as a whole. According to composer Bear McCreary:

"The title begins with a pounding percussion fill that introduces the Main Theme (technically the Graystone Theme), played by Chris Bleth on flute. The track builds in intensity, incorporating electric guitars and bass, played by Steve Bartek and Mike Valerio respectively. Towards the end, a distorted drum kit enters (played by Nate Wood) that gives the track a hard-rock feel, completely unique from anything we heard in the pilot. I wanted to give our delicate, plaintive melody a bad ass metal backbone, representative of the V-Clubs and cultural underbelly of Caprica City that the series depicts." [2]

Character & Event Themes

Bear McCreary described the music of Caprica as featuring three spokes: music representing the Graystone Family, the Tauron elements of the series, and sequences taking place in the virtual world. [3] However there are a litany of themes and motifs branching from those three spokes.

Main Characters

Graystone Family Theme

Described as the de facto Caprica theme, the Graystone Family Theme was initially created to underscore scenes featuring the Graystones, but later evolved into the series main title. Executive producer David Eick later recalled in "The Music of Caprica" video blog that theme was a remarkable achievement as it was instantly recognizable and easily associated with Caprica. [4]

The theme first appears in the pilot immediately following the death of Zoe Graystone during a montage in which Daniel and Amanda Graystone mourn the loss of their daughter. It appears in every episode of the series, generally played on flute or strings, underscoring scenes related to the Graystone Family and Graystone Industries, as well as Lacy Rand. It notably appears in the series finale "Apotheosis," underscoring the U-87s battling STO terrorists in Atlas Arena. For that episode, McCreary described the piece, titled "Apotheosis," as an extension of the main title, combining strings, percussion and electric guitars. The Graystone Theme is also integral in the final moments of the series, played on string and accompanied by percussion in what McCreary described as a "soaring" final statement. [5]

In the episode, "End of Line," Daniel Graystone appears playing the Graystone Theme on the piano in his home lab. [6]

Bear McCreary intended the Graystone Family Theme to be heard one last time in the pilot movie for Blood and Chrome, underscoring a scene between Graystone Industries scientist Becca Kelly and a young Ensign William Adama. The cue, however, was cut from the finished episode. [7]

Graystone Family Ostinato

McCreary described the Graystone Ostinato as a "simple oscillating pattern...woven throughout the score, serving as the canvas upon which the longer melodies are painted." [8] Usually played on the harp, piano and gamelan, the osinato was restated in the series finale in a more aggressive variation, heard in the climactic battle at Atlas Arena. [9]

Daniel Graystone Ostinato

An ostinato representing Daniel Graystone also appears in the pilot episode and transitions to represent the character in the series proper. This repetitive figure first signifies Daniel's progressing obsession with the Zoe avatar and his "growing madness," it later underscored many of the scientist's scenes. [10] Usually played on harp, the ostinato was also accompanied by aggressive percussive elements in the pilot as well as in "Know Thy Enemy" and "Ghosts in the Machine." [11]

Amanda Graystone Theme

A lesser used melody, the Amanda Graystone Theme notably appears during the Graystones' love scene during the pilot. [12] A simple, ascending scale, the theme is also prominently featured in the Amanda-centered episode, "The Imperfections of Memory" in which it was adapted for her deceased brother Darius. Utilized as both a theme and in the form of an ostinato, the Darius melody is Amanda's theme played in reverse order. [13]

Zoe Graystone Chords

While both the Graystone Theme and Ostinato are utilized to represent Zoe Graystone, a third musical idea is more specifically attached to the character. [14] The progression first appears when Lacy Rand discovers the Zoe avatar in the virtual world and later recurs in "Rebirth" as Lacy embraces Zoe in her robotic form. [15]

The chords are later heard prominently during Zoe's virutal dates with Philomon in the episodes "The Imperfections of Memory" (notably during the simulated Viper flight) and "End of Line." In the episode "Things We Lock Away" this motif is heard subtly mixed with repeating gamelan notes similar to those of the Six Theme from Battlestar Galactica, referencing Messenger Zoe's connection to "Head Six" from that series.

Tauron Theme

While neither Joseph Adama nor his brother Sam Adama receive specific themes or motifs, the second most prominent musical identity in Caprica is the Tauron Theme. With the themes for the Graystones given a more traditional Western sound, the Tauron Theme was created as a more ethnic and chaotic counterpoint mirroring the depiction of the Tauron home planet. Bear McCreary compared the Tauron themes to the Italian music from The Godfather. [16] This theme is used in scenes featuring the Adama Family and is frequently played by Paul Cartwright on the acoustic fiddle, or by Chris Bleth on the Chinese membrane flute. [17]

The Tauron Theme is the only theme in Caprica to receive lyrics, heard in the episode "There is Another Sky" during the funeral for Tamara and Shannon Adama. Written by the episode's writer, Kath Lingenfelter, the lyrics for the Tauron Theme were sung in Ancient Greek: [18]

Original English lyrics by Kath Lingenfelter:
These are the voices of those

Who have passed over the river heard
On the wind entwined with the
Eternal and the everlasting
These are the voices of those whom
We have loved, who no more will suffer
Who have returned to the mud
This is the voice of the dead
Entwined with the eternal and the everlasting

Speaking of the Tauron Theme, Bear McCreary said:

"My task was relatively easy because Tauron and its musical traditions are entirely fictional, so I could make Tauronese music sound like whatever I wanted. I drew my inspirations from Russian folk music, and asked Paul Cartwright to play in that style as opposed to the Scottish Fiddle feel he so frequently evokes for “Roslin and Adama” on Battlestar." [19]

Tauron Ostinato

Another ostinato used throughout the series, the Tauron Ostinato is prominently heard in the pilot when Sam Adama murders Caprica's minister of defense, Val Chambers. It is also among the first pieces from the pilot to be realized, as recounted by the show's director, Jeff Reiner:

"The first piece I heard was the montage where Sam kills the Minister of Defense while Amanda and Daniel make love, not to mention, Joseph breaking down in tears because of guilt and the loss of his family. The score drove the scene, while evoking the intimacy of love, the rage of a gangland killing, and the struggle with ethnic identity." [20]

The Tauron Ostinato is later heard in a notably different form in "End of Line" in scenes in which Joseph Adama searches New Cap City for the Tamara avatar, played by electronic instruments.

Adama Family Theme

Initially composed for the Battlestar Galactica episode, "The Hand of God," the Adama Family Theme continued throughout that series as the defining musical identity for William Adama as well as Adama's relationship with his son, Lee Adama. McCreary stated that he tried to "avoid over-using the sole melody from BSG to carry over," utilizing it only in the pilot episode, the Tauron funeral scene in "There is Another Sky" and in a fragmented statement in "The Dirteaters," the Adama family is the only outright thematic link between Battlestar Galactica and Caprica. [21]

Other Themes

Cylon Percussion

The other prominent musical link between Battlestar Galactica and Caprica is the varied use of percussive elements including shakers, claves, shime daiko and sparing use of electronic and taiko drums. While heard on a smaller scale than in Galactica, the percussion is frequently heard during scenes featuring the U-87 Cylon, such as the U-87 test scene in the pilot, various scenes featuring Zoe-R in "Rebirth" and "There is Another Sky," and Sam Adama's Cylon scene in "False Labor."

Though McCreary intended to keep the use of the percussive element so heavily used in Galactica to a minimum, as Caprica progressed, the identity increasingly asserted itself. [22] By late series episodes like "Here Be Dragons" and "Apotheosis," the percussive and ethnic instrumentation was increased, most notably in the climactic Cylon battle at the series conclusion. [23]

Clarice's Theme

A theme for Clarice Willow is heard beginning in "Rebirth" and is featured in all subsequent episodes to underscore the character's scenes, frequently played on flute or oboe. It later branches out to scenes featuring the STO even when Clarice is not present, such as the "secrets and mysteries" conversation between Mother and Diego and the virutal love scene Lacy Rand and Odin Sinclair share in "The Heavens Will Rise." [24]

Tamara's Theme

While not established until her third appearance in "There is Another Sky," Tamara Adama receives a musical identity associated with her action in New Cap City, but also featuring a structure reminiscent of the Tauron Theme. Played on electric violin by Paul Cartwright and layered with distorted drum kit, electric guitars, bass and synthesizers, the identity is also heard in an English Horn solo, flutes and harp. According to McCreary: "The violin represents her Tauron heritage and connection to her father, because the acoustic violin always plays the Tauron Theme. However, running it through Paul’s amp and distortion effects represents the change Tamara has undergone and her new surroundings in New Cap City." [25] The theme appears in all episodes featuring Tamara in New Cap City, notably in "End of Line" and "Things We Lock Away," before being diminished by a secondary virtual world theme in "The Dirteaters" and "The Heavens Will Rise."

Vergis' Theme

Another Tauron sub-theme is that attached to the character Tomas Vergis which is first used in that character's debut, "Know Thy Enemy." Described by Bear McCreary as "simple and repetitive, evocative of a folk song" and played on Chinese membrane flute, the theme was intended to subtly reference Vergis' Tauron heritage while giving the antagonistic character an ominous musical identity, closely related in tone to Battlestar Galactica [26] The theme would recur throughout the series, most notably during the character's final appearance in "Things We Lock Away."


Caprican National Anthem

For the second episode of the series, Bear McCreary created a recording of the Caprcian national anthem, "Caprica Abides." Though only a small portion of that recording was used during that episode's scene at Atlas Arena, the entire song was later utilized at the arena in "Apotheosis." [27]

In "Rebirth," the anthem was sung by Mack “Mr. O Canada” Donnelly who frequently sang the Canadian National Anthem before Vancouver Canucks games.[28] For the soundtrack version of the song, the vocals are performed by Steve Amerson.

Original lyrics by Jane Espenson:
Caprica let us celebrate

Raise our hands despite the weight
And all her joys we extol
Caprica abides!

Caprica let us persevere
Blind ourselves to doubt and fear
And to the burdens of the soul
Caprica abides!

Caprica the humble beast
Nurtures more than she
Who gave the twins their noble feast
And saved them from the sea.

Caprica let us tolerate
Differences may separate,
Yet form the bonds that make us whole.

So say we all,
So say we all,
Caprica abides!

Tauron Gangster Rap

For a scene at the Ha'la'tha hangout in "Reins of a Waterfall" the producers initially intended use an "old-timey blues music, appropriate for the fedoras and suits on screen." Bear McCreary however felt the scene warranted a much more modern take, instead creating a song "electronic and contemporary but also be uniquely Tauron, called "Voices of the Dead." Performed by McCreary's brother Brendan McCreary, "Voices of the Dead" features lyrics sung in Ancient Greek and acoustic fiddle solos by Paul Cartwright. [29]

See Also

External Links


  2. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Rebirth (backup available on (in English).
  5. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Apotheosis (backup available on (in English).
  6. BearMcCreary: Caprica - End of Line (backup available on (in English).
  8. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  9. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Apotheosis (backup available on (in English).
  10. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  11. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Know Thy Enemy (backup available on (in English).
  12. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  13. BearMcCreary: Caprica - The Imprefections of Memory (backup available on (in English).
  14. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  15. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Rebirth (backup available on (in English).
  17. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  18. BearMcCreary: Caprica - There is Another Sky (backup available on (in English).
  19. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  20. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  21. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Pilot (backup available on (in English).
  22. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Rebirth (backup available on (in English).
  23. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Apotheosis (backup available on (in English).
  24. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Rebirth (backup available on (in English).
  25. BearMcCreary: Caprica - There is Another Sky (backup available on (in English).
  26. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Know Thy Enemy (backup available on (in English).
  27. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Apotheosis (backup available on (in English).
  29. BearMcCreary: Caprica - Reins of a Waterfall (backup available on (in English).