Writer’s Music: Mychael Danna V

The Good Dinosaur Soundtrack Cover.jpgI never thought I would include a Disney score, especially when they have such a choke hold on their music files (shakes fist at The Nearly Omniscient Mouse). This is why you don’t see a complete song at the bottom of this post. (Update: Special thanks to fellow writer Michael Dellert for helping me find a YouTube video of the music!) But how can I not write about Mychael Danna, especially when he outdoes himself yet again?

Having lived my life in the woods and farmlands of the Midwest, I couldn’t help but adore Danna’s The Good Dinosaur. The story itself is an old one: think of a family out west working the homestead. The boy is thrust from his home by the elements, and must now cross the wilderness to return home. Now substitute the boy for a dinosaur. Ta da–movie!

Opinions on the film run a pretty wide gamut, so I’m just going to leave them be. What I love is the western flavor Danna uses in this score. It’s sweet, almost bittersweet, in the strings. The occasional fiddle tune comes along, some banjo, some woodwinds and piano. The brass swells, lone and strong. His mix of percussion at tense moments reminds us a child is the hero, that he must be so despite the terrors of the sky.

Yet of all the orchestral elements, I still find the strings to be the true stars in this score. Violins are such a unique instrument in their ability to relate whimsy or sorrow at the turn of an eight note, which I think is one of the reasons Danna uses them so much here. They bring a reader to tears when the protagonist mourns his father, to laughs when he’s running away from dino-chickens. There’s a majesty to the strings I have not heard in a long time: a melody so simple, yet elegant, like leaves rustling in the sunshine.

Poetry without words.

Click here for more on THE GOOD DINOSAUR.

(Fortunately, the Amazon page for the score has sample tracks, so you can listen to the work.)

Click here for more on Mychael Danna.

22 thoughts on “Writer’s Music: Mychael Danna V

      • Oooh, that’s a good one. I liked Phil Collins’ songs for TARZAN–except “You’ll be in my Heart.” Ugh, too overplayed. But the other songs are good. I suppose, Disney-wise, I also go ga-ga over the soundtrack to TRON: LEGACY, but I don’t think that’s quite the same…:)

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      • I ain’t seen Tron. Must get a skeck. Taking it on excellent authority here the music is good. Yeah that song from Tarzan is overplayed. If I Never Knew You, from Pocahontas…I quite like that.

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      • You have to like a degree of techno music to enjoy it; Daft Punk did a marvelous job merging techno and orchestral music to truly kick a$$ :). Hmmm. It’s been an absurdly long time since I watched non-Pixar Disney movies–the witches/antagonists continue to freak my kids out. 🙂 Oh! ROBIN HOOD! I loved the rooster’s interludes. Loathed the love song.

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      • Robin Hood and Lil John were walking through the forest….. Ohh dellay ooh de lally ooh delally day I adored that film!! I love Disney actually. Cirlce of Life…Love the words

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      • It’s been an age since I watched that one! Disney’s nice, but it can be SO overdone. I was in choir competitions as a kid, and in those years EVERY bloody group was singing either Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, or Aladdin because no other music existed on the planet for THREE GOD DAMN YEARS.

        Liked by 1 person

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