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  • Chris Anderson

Music Revision - Stage & Screen - Theatre Music Composers

In the previous blog I wrote about how music could be used in theatre and while musicals are known for their prominent use of music, there are also many composers who have written music for non-musical plays. These composers create original scores or incidental music that accompanies the dialogue and action on stage, enhancing the atmosphere and emotional impact of the play. Here are a few notable composers who have written music for plays:

  • Igor Stravinsky: Stravinsky composed music for several plays, including his groundbreaking score for "The Rite of Spring," which was originally written as ballet music but has been used in theatrical productions as well.

  • Antonín Dvořák: Dvořák composed incidental music for plays such as "The Water Goblin" and "The Wood Dove," adding musical elements to complement the narratives.

  • Maurice Ravel: Ravel wrote music for Jean Cocteau's play "L'Enfant et les Sortilèges," creating a whimsical and enchanting atmosphere for the story.

  • Béla Bartók: Bartók composed music for plays like "The Miraculous Mandarin" and "The Wooden Prince," contributing to the dramatic impact of the performances.

  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Shostakovich composed scores for several plays, including his music for the satirical play "The Bedbug" by Vladimir Mayakovsky.

  • William Walton: Walton created music for plays by William Shakespeare, such as his well-known score for Laurence Olivier's film adaptation of "Henry V."

  • Sergei Prokofiev: Prokofiev wrote music for the play "Romeo and Juliet," which was later adapted into his famous ballet. His score for the play captures the emotions and drama of the story.

  • John Williams: Known for his film scores, John Williams has also composed music for plays. He wrote the score for Peter Shaffer's play "Amadeus," which was later adapted into a film.

  • Hans Zimmer: Another well-known film composer, Zimmer wrote original music for the stage adaptation of "The Lion King," adding new dimensions to the theatrical version.

  • Philip Glass: Glass has composed music for various theatrical works, including Samuel Beckett's play "Play" and Jean Genet's "The Screens."


These composers demonstrate how music can enhance the theatrical experience even in non-musical plays, contributing to the overall atmosphere, emotional depth, and storytelling of the performances.

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