Terminator – ThemesSteve Ley
The soundtrack for the movie franchise 'The Terminator' has seen several incarnations over the last 30 years. In this article, we will compare the core rhythms used in sequels to the original theme.
Terminator sequels’ theme in 6/8 meter.
The compound-time rhythm featured in the Terminator sequels expresses the dramatic tension in the movies effectively. After the above section has been played, the melody begins. Two extra notes are played on beats 5 and 6, creating a flowing groove (as seen below).
The theme as heard in the most recent Terminator movie – Genisys.
Original Terminator theme by Brad Fidel in 13/16 meter.
The original Terminator theme was composed by Brad Fidel using an assortment of synthesizers. It features an irregular rhythmic pattern that he stumbled upon by accident – hitting the loop button too early while recording. Liking what he heard, he then played the melody over the top, independent of the underlying ostinato.
In this notation (version A) the sixteenth note grid is grouped 3+3+3+2+2, felt as 3 slow pulses plus 2 faster ones.
Below, the same rhythm is written with the notes beamed differently. In this version (B), the sixteenth note grid is 4+3+2+2+2 (or 7/16 plus 3/8). This has a more syncopated feeling with 2 slow pulses plus 3 faster ones.
Have a listen to the original theme in the clip below and let us know what you think in the comments section.