Screaming Dissonant Choir – ‘The Good Fight’ composer David Buckley Q&A

I predict an Emmy nomination or two for CBS All Access’ first original streaming program “The Good Fight” created by Robert & Michelle King. The series is set in same universe as “The Good Wife” and picks up a year after the series finale of “Wife.”  Due to limited competition alone,  I’d place best odds on Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music. The category’s nominees are eligible for their first season only. Plus due to fact that fewer new series use anything more than a title card helps limit the field. The same holds true for Outstanding Main Title Design, another easy nomination chance for “The Good Fight.” This is not to say “TGF’s” is sub-par just because it has limited competition. Quite the contrary. “TGF” is in tiny group of series titles I don’t skip through. It is the most visually and audibly compelling of the season. The title sequence was produced by Barnstorm VFX with music by David Buckley.

David Buckley has composed music for all three of Robert & Michelle King’s recent series, “Brain Dead,” “The Good Wife” and now “The Good Fight.” His eclectic mix of scores include solo or collaborative work on movies (“Jason Bourne,” “The Nice Guys,” “The Town”), TV (“The Good Wife”, “Mercy Street”) and video games (“Batman: Arkham Knight.”) Born in England, Buckley’s first involvement with film music was as a cathedral choirboy performing on Peter Gabriel’s score for Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ.” He continued his musical education at Cambridge University where he subsequently taught. After graduating, he moved to London and began writing music for TV shows and commercials. In 2006, Buckley moved to Los Angeles. “The Good Wife” debuted in 2009.

Obsessed with the title sequence I tracked down that Barnstrom VFX completed the title design and asked them via Twitter who composed the music.

I then found David Buckley’s website and submitted 5 questions. As the contact form listed his representation, I expected to perhaps get a reply from an intern or an assistant. Instead the next day David (signed Dave) replied. So here’s my exclusive Q&A with Buckley.

Question) Will the main title theme be available for sale on iTunes, Amazon, or stream on Spotify? 
Answer) “No plan to release the theme or any of the score right now.”

However, “The Good Fight” YouTube channel has the main sequence for our listening and viewing pleasure.

Q) Was this an original piece you had already completed, was it used before elsewhere in your work, or was it totally original for “The Good Fight?” 

A) “The piece was written especially for “The Good Fight,” but I used a similar piece twice while scoring “The Good Wife.” The main title for TGF is much more dramatic than anything I wrote for TGW. In fact, it’s the most dramatic piece of music I’ve written for anything on television.”

I almost titled this post “Dramatics, Your Honor” as it is a very dramatic title sequence. That title was used for the episode in which Will Gardner died in “The Good Wife.” However Buckley’s next answer gave me a much better title and a hashtag I’m going to use for especially heightened dramatic scenes when Tweeting about “The Good Fight.”

Q) Was the theme inspired by any classical composer or other works?  

A) “The opening is played on a felt piano, which is a real piano that has been messed around with. Then chamber strings come in with a Baroque flavor. Then middle eastern percussion with a viola da gamba. Then orchestra with a screaming dissonant choir.”

#ScreamingDissonantChoir

Q)What came first, the title sequence visuals or being asked to write the title theme? 

A) “Robert King had told me about the concept of the opening credits. I didn’t really know or understand how the music was going to work, or even if it was going to be me scoring it or a song, etc. One evening I just played something into my keyboard very crudely that had this vibe. I sent it to Robert and he was totally on board! Then I saw the picture and we started to tweak it and refine it to make it work.”

Q) Do you think “The Good Fight” gets an actual title sequence because it is on a streaming platform?  (As opposed to just a title card used on most over the air broadcast series, where show length is dictated by standardized need for ad breaks?)

A) I don’t really know. I have only scored a few TV shows before and they all had very short title sequences. I loved doing this one as I could actually write a fully formed piece of music and as a result I can call on that theme during the show.

“The Good Fight” streams exclusively on CBS All Access in the US. The series airs in Canada on the W Network. 

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