Star Trek has arguably produced more music than any single motion picture or television franchise in history. From the 33 core scores of the original television series (plus numerous cues of prerecorded library music adapted from parts of those scores) to the elaborate theatrical film scores by such luminaries as Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Leonard Rosenman, Cliff Eidelman a...
Star Trek has arguably produced more music than any single motion picture or television franchise in history. From the 33 core scores of the original television series (plus numerous cues of prerecorded library music adapted from parts of those scores) to the elaborate theatrical film scores by such luminaries as Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Leonard Rosenman, Cliff Eidelman and Dennis McCarthy, to literally hundreds of scores written for episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, the sheer tonnage of music written for Star Trek is imposing. What’s even more remarkable is the fact that a great deal of music written for the franchise is so damned good. Music for television is produced under crushing schedules with limited resources, particularly when undertaken at the tiny Desilu Studios in the mid-1960s. The original Star Trek Scores by Alexander Courage, Fred Steiner, Sol Kaplan, Gerald Fried, Joseph Mullendore, Samuel Matlovsky and Jerry Fielding were on the whole made up of thematically rich, dramatically powerful and highly memorable music that has burrowed its way into the public consciousness over the past three decades.
It’s true that the music has been repeated so often in reruns (with individual cues often playing several times within a single episode due to the miracle of tracking library cues) that it can’t help but be memorized by people who have religiously watched the reruns over the years. But if simple repetition made the heart grow fonder, "The Star Spangled Banner" would be everyone’s favorite song. Star Trek music has survived because it speaks uniquely to the franchise’s characters and its audience, evoking exotic alien cultures, heroism, nail-biting drama and spectacular action.
The object in putting this book together is to illuminate some of the craft and artistry that went into the creation of music for all the Star Trek series and movies. In thirty years there have been books written about virtually every facet of Star Trek but the music, and recognition for a great many of the composers who’ve worked on the various series and movies is long past due. I have been extremely fortunate in being able to speak to almost all of the surviving composers of the original series (as well as original series producer Robert Justman), most of the Star Trek movie composers, and all of the composers who have contributed to Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, as well as music editor Garry Sackman, who’s worked on all three series. The book is a roughly chronological discussion of the series scores, ranging from a critical overview to composer interviews, cue sheets and a discography of Star Trek music available on CD. The cue sheets from the original series should be of particular interest, since the tracking and musical credits on the show often made it difficult to determine exactly who wrote what cue for what episode. Obviously, discussion of all The Next Generation, DS9 and Voyager scores is impossible within the limited confines of this book (in any case, they just keep writing more!), but I have tried to discuss some of the most important scores of all three series in detail and provide an overview for the general stylistic trends that have developed on each of the series.
· · · · · ·
Jeff Bond is Managing Editor of Film Score Monthly magazine and Executive Editor of Eon Magazine, an online science fiction media magazine. He has written for Sci Fi Universe magazine and contributed over one hundred reviews to The Videohound’s Guide to Soundtracks.