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Arts & Entertainment

Tempo: Sherlock Holmes Scene

Hans Zimmer

Lesson time 3:58 min

Hans continues his tempo discussion with how he scored an extremely well-edited scene from Sherlock Holmes.

Hans Zimmer
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There was the scene that Guy shot which is all about super duper crazy slow-motion and things hitting and things-- you know, James Herbert literally doing a masterpiece off-- you know it's like an editing masterclass. I looked at that thing, and the first time I looked at it and I went, hmm. Right. OK. That's all the story going on. That's all the stuff going on. And stylistically it's very different from anything in this movie. So there are two ways of solving it. Either I can go and figure out every moment and do something with every moment. Or I can find a crazy simplistic through-line. And so that slow tempo had to be right. And these guys had been working, I think Guy will forgive me for saying this, they'd been working in the counting room on the scene forever and they could not-- they didn't want to go and ever look at that scene again. And so this is where the great thing is interesting because it changes the feel. So they were basically very, maybe a little bored with this scene. So I remember the first time I showed it to Guy. He's not saying anything. He goes, "play it again". I play it again. "Play it again". I thought, what's he thinking? He's not telling me what he's thinking. He's, you know, he's either-- he's either hating it or he's trying to come up with some-- it was like he couldn't look at the scene any more suddenly he found it completely compelling to look at again. So if I can find this bit, God, where was it? Real-- find-- we come from-- actually, we come from something, you know, which is on purpose very action musicy and very straight. Where are the horses? Stay behind. We need them. You wanna go back? What's wrong with that? This is nothing. Just let them talk. [MUSIC CONTINUES] [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] It's just one note, the whole thing is just-- [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH] So obviously, there are so many different tempos going on in the scene, in the cut, in the way he treats every shot. So by just brutally imposing this grid onto it, it feels like sort of-- things can't end up good. You know, it's like fate just grabs you and imposes its own rhythm on top of that. it. And I am on purpose not moving notes, it's just like boldly sticking to one note.

Tell a story with music

Hans Zimmer didn’t see a film until he was 12 years old. Since then, he’s scored over 150 films, including Inception, The Lion King, and The Dark Knight. In his MasterClass, the self-taught Academy Award-winner teaches how he creates sounds from nothing, composes compelling character themes, and scores a movie before ever seeing it. By the end, you’ll have everything you need to start film scoring.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

As someone who has scored over 90 films what I was originally looking for were specific compositional techniques, approaches, chord patterns etc and I what I took away from the Masterclass was a trust and deep belief in my own process and journey.

I know now what I want to do. Hans' life and journey really talk to me. I really feel like this is what I am made for. This is a world I don't feel like an alien in. Music is my life and now I'm sure to be right about becoming a full time composer.

Thank you so much for this. I've been on such a horrible journey as someone who's an academic failure who also found 'pop' too limiting, that I found Hans really inspiring, and very very relatable.

I am not a musician, I'm a photographer who loves music. The only thing I know how to play is the radio or spotify, that being said, this class helped me more with my photography than the Masterclasses about photography.


Rachel R.

This example helped solidify what he mentioned about tempos in the previous lesson. Great stuff!

New York C.

I get the BPM concept but I wonder if different time signatures especially uncommon have the same effect.

Dr. Monnie Chan

Our maestro teacher Hans Zimmer live concert in Hong Kong is coming on 26th September 2019. Just 12 days to go. I am going and wonder if there are any classmates I can meet?

Ethan F.

Great exemple of how to take a scene nobody can look at anymore, and make it so different with music it gets interesting again !

Kenneth S.

I definitely can associate the music with the scene better, when he sets it up... and when he says, boldly sticking to one note, you get it. Interesting lesson!

Chantalle S.

Wow! So very interesting. I loved how Hans showed the scene and the music he was talking about. I only wished he would do this in every lesson so that you can understand exactly what he is talking about. He has scored so many films its hard to keep track and find the exact scene he is referring to.

Kori C.

I am working on a music commentary that this concept works quite well with. The example Hans gave me inspiration. Thanks for sharing that clip and showing exactly what you mean Hans!


I love having the EXAMPLE showed in a movie clip. It makes it so much easier to understand exactly what Hans meant by every word, every action and every note.

Ryan W.

The one note also plays off of the iconic chimy/ metallic noise in the main theme...

Judith M.

I liked the one note idea and it being a forewarning. It felt like the type of music played at cinemas before we had audio tracks. It was down to the musician to warn the audience. Being a weird person, I leapt first in my mind into why was the scene not quite working.