Chapter 12 of 31 from Hans Zimmer

Tempo: Sherlock Holmes Scene


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

Topics include: Tempo Case Study

Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring

From collaborating to scoring, Hans Zimmer teaches you how to tell a story with music in 31 exclusive video lessons.

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Class Info


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 tell your story.

Watch, listen, and learn as Hans teaches his first-ever film scoring class.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Hans will also critique select student work.


Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer Teaches Film Scoring