Chapter 16 of 26 from Werner Herzog



Learn how to communicate the mood you want for your music and how to work with composers to create amazing, memorable scores.

Topics include: Finding the mood • Working with composers • Music placement

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking

In 6 hours of video lessons, Werner Herzog teaches his uncompromising approach to documentary and feature filmmaking.

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Class Info


The entire question about music, I cannot really describe. It's beyond verbalization. You have to watch, and you have to watch other great ones. Satyajit Ray the film maker from India, from Bengal filmmaker, who made a wonderful film called The Music Room, I think [HINDI], in Hindi. But watch films and look at it. Polanski's very good with music. The Taviani brothers in Italy, they're great with music. You have to watch Padre Padrone. How they deal with music is just wonderful. Sometimes I too have to music before I even start filming. "Dancing Chicken," [? Sonny ?] [? Terry, ?] [INAUDIBLE] [? John, ?] I think, or the end of the film Bells From the Deep, this deep resonant voice. And I knew I would have it at the end, and the skaters had to be majestic. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] [CHOIR SINGING] [CHANTING] -[INAUDIBLE]. -May peace and happiness and love be with ye, amen. -Amen. [CHANTING] [END PLAYBACK] I try to find the mood in the music. But I'm very, very fast in selecting music from the compositions. And very often, like Ernst Reijseger in my last films, I say here I need something very specific. There I need something very specific. Give me bucket of music pieces that have these kind of mood. And he delivers me bucket with a dozen variations of things, and I found out very quickly that's the one that fits. Normally, I do not have a composer who does from minutes 20 minutes and 40 seconds to 1 minute 22 and 11 seconds. It's not this exactly timed sort of thing. I normally ask for something which carries a mood, which carries such dynamic, which carries something bigger than what you see on the screen right away. It enhances certain settings. I would show them key footage in the film, like desert footage for Queen of the Desert or Fata Morgana, some basic elements of mirages that I shot. Or I would some key-- normally, it's the key things that I show. And I say, I need here to create space with music, and I need here something which is very unobtrusive and somehow seeps into your mind and solidifies it in your memory. Let's say Aguirre, the opening music, it's some sort of choirs that were voices in loops. And it was played like on a piano, on a predecessor of today's digital sort of choirs. And I said to Florian Fricke, who has been very dear to me as a composer and a collaborator, I said to him when he brought me some fast compositions, I said, no, no, no. It doesn't sound right. It's too much average music like in a movie. I need something that has great human pathos in it, something that is grandiose. You have a landscape, fill it, create space. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] [CHOIR SINGING] [END PLAYBACK] And what is also remarkable is how music, all of a sudden, transforms this mountain into a location of great human pathos. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] [CHOIR SINGING] -On Christmas Day of the year 1560, we crossed the last pass of...

Capture the spectacular

When the legendary director Werner Herzog was 19, he stole a camera and made his first movie. 70 films and 50 awards later, Werner is teaching documentary and feature filmmaking. You’ll learn storytelling, cinematography, locations, self-financing, documentary interview techniques, and how to bring your ideas to life. By the end, you’ll make uncompromising films.

Watch, listen, and learn as Werner covers every aspect of filmmaking, from pre-production to distribution.

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

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


Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog Teaches Filmmaking