Main Theme From Legend of Korra

For the past two weeks, I started doing another music exercise from the show Legend of Korra, but this time instead of the opening, I’m using the main theme of the show. Compared to the opening theme, there are a lot more tempo changes and the instrumentation is quite different.

To start, my music teacher told me to listen through the entire thing first and try to figure out the tempos for different sections. Since Logic’s tap tempo system isn’t the most intuitive, I kind of just guessed and went back and forth between my click track and the music. Another thing that made mapping the tempo difficult is that at the very beginning there are strings playing really slowly. This made it difficult for me to figure out when the downbeat was, but eventually I managed to get something pretty close.

After mapping out the tempo, we started to figure out those slow opening chords played by the strings at the beginning. Figuring out the chords here was a lot easier than with the opening theme because there were fewer instruments. The opening chords are being played by a string quartet, and the timbre of each of them is really easy to tell apart. I was able to just listen and copy over the notes I could hear. If I was missing some notes, I could just use the notes that I’d already figured out and kind of infer what the chord would be to fill in the blanks.

Then, there’s a really short cello solo that comes in afterward which was pretty easy to figure out, so it wasn’t really that big of a deal. However, after that was when the music starts to pick up a bit with the cello playing an upbeat ostinato sort of thing that outlines a chord. To figure that part out, I just kind of listened for the note that was emphasized first, and then I tried to fill in the rest by thinking of the different intervals relative to the emphasized note. The cello continues the ostinato, but once the melody comes in it shifts around. It was still playing the same pattern but just a different chord. I just assumed that the chord structure for each chord change would be the same, so I moved the entire ostinato down to the emphasized note. It ended up being pretty much spot on with just one note that needed to be changed.

The last thing that we ended up doing was looking at the melody part that comes in when the cellos play their ostinato. For me, this was probably the easiest part so far because there are two instruments that are playing the melody that comes through really clearly. I just figured out which notes were being played for each phrase and then matched the rhythm after that.

Overall, that’s what we’ve done so far with the Legend of Korra theme. There was a bit more to it than just trying to listen for the chords because of how quickly the music changes compared to the opening. We’re still not completely finished with it though because my music teacher wants me to try and fill in the rest of the things that we still haven’t done like the percussion and some other harmonies that we didn’t cover. So most likely, we’ll revisit this soon.

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