From a very early age, Ted was mesmerized by the soundtracks of movies, and was especially inspired by the music of Max Steiner.  As I’ve written numerous times and also shared in some of Ted’s quotations, the lush depth of a full orchestra playing sublime chords, compelled him to understand and emulate those alluring sounds.

Here is an early transcription replete with various ideas inspired by movie soundtracks.

Below is a perfect example of Ted’s ever-vigilant ear and active musical mind.  Many continue to wonder how Ted could have possibly acquired and applied the voluminous quantity musical knowledge as found in his books, (his books, by the way, offer only a mere fraction of it all).    One reason, besides his all-encompassing passion, his mind was ever open to learning and experimenting even while watching something most would consider an innocuous, inane but amusing diversion, such as I Love Lucy. For Ted, here is what that “amusement” wrought:

Ted and Cocoa enjoyed watching TV together but reluctantly put up with my interruption and posed for this photo.

Below is an “updated” although incomplete, list of Ted’s favorite film scores. He began the original list in 1982, embellished it a bit in 2003, and thus it remains.

  1. PauVachon
    July 9, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    I can now understand how difficult it would be to watch a movie with Ted! As you have written in your book “My Life with the Chord Chemist”, that you and Ted often wouldn’t finish a movie in one night because he would continually stop the videotape in order to figure out some interesting musical passage in the soundtrack.
    What a wonderfully active and open mind he had!
    Thanks for sharing the Max Steiner page.

  2. July 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks so much!!! In looking back I think Ted and i spent more time on film scores then any other single topic. And by far. Can’t get enough! We had fun identifying ‘re-use’ by composers in particular, because a cue could evoke a basic emotion in so many unexpected film situations. Anyway, thanks for the pages.

  3. David Bishop
    July 10, 2010 at 5:39 pm


    This is a fascinating look into Ted’s mind! Thanks for sharing!

    Cocoa looks so relaxed, so I’m wondering why he sports what my wife and I call “big tail”? Did he just naturally have a fat, thick tail, or could he be alarmed about Ted’s choice of TV show?

    • July 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      Hi David!
      Cocoa did in fact have a naturally thick tail, in this case I think Cocoa is responding to Ted’s attention. Cocoa was not a TV- watching cat, but when he saw Ted on the couch…. that was it, a balletic leap to Ted’s chest and there he would nestle. I could hear them both purring.
      Also, I’m pleased you found Ted’s interest in film music fascinating. It played a huge part in Ted’s life, musically and otherwise. Barbara

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