The Leitmotifs in Gloriana


Having made all four songs during the period of October to January of last year, I had not yet been able to update my blog with what I done fully with Gloriana up to now. Since I needed to prioritise with creating  the scores first at the time, and having November being the time I was diagnosed with Cancer.

For the whole of Gloriana, I have created leitmotifs that develop over the course of the four films, Elizabeth’s leitmotif is the only one that does this, as she lives through the events that take place in each of the four songs, for the other two major character they appear in 3 or 2 out of the four songs. See below the leitmotifs are for the three major characters in the historic story.

  • Elizabeth I of Britain
Eliazbeth's original leitmotif copy
Figure 1A. French Horn part From bar 20 in “Ascension Complete” (Track 1). This is Elizabeth’s Original (‘Proud’) Leitmotif, as created to represent Elizabeth’s strong will and intelligence. As firm sounding key of G major is associated with may coronations and grand events. The semiquaver movement is notable as it manifests Elizabeth’s rise to power in a strongly, diatonic rooted manner (with a tone then semitone interval passage)



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This variation of Elizabeth’s Leitmotif, is known as Elizabeth ‘Seductive’ leitmotif. not only the key is in G minor, but what was previously a ascending, diatonic, semiquaver passage, as now become a chromatic, quaver passage. the quaver now is is played in fully semitone movement. The off beat nature of the whole leitmotif, is different as is on the off beat, syncopating the leitmotif. this adds to the alluring side of Elizabeth as well as as a Ska influence to the song. The Tempo at 140BPM sets a pressured layer to the atmosphere in the music.

The Bass part acts as the caller to the Guitar part, carrying a part of the aforementioned leitmotif, and keep the whole piece on the beat using the tonic note of the key.

Elizabeth's Sad leitmotif variant copy
Figure 1C. Oboe part excerpted from bar 55 in “Cousin under the Axe” (Track 3).  Unlike the Proud (Original) Elizabeth’s leitmotif, Elizabeth’s ‘Sad’ leitmotif uses double the note values, and using the relative minor – E minor although first appears in the original key. Along with the time signature at 5/4 and the tempo set at 66 BPM. All these features contribute to the overall sadness this song is about, Elizabeth herself is very upset in having the knowledge of Mary queen of Scots finally been executed.
Elizabeth War leitmotif copy
Figure 1D. Trumpet part excerpt from at bar 102 in “Bull versus Lioness” (Track 4). This variation known as Elizabeth’s ‘War’ leitmotif, is in D minor, set in 3/4, tempo at 140 BPM, shorter note values and busier. Setting the tone she has to be ruthless in the eye of her enemies. the fast spurts of the semiquavers represents the quickness but strength too that is like a Lioness. Dodging the attacks of a Bull that is manifested with Philip and the Armada.
Elizabeth's Victorious leitmotif variation copy
Figure 1E. Violin part Excerpt from bar 264 in “Bull versus Lioness” (Track 4). This final variation is based on the original (‘Proud’) Elizabeth leitmotif. but is set in F major, modulating from the D minor which the Elizabeth’s ‘War’ leitmotif. The final variant being Elizabeth’s ‘Victorious’ leitmotif, interval patterns are the same as the ‘Proud’ leitmotif, it brings the whole musical full circle, a optimistic start ending in at a bright ending.
  • Mary Queen of Scots
Mary Queen of Scots original theme and Elizabeth reference copy
Figure 2A. Bagpipe part excerpt from bars 102 -115 in “To marry or not to marry”. Bars 102 to 104 contain the Mary Queen of Scots original Leitmotif. It is firmly set in G major, due to the pitch range of the French Custom Bagpipe (owned and be used to perform with by Peter Davis). the instrument is important here, the sound of the bagpipe is associated with Scotland, and the type of bagpipe is French.

Bar 105 contains the reference to Elizabeth, the quaver rise pattern is present from Elizabeth’s original (‘Proud’) Leitmotif. Linking the fact that both Elizabeth and Mary are cousins. musical reference as such.


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Figure 2B is the Mary Queen of Scots’ ‘Proud’ leitmotif, this reflects musically Mary’s stoicism in the face of the audience of her execution as she enters the execution room. It serves as a musical reflection of her past too.

Figure 2C. The leitmotif (Mary’s ‘Loyalty’ leitmotif) shown represents the sheer loyalty shown to Mary by her servants, the magnanimity Mary shows is also under this leitmotif.

Figure 2D. Mary’s ‘Defiance and appraisal’ leitmotif accompanies Mary’s speech which is also her final words. A message of her unshakeable dedication to her faith, and message of praise intended to her Son and Elizabeth.

Figure 2E. The ‘sealed fate’ leitmotif, captures the inevitable demise of Mary, also reveals the stoicism she displays further which from her perspective she wanted to be free from her life as a prisoner.

A general observation is that the leitmotifs, as they progress for Mary Queen of Scots they become more longer and elaborated, this reflects on the situation musically becoming more emotional. The leitmotifs for Mary also serve the purpose of inform the listener, about Mary’s character.

  • Phillip II of Spain
Philip II introductory theme copy.jpg
Figure 3A.  Acoustic guitar part from from Bar 69 to 73 in “Cousin under the axe” (Track 3). not really a leitmotif, but it is a musical theme, a musical hint using the phrygian mode of D to represent Philip II, it is also a taste of what is to come for the fourth track. Although a leitmotif for Philip is present next to discuss.


Philip II main Leitmotif copy
Figure 3B. French Horn part from bar 99 to 100 in “Bull versus Lioness”. Philip II’s ‘War’ leitmotif is derived from Phrygian mode of D while Elizabeth’s is in D minor (Aeolian mode). This can be played with forceful attack, much similar to a Bull which is key to the title of the song, and to Philip’s character at the moment. 

New Drum Groove added to Bull versus Lioness 16/06/2017

After listening to my converted version of Bull versus Lioness with VSTs, in the second part of the Guitar solo, a nice unexpected drum groove that emerge due to the non-drum mapped that is defaulted to the Drum sound I used from the “Darkside” EastWest Drum sample. So I have changed that section as such:


Screenshot of new Drum groove
Figure 1. Start of new drum groove. Page 22 bar 213- 214


I have also modified the ‘Outro’ section of Bull versus Lioness:

Evidence of Modification progress 16
Figure 2. Page 27 Bars 254 – 263

This might be the first of a few checks of the scores before I begin the Visuals and the recording stages.

‘Ascension Complete’-roughly complete

Score writing for 1st song is now completed, all that is needed to do, is to add the Narration and the lyrics, which hopefully will be sorted soon.

(due to WordPress not allowing me to put audio files on there, I would have to place them maybe on YouTube perhaps, and than reference them that way.

At the moment, the second song, ‘To marry or not to marry’ is 1/3 or half way through score writing completion.

Music inspiration

Audio inspiration:

  • General inspiration:

-War of the Worlds

-Rick Wakeman’s The six wives of Henry VIII

  • Song inspiration for  each of the four songs:
  1. The Coronation of Elizabeth and introduction of the New Prayer book:

-Claudio Monteverdi’s Toccata from L’Orfeo

-The Battle (cinematic song) from Gladiator by Han Zimmer (0’00 – 1’00)

2. The issue of Marriage:

-Darte un Beso by Prince Royce

-Photograph by Ed Sheeran

-with an element of Ska/bossanova?

-Easy Lover by Philip Bailey/Phil Colins

3. Execution of Mary queen of Scots:

-Western wind by Padriag Lalor

-Beauty that killed the Beast V from King Kong by James Newton Howard

–The sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel and Disturbed’s cover too

4. The Spanish Armada:-

-I am by Theocracy

-Island of my Heart by Dream tale

-MegaMan X ‘Spark Mandrill’ for Orchestra by Walt Ribeiro

Elizabeth I leitmotifs

As the first of the leitmotif to be created, it is very clear, that Elizabeth I should have her own music identity, as from the following leitmotifs shown, both have similar melodic lines, this due to:

1. The use of tonic note (in this example is C) in this way, tries to convey the strength in Elizabeth’s character, mostly her intellectual might, but also her will power.

2. The simplicity of the melody, allows this leitmotif room to develop, and also sounds effective given the genres in mind.

However, the two variations are different mostly due to what is played in the accompanyment

elizabeth-leimotif-iLeitmotif 1 employs ‘ploddering’ movement, which could be very effective for Elizabeth’s Coronation and new prayer book event (track 1), to establish the grandness of such a ceremony. This variation could be good to use in the Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots event (track 3), but using a minor key or chromatic chords to highlight, Elizabeth’s dread of the consequences of the events to unfold.elizabeth-leitmotif-2

Leitmotif 2, is perhaps best suited in the Issue of Marriage event (track 2) and The Spanish Armada (track 4), as the combination of the semiquaver movement, and the octave raise. can for song 2, mimic Elizabeth’s uncertainty of marriage, both as a heart pounding feeling as she has a lot of expectation on her shoulders to marry, but realises seconds after the initial thought, the problems it will cause.