We Have a Winner!

Thanks to everyone who commented on my 13 Days of Doctor Who music post. It was great hearing all of your thoughts and reactions to the Doctor Who soundtracks. The winner of the Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol soundtrack is Erin! I will be contacting you via email, but if I get lost in the spam abyss, feel free to contact me at ryann {dot} m {dot} murphy {at} gmail {dot} com.

Catch up on the other posts at the Wibbly Wobbly Schedule.

In preparing for the post, I tried to make a video of my life set to the Doctor Who soundtrack. I probably should have left it on the cutting room floor, but here it is if you want to check it out.



Knob-twiddling and Wobbulators: The Music of Doctor Who

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Welcome to Day 10 of the 13 Days of Doctor Who! I hope you had a chance to visit yesterday’s stop at Patricia E. Riley, at Tangled Up In Words and be sure to check out Lisa Bigelow’s Must Love Doctor Who post tomorrow

When I used to think of the non-traditional work women did during World War II, I thought of Rosie the Riveter. Not anymore. From now on I will also think of Daphne Orem and, fair Whovian, so should you.

Daphne Orem shown here with a wobbulator.

Daphne Orem was a sound balancer during the war and afterwards she worked tirelessly to start a experimental sound creation lab. Finally, in 1958, she and Desmond Briscoe founded the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Much of the work done at the Workshop consisted of recording sounds and then manipulating them through editing, pitch-changing, and reversing the tape. Soon, wobbulators and oscillators were added to the mix.

But, Ryann! We are here about Doctor Who, not a history lesson!

Okay, fine. Fast forward to 1963 when Doctor Who’s first producer, Verity Lambert, contacted the Workshop looking for someone to do sound effects for her little sci-fi series, just six episodes long. Soon, the famous Doctor Who theme was born, thanks to music written by Ron Grainer and created by Dick Mills, Delia Derbyshire and Brian Hodgson from the Workshop.

Brian Hodgson scraped a key along piano strings to create the TARDIS sounds.

And, a lot of knob-twiddling.  And Hodgson scraping his mum’s house key along bass strings from a dismantled piano to create the TARDIS sound that we know and love. Genius, yes? But, seriously, don’t try that at home. (Looking at you, Mr. Murphy.)

But, you know the story doesn’t stop there. The series has endured for decades and some of those original sound effects are still used in the show today. Since 2005, Murrary Gold has been the music director for Doctor Who and has taken the show’s music on a slightly different, though no less awesome, path.

While I can appreciate the advancements of the earlier efforts, I love the addition of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for the recent Doctor Who soundtracks. Now the theme song has became a siren call between Mr. Murphy and I, summoning the other through time and space…well, from the side of the house anyway. We alternately pretend to play the violin part  or sing the electronic “Whooo-eeeee-ewwww”. Here’s the link if you want to play along at home.

The genius of Murrary Gold and Ben Foster shine through every note. Did you know Gold created a theme for each Doctor as well as Rose, Donna, the Cyberman (boo, hiss) and more? My question is, when do we get OUR own fan theme? It could be a hipster track created from the sounds of our minds being blown and our hearts being broken (#teamdonna).

Vocal performances also enhance the soundtracks of several episodes. “End of Time” is particularly moving as each time the Doctor talks of his upcoming death or bids farewell to his companions, haunting vocals in “Vale Decem” create a requiem leading us towards a regenerating Doctor. Melanie Pappenheim is also breathtaking in Rose’s farewell from Season 2.

Even with all this amazing music, Doctor Who still inspires people to create their own musical mashups in tribute to their favorite show. You can even make your own own version of the Doctor Who theme with the radiophonatron. Come on, I know you want to try it. Master this and you’ll be a hit at parties. Well, certain parties. Well, okay, just Doctor Who parties. Still, try it already!

Here is one of my favorite mashups. You might want to grab a box of tissue. No? Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Looking for a Doctor Who Theme you can dance to? Check out this groovy tune:

It takes a lot to make a television series capture your mind and your heart. I can appreciate great acting and brilliant storytelling, but an outstanding soundtrack can bring it all together and wrap it up with a bow of emotional intensity. For me, the Doctor Who soundtracks do exactly that.

“The Universe will sing you to your sleep, Doctor. This song is ending but the story never ends.” –Ood Sigma


Thanks for stopping by and thanks to Erica and Eliza for letting me climb aboard the Doctor Who train!

Mini Prize:

To enter my mini prize giveaway of a copy of Doctor Who – A Christmas Carol, the soundtrack to the upcoming Christmas episode, leave a comment with your name and email address below. This giveaway will close on midnight CST on December 24. The prize will be either CD or MP3 as appropriate.



Grand Prize:

To enter the grand prize giveaway for the Complete Sixth Series on DVD, please leave a comment with your name and email address. You may enter once at every stop on the blog tour for a total of thirteen chances. The Grand Prize giveaway is limited to the US and Canada, due to regional restrictions on the DVD. Individual contest will close at the discretion of the author, but the Grand Prize contest will accept entries on any site until midnight CST on December 24th. We will post the winner on December 25th, and notify the winner via email.