True Blood’s Judgement Day Music History Lesson

Jerk and I have been catching up with True Blood over the past week and I think it’s fair to say we’ve both fallen in love.  One of the things that really got me was Sookie and Bill’s theme.

Nothing cinches a moment like a great theme, be it musical or visual that brings you back to a feeling, a history and a place every time you hear it.  True Blood’s stepped up to the table and brought their game face with this one.  You can hear it just about anytime they kiss.  It comes in like a haunting clockwork.  Of course the music geek in me couldn’t let this go at just that.  That’s right, you’ve heard that theme before.

Some shows go to today’s top 40 hits to express their characters while True Blood took a trip back to the 13th century.  The theme is based off of the Gregorian Chant, Dies Irae.

The Dies Irae became a sequence of the Roman Catholic Requiem Mass.  Okay enough music talk, it’s a wicked haunting, fire and brimstone kinda part of the funeral mass that’s played or sung right before reading from the bible.  The Dies Irae talks of judgment day, when the last trumpet is blown summoning souls before the throne of God, where the saved will be delivered and the unsaved cast into eternal flames.  Yeah no kidding.  Their wording not mine.  Basically a passionate separation of good and evil that comes with strong implications of death.

Berlioz used it in the 5th movement of the Symphonie Fantastique, calling it a
“burlesque parody of the Dies Irae, the dance of the witches Listen here.  No really, go listen.  It’s your good for you thing of the day.  (The theme we’re talking about comes in around 3:20) Now this movement of the Requiem mass is often greatly varied melodically and can range from sweet sadness to rage and fire but the message stays the same.  (For different but amazing classics check out Verdi and Mozart’s)

One of my personal favorites is the theme from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  It’s played here at the beginning then throughout the film, in the fight scenes and again I believe at his death.  It’s the theme of the curse and their love.

What better story to draw parallels from than this to True Blood.  I think it’s a complex and grandeur love story that is deserving of such a beautiful and historic theme.  Just, don’t tell the Pope.


[Edit]  Some of you have told me that you can hear Sookie and Bill’s theme on the composer, Nathan Barr’s myspace.  The theme sticks out quite clearly in all three pieces on the site.  If you’re interested in this at all you need to check these out.  He is also a fellow member of


~ by doublebitch on January 9, 2009.

15 Responses to “True Blood’s Judgement Day Music History Lesson”

  1. I can’ watch videos or listen to music because I have dial up, but this was very interesting nevertheless. I’ve recorded all twelve episodes of True Blood so I’ll go back and listen.

  2. The True Blood score has always haunted me – in a good way – especially Bill & Sookie’s theme by Nathan Barr. He has this and other beautiful pieces used on the show on his MySpace page. I never made the connection with Dies Irae, fascinating. Thank you so much for this!

  3. Cool! Thanks for the tip on the myspace page. I’ll have to check that out.

  4. wow. that was facinating. i never would gave guessed that the theme had prior origins because it fits Bookie so absolutely perfectly. thanks for posting this.

  5. Thanks guys !
    I posted to the blog
    Thanks again, “Dallas”

  6. i totally loved this post! the music geek in me is peeing myself and the bitch in my is peeing on art levine!

  7. I Keeel you, boil you in oil! oh god.

  8. I’m glad I wasn’t crazy! I kept on shouting to myself, “THIS IS THE MUSIC FROM BEAUTY AND THE BEAST!!!” while watching Bill and Sookie. Thanks to a nifty Google search I have proof.

  9. Most excellent! I’m not a music buff like you but I did enjoy all the music in True Blood, from the sample you gave to the title. I like that it’s not “new” sounding as well. It’s cool when you can bring your love of music into a television program isn’t it? Your studies are paying off!

  10. Yes! My boyfriend thought I was crazy when I kept on saying Beauty and the Beast music during True Blood!

    I may have seen that movie far too many times…

  11. I knew it. Its great to learn that both pieces are related. I’ve always loved the story of beauty and the beast and the theme from the film. Maybe thats why i LOVE True Blood (and have started reading the books)

  12. Thanks for this! I drew the parallel too and google searched to see if anyone else has. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  13. I’m a fellow googler – its good to know one’s random questions can be answered concisely by someone else (virtually no effort on my part was a bonus). Awesome post

  14. Yea, Im totally watching Sookie and Bill get it on, and all I can tihnk of is Beauty and the Beast music…so wierd, glad someone else heard the similarities, and thanx for the research!

  15. Wow, great catch! No wonder there’s something so familiar and haunting about the Bill/Sookie theme. The Beauty and the Beast song you’ve referenced is actually quite old itself – 1886. It’s from Carnival of the Animals, Aquarium. The true blood guys really crammed a lot of different references into their work. Great post!

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