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Composer Hans Zimmer Never Meant To Make Movie Trailer "Braams" A Thing

LOS ANGELES — We've heard it for years as a staple of the modern movie trailer — the brassy foghorn-like sound used as a way to emphasize something important.

"Braaams," as they've come to be known, began to pop up after legendary composer Hans Zimmer invented the sound for Inception. Zimmer now admits they're being overused and losing their dramatic effect.

“The really simple brass 'braaams' of Inception — now, when Chris (Nolan) and I did those, they were an absolute story point. They were in the script,” he told the crew of SCORE: A Film Music Documentary, which will release in theaters in June and have an accompanying book packed with insider stories and insight from Zimmer and other composers.

Hollywood latched on to this effect, especially in movie trailers, where “braaams” became part of the vocabulary.“Then they sort of became ubiquitous in a funny way in trailer music,” Zimmer told the SCORE crew.

“People were just sort of using them as transitional pieces. So the idea that they actually tell a story got lost.”

A self-described cinephile who watches multiple films every day, Zimmer identified the importance of that sounds to tell a story — something he’s noticed has fallen off in many trailers since that attempt to use the same “braaam” sound.

“They’re just a sound effect,” he said. “So their meaning got distorted. And so there’s a sort of misuse of that.”

Zimmer talks at length about secrecy and privacy being essential in film composing in the never-before-seen interview featured in SCORE: The Interviews, available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon now.

“Let me just define this idea of secrecy as opposed to the way I look at it,” he told the SCORE team. “It’s not secret; it’s private. And there are many reasons. The most obvious one, is if we tell you everything beforehand, if we show you everything in the trailer, the thrill is gone.”

This tied in centrally to his work on The Dark Knight and Interstellar as well. As powerful as his music can be in affecting our emotions, Zimmer considers story to be king, and himself to be more of a filmmaker than just a composer.

The never-before-seen interview with Zimmer is one of dozens featured in the new book SCORE: The Interviews, available in paperback and on Kindle — a treasure trove of rare interviews and insight with dozens of composers and directors will accompany the June release of SCORE: A Film Music Documentary.

The 352-page paperback book is packed with insider stories and never-before-heard in-depth interviews with dozens of maestros of the modern age, including Hans Zimmer, James Cameron, Quincy Jones, Rachel Portman, and one of the last long-form interviews conducted with Hollywood icon Garry Marshall.

Readers will step into the soundproof studios of film's top composers with the SCORE team to experience composers' journeys, struggles, secrets and how they find their groove.

The book is available on Amazon.

Composers Hans Zimmer (The Lion King, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight, Inception), Quincy Jones (The Color Purple, The Pawnbroker, In Cold Blood), Randy Newman (Toy Story, Monsters, Inc., The Natural), Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Seven), Trent Reznor (The Social Network, Gone Girl, Nine Inch Nails), Tom Holkenborg (Mad Max: Fury Road, Batman v. Superman) and more. Plus, hear rare insight from director James Cameron and the legacy of James Horner, along with one of the final interviews conducted with legendary director Garry Marshall.

Modern maestros reveal their creative secrets.

  • Composer David Arnold: Bond, the British sound and using music from dreams.

  • Director James Cameron: How score shapes a film and working with James Horner.

  • Composer Quincy Jones: Music s evolution and emotive power on us.

  • Composer Randy Newman: Great film music in history and scoring for animated films.

  • Composer Rachel Portman: Using music to your advantage and female film composers.

  • Composer Howard Shore: The great epic film score and connecting all the dots.

  • Composer Hans Zimmer: The joy (and vulnerability) of musical experimentation.

  • Director Garry Marshall: How to use music to fill, fix and enhance film.

  • Composer Bear McCreary: Creating an efficient, tight-knit film composing team.

Goosebumps and exploring music's cutting edge.

  • Composers Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross: Production value and the film score as an album.

  • Composer Brian Tyler: Growth, excitement and striving for perfection.

  • Composer Mychael Danna: Musical styles across different nationalities.

  • Composer Tom Holkenborg: Intensity and goosebumps.

  • Composer Harry Gregson-Williams: Traditional score meets technology.

  • Composer Steve Jablonsky: Reinventing electronic sounds.

  • Composer John Debney: Inspirations from childhood to the scoring stage.

  • Composer Trevor Rabin: Wrestling with the clock and working with producers.

  • Composer Patrick Doyle: Life and passion reflecting through music.

Inspiration and film music's worldwide impact across languages.

  • Composer Mervyn Warren: A record producer approach to film scores.

  • Composer John Powell: Flipping the film score on its head.

  • Composer Alexandre Desplat: International influence and the beauty of music.

  • Composer Elliot Goldenthal: Deadline pressure and mastering a sound.

  • Composer Henry Jackman: The British film score invasion and melody.

  • Composer Marco Beltrami: Finding the right sound and music for thrillers.

  • Composer Mark Mothersbaugh: The rockstar-turned-composer.

SCORE: The Interviews is available on Amazon. For bulk pricing discounts for educational institutions, please contact

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