Ghostbusters (1984) Elmer Bernstein
First released October 5, 2018
There was a long hiatus between Total Recall and Ghostbusters. This was due to having to shelve two other books, both of which I could not secure the rights. I had already started in on The Wizard of Oz around February of 2018, and seeing that it would take longer than projected to release, I started scrambling for something to release in the interim. Ghostbusters quite literally fell in my lap. A friend had acquired the complete score from Peter Bernstein, who was planning on preparing it for a live-to-picture concert. I immediately saw the potential of releasing that before Oz in a relatively short time. Certain cues were obviously re-written at the stage, but there was no accounting for it in the scores. There’s always a certain amount of takedown that needs to occur to make the score match the film and it was no different for this book.
Ghostbusters was the seminal feel-good sci-fi, paranormal comedy of the 1980s. It follows a classic story, one with great characters who have to prove themselves worthy, all while battling the supernatural. Armed only with their skill and proton packs, audiences loved the fresh take on an old favorite.
Instantly recognizable, composer Elmer Bernstein put his unique stamp on the film with several catchy themes. He captures the spirit of the Ghostbusters themselves with a playful shuffle performed on an upright piano. For the love theme in the film, Bernstein chose to have a gentle theme performed on solo cello, the instrument which the character in the film plays. Finally, the supernatural is given its own identity with the otherworldly Ondes Martenot performing a melody based on the whole-tone scale. This simple melody will eventually give rise to large and imposing chords.
The music for the film was originally recorded in Los Angeles over a period of a few days in early 1984. Some of the top players in the world were gathered under the composer’s baton. All of the players were veterans of the recording process, having all played on countless sessions. It is by no small part of the composer’s efforts that the film enjoyed its success.
Now musicians, music students, conductors – any music lover – can study Ghostbusters in this durable, high-quality edition, carefully reproduced and edited from the original handwritten manuscript.