Top 10 Soundtrack Composers

A lot of you NaNoWriMo participants are sharing your Spotify playlists. I’d share mine, but I’m super picky about what songs I add, so I want to build it up a bit more first. In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to count down a list (because who doesn’t love lists?) of my favorite score composers, since that’s where I find most of my writing music. Not all of them are from my NaNo playlist, but a lot of them have a song or two or ten in there.

#10 John Williams

I include John Willams in the list mostly out of respect. He’s such a talented composer! Personally, I’m not a huge fan of his style, but the mob would throw bricks through my windows if I didn’t at least mention him.

In case you don’t know who John Williams is, he’s responsible for the music in a little production called Star Wars.

#9 Alexandre Desplat

Two words: Harry Potter. Why is Desplat so low on the list? Well…the Potter soundtracks are fantastic, but when you listen to them all in a row, they start to blend together. Maybe that’s just because they’re so long? Either way, Lily’s Theme (Deathly Hallows) is definitely my favorite track.

#8 James Horner

Of all the entries in the list, Horner is probably the composer I listen to least frequently. He takes the eighth spot because a few of his tracks really stand out to me (namely a handful from his Avatar work). I really like the tribal feel in that score.

#7 Steve Jablonski

If you ask me, the Transformer movies are pretty bad. For a lot of reasons. The soundtrack, however, is not one of those reasons. Jablonski is an amazing composer.

#6 Trevor Rabin

Rabin makes the list as the only non-fantasy style entry. I refer mostly to his work for National Treasure, which is one of my favorite films of all time. The adrenaline-packed soundtrack is a big reason why.

#5 Thomas Bergersen

Okay, so Bergersen doesn’t compose strictly for soundtracks, but his work does find its way into a lot of trailers, so that counts, right? I mean, come on. The guy’s amazing. Just check out his albums called Illusions and Sun, among others.

#4 Harry Gregson-Williams

The lack of Gregson-Williams music on Spotify always disappoints me. He did such a brilliant job in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Why is that soundtrack so stinking hard to find anywhere?

#3 John Powell

This guy is all over my NaNoWriMo playlist. Simply amazing. So emotional, all over the spectrum. I can’t think of very many soundtracks more perfect than How to Train Your Dragon, can you?

#2 Hans Zimmer

You thought Zimmer would take the top spot, didn’t you? Well, not quite. He is, however, the absolute master when it comes to film scores. He’s everywhere, and he always delivers the best of the best.

#1 Hajime Wakai and Koji Kondo

Two people in one spot? Nate, you wretched cheater! Hear me out. I gave the top spot to both Wakai and Kondo because of one single soundtrack: Skyward Sword. No other soundtrack, film or game, has made me feel so many emotions so intensely. Never. Not once. While Koji Kondo did most of the music for the whole Legend of Zelda series, he only supervised for Skyward Sword, leaving Hajime Wakai (and a few others) to direct the bulk of the soundtrack. Hence, they share the spot.


Who’s on your writing playlists? Do you have a favorite soundtrack composer or two? Let me know! In the meantime, have a great day.

Top 10 Soundtracks for Writing Fantasy

A few years ago I compiled a list of my top ten favorite soundtracks to write to, but it was on my old site (which apparently has been taken down?), and my thoughts on the matter have changed since then.

This list is not in any specific order, and I really wanted to include clips/previews for each mention, but it turns out WordPress doesn’t let you link or upload videos unless you pay them a monthly fee and your firstborn child (WordPress, you’re great, but come on. Be real.).

Note: I’ve excluded soundtracks that I consider hard to separate from their films due to their iconic status in popular culture (soundtracks such as The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, etc.). 

So here we go!

How To Train Your Dragon 2

The first installment could have easily taken this spot, but HTTYD 2 has some of my favorite songs, so I’m giving it priority. Go check this soundtrack out. It’s beautiful.

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Eragon

Disclaimer: the movie sucks. It’s atrocious. If you respect the books at all, do not watch this movie. However, the soundtrack is pretty good, and there are a few tracks in particular that I think stand out.

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Pan’s Labyrinth

This movie is beautiful. The soundtrack is sublime. Both are substantially depressing. Listen at your own risk.

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

I never said this list was limited to movie scores. Twilight Princess and Ocarina of Time could have also taken the spot, but no Nintendo soundtrack compares to Skyward Sword in terms of emotion and storytelling. Koji Kondo, you genius. If I did this list in ranked order, Skyward Sword would probably take the #1 spot.

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Dinosaur

Didn’t we all love this movie as kids? Well, the soundtrack is as good as you remember it. There’s a wide range of ‘feels’ to cover in this one, so go check it out for yourself.

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Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Hans Zimmer will always be one of the greatest composers, and Spirit is, in my opinion, one of his best film scores.

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The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

A decent film with a fantastic soundtrack. No, not the BBC show (although, if you have time, you should look that up for a good laugh).

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Ori and the Blind Forest

The second video game score to make the list, it was recommended to me by a friend on Twitter, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. This score in particular has a very magical/mysterious feel to it, and though it’s not the happiest music in the world, it’s still awesome.

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Tarzan

Tarzan is probably my favorite soundtrack of all the Disney ‘classics’, and it has a wide variety of great tracks to fit different moods and situations.

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Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Okay, I really didn’t want to include a Transformers film in this list, simply because they’re terrible and degrading on so many levels. However, a handful of score pieces stand out enough to warrant a mention. Dig around, and you’ll find some gems.

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Of course, this list is based on my opinion at the time of writing this post (with a pinch of universal and undeniable truth). What are some of your favorite OSTs to write (or daydream) to? Comment below!