Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Incredible Hulk (Lonely Man)

This blog post is dedicated to +Anaru White 

Every time I hear this piece of music, I think about the beauty of pain and loss, fear, love and sadness.  The subtlety of the dynamic levels with the gradual decrescendo with the softening of the volume before the accelerando signals a dramatic increase in speed is equally balanced with the gradual slowing down of the tempo at certain points.

In the video clip below, you will see the 1978 series finale with a poignant line uttered by the little boy that David Banner reflects on:

My grandmother, always says, people never die, as long as somebody remembers them. . . 


The theme music in the video clip is entitled Lonely Man.  It is not often that you see different theme songs for the opening and closing credits of a TV show but this show was by no means your average show.

The closing credits of the TV series The Incredible Hulk starring Bill Bixby as David Banner always showed him walking away on to the next town.  It kind of reminded me of The Littlest Hobo  in this sense (see a previous blog post with the same name) except the dog walking from town to town is featured in the opening credits of the show.

Lou Ferrigno played The Hulk and with little acting experience from appearing on Pumping Iron, he was soon a household name featuring in the TV series for the duration of its run.  He was never replaced by another actor because of his physique and he also performed most of his own stunt work.

When I taught music, I often use this theme to illustrate the opening interval of a minor 6th when we were studying major and minor intervals.  The students liked my attempts at a voiceover, the part where the narrator outlines David Banner needing to move around until he finds a cure for his disease.  What I love most about this theme is its melodic simplicity yet the wide intervals in the melodic line contribute to the melodic contour, as different octaves are used.  

The fact that there are no lyrics to reflect on with this theme song, I think, is quite perfect.
There are some pieces of music that words cannot articulate, encapsulate, encompass and express.
The left hand in the piano serves as the accompaniment to the right hand melody.  I have always marvelled at the partnership that occurs when two hands play - one leads while another follows, sometimes they switch positions and one follows while the other leads.  Learning how to play the piano in this way involves intense training, honing your technique with scales and exercises that are designed to build strength in your forearms, dexterity in your fingers and inform how you touch the piano.  The sounds that a well trained pianist makes when they touch a piano is vitally important. 

When you are well versed in the playing of an instrument, you become discerning and your ear is trained to differentiate the nuances in sounds that other pianists make.  You develop a particular preference or taste for musical interpretation.  You know what you like.  You hate what you hate.

I hope that when you need to reflect on the pain, loss, anguish and fear that have plagued the moments of your life, that you think about how beautiful they are because they reveal more about you than you will ever truly appreciate.  This can only be seen by others who believe in you, because you fail to see the potential in yourself.

Just as the flows and ebbs of the tides of the ocean rise and fall with each wave, just as the melody swells and softens with each few bars in this theme song - just know that like the good Maya Angelou says you not be remembered for what you said, but you will be remembered for how you made people feel.

So be happy - even when people think you are the lonely man.
As long as I remember you, you will never die :-)