I noticed a very common thing John Williams does. My knowledge in music theory is pretty limited.

The only thing I could name are lots of passing notes and chromaticism? - but maybe there is a special name/term for what he's doing? first piece the flute, second the keyboard and strings, third the upper strings. up and down, up and down...

excuse me if it's a heavily loaded question- maybe you can simply pinpoint what I should research? I know that maybe you could call it a sequence but it kinda doesn't help me. https://voca.ro/1apccSSIRKNt these are three excerpts

  • 1
    Chromaticism is what we call chromaticism. His scores are pretty chromatic, like many film scores. Apr 25, 2021 at 21:19
  • 1
    As @ToddWilcox says. In addition, these are primarily just upward and downward arpeggios.
    – Aaron
    Apr 25, 2021 at 21:23
  • [mild sarcasm] The common thing John Williams does, assuming you mean the film score composer, is to copy what he did before and try to make it sound different. Apr 26, 2021 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


These are melodic variations using arpeggios: A simple melody is turned into a more complex melody by filling up all 16th “in between” with notes from the accompanying chord.

To avoid big jumps, the filling notes go down and back up, keeping the original melody as the top notes. The main melody can be further emphasized by accentuating these notes, or doubling them with other instruments.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.