Top 16 Harry Potter Tracks

Christmas has just gone and over the holidays I watched all eight Harry Potter movies (as they were on TV). I was quite nostalgic watching the whole story arc over a couple of days, so I decided to pick my favourite tracks from the series. The list is based on nostalgic memories of the tracks and also how affecting they are. I tried really hard to whittle it down but of course there’s just so many good songs. I couldn’t even get it to a rounded 15 so you’re just going to have to listen to 16! The scores are quite nostalgic and moving. They’re incredibly made and I feel each composer brought something to each film. John Williams is a genius and for me his scores are really nostalgic and intricate. Patrick Doyle wasn’t around for a long time but he did create good tracks for the Triwizard Tournament. Nicholas Cooper & Alexandre Desplat were my favourites during the series, I really can’t decide who I liked more. Nicholas Cooper had such fun and upbeat tracks as well as being epic or emotional. Alexandre Desplat is a really serious composer for me. His sounds really have something I can’t quite describe. I wouldn’t say “adult,” as that’s a bit condescending, but more affecting and emotional I think. He just has these brilliant sounds. Obviously each composer has to play off the plot they’re given, but all did a really impressive job in applying music to the story. Anyway, here are the top 16 tracks for me:

16. “Ginny” – The Half Blood Prince (2009) 

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

This song plays in the scene where Harry goes to The Burrow and there’s some initial confusion where he is. It starts off with the harp, oboe and strings and works its way into Hedwigs Theme. But what I love most about this song is the horns towards the last third. It’s so warm which is a feeling I get throughout the film, especially with the colour and art direction. This same trombone phrase was something I noticed that was introduced in this film. It can be heard again throughout the score.

15. “Severus & Lily” – The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

Composer: Alexandre Desplat.

“The big reveal,” as I like to call this scene. It’s where Snape’s memories are revealed to Harry via pensieve. Alexandre Desplat was really clever here. He didn’t overstep the mark. The music doesn’t dominate the scenes yet it’s not simply background music. The flute does well in representing youth and innocence. As the piece moves on, there’s a feeling of tension and foreshadowing. We know what’s going to happen and the music reflects that. A real serious piece of music which only shows how amazing a composer Desplat is.

14. “The Room of Requirement” – The Order of The Phoenix (2007) 

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

The playfulness of Nicholas Hooper and of this film really comes across in this song. Initially it starts of quiet and delicate with light percussion. Then it introduces louder instruments like the clarinet and strings. It gradually builds and grows with bassoons and trombones. It’s really cleverly done. The music grows in confidence as the piece progresses, just as the students of Dummledore’s Army become more proficient in spells and defence as they practice.

13. “Harry & Ginny” – The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

Composer: Alexandre Desplat.

A beautiful and haunting piece. This scene takes place as Harry and Ginny discuss the wedding in the light of a chaotic social and political climate. The piano is delicate and echoes hauntingly and is followed by the harp and strings. A reflective and moving piece that helps to slow down and shut out the chaos of the wizarding world.

12. “Harry & Hermione” – The Half Blood Prince (2009)

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

This is used when Hermione is upset over seeing Ron kissing Lavender. It has slight similarities to “Harry & Ginny.” It features a glockenspiel followed by a harp and strings. It is a very delicate piece and really conveys heartbreak, seen in Hermione’s lament for Ron.

11. “Ron Leaves” – The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

Composer: Alexandre Desplat.

This takes place when Ron leaves (appropriately named). Another serious piece from Desplat. The cello is really impressive here, especially in the lower register. It’s a sound that hasn’t been heard much in the series. You can really hear Desplat’s influence. You really get that sense of loss and abandonment. The violins create a really emotional sound-scape. There is that sense of longing for something that’s no longer there.

10. “Ron’s Victory” – The Half Blood Prince (2009)

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

Takes place during the quidditch match. This really shows Hooper can create epic pieces. Great companion piece for the quidditch match. A loud, up tempo, epic piece. It features intricate strings, pounding drums, loud brass and harp and flute trills. You get this sense of soaring, as if the instruments are reaching for the heavens, like the brooms flying towards the sky. It’s such a ballsy song that packs a punch. Probably the greatest of the quidditch songs and ultimately memorable.

9. “Lily’s Theme” – The Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011)

Composer: Alexandre Desplat.

The intro to the final movie. What a great way to introduce us to the final movement of the Harry Potter story. It’s just an immensely powerful and affecting song. There’s a great sense of foreboding It retrospectively gives a nod to the last 7 Harry Potter movies while looking towards the end that is finally in sight. We know that this is where it all must come to and end and the final battle must be fought. I really love the vocal at the start of this song. It’s so minimalist and reflective. It gives way to a lifting string movement that is affecting and emotional. It really prepares the audience for the film.

8. “Godric’s Hollow Graveyard” – The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

Composer: Alexandre Desplat.

This occurs when Harry and Hermione visit his parents’ grave. There is great movement throughout the song. We begin with the delicate piano and glockenspiel and then move onto the cello which is so desperately sad. We then crescendos of sound as the music lifts and falls. A really beautiful song for an emotional scene.

7. “Dumbledore’s Farewell” – The Half Blood Prince (2009)

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

When Dumbledore has been killed. I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t been emotional during this scene. The music is tragically beautiful. It’s heartbreaking and we really ache for the friend and father figure that we have just lost. The strings and choir do a brilliant job here of evoking emotion. It’s a massive catharsis of emotion. A great sense of loss. A superb ode to a tremendously great character.

6. “Professor Umbridge” – The Order of The Phoenix (2007)

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

The character theme of Professor Umbridge. Can I just say, I loved Umbridge as a villain. She was a character I loved to hate. She was so manipulative and autocratic that she really got under people skins. Her theme song really reflects her personality and behaviour. The violins in the higher notes really reflect Umbridge’s prim demeanour. The whole song is all very clean cut and pristine. A brilliant song, one of the most memorable.

5. “Dumbledore’s Army” – The Order of The Phoenix (2007)

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

Takes place when the students are practising their patronus charms. Such an uplifting song. You really get the feeling of rising up against evil and doing something positive. It’s so playful and the instruments really work well off one another. They blend in perfectly. The strings create great movement and blend well with the clarinet followed by the brass and then flute. It really does create a happy sound-scape. We get the feeling as if we’re on a journey.

4. “Fireworks” – The Order of The Phoenix (2007)

Composer: Nicholas Hooper.

I love this song so much. You can hear it during the exam scene, the credits and I’m pretty sure it’s in The Half Blood Prince (2009). It’s such a fun song. An up-tempo piece. It represents this film perfectly with its rebellious and humorous nature. The strings create this really enjoyable and uplifting feeling.

3. “Harry’s Wondrous World” – The Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

Composer: John Williams.

This song is so nostalgic for me, and from the genius mind of John Williams. Great movements throughout the song. The brass brings a great warmth to it. It really uplifts the song. This song portrays the innocence of the early years. There are almost fanfares throughout the song which are seriously impressive. When get Hedwigs theme in the song also. The whole song is just so warm and uplifting from the strings to the brass to the flutes and woodwinds. The intricacy is extremely thorough and creates levels and movements of sounds that allow for a classic and memorable piece.

2. “Obliviate” – The Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

Composer: Alexandre Desplat.

The intro to the penultimate movie. Desplat creates this massive sense of foreboding. We really get the sense that this is it. It’s serious now and the hunt for the horcruxes has begun. It starts with these long notes followed by these pounding, earth shaking sounds. We then get strings which really reflect the seriousness of the story. The brass and flute inject some emotion into the song which suggests a feeling of fragility. It reflects how life risking this mission is. The climax then with the violins and trumpets is extremely weighted in emotion.

1. “Leaving Howarts” – The Philosopher’s Stone (2001).

Composer: John Williams.

This is played at the end of this film, and also at the end of The Death Hallows Part 2 (2011). A great finale to finish the series on and bring us around full circle. I loved that they did that. We started the series with this song, and now we’re finishing with it. A tremendously poignant and nostalgic song containing the classic Harry Potter theme,”Hedwig’s Theme.” It does fill you with great emotion whenever you hear it as it is ten years worth of a story and a journey. It really warms the soul and brings you back to the Harry Potter universe. The triumph at the end is sublime. It really lifts the soul. The final phrase will always be remembered. It makes me think of J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom: “Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.”

Songs by movie are as follows:

The Order of The Phoenix: 4

The Half Blood Prince: 4

The Deathly Hallows Part 1: 4

The Philosopher’s Stone: 2

The Deathly Hallows Part 2: 2

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