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Chuck Vs Jones, Tim Jones

One of the many great strengths for Chuck, and a Josh Schwartz trademark, are the songs chosen that makeup the soundtrack. This topic was covered in my previous column which you can read here.

This time out the focus will be on the original cues or soundtrack written for the show by music composer Tim Jones. Oft times over shadowed by the Chuck soundtrack, Tim Jones has written some exquisite pieces of music that enhance moments and have become an invisible character throughout the show; the theme for the Chuck character being the most recognizable.

Tim Jones With Graham Jones - hmmmm

Tim Jones With Graham Jones – hmmmm

The process of how Tim Jones goes about turning his compositions into music is quite fascinating and, for me, quite different than how I envisioned it would be. When Gray Jones, the ChuckTV podcast guru, went to Los Angeles last September, he spent a couple of days with Tim getting to watch him work scoring an episode. You can check out how Tim does that here – and in even more detail here.

While the Chuck soundtrack is used to great effect to heighten scenes they are not written specifically for the show. If a more precise piece of music is wanted for a scene to bring out the full emotional impact then Tim Jones is the man chosen to create those musical beats.

Not being privy to Tim’s music documentation I ask Tim’s forgiveness ahead of time for arbitrarily devising my own names for the following compositional pieces. They are based on the emotional effect I believe he was aiming for.

Picking out individual pieces is difficult as some cues are used in only one episode while others appear in multiple episodes. The following is a list of the cues that are my personal favourites. Please feel free to add your favorite music score moments in the comments.

Comedy Theme: many instances at the BuyMore. Poppy, electronic beat.

Melancholy theme: Chuck Vs The Wookie – the Lisa moment from the end. Piano piece.

Triumphant theme: multiple episodes played when Chuck saves the day. Could also be considered the Chuck/hero theme with that familar blare of trumpets as the opening bars of music.

Reflective theme: Chuck Vs The BreakUp – when Sarah goes to apologize to Casey after the train station scene and as she approaches Chuck at the fountain before they talk. Piano with a low bass synthesizer undertone.

Drama theme: Chuck Vs The Broken Heart – the last 5 minutes with Sarah and Casey being ordered to bunker Chuck through Sarah telling Chuck they have to run to the closing moments as they drive away in Sarah’s Porsche. Wide range of music employing drums, strings, and brass.

Suspense theme: Chuck Vs The Predator* – when Chuck is held captive by Vincent and is seen through the hotel window by Sarah and Casey.
*A standout episode for Tim. This episode is rife with pieces of his compositions employing a variety of musical sounds to enhance the overall danger level.

Music is an important, and overlooked, tool in the film and television creative toolbox. When used effectively it can elevate a scene to higher heights by providing the desired emotional context. It helps the joyous moments soar. It makes the sad moments ache harder in our hearts. It makes the action scenes pump even more adrenaline into our systems.

Music scoring is akin to an emotional conductor to aid and guide the audience through a story. It is often the bridge between our hearts and minds as we see the images on the screen. Chuck is fortunate indeed to have the talented Tim Jones on board to build those bridges.

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17 comments

  1. I’m not sure it’s listed here–it may be the suspense theme–but I love the piece that pops up in the last couple of episodes in tense moments, like when Casey finds Rourke dead in his cell.

  2. The drama theme is in Chuck Vs The First Kill :P

  3. Michael- That song was “The Twist” by Frightened Rabbit.

    My favorite is the theme that pops up in the Intersect 2.0 chamber and in the BuyMore after the party.

  4. “Music scoring is akin to an emotional conductor to aid and guide the audience through a story. It is often the bridge between our hearts and minds as we see the images on the screen. Chuck is fortunate indeed to have the talented Tim Jones on board to build those bridges.”

    Agreed!

    I love the music of Chuck, all of it. It’s one of my favorite parts of this show.

    I LOVE the recurring theme we hear during the action scenes (really cool spy music!). We heard it from the beginning in the pilot. It’s when Bryce is running away from the cops/agents. I also love the music we hear when we first see Bryce in the Intersect room in the pilot and then we hear this same music again when he is dying and talking to Chuck in VS The Ring. GREAT continuity! In general, I loved the music during the whole last act/scene in VS The Ring when Chuck decides to download the Intersect 2.0 and discovers that he knows kung fu! Epic!

    Another favorite is the music we hear when Chuck learns that Orion is his father in VS The Dream Job. That whole part/scene is well epic! More of that please! :)

    Another favorite piece of music that comes to mind right now is that soft but beautiful melody we hear when Sarah tells Chuck, “Two beds?” And then they start going for a kiss in VS The Colonel. It was short but oh my, it was absolutely magical and ethereal. More of that as well please! ;) God, I love this show.

  5. I think for the drama theme you mean the scene at the end of Chuck vs the First Kill. That’s one of my personal favorites too!

    By the way, I’ve come to realize that Chuck’s musical score is really unique. I guess before I was under the impression that every show has a good score, and they aren’t really comparable, but I’ve come to realize that Chuck’s is really outstanding. Especially the main theme.. dooo dooo da do. dooo…. da. do. dadidadoo do dado dadidada, do da do. I hope everyone knows what I’m talking about haha. But anyways it’s just really energetic and awesome. I love it!
    Thank You Tim Jones!!!

  6. I wish Chuck’s closing instrumental track (plays over end credits) was available for download. Love that song.

    • @Jeff Here! Here! I have been hunting down the complete composition of the closing credits/action Theme for 2 years. Please someone talk this man into selling it on Amazon.

  7. Does anyone know what the music is from Chuck Season 1 Episode 13 – Chuck Vs. The Marlin where Chuck and Casey are looking for the Marlin?

    Thanks

    • @RMM I LOVE that music it’s so awesome! I always boogie down when I hear it! Anybody know a link for that music and also the end credits?

    • found this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re1E_3rQu8Y

  8. @Bouncy Drummer :

    Found this on youtube called Chuck Vs The Music

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RdA4JOhWoo

    No official song, just soundtrack music…

  9. George Hayward

    season 3 episode 14, 38:30 minutes in, what is the name of this track???

  10. I don’t know if Tim did either of these, but it might be fun to have the little piece that plays when Chuck flashes. The other is the song that starts with clapping as Chuck fights, the first I recall hearing it is in the third season but I could be wrong.

  11. @Shawn

    i think the track that your talking about is here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RdA4JOhWoo

  12. Agent Carmichael

    @Bouncy Drummer, RMM & Shawn

    check this out is this what you guys are talking about ??

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re1E_3rQu8Y