I made the orchestra play backwards for this movie

I made the orchestra play backwards for this movie


norman lebrecht

December 24, 2020

The Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson has been explaining how he achieved the score for the hit movie Tenet.

…. Where the protagonist observes fighting being done by both inverted and non-inverted soldiers on a large boat, he devised a complex score that would match the footage. “For that scene, I had the main protagonist’s main theme play inverted,” he said. “I made it sound like the orchestra was playing the theme backwards while the rhythm and percussion is still moving forward.”

“In order to achieve this,” Göransson continued,”I reversed the musicians individual lines of music on the page. I got a lot of questions from the musicians wondering if their part was full of typos. Then I recorded them playing and reversed the audio of the recording — if that makes sense.”

Audiences have complained they can’t hear the dialogue in the film. ‘It’s because the music and the sounds that Chris and I created is so highly experimental and new,’ the composer said.



  • Fred Funk says:

    Yeah, the violas had a LOT of typos. Geezus.

  • John Borstlap says:

    Writing music backwards saves a lot of time.

    Bach did this already in one of his Vier Duette: halfway, the music turns backwards. Maybe he was in a hurry, or his wife called him for the dish washing.

  • Couperin says:

    All for it to sound like must any Nolan film score? Honking bass rumbles, driving percussion rhythms, no recognizable themes?

  • Karl says:

    Are there satanic messages in the score?

  • William Safford says:

    It’s a bit like what David Lynch had actors do in at least one episode of the 1980s Twin Peaks: say their lines backward, then play the soundtrack backward, to make them sound weird.