David Schwartz is a composer, known for his scoring of the music for several television series. He composed most of the songs for Arrested Development, and he returned as the series composer for the fourth season, which debuted on Netflix. Schwartz attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He began composing music for television and film in 1990. The theme he wrote for his first network television series, Northern Exposure, resulted in a Grammy nomination. He scored every episode of all seven seasons the show ran. He has scored themes for television productions including Two of Us, Deadwood, Arrested Development, Carpoolers, Running Wilde, and Beverly Hills, 90210. His film credits include You Stupid Man. He is the father of singer-songwriter Lucy Schwartz, with whom he has collaborated on several projects, including the music for Arrested Development.
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Join me at the banana stand, I'll be playing some uke and answering any questions you'd like answered. http://i.imgur.com/G2DSeBM.jpg ||| Hey guys, it's way past my yogurt shake break, I'm very impressed by all of the thoughtful and knowledgable questions I've received. Some of you know more about the show than those of us who work on it. Trivia fact: If you check very carefully, in the first minute and a half of the first episode of season 4, you might see someone playing the guitarron in a sombrero who looks something like d.Fly. I'll check back over the next few days and see if there's any other questions that need answering. Now it's coconut shake break time. Really glad I had some time to get back here and answer some of these newer questions. I'm floored by the collective knowledge of this group. I've got a little writing project, but I'll try to check in again next week.
hey dad. love, ian.
Love you too!
Who had the idea to add the Simon & Garfunkel music in Season 4?
I believe it was Mitch Hurwitz' idea. After all, he is a genius. I did get to arrange the Mariachi version of Sounds Of Silence. It was a fairly challenging assignment. Listen to the Simon & Garfunkel record. Especially the tempo changes in the first four bars. Classic!
David Schwartz, why don't you.... share the song Getaway, full version Getaway, catchy tune Getaway? We're hopefully hopeful!
PS: Thank you for making this great show even better, I love your music!
I too am hopefully hopeful. The song should be up on the Netflix blog anytime now. Gabriel Mann and I will be creating a full length version that will be available on the after mentioned.
Bass player here, just wanted to give you huge props for the bassline on the AD theme. Tasteful, elegant, clever, perfect compliment to the tune.
Thanks, I love bass player compliments! I'm still a bass player at heart.
Did you write all of the fictional songs too, eg Getaway, or just the link up/background parts?
Yes, I've written the great majority of songs for the show. It's something we started with the very first episode. It's pretty unique in television and I have a great time doing it. Gabriel Mann has been a co-writer and singer on many of the songs. As has been Lucy Schwartz and Larry John McNally. All great singers. Interestingly, we usually start and finish the songs in one night, often starting around 10pm, that way I can write score all day and get a boost of energy when we start the song. There's definitely some songs we wish we could've made longer versions for, but there's rarely the time. I usually have a week or less to do score and songs for each episode of Arrested D.
How many ukeleles do you own?
You can't have too many ukeleles, but I've been getting close lately. I have a variety of different ukes I love my Mya Moe 6 string and resonator uke. My first uke was a KoAloha and is still a favorite. The arrested signature uke is actually a tahitian ukelele from Bora Bora and has four double course (strings), all the same gauge fishing wire.
Was it your idea to give each character's episode in the new series it's own unique flair? I absolutely loved it and have always loved the music on the series. Thanks for doing this AMA!
When we started this season, Mitch felt it should be some how different. Especially since each episode is usually more about a single character. I think he came up with the idea of adding something for each character. The woodblock solo performed by jazz great/drummer Peter Erskine, is a personal favorite of mine.
How do you feel about the Timocil song?
I feel great about it! Especially when I'm on my meds.
Annyong Mr. Schwartz! Welcome to reddit, the unofficial Arrested Development fan club. Thanks for taking time to answer our questions.
1) Your music encompasses just about every style, so who would you say are your influences?
2) Do you ever hang out with other TV/film composers, like Post or Zimmer?
3) Aside from bass, did you play any other instruments for AD? Was that you whistling in the opening theme? Because that is some damn fine whistling.
And speaking of the opening theme, (can't believe I'm about to link this) how badly did I butcher your piece?
I love your re-orchestration of the theme! Awesome! My influences are varied. Like any composer it's a total sum of my life's musical experiences. Early on, as a bassist, I played in almost every style imaginable: Orchestra, jazz combos, rock bands, Glen Miller orchestra (as a sub for two weeks, way after the departure of Glen), country bands, soul bands. It gave me a lot to draw on as a composer. Although I've met Mike Post and Hans, unfortunately we don't hang out...yet, i'm still hoping. Besides bass, I play other instruments as needed. I try to get other players as much as possible. Special mention goes to George Doering, guitarist, ukeleleist, and one of the best all around musicians I've had the pleasure to know. Also a great guy! The superb whistling is my good friend and musician James McVay. He calls his style, Merry Milkman.
Did you arrange the "gothic" version of the Final Countdown as used here ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4RKeZJpw1c ) or did it already exist?
If a certain musical cue is used in a situation (as in this example), is it up to you or does the script call for it or how does the process between you and Mitch Hurwitz work?
Yes the arrangement was mine. Mitch, writer producer Jim Valley, myself and the music editor, Jason Tregoe Newman watch a rough cut of the show and discuss all the spots where we would like to have music. There's often a lot of back and forth and a great deal of laughter. Mitch is funnier in the room than anyone I know. We also decide what we'd like the music to do. A lot of this can change when I actually start the composing process.
Just want to say this scene has one of the best bits of music. I don't know why, but the music fits so well with the looks on Gob's, George's, and Franklin's face. Also, are you the one or did someone else come up with "It Ain't Easy Being White?"-Franklin
I miss Franklin. I'm hoping for a Fox spin-off next season. That song was particularly fun to write. I crack up whenever I hear Will sing it. His relationship with Franklin always touches me.
Andale Hermano is awesome!! Do you have a version of it longer than 20 seconds??
I wish! It actually might be a little bit longer. We wrote that at 1:00am and then talked Antonio Soul into coming over to sing it with Gabe. Everyone's voice was totally blown out from singing and laughing. Bravo Hermanos!
What inspired the ukulele theme? I liked the derivative that netflix used for their bumper. Was that your composition as well?
Right before we started the original series. I had just returned from a trip to Bora Bora, where I had found a Tahitian Ukulele. A wonderful Polynesian gentleman who played uke in the hotel bar helped me find one from a luthier friend of his. Mitch Hurwitz the incredible creator of Arrested D heard the uke on a short cue I did and asked if we could use it for the theme. It was definitely a break through moment and helped define the music for the series. Almost every episode has a old style swing tune composed for that episode. Using the use of ukuleles gives it a unique flavor.
As I was sitting on my porch reading this AmA, someone from the house across the street from me came outside and started loudly singing The Final Countdown.
It was my favorite moment of the day.
Do you ever use your last name in reference to Spaceballs to raise the sexual tension in a room full of ladies?
Because I hope you do.
I wish I had thought of that! May the Schwartz be with you!
Balls in the Air is my absolute FAVORITE. Just sayin'. That is all.
Actually, EDIT: oh my god. Is it just me, or does the version of 'Getaway' on your site include the lyrics "Your tricks, they got no magic..." ?! :D
Get Away – Arrested Development
By David Schwartz & Gabriel Mann
Oh, there’s nothing to ya
Yeah, I see right through ya You’re losing it, you’re losing it
You’re laughin’ but you’re tragic Your tricks they got no magic You’re losing it, you always miss
Why don’t you go away Get away
You’re hopelessly hopeless Get away
Why don’t you go away Get away
You’re hopelessly hopeless Get away
What are our odds of getting a full-length mariachi "Sound of Silence"?
I'm in - if Paul Simon is.
Hello darkness my old friend
Ive come to talk with you again,
Estimate how many more seasons will we get?
Did you make the Motherboy theme and who is the singer? Also, did you create the Hung jury?
Yes to Motherboy. A personal favorite. Gabriel Mann is once again the singer and co-writer. Of course, I was thrilled to be working with Mr. Hung.
Will we ever hear a ukelele version of "Christmas Time is Here"?
That's a good idea! Although the original Vince Guaraldi version is a classic.
First off let me say I love the show and your music. I have a few questions if you are not already overcome with too many.
Turnaround is often less than a week. It can vary greatly depending on what's going on in post production and air dates. Arrested is very unique in that we don't have a formal review process of music. I'm honored and it also inspires me to write from my first instincts. Of course we now have a huge library so we have some options for the final dub / show mix. Also, I like to be on the stage for the final mix if the schedule allows. This is generally NOT the norm in television.
How many calls total did it take for the cast to be like "Yes, we want in to continue the show"? The new format seems to work around the busy schedules of the ensemble cast
Who were the session musicians for the intro and credits?? The band sounded really tight.
Also, how much do you end up composing and using live musicians? A film composer friend of mine (sci-fi network movies mostly) uses almost all samples
I'm lucky enough to have access to some fantastically talented musicians. You can listen to theme on my website http://www.davidschwartzmusic.com
All the musicians for the theme should be listed there as well.
I only have one question.
Need an intern?
Not at the moment, I have a fantastic studio manager/assistant, Justin DiCenzo. Keep in touch, we occasionally do need an intern when it gets busy.
Thanks for doing this ama, big fan of you and lucy.
Did you compose the fantastic 4 musical and if so, can we please have a full version of invisible, this would make my day.
I too am a big fan of Lucy. We co-produced her new album 'Timekeeper". The album will be released August 6th. Yes, I composed the fantastic 4 musical. So I guess that would make me the real Mark Cherry. It was done in 2 days the week it was to be shot. It's always different when you're writing music that will be filmed to as a opposed to composing to existing film. I wrote the musical with Gabriel Mann. It was Mitch's idea that all the Mark Cherry songs should be almost the same song, only different. We are discussing bringing the show to broadway this fall.....NOT!
I'm probably too late for you to answer this, but there was a song on Arrested Development, I think Season 3, called Shot By Love which I've had stuck in my head for the best part of a decade. I can't find the song anywhere, and I just need to know if there is anywhere I can download it, or if you have it and can put it up on YouTube or something? Please dear God have it...
"Shot By Love" I co-wrote with my longtime friend, Larry John McNally. LJM sang it and it's one of my faves too. Sorry it has lodged itself in your head for such a long time. I will pitch it for the soundtrack CD.
Do you get to meet the cast a lot? Any interesting stories?
I actually have met the cast a few times. They are as funny and as bright as you might imagine. Interesting fact: Jessica Walters' dad was a great bassist and bass teacher in NYC. As a bassist myself, it's something we can bond with. I also worked with Will on "Running Wilde". I was in NYC visiting the set, Will was there in a smoking jacket and gave me a personal tour of the mansion that they were shooting in. All in all quite surreal.
David, love your music so much! I'm particularly fond of "Man, I'm Blue," which I assume is an original composition of yours ("when I'm down, so down..."). Is that a full composition, or just a snippet/A section you wrote for a scene or two? I'm a jazz vocalist and sing with a couple trad/gypsy bands, and have been itching to sing that tune on a gig! Please let me know if I can find it anywhere... it would make my day. And I'll send you a recording, if so!
yes, that's my composition with Gabe. There's actually a 2:19 minute version featuring me singing the bass part. How do I get you an mp3? I will need your gypsy band version as payment. Thanks so much.
Whose idea to put "Cry Love" (John Hiatt) in? I'm not sure I've heard any other popular music in the show, right? Good song.
Edit: Save "The Final Countdown". But, I'd that's all part of the trick....no, illusion.
"Cry Love" has always been a favorite song of Mitchell Hurwitz.
David! I really enjoy the outro music and I think that the trumpet solo is really tasteful. I have a question- is there an edit in there or did the band flip the beat purposely? I noticed it sometime while I was watching the 3rd season.
That's trumpeter extraordinaire, Tom Marino. Tom and Rick Baptist have been my trumpet guys since the beginning. Two of the best. You have good ears. It is an edit.
I may have said this before, but I always try to write music that is fun, as opposed to funny. It's very much about pace and timing. I like to reference feel good music. There's a lot of television music from other shows that the music is there to tell you that it's funny. Wah-wah-wah waaaaaaah....pizz pizz pizz.... With Arrested, that's not necessary. Sometimes playing the scene very seriously or over the top mock-drama can be extremely funny.
Thank you very much for answering my question, however in doing so you have rustled up my curiosity.
You said how Arrested Development is "very unique" in the sense of music and how it doesn't have a formal review process of music, in what other ways is Arrested Development unique? and do you mingle with the cast well or to they tend to kept to themselves and you yours?
I think everything in Arrested is unique as it all comes from the unique mind of Mitchell Hurwitz. Composers are usually kept locked away in a dark studio. It's unusual to meet the cast. Although I'm not hanging out with our fantastic cast, or mingling on a daily basis, I have had some opportunities to interact with them.
Looks like I'm 5 hours late to the party - there's so much I've always meant to ask! I LOVE your work! On to my dying pressing question(s):
Several years ago, I acquired the "unofficial" Arrested Development Soundtrack (I don't remember where I found it). It was great and there were lots of songs on it. However, it seemed to be missing a few tunes. One I was particularly fond of was what I called, "Rita's theme" - it was this airy, lovely tune that was played frequently throughout season 3.
I guess the point of my rambling is: Do you think we'll get to hear some of the "unreleased" tunes from seasons 1-3 that aren't yet out?
PS. I used one of your songs in a video I made to honour my dog when he passed away since I thought it was so beautiful.
Sorry about your dog. The tune was called "Stick it to Love" and there are many different arrangements of it; bossa, violin, solo piano etc. That's a great suggestion for the upcoming soundtrack release. Thanks!
In the first episode of the new season, someone passes Michael and he says "That guy thinks he's a musician." Am I completely wrong or is that you passing him?
Not me. Jason Bateman's delivery of that line is pitch perfect. I did write the score under that scene called "She's Cute". Interestingly we made that song work in future episodes when the actors spontaneously sing a line of dialog. Michael sings "I've just a met a girl today" and Tobias sings "it's just a phallusy" twice. Amazingly, without too much adjustment, I somehow found a way too use she's cute as an accompaniment to these ad-lib melodies.
Hey Mr. Schwartz, huge fan of the show! Who's idea was it to do the head down sad monologue so often? Did they have any idea it would be such a hit?
That's Snoopy's theme (Christmas Time is Here) and was a brilliant Mitch Hurwitz idea.
Fantastic tunes! Your music IS an Arrested Development character! Anyway, I noticed you had an overhaul to your website (davidschwartzmusic.com). The last version of the site had a Contact button where fans could send you messages directly. I don't see that option on the new site. How might a fan electronically send you a message, comment and/or question (other than via a Reddit AMA--haha, and thanks for doing this!)?
There was a guestbook, but it became a SPAM repository. The new site has a comment section. Hope that helps. http://www.davidschwartzmusic.com/arrested-development/
Are Raine Maida's vocals used in the "what you trying to say to me" track? It sounds so much like him, and I heard the two of you know each other.
If memory serves, that was Alia/Maeby singing. I know Raine a bit and he's a fantastic singer and artist - but he's not a 15 year old girl.
What is your drink of choice?
If you happen to be at my studio at 4pm, it's yogurt shake time! I find if I don't have planned interruptions and breaks, I don't get out of the chair for ten hours. The 4pm shake break is very popular among my session musicians and assistants.
My scheduled 4pm yogurt-shake break. A favorite among my studio musicians and assistant! It allows me to step back for a minute, take a breath, and see the music in a new light. It's also very tasty! If you're ever in Santa Monica, visit SPARKY'S YOGURT. Sparky is my hero/lifestyle coach!
Could you provide any insight on if a fifth season on Arrested Development would be possible/Likely?
There's nothing I would like more! But I don't really have any privileged info. I'm hoping there will be a movie next.
Hello David. Would you consider making a longer version of Oh My?.
Sure! That's singer Antonio Sol.
Hello David Schwartz! I'm a recent graduate from the USC Thornton School of Music with a Masters in trombone performance. How does one break into playing on scores such as yours?
Interesting. My assistant Justin DiCenzo who started working with me this year happens to play trombone. He's quite good and he's playing on a number of cues. That's one way in!
Was it hard to go back to the show and come up with the same style of music after you've been away from it for so long?
It was a challenge going back after 6 years. I think all of us on the show felt that we had to top ourselves in every way. Once I saw the rough cuts, I felt very comfortable. I do feel the show has advanced musically.
Where can I find a clip of the middle eastern style music?
Did you write Getaway?
Sorry... I already said Maeby to someone earlier today
As a producer that's mostly written dance orientated electronic music, I'm very interested in branching out into film scoring and composing. Any advice for someone like me?
There is NO one way. I got my break by writing a friends movie score that he self financed. The movie never came out, but one of about 20 people who saw the film was Cheryl Bloch. Two years later she gave me a chance to try to write something for Northern Exposure. It became the theme and I got my first scoring job! It was incredibly fortunate as the show was both very popular and very good. Josh Brand, creator of the show and the other producers were all extremely knowledgable about music and we would use different styles of music for every episode. This was an incredible learning experience and entrance to a composing career.
One of the best ways to break in, is to work for an established composer, be a great assistant, and try to pick up everything you can while doing the job of helping the composer with what's needed. Also, take any scoring job that you can. Student films also can be a great starting point. And that student director may turn out to be the next Ron Howard. Incidentally, Ron is as nice as you would imagine.
Looks like I might be a bit late for your AMA... Well, just wanted to say "Get Along Little Sheep" is such a fun song. You made the move to the Grand Slo' Opry genre sound so easy! Thank you for returning. The AD crew likely wouldn't have felt the same without 'uke' on the team once more.
Thanks! Sheep features the fantastic vocal of Clare Muldaur of Clare and the Reasons. That's also the young Lucy singing "get along little sheep". Interesting side note..the wonderful Charlie Bisharat plays violin on that track and Olivier Manchon (also of Clare and the Reasons) contributed some superb swing violin on a couple of cues for season 4.
My brother loves you and your show.
I love your brother.
In the new season, there's a scene with George Michael and P Hound in a music room after the band walks out on them. There are a few bars of music on the chalkboard that APPEAR more than just random background. Can you shed any light on this?
I was there when that scene was being shot at Occidental college. The music was already up on the black board (green board?) when I arrived.
Holy crap, this needs to be done asap. How do we push for this, some sort of petition maybe?
Gabe is that you?
So it's YOUR fault I have the end credits music in my head all day EVERY day then? Haven't loved a show this much since I was hooked on Ren & Stimpy about 20 years ago. Hoping somehow they carry on foe a 5th season.
Remember....there's always bananas in the money stand!