Watch ‘Seinfeld’ Theme Composer Explain That Iconic Bassline

 

Composer Jonathan Wolff says the unique theme for Seinfeld came about because of problems the show was having integrating music into its unique opening sequence. 

Wolff had also written music for shows like Married With Children, Dave's World, Saved By the Bell, Who's the Boss and Flying Blind, but he quickly became best known for his tasty synthesized slap bass guitar licks for one of the biggest hits in sitcom history. 

He told E! News in a segment from the '90s that Jerry Seinfeld called him one day to discuss the music, saying everything the show had tried was distracting from his voice in the stand-up that opened each episode; Seinfeld wanted Wolff to find an out-of-the-box solution.

Wolff says the solution was using Seinfeld's voice as a kind of lead instrument in the music.

"So I started with his voice, I watched a lot of his comedy," Wolff says. "I kind of took a meter from his delivery and made that the tempo of the Seinfeld theme and built the rest of the instruments around him."

Instead of using typical rock or jazz instruments like "saxophones or guitars" which were interfering with Seinfeld's voice, Wolff recorded and sampled sounds he could make with his mouth. He combined those noises with that whimsical slap bass synthesizer sound.

"It's in an audio range that doesn't interfere with Jerry, and I can use it modularly to wind in and out of his lines."

But it turned out to be an even better gig than what Wolff was used to because with every new episode, he had work.

"Each episode, I redo the theme of Seinfeld to match the pacing of his monologue," Wolff said.

Seems like good work if you can get it!

You can keep up wth Wolff via his YouTube channel here


Photo: YouTube / Jonathan Wolff

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