Alexander Courage dies

Composer Alexander Courage died on May 15, 2008. He worked on several television series, but is best known for composing the theme music for the original Star Trek. He stopped working for Gene Roddenberry after Roddenberry took 50% of the royalties from the theme song for himself. Would the quality of music have been better had Courage stayed on during the series?

Each Star Trek incarnation develops its own musical pattern, but pays homage to the original theme created by Courage. Either in the opening moments of the main theme, used as a baseline to come back to in the closing theme, or mixed somewhere into the score. Deep Space Nine and Voyager didn’t seem to obviously use the original theme, but still borrow some of the style and mood. Enterprise totally abandoned the style and went with Where my Heart Will Take Me, which, if you ask me, was half the reason why Enterprise failed. (The other half was the lack of relevance)

Later this year, as Star Trek XI comes out in theaters, Alexander Courage’s memorable musical phrasing is sure to be a part of the score. It will continue in the ST franchise, and continue to influence science fiction music. And he didn’t even like science fiction!

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Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar researching citrus genetics at UC Riverside.