Squid Game Music: How to Play the Dalgona Song and Other Tunes on Piano
Squid Game Music: How It Enhances the Drama and Emotion of the Netflix Series
If you are one of the millions of people who have watched Squid Game, the hit Netflix series from South Korea, you probably have noticed how the music plays a crucial role in creating the atmosphere, mood, and emotion of the show. From the nostalgic and tragic theme of the main character to the sinister and suspenseful theme of the masked guards, from the tense and thrilling themes of the deadly games to the emotional and heartbreaking themes of the relationships and conflicts, Squid Game music is a masterpiece that deserves to be explored and appreciated.
squid game music
What is Squid Game?
Squid Game is a South Korean survival drama series that premiered on Netflix in September 2021. It follows a group of 456 people who are invited to participate in a mysterious competition where they have to play a series of children's games with deadly consequences. The winner will receive a prize of 45.6 billion won (about 38 million US dollars), while the losers will face death. The series explores themes such as social inequality, human greed, morality, and friendship.
Why is music important for Squid Game?
Music is an essential element of any film or TV show, as it can enhance the storytelling, convey emotions, create tension, establish characters, set the tone, and connect with the audience. For Squid Game, music is especially important because it contrasts with the violent and bleak reality of the games, creating a sense of irony, absurdity, and horror. Music also helps to humanize the characters, as we learn more about their backgrounds, motivations, feelings, and struggles through their musical themes. Music also adds to the cultural identity of the show, as it incorporates traditional Korean instruments and folk songs that reflect the history and heritage of the country.
The Main Themes and Motifs of Squid Game Music
Way Back Then: The Nostalgic and Tragic Theme of the Main Character
The main theme of Squid Game is Way Back Then, composed by Jung Jae Il, who is also the director's longtime collaborator. It is a piano-based melody that is played in various scenes throughout the series, especially when we see flashbacks or memories of the main character, Seong Gi-hun (played by Lee Jung-jae). The theme evokes a sense of nostalgia, sadness, and regret, as we learn about his past failures, debts, family issues, and lost dreams. The theme also represents his hope for a better future, as he tries to survive the games and win the prize money.
Pink Soldiers: The Sinister and Suspenseful Theme of the Masked Guards
The most recognizable theme of Squid Game is Pink Soldiers, composed by 23 (a.k.a. Samuel Seo), who is a Korean rapper and producer. It is an electronic-based melody that is played whenever we see the masked guards who oversee and execute the games. The theme creates a sense of sinister and suspense, as we wonder about the identity and motive of the guards and the mastermind behind the games. The theme also reflects the dehumanization and oppression of the players, as they are treated like pawns and disposable objects by the guards.
Round I, Round VI, and Other Game Themes: The Tense and Thrilling Themes of the Deadly Challenges
Each game in Squid Game has its own musical theme, composed by Jung Jae Il, that matches the mood and intensity of the challenge. For example, Round I is a playful and upbeat melody that is played during the first game of Red Light, Green Light, where the players have to stop moving when a giant doll turns around and scans them. The theme contrasts with the horror and shock of the players when they realize that anyone who moves will be shot dead by snipers. Round VI is a dramatic and epic melody that is played during the final game of Squid Game, where the last two survivors have to face each other in a deadly duel. The theme conveys the tension and desperation of the players, as they have to make a life-or-death decision.
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Unfolded, It Hurts So Bad, and Other Character Themes: The Emotional and Heartbreaking Themes of the Relationships and Conflicts
Besides the main character, Squid Game also features other characters who have their own musical themes, composed by Jung Jae Il, that express their personality, background, and development. For example, Unfolded is a gentle and melancholic theme that is played for Sae-byeok (played by Jung Ho-yeon), a North Korean defector who wants to reunite with her family. The theme reflects her loneliness, resilience, and kindness, as she forms a bond with Gi-hun. It Hurts So Bad is a sorrowful and anguished theme that is played for Sang-woo (played by Park Hae-soo), Gi-hun's childhood friend who becomes his rival in the games. The theme depicts his guilt, betrayal, and greed, as he sacrifices his morals and friends for his own survival.
The Musical Styles and Influences of Squid Game Music
The Use of Traditional Korean Instruments and Folk Songs
One of the most distinctive aspects of Squid Game music is the use of traditional Korean instruments and folk songs that add to the cultural flavor and authenticity of the show. For example, Jung Jae Il uses instruments such as gayageum (a 12-stringed zither), geomungo (a 6-stringed zither), haegeum (a 2-stringed fiddle), daegeum (a large bamboo flute), piri (a double-reed oboe), janggu (an hourglass-shaped drum), buk (a barrel drum), kkwaenggwari (a small gong), and jing (a large gong) to create various sounds and textures for the music. He also incorporates folk songs such as "Bong Bong Bong" ("Round and Round"), "Dalgona" ("Honeycomb Candy"), "Oh My Darling Clementine", "Fly Me to the Moon", "The Blue Danube", and "Happy Birthday to You" to contrast with the dark and violent nature of the games.
The Use of Western Classical and Modern Music Elements
Another aspect of Squid Game music is the use of Western classical and modern music elements that add to the diversity and richness of the music. For example, Jung Jae Il uses instruments such as piano, violin, cello, guitar, bass, drums, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet, flute, harp, organ, synthesizer, sampler, and electric guitar to create various styles and genres for the music. He also incorporates classical music pieces such as "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" by Mozart, "Symphony No. 9" by Beethoven, "The Four Seasons" by Vivaldi, "Canon in D" by Pachelbel, and "The Nutcracker" by Tchaikovsky, as well as modern music pieces such as "Gymnopédie No. 1" by Satie, "Clair de Lune" by Debussy, "Moon River" by Mancini, "My Way" by Sinatra, and "Money" by Pink Floyd, to create various moods and effects for the music.
The Use of Electronic and Experimental Music Techniques
A third aspect of Squid Game music is the use of electronic and experimental music techniques that add to the creativity and originality of the music. For example, 23 uses instruments such as drum machines, synthesizers, samplers, sequencers, loopers, effects pedals, and software to create various sounds and beats for the music. He also incorporates techniques such as sampling, looping, chopping, filtering, modulating, distorting, glitching, and mixing to create various textures and layers for the music. He also experiments with different genres and styles such as hip hop, trap, EDM, ambient, industrial, noise, and avant-garde to create various atmospheres and expressions for the music.
The Reception and Impact of Squid Game Music
The Critical Acclaim and Awards for the Composer and the Soundtrack
Squid Game music has received critical acclaim and awards for its composer and soundtrack. For example, Jung Jae Il won the Best Original Score award at the 2021 Asia Contents Awards for his work on Squid Game. He also received nominations for the Best Music award at the 2021 Baeksang Arts Awards and the Best Original Soundtrack award at the 2021 Korean Music Awards for his work on Squid Game. The soundtrack album of Squid Game was released on October 15, 2021 by Stone Music Entertainment and Netflix Music. It contains 32 tracks composed by Jung Jae Il and 23, as well as songs performed by other artists such as Lee Su-hyun, Kim Jong-wan, Lee Hi, Henry Lau,