D. BRENT NELSON (2010) - Page 1

Since 1965, NBC has been broadcasting episodes of Days of Our Lives [DOOL], one of the longest-running daytime soap operas in TV history.

The show’s large cast of characters – many who’ve been active since the seventies and eighties – has given the show’s composing team of D. Brent Nelson and Ken Corday plenty of rich material to create vivid themes and underscore since the pair started scoring the series in 1999.

With the aid of Ric Kohlbeck, the composers released a perfectly sequenced concept album that featured selections from their massive archive of music over two CDs.

Throughout the following Q&A with co-composer D. Brent Nelson, readers can also listen to clips of unreleased music to get a feel for the composers’ style, and the richness of their writing that’s on par with film scoring. Hovering a mouse over the music note icon displays composer comments, and clicking on the icon will play an MP3 file.

(Depending how you have your system set up, Internet Explorer will open up Media Player; Firefox will load your default media player; and Google Chrome will load and play the file, but you'll have to hit the 'back' tab to return to the Q&A.)



The familiar Days of Our Lives title sequence and logo



Mark R. Hasan: When one thinks back to the early years of soap operas (namely the radio years, and the early sixties TV incarnations) it’s the organ music that comes to mind, and yet there was a point when producers felt it was time to give daytime soaps the broader sound already present in prime time TV series, like evening soap Peyton Place.

I’m just curious if you have any thoughts regarding the evolution of score within the soap realm, and whether Dan Curtis’ Dark Shadows was a major pioneering effort, due to Bob Cobert’s massive amount of source, thematic, and dramatic material for that show’s music library.


D Brent Nelson: That was pretty much before my time. What really influenced the current direction of music for our show was listening to what composer’s were doing in prime time and to some extent, features.  arly CSI was a huge influence for adding electronica textures to our soundtrack. In the 90’s the X-Files influenced what we did in our sci-fi based stories.  The music for the “Princess Gina” story had its roots in the “Edward Scissorhands” score. The John Black “Franken-Black” story had us mimicking a vintage, sort of nostalgic Bernard Herman sound. The current “Nighttime Hope” story (not on this compilation) was inspired to some degree by Delta Blues styles. A lot of our music signatures are inspired directly from the story itself. I’ll be reading an outline and I start to imagine how the scene will look and hear the accompanying music playing in my head, and then I chase after that. Ken personally draws a lot on the classics for his influences.



MRH: Soaps are known for their recognizable title themes (Days of Our Lives, General Hospital, and The Young & the Restless perhaps being the best-known), but when did DOOL start using original score, and was it partly a move to build up an in-house library for the volume of episodes produced each year?

DBN: Originally, starting in the mid-60’s, the library was a generic Columbia Music Library with contributors like Elmer Bernstein and Ennio Moriccone. Ken Corday along with Ken Heller created the first original music library for the show in the early 80’s.



MRH: Over time a music library starts to age and needs to be upgraded due to changing music styles, but I wonder if you feel, perhaps because of music technology and a greater penetration of styles and idioms in contemporary scoring, that the music in the DOOL 2-CD will remain far more contemporary than the early original scores from the seventies and eighties?


DBN: Time will tell. If they are scoring shows in 2015 with kazoos and bongos then I think we will sound dated. Otherwise, since there are a lot of combined styles in this set, it’s possible we’ve covered enough bases that it will hold up. The trend seems to be going back toward live orchestra. We’re doing that now and have been for a number of years.

Click to listen to an unreleased DOOL music cue!

Click to listen to an unreleased DOOL music cue!

Go to Page 2 ____On to Page 2
Related Links___Exclusive Interviews & Profiles___Site FAQ
Back to Top of Page __ Back to MAIN INDEX (KQEK Home)
Site designed for 1024 x 768 resolution, using 16M colours, and optimized for MS Explorer 6.0. KQEK Logo and All Original KQEK Art, Interviews, Profiles, and Reviews Copyright © 2001-Present by Mark R. Hasan. All Rights Reserved. Additional Review Content by Contributors 2001-Present used by Permission of Authors. Additional Art Copyrighted by Respective Owners. Reproduction of any Original KQEK Content Requires Written Permission from Copyright Holder and/or Author.