This soundtrack by Hans Zimmer has fun written all over it. So infectious is the main theme that you will undoubtedly hear people whistling it as they leave the cinema. This gypsy-like theme seems to emphasise the bohemian aspects of Holmes' character - an eccentric who gets bored sitting at home, but comes alive when there's an adventure with a puzzle that takes him across London. The main theme is based around a short 4-note figure which permeates the whole score. It's mostly played on a range of plinky-plonk instruments including Cimbalon, Zither and Banjo, and frequently joined by gypsy violin and accordians giving that East European feel. Initally this instrumentation seems crazy, like Holmes himself, but its foot-tapping good humour carries the film on its wild roller-coaster ride. To get you hooked here's the music video for the opening track Discombobulate with Hans Zimmer, Robert Downey Jr and many of the featured soundtrack musicians.
Just as the film has trademark touches of director Guy Ritchie, the score features some familiar Zimmeresque elements - strong rhythmic patterns, pounding drums and sound design elements all held together by an orchestral palette dominated by brass and strings. "Discombobulate" introduces the main theme and wide instrumental palette with what seems to be horse hooves sound effects. "I Never Woke Up In Handcuffs Before" introduces the gypsy violin accompanied by tuba, accordian and percussion. "Is It Poison, Nanny" and "Data, Data, Data" are low key atmospheric tracks, as is most of "My Mind Rebels At Stagnation" though the latter adds a new theme which reminds this reviewer of the musical pocket watch theme from For a Few Dollars More. The longest track by far is "Psychological Recovery.....6 Months" at more than 18 minutes covering much of the action sequences - the reason for the minor version of London's familiar Big Ben chimes will become clear when you see the film. And the final track "Catatonic" is the best of the lot and absolutely not what is suggested by its title!
The CD can be found at these sites: Amazon.co.uk in the UK, or Amazon.com in the US. You won't be disappointed, but if you especially wanted to hear the Irish track used during the early fight scene, here is The Rocky Rock to Dublin as performed by the Dubliners.
The official movie site allows you to preview all the tracks on the soundtrack album, and uniquely invites you to "meet the musicians" where a number of the musicians who perform on the soundtrack describe working with Hans Zimmer and demonstrate their instruments:
Piano sheet music is available for the Main Title track "Discombobulate" from this link at Sheet Music Plus.