Variation 15

[updated 3/25/22]

Variation 15 (Dunkirk)

Although Hans Zimmer is the principal composer of the Dunkirk Score, the soft ambient/melodic tracks are from composer Benjamin Wallfisch, and classical composer Sir Edward Elgar 1857-1934.

The music of Dunkirk is a reimagined piece from Sir Edward Elgar entitled, Nimrod – Adagio from his Enigma Variations (15 variations of an original theme). Benjamin Wallfisch had arranged and orchestrated Elgar’s Nimrod – Adagio into a far slower and ambient track, entitled Variation 15 (Dunkirk).

This song is played at the very end of the movie as the Spitfire pilot (played by Tom Hardy) is gliding along the beach. It’s also known as Home on the soundtrack, and a similar iteration is played as the End Credits. Given the context of the film and the beauty of music — it’s enough to make you cry.

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Gear Used

I used a cheap Alvarez AC-65 guitar for the Variation 15 (Dunkirk). I’ve since replaced it with my Cordoba C7. I keep this guitar strung with Savarez Yellow Card 520 J strings — for songs with low and alternate tunings. The strings are super high tension so the guitar still performs normally.

You can find a current list of my gear here.

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(This playlist is curated and updated by me. It’s music that I’ve played and intend to play on Intellimusica. It flows beautifully — and additionally works as music for focus, meditation, and self-reflection.)

How to play Variation 15 (Dunkirk) for guitar

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The guitar tab for Variation 15 (Dunkirk) is beautifully written across two pages. There are no difficult chord shapes to speak of, and I recommend this piece for beginner guitar players and up. Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

I picked up Variation 15 (Dunkirk) from around 3:18 in — where a more substantive chord progression begins. From there, I created a long passage of chords that goes to the song’s end. I repeat this passage 2x

Variation 15 (Dunkirk) for classical guitar

This song is played two whole steps down. My tuning is as follows from low to high: C F A# D# G C — or depending on your tuner — C F Bb Eb G C. 

*You can just as easily play this in standard tuning, or something more manageable like one whole step down: D G C F A D.

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Matthew's dad, Jennifer's husband, bass player - New Invisible Joy, YouTuber, short-film composer, creator of modern content for guitar.