Johann Johannsson

Post Classical Music

The post classical music genre is comprised of modern day composers who write music for solo projects and film. Even still, there is definitely a post-classical sound.

The sound, while far from actual classical music, is usually a simple, emotive chord progression with an equally simple melody. This is actually the type of music I have come to prefer, because it feels far more meaningful — especially when pared with an excellent movie.

I have a post-classical archive for my guitar arrangements that fit this genre.

Max Richter

The most notable post-classical composer would probably be Max Richter — who is the most influential composer of the last ten years. He has been at forefront of the modern classical movement, by expanding the idea of classical music into the indie world.

Although he has released 6 albums, you might know him best from his song On the Nature of Daylight from the movie Shutter Island. On the Nature of Daylight was one of my first posts on the blog.

Most recently Max Richter has composed the amazing score from HBO’s The Leftovers. I’ve created a few guitar arrangements for The Leftovers music. It’s some of my favorite, and most popular stuff on Intellimusica.

Dustin O’Halloran

Composer Dustin O’Halloran is also in the upper echelon of post classical composers. While he has released a few solo albums, his efforts are mostly focused on film score work and his extraordinary ambient project: A Winged Victory for the Sullen. I really like his music, and I’ve done a few of his pieces on Intellimusica.

Check out the video for Requiem for a Static King Pt 1 to see what AWVFTS is all about. The music rewards the patient listener, and it will really move you in the end. I have also created a guitar arrangement for Requiem.

Johann Johannsson

Johann Johannsson is another highly original composer in the post-classical genre. I was first introduced to his music when I somehow heard Johannsson’s Odi Et Amo.

Odi Et Amo is impossible to walk away from. It is so bizarre and beautiful, you’re compelled to listen all the way through to find out where the song is going — and where the song ends up.

As well as solo albums, Johannsson has also composed music for film — most notably Prisoners, and most recently The Theory of Everything. His film score music could just as easily be isolated to a post-classical album. The fact that it’s pared with a movie, makes the music that much more emphatic.

I really enjoyed playing Johannsson’s Through Falling Snow from the movie, Prisoners. This song is a good representation of a post-classical piece of music, and it’s also really easy to play.


Sometimes other composers can dip into this genre accidentally. For instance Hans Zimmer’s Time, for which I’ve also done a guitar arrangement, has the mood of a post classical piece of music. Perhaps an even better example is his latest from Interstellar.

The music in my Hans Zimmer Interstellar post is from the original trailer. Once the score is released, I’ll be able to get a better idea of the main title in the movie. In the meantime, ‘the trailer theme’ is still an awesome piece of music that fits perfectly in the post-classical genre. [Update: Just saw Interstellar — it’s amazing. This music is definitely the central theme of the movie.]

(Note: The Theory of Everything is my premium material)

How to play The Theory of Everything by Johann Johannsson

The Theory of Everything is really easy to play. In fact, it’s a perfect song for beginner and intermediate guitar players

I love this song — and it’s emblematic of the fact that minimalism is truly the way to go. Based primarily around C chord position, its a major progression that perfectly sets a mood and nothing more.

Though Johann Johannsson is post-classical composer, this song is quite different from that genre. The Theory of Everything has more in common with a song like Rob Simonsen’s Walk in the Trees from the movie, The Spectacular Now.

The guitar tab is a single page long and very easy to read. The tab is played straight though, repeating each section twice.

Enjoy, the tab is available below:

The Theory of Everything is played in a Drop-D tuning, with a capo on the second fret. Your tuning (without the capo) will look like this, from low to high: D A D G B E. 

The Theory of Everything for classical guitar

Written by:

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