Photo by Casey Horner | Unsplash

The Whirling Ways of Stars that Pass

The Whirling Ways of Stars that Pass is from Johann Johannsson’s 2014 Golden Globe winning score for, The Theory of Everything. It’s a beautiful piece of music that turned out to be an (easy to play) guitar arrangement.

Johann Johannsson was an Icelandic composer who passed away unexpectedly in 2018, at the age of 48. His death came at a momentous point in his career. He had just scored: The Theory of Everything (2014), Sicario (2015), and Arrival (2016). Johannsson’s work was at once futuristic and traditional; blending orchestration with electronic music. He was expanding the post-classical genre and normalizing it in his film work. His loss, was a huge loss for musicians like me, and music in general.

Toxicology reports indicate that Johann Johannsson passed away accidentally (in Berlin) from a combination of flu medication and cocaine. One can only speculate — but it seems that he was working at a frenetic pace, and there are some bread crumbs of his unraveling.

2016’s Arrival has a primal and futuristic soundscape by Johannsson. However, director Denis Villenueve used Max Richter’s ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ for the film’s opening and finale. I remember being aghast by that decision. You have one of the greatest living composers at your disposal. This composer was an integral piece of your films: Prisoners and Sicario. Surely he can write something that may even eclipse On the Nature of Daylight? 

That decision also knocked Arrival out of contention for Best Original Score due to the additional use of old music. Was this a hack choice by the director, or was Johannsson incapable of completing the score?

In 2017 (director) Darren Aronofsky and Johann Johannsson decided to scrap the entire score for the film, Mother! The decision was reported as “mutual”, artistic and friendly. Instead, the sound editors used bare bones sound design and left the film scoreless.

Later in 2017 (and this was the big one) Johannson’s entire score for Blade Runner 2049 was scrapped. Composers Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfish were brought in at the final moment to essentially recreate the original Vangelis score. Yikes.

I have no idea what all of that means. Maybe it’s coincidental. Even after Johann Johannsson’s death, a trove of his music and projects are still being released. One of those is the Arrival Epilogue which is presumably the discarded finale.

You might also like to play…

Johann Johannsson: The Theory of Everything | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

The Theory of Everything: A Game of Croquet | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

Blade Runner 2049: Tears in the Rain | fingerstyle guitar + TAB

How to play The Whirling Ways of Stars that Pass | fingerstyle guitar

The Whirling Ways of Stars that Pass is from Johann Johannsson’s Golden Globe Winning score for, The Theory of Everything. The guitar tab is beautifully written across 3 pages. This arrangement is very easy to play and under 2 minutes in duration. It was a perfect addition to my 2 Minute Classical Guitar Archive

Enjoy, the guitar tab is available below:

**The Whirling Ways of Stars that Pass | fingerstyle guitar

This piece is played in standard tuning. My version has a capo on the 2nd fret for some higher tonality (personal preference). The original key is standard tuning without a capo.