You may not know the name Jonathan Wolff, but if you love TV comedies, then chances are good that you’ve experienced his work. Wolff has composed the music for over 75 shows, including Married with Children, Will & Grace, According to Jim, Unhappily Ever After, and The King of Queens. However, Wolff’s most famous piece of music is the Seinfeld theme.
Via Laughing Squid and Digg, a classic interview with Wolff has resurfaced in which he shares the story behind his Seinfeld music. When we say “classic,” we’re not kidding! This interview took place in 1990 on E!, shortly after the network stopped calling itself Movie Time. Wolff posted the video on his old YouTube channel, but it’s once again making the rounds online.
According to Wolff, Jerry Seinfeld personally called him up to recruit him for the series. Wolff also revealed how he used Seinfeld’s voice to inform the music. “I started with his voice and watched a lot of his comedy” said Wolff. “I took a meter of his delivery and made that the tempo of the Seinfeld theme. I built the rest of the instruments around him.”
As noted by Wolff in the clip, he largely stayed away from traditional instruments in the theme and instead used the sounds of his own mouth to create “a library of weird noises that you can make with your tongue…and they seemed to play along well with his voice.”
Since this video was originally posted, Wolff has moved to a new YouTube channel, where he posted the following video of highlights from his touring lecture series.
Wolff has retired from the TV industry, but you find out more about him and his current activities at his official site.
What did you think about the origin of the Seinfeld theme? Let us know in the comment section below!