Emmy for Main Title Theme: ‘Transparent’ vs. ‘Penny Dreadful,’ ‘Tyrant’ & more

emmy main title theme

One of the most vital aspects of any series is a recognizable musical motif, so the Emmy for Main Title Theme is of special note. The award will be given out at the Creative Arts ceremony on Saturday, with previous winners duking it out with first-time nominees. Let’s take a closer look at the contenders and their individual awards histories:

Emmy predictions slugfest: Our editors preview the major Creative Arts categories

Jeff Beal reaped his 14th and 15th nominations this year: one in this category for his theme for "The Dovekeepers," and one for his score for "House of Cards." He won three Emmys from his 13 past nominations: Main Title Theme for "Monk" (2003) and Best Score (Miniseries/Movie/Special) twice — "Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Steven King" (2006) and "The Company" (2007). His other 10 nominations came for his work on "House of Cards" (two more for Score; once for Main Title Theme), "Rome" (once for Main Title Theme Music, twice for Score), once for the score of the series "Carnivale," and three more for his scores for the telefilms "The Water is Wide" (2006), "Loving Leah" (2009), and "Georgia O’Keefe" (2009). (Click here to watch our exclusive video interview.)

Daniele Luppi contends in this category for the second year in a row for his theme for "Marco Polo." His first nomination came last year for his work on "Magic City."

Abel Korzeniowski has reaped his first two Emmy bids ever this year for his score and theme music to the horror series "Penny Dreadful." Two of his film scores — "A Single Man" (2009) and "W.E." (2011) — contended at the Golden Globes. (Click here to listen to our exclusive audio podcast.)

John Debney and Bruce Broughton have 29 nominations and 12 wins between them, and are in the running this year for their combined effort on "Texas Rising." Debney has won twice for Best Series Score (for "The Young Riders" in 1991 and "The Cape" in 1997) and once for Best Main Title Theme (for "SeaQuest DSV" in 1994), and has been nominated an additional three times: twice more for Main Title Theme (for "The Young Riders" in 1990 and "The Cape" in 1997) and once more for Best Movie/Mini Score (for "Hatfields & McCoys" in 2012).

Broughton has nine total wins: three for Best Series Score (two for "Dallas," one for "Buck Rogers in the 21st Century") and six for Best Movie/Mini Score (for "The First Olympics: Athens 1896" in 1984, "O Pioneers!" in 1992, "Glory & Honor" in 1998, "Eloise at the Plaza" in 2003, "Eloise at Christmastime" in 2004 and "Warm Springs" in 2005). He has been nominated an additional three times for Best Series Score (twice for "Dallas," once for "Hawaii Five-O"). He has two other bids for Main Title Theme (for "JAG" and "First Monday"); five more for Best Movie/Mini Score (for "Killjoy" in 1981, "The Blue and Grey" in 1982, "The Old Man and the Sea" in 1990, "True Women" in 1997 and "The Dive from Clausen's Pier" in 2005). And twice he contended for Best Music and Lyrics (for songs from "Quincy M.E." and "Two Marriages").

Dustin O’Halloran is nominated for the first time for his work on "Transparent," one of 11 total nominations for the Amazon series.

Brothers Mychael and Jeff Danna are nominated twice this year for their work on "Tyrant": in this race and for Best Series Score. They were previously nominated in 2011 for composing the Main Title Theme for "Camelot." As a solo composer, Mychael won an Oscar for his "Life of Pi" score in 2012 and an Emmy the following year for his work on the miniseries "World Without End." (Click here to watch our exclusive video interview.)

Emmy showdown for Best Score (Movie/Mini/Special): 'American Horror Story,' 'Bessie' …

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