BtvS 2.04
Inca Mummy Princess


Promotional CD tracks

22. The mark of Eyghon [1'28] 64kbps/192kbps

Very few cues in this episode are easy to pin down for off-screen appreciation, but the music heard here and used for Eyghon's first attack and for Giles's nightmares is an exercise in lavished orchestration as well as one of economy, since elements of this music are peppered throughout the episode, binding it together prominently where the usual underscore may have been less secure in doing so alone. A deliberately painful-to-hear electric guitar line gives way (0'13) to a tinkling passage of scurrying synth sound effects and piano (note the entry of tenuto/staccatto double bass thumps at 0'30, with quietly trilling strings), then (0'42) with an oboe line over it (there is also a bass clarinet counter-melody answering it), interrupted (at 0'59) by derisive brass. Although the scurrying piano line gradually breaks back out, the double bass thumbs herald a totally new sound (starting at 1'13) and perhaps Beck's most scary music to date: a succession of metallic whining and creaking brought about by mixing syths with mid-string glissandi (perhaps col legno, and with imprecise notation). A brass call ends this track. From this description alone it is easy to understand how from a single cue (most of it heard before the opening titles) Beck managed to weave the fabric of this episode together with his existing armoury of Buffy-specific techniques, whilst barely breaking into a discernible melody.

The episode

Again Giles's revelatory past catches up with him. Here former cult pals are one-by-one consumed by a demon summoned in their youth. Ethan returns (complete with boo-hiss posh English accent and attitude reminiscent of a pantomime dame); to make matters worse Jenny (a fellow school teacher) gets in the way, and Buffy and friends must step in to stop the demon before it gets to Giles.

Fun quotation:
Ethan: If you think of it karmically, this is really big for soul, you know, taking my place with the demon, giving to that others may live.
Buffy: I'm gonna kill you - will that blow the karma thing?

The music

Eygon is characterised by a step up in the use of percussion and electronic effects, perhaps with the electric guitar sound and an eerie glass harmonica chord (minor key with an added major seventh) as the key elements for this episode, whilst maintaining the continuity of the Buffy soundworld built by Beck (brass calls, glissandi, the dual role of piano as melodist and quiet tormentor). With every episode scored, he cements the relationship of the style of the show with its music, shifting effortlessly between comedy, pathos and horror, showing an assured handling of the show's jarring scene cuts and surprises. This is key to the success of this story since more than ever the direction refuses to let the audience gasp for breath—without Beck's scoring its effectiveness particularly in suspense scenes would have been severely dulled.

Cue notes

Again below are the surface-level pointers given out. This is not a review and neither is it an analysis, but perhaps it is a good reference point for those looking into aspects of Beck's music. Timings are approximate, based on the Region 2 DVD cut of the episode, the timing beginning as the episode begins.


The Giles's intro (see 2.02)

0'11-1'22; -2'31

[Man finding Giles and followed by rotting woman 0'11-2'31] This opening scene uses the music which appears on the promotional album as 'The Mark of Eyghon" from 0'13. On screen it is edited in with the aerobics cuts, with additional instrumentation. Excellent stereo effects with and metallic 'grinding' sounds. Atmospheric, jittery (strings, etc.), ending with pounding bass under whining synths and string sound. Some building of dissonance.


Aerobics music] [Giles and Buffy]


Aerobics music gradually drowned by the return of Beck's pounding bass.


Aerobics music stops


Pounding smoothes into held high string note, ending with an upward glissando of metalic ring - a similar, (though creepier) effect to that of the usual brass glissandi


Herder rocks!]


Uses an intense possibly improvised electric guitar solo, over percussion, sound effects—all as it appears in the promotional track 0'00-0'12—and voice-overs. [Giles's first Eyghon nightmare]


[The police take Giles to help identify the dead body of his past friend, and to answer questions] High airy note with soft descending glissandi strings. Some atmospheric synths and 'spooky' sounds ending the scene in the morgue.


[Cuts to Buffy on duty protecting a hospital bloody delivery from vampires.] Features piano motif [Ex.1] (over some of the same atmospherics from the previous scene - this maintains tonal continuity) with short clarinet lines [Ex.2] sometimes doubled by upper strings, and moving into a horn line before... As the 'doctors' turn out to be vampires, Beck steps up the tension, pushing the music up a semitone, adding a steady pulsing timpani beat and replacing clarinet with horn or trombone


Low piano, dissonant piccolo trumpets and punchy woodwind and brass over busier strings, accompanies the ensuing battle. A brief and largely athematic cue which is nevertheless functional in this somewhat superfluous situation (more helpful in staging an ongoing story arc featuring Angel and Buffy). [Buffy leaves Angel with the blood, in order to find out why Giles has not joined them. Giles refuses to discuss]


A low bass hum accompanies Giles as he telephones to discover another friend has died. A chilling piano line featuring octave leaps hovers above, functioning later as an accompaniment under a clarinet line (taken soon after by oboe) and insinuous (tremolo and glissandi) upper string descant. [Ex.3]


[Cut to morgue] Synthesized sounds, strings and that soft bass drum/timpani beat accompany the waking of Eyghon in Giles's dead friend. After some typical Beck crescendo dissonance, a single descending string glissando pushes the segue back to Sunnydale Highschool, where Cordelia et al are arriving at a Saturday IT class. These skillful meshing of scenes which have no apparent connection helps bind the identity of the episode into a coherent atmosphere, even when the typical student banter is to the fore. Unlike Halloween, there is a more serious edge to the possession here.


A suspense sequence accompanying Buffy's discovery of Ethan (first met in 'Halloween' (2.06)). Underscore only, characterised by semi-tone trills in lower strings


Brief return to the sound world of 3'24-3'33 [Giles's second Eyghon nightmare, interrupted]


Quiet underscore of Buffy's telephone conversation uses a soft glass harmonica held chord (which appears to have grown out of the clarinet line of Ex.2) over descending glissandi violins (a running feature of the episode); at 19'56 this breaks into the frenetic-but-hushed piano/percussion music which can be heard in the promotional album cue from 0'13 [as Eyghon arrives], punctuated by drum and brass. At 20'21 the stomping low-piano/bass drum beat helps to increase its menace before crescendo horn and cymbal round off the music, leaving only a pedalled low piano note to echoe as dialogue ensues


Brief cue [as Eyghon attacks and "jumps" to Jenny] notable only for its abrupt opening and atmospheric use of stereo


Underscore shifts gradually towards an uncertain melodic state as Giles comforts Jenny [Ex.4], although any comfort the audience feels is ended as Jenny's host is revealed and Beck uses his most flagrant abuse of the upward trumpet/brass glissandi yet


The clarinet motif used here (and echoed by other instruments) appears to be new [Ex.5] (although the writer will welcome comparison with earlier themes), with a distant glass harmonia chord eerily echoing [Ex.6]. Succeeding this is a non-committal underscoring of Buffy directing the Eyghon research


As Jenny/Eyghon prepares to entrap Giles high strings move in glissando descending semitones. Brief


['You cry at every funeral'] Music enters almost inaudibly between sentences as the posessed Jenny taunts Giles. Low viola trills, double bass thumps and an emerging upper string note pause for a crescendo upper string/synth dissonance before breaking into music heard on the promotional track (at 0'42) where the oboe enters, through to the end of the track. Despite using the same music (albeit from a different point) as heard in the opening of the episode, it is impossible to determine for which scene it was originally written


Purely underscore: some double bass staccattos which tie in with the previous cue, over a glass harmonica chord - also with resonance for this episode


The motif from 23'26 (Ex.5) returns, passed between solo winds over the glass harmonica chord. A cymbal heralds Buffy's arrival at Ethan's, with a passing high piano line and subtle synths


Underscore again. A barely audible brass line leading to (instead of the almost established brass upward glissando) what sounds like low tubular bells


[As Ethan uses acid to burn away the demon-beacon tattoo he has just copied onto Buffy's arm] A chilling underscore (featuring upper strings splitting from one note to a semitone interval and back) breaks into the style used at the opening of the promotional track (electric guitar included) as Giles dreams of Buffy's danger. The piano features almost improvisatorally at the end


The tenuto/staccatto double bass thumps feature again as Eyghon finds Buffy and Ethan with synths, and breaking into a short action passage, mostly with brass chords (and cymbal), while Buffy and Eyghon fight. [37'10: Giles enters "Take me"] The double bass thumps are more staccatto here, beneath what sounds like strummed piano strings (the glass harmonica presumably not urgent enough to punch through the dialogue). [37'27] Woodwind and string trilling, causing a build-up of tension as the ear begins to hear a dissonant chord through the blank muddle of alternating notes. [37'34: Angel storms in to force Eyghon into him for containment] Brass chord punctuations over trilling middle strings and repeated horn calls heard, thereby mixing the urgency of 37'27 with the action of 36'38. High strings trill as Angel dissolves the demon, and any other feature of the music here is lost beneath sound effects and dying-demon groans [37'56]. [38'17] A single low note (perhaps string) appears to end the cue, but as Angel accounts for his victory over the demon, a return is made to thematicism: tentative low brass semitones give way to an everso slightly mushy oboe line (its clawing effect possibly due to the exultant piano elaboration) as the scene shifts from Angel/Buffy to next day's Buffy/Scoobies. Although there is a positive tone in this brief bridging passage, the ending is minor key - this helps the tone of the story to remain with Giles and Jenny as they stumble off (and ultimately appart) rather than with the Scoobies' off-hand chatting. [Ex.7]

It is understandable why this cue did not make a decent promotional track, since its character shifts with each turn of events. Offscreen it sounds incomprehensible, onscreen it balances between enhancing action/tension, and remaining second to the plot resolution


[Giles loses Jenny] A tentative minor key cor anglais line [Ex.8a] (with harp/guitar accompaniment using the same arpeggio figure as at their previous encounter—see Ex.4—and quiet chordal strings) gradually mollified and extended by the more mellow clarinet (with the string accompaniment dominating more over h/g) as Buffy talks to Giles, and finally lifting out of depression [as Buffy consoles him with her acceptance of his history] by high piano—ending on the anticedant of what could be either a major or minor key closure. This is a beautifully matched cue whose underscore of a quiet verbal bonding between Watcher and Slayer deserves attention. Bluntinstrument has taken the liberty of placing a sound file of for reference with [Ex.8b] rather than the usual .midi because the timing of music-to-speech is fascinating, and so that the string accompaniment needn't be illustrated

Here CB has shown minute attention to Giles's feelings, which have ultimately been the focus of this episode (his nightmare music is certainly its most striking musical element, remaining in the foreground even in the presence of Buffy and Angel (see previous cue). He is certainly crushed by Jenny's refusals, and gradually brought round by Buffy's sentiment and humour, and Beck's most melodic cue of the episode bends to his will and enhances the audience's appreciation of the scene


Nerf the man! Or rather, men]

Musical examples

Ex.1 [midi]

Ex.2 [midi]

Ex.3 [midi]

Ex.4 [midi]

Ex.5 [midi]

Ex.6 [midi]

Ex.7 [midi]

Ex8 MP3 Clip