How the Iconic ‘Seinfeld’ Theme Started Out as a Different Riffs That Changed Every Week

Composer Jonathan Wolff explained to Great Big Story how the distinctive music heard at the beginning of every episode of the now-classic television series Seinfeld started out as more of a varying set of riffs per each episode than as a static theme. Eventually, Wolff got the timing down to a science and the iconic theme was born.

I have no idea how many themes we did for Seinfeld. I knew that each monologue was gonna be different, ’cause he tells different jokes. The timing, the length, had to be adjustable in a way it would still hold water and still sound like the Seinfeld theme. …I watched his HBO special, and noticed that Jerry has a lyrical delivery to his jokes. And I put a clock on it, about 110. And that became the tempo of the Seinfeld theme. The bass line for Seinfeld, so simple. It can start and stop for his jokes, hold for laughs, and in that way I could architect each piece of music for each monologue LEGO-style.