Law & Order Clang

Jack McCoy

The music for Law & Order is composed by veteran composer Mike Post. The music is deliberately designed to be minimalist to match the abbreviated style of the series. Post wrote the theme song using electric piano, guitar, and clarinet. In addition, scene changes are accompanied by a tone generated by Post. He refers to the tone as ‘The Clang,’ while ‘Entertainment Weekly’ critic Ken Tucker has referred to the sound as the ‘ominous chung CHUNG,’ actor Dann Florek (in a promo) as the ‘doink doink,’ and Richard Belzer as ‘the Dick Wolf Cash Register Sound.’

The tone moves the viewer from scene to scene, jumping forward in time with all the importance and immediacy of a judge’s gavel – which is exactly what composer Mike Post was aiming for when he created it. ‘The Clang’ is an amalgamation of nearly a dozen sounds, including an actual gavel, a jail door slamming, and five hundred Japanese monks walking across a hardwood floor. The sound has become so associated with the ‘Law & Order’ brand that it was also carried over to other series of the franchise.

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