The musical score to 12 Years a Slave was composed by Hans Zimmer , with original on-screen violin music written and arranged by Nicholas Britell and performed by Tim Fain .  The film also features a few pieces of western classical and American folk music such as Franz Schubert 's "Trio in B-flat, D471" and John and Alan Lomax 's arrangement of " Run, Nigger, Run ".  A soundtrack album, Music from and Inspired by 12 Years a Slave , was released digitally on November 5 and received a physical format release on November 11, 2013, by Columbia Records .  In addition to Zimmer's score, the album features music inspired by the film by artists such as John Legend , Laura Mvula , Alicia Keys , Chris Cornell , and Alabama Shakes .  Legend's cover of " Roll, Jordan, Roll " debuted online three weeks prior to the soundtrack's release.