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  1. Johnny's Mystery Chords

    Yes, I understand what you mean, but I was just using the term octatonic in the general sense of "any scale of 8 notes that covers an octave", as I was taught that this is a possible use of the term. I think you are using the more specific definition for which every octatonic scale must alternate intervals of tone and semitone, and according to this definition the scale that I wrote does not qualify as a single one because of two consecutive semitones. In any case, it is clear that Williams did not just write a random cluster, but he selected 8 specific pitches out of 12, and these 8 pitches have the property that, if arranged consecutively in the way that minimizes the adjacent intervals, they span an octave (as opposed, for example, to a sequence like C - C# - D - D# - E - F - F# - G). This is an objective information that we can get from the score, and since the sequence fits so well, I would bet that the idea of "completing the octave" was the guiding principle that he followed when designing that chord. Then, of course, the full chord can be separated and interpreted in different ways (also according to the orchestration, which splits subsets between different families), and it's perfectly possible that he followed your line of reasoning. I would suggest, however, to use the term "complete octatonic chord", rather than "composite", as the former is more specific (unless you reject the use of "octatonic" for scales which include two consecutive semitones). I am curious to see other similar cases. Maybe I should just read this whole thread from the beginning... however, do you have specific examples ready? All this stuff is very interesting.
  2. Whats ur fav john williams piece

    I have to conclude and accept that most people (including JW) think in these terms when they consider film music concerts, I only wish that they just applied the same criteria that hold for classical music. I still do not understand what is the point of representing a 2-hour score which is written and conceived similarly to a ballet/opera/symphonic poem, and is also that good, by means of a 4-minute piece stating the main theme and making a big buildup as if it was ending the real thing. And in the case of "Adventures on Earth" it's not even that bad... but the purpose of pieces like "Flight to Neverland", "Flying Theme from E.T.", or "The Forest Battle" is beyond my understanding. Fortunately, there are also many examples of very well-done concert presentations, like the three pieces from Schindler's List, Escapades, or the two pieces from Angela's Ashes (maybe adding one more would have been even better - or maybe one can just combine them with the solo harp of "The Lanes of Limerick").
  3. Johnny's Mystery Chords

    There are several aspects, one of which is its temporal evolution. If we want to guess how JW might have conceived the whole thing, I think we should separate the first chord, which goes with the last note of the melodic line (C natural), from "the stuff that he added later". Now, the first chord can be called in many ways, but I'd say it's F minor with E in the bass and added B (Horn and Bassoon). Given the preminence of the melodic C and the E in the bass, I tend to hear it more as a chord of E5+ with added F and B, but how to name this chord is somehow subjective (as long as all the notes are included!), as it has no further harmonic function. Then, in a second moment he adds the trumpets and in a third moment all the rest, but the displacement of the trumpets' entrance is small and merely serves as a dynamical buildup, so I would consider everything other than the first chord as a single entity. Now, inspecting the final chord, all and only the following notes are included: C - Db - Eb - E (also appearing written as Fb) - F - G - Ab - B which is an octatonic scale. So, I think he might have reasoned in these two steps: 1) find "by ear" an appropriate chord for the ending of the melodic line, 2) add all the other notes needed to complete a chord based on the full octatonic scale. All the rest is brilliant orchestration.
  4. Whats ur fav john williams piece

    Why would that be too long? It's absolutely normal for a concert of "classical music" to feature pieces which are that long, or even much longer: musical ideas and themes need time to be developed.
  5. Whats ur fav john williams piece

    Yes, I also agree, it's better to have an arrangement more than one less, but I was more reacting to the fact that the arrangements which are published and then performed by orchestras are (often, although not always) not as good as the original cues. So, I meant that I would prefer that they put orchestras in the conditions to play, say, the full 15 minute finale of E.T., rather than Adventures on Earth, which cuts away several beautiful parts. An entirely different story is when he writes cues that are specifically conceived as concert pieces from the beginning, like Leia's Theme, Imperial March, and so on.
  6. It's more or less the inverse process of what is usually thaught in beginning music theory classes, when they give you a bass line and you have to decide what to put on top of it, respecting all the rules. Here he starts from the upper part and then figures out the bass! Another nice example of brilliant harmonic choice: the end of the cue "The Emperor's Death" from ROTJ. That cue is a masterpiece in its entirety, but I find curious that the ending is a superposition of a chord of E major and a (higher) chord of G major. So, again polytonality, but it also sounds as the typical jazz chord E7/9+, with the clash of G# and G natural. Adding to the jazz feeling, a pizzicato cello plucks B, then E notes. "Yeah, the Emperor is dead, angel baby, and I scored it super-cool"!
  7. Whats ur fav john williams piece

    Exactly, and it is a perfect example of why we should not let JW arrange his own music for concert performance. The original cues are always better.
  8. This is a very important example. Also, it's impressive how it is realized with very simple means (the difficult thing, as always, is to get the right idea!). The ear tends to recognize the major chord in the high register, just because all those notes are close together, and to perceive the minor third (C natural) in the bass as a sort of perturbation, something that is not completely right, which gives that feeling of mistery and instability. Maybe it could be called an "altered first inversion chord". Also notable is the variation taking place in the cue called "The First Meeting". The chord appears transposed one semitone down, so there is a chord of A-flat major in the high register, while the basses play B natural (enharmonic of C flat). In this case, however, violas complete the B major chord by playing D# and F#. So, in this case, it is a superposition of B major and A flat major, satisfying the definition of a polytonal chord. E.T. is full of impressive harmonies, one could just go through every bar and find something worthy of attention.
  9. I completely relate. One of my favourite moments that was not mentioned yet is this, from 0:41 to 1:25, Totally insane command of harmony and orchestration. And I agree that his harmonic "ear" is his most outstanding talent.
  10. The possibility of keeping control over supply/demand seems indeed the only reasonable explanation. Maybe the studios just estimate that, in their way, they would gain more than by releasing the complete scores digitally themselves. Or maybe, since the amount of money involved is really small, they just don't care enough to even bother about this. If we consider expanded scores only, we are apparently talking of few thousands of people interested... in the whole world! So it's a market worth maybe 200,000 $ at each release, which is really tiny compared to what they get from all the other marketable aspects of a movie.
  11. I'm not expert at all about licenses, rights etcetera, so I ask, in what sense are the studios keeping the digital rights for themselves? What do they gain from that, since they are not selling anything digitally themselves?
  12. Rate Independence Day!

    5 stars to the score, 4 stars to the movie. One of my very favourite action scores from that period. The 2CD release is a pleasure to listen to, from the beginning to the end. By the way, I would really like to see Omni release its full score... I hope it will happen at some point! Like for many others here, my judgement of the movie is probably influenced by the fact that I saw it back then in the theater (I was 11) and it made a huge impression on me. At that time, it was definitely one of the most entertaining shows of spaceships and action ever done. I was already familiar with Star Wars (and that had been my first conscious film music experience), but I had seen it only in VHS, obviously. This was totally a different experience. Then, of course the fundamental laws of physics (and computer science as well!) are violated without shame, and there are a bit too many over-the-top instances of patriotism for my taste, but it was and still is fine entertainment.
  13. Why does every form of entertainment suck now?

    It's called "ageing"! (and I'm not only referring to us as users, but to media themselves as well)
  14. The Force Awakens - Theme Analysis

    Yes, what I meant is that, maybe, given the precedent of "Dune Sea of Tatooine", JW made a sort of musical nod to that when introducing the new droid (just in line with the general tendency of the movie to make references to ANH), so Rite of Spring --> Dune Sea of Tatooine --> this theme in TFA. But of course, the mystery associated with that scene is underscored well by the minor chords device. The truth might be a combination of all the elements, only John knows.