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Loert

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Loert last won the day on May 15 2017

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  1. There's a fun experiment you can do with this at the piano. Play a major or minor chord in the right hand e.g. C major or C minor. Now, in the left hand, put your hand on a major or minor chord one semitone above and one semitone below the right hand. So, for instance, with C major in the right hand, you place your left hand on B major or Db major. Now pick one of the notes in your two left hand chords. This is now your bass note - play it with the chord in the right hand (so e.g. C major in RH, with D# in the bass from the B major chord). Now do this multiple times for different chords. Voila! You have become John Williams.
  2. It's interesting that you talk about Williams "masking" dissonances, as if Williams was trapped into employing dissonances which he then tried to cover up by choosing the right instruments (probably not what you meant, but it sounds that way!). Of course, the opposite is really true - Williams mixes in the dissonance himself. However, rather than drawing attention on those very dissonances (as, for example, Boulez might...or "concert" JW might) he tends to treat dissonance as something like musical seasoning; to spice up what would otherwise be fairly dull, consonant music. One of the ways he does this is to do what sounds like "covering up" dissonance using the orchestra, which I guess is what you allude to. But, of course, this is just an illusion really. Every note you hear comes from the composer's pen, whether or not in the end they sound as if they are appearing out of nowhere, or as an "accident". So what is JW's favourite spice? When it comes to brass, It is undeniably the minor 2nd interval between the 7th and 8th degrees of the scale (i.e. B-C in C major). JW would sooner jump off a bridge than not use this dissonance in a fanfare. Listen to the one that plays when Yoda raises the ship in TESB, which is in E major: Now, somebody with an "untrained ear" might be surprised to know that when they are listening to the above, they are also listening to this: https://picosong.com/whnva These are the 7th and 8th degrees of the E major scale: D#-E. (Fun fact: JW originally wanted to add a cymbal crash to the top chord at 3:05...good thing he didn't go with it! ) JW uses a lot of this sort of dissonance in the E.T. flying theme (in C major): Listening to this, one might naively think that the accompanying horns at the start are playing simple major chords (C-E-G, or 1st, 3rd and 5th degrees). But in fact, they are playing "add2" chords, i.e. chords with the 2nd degree added (D), so there is a dissonance between the C-D and the D-E. Later on, JW employs his beloved 7th-8th dissonance, at 0:20 (F#-G) and 0:25 (G-Ab). These dissonances on their own sound like they belong to a horror movie, not a feel-good family movie (though I grant that E.T. does contain some horrifying bits...). But when played by the brass in a certain range, these dissonances take on more of a "colouring" function, and you might miss these dissonances if you don't pay attention. However, take away these dissonances, and you take away an integral part of the whole. This is what I mean by JW using dissonances as "seasoning". Now for something entirely different. Listen to the prologue music of HP1, when Dumbledore does...whatever he does: Listen to that last chord at 1:15. Can you hear "it"? I made a mockup of this portion some years ago, where "it"'s clearer; listen to the high register from 0:17: https://picosong.com/whnWd Williams here is using the winds to apply a purely "colouristic" effect to the brass chord in the foreground. This is what the wind chord sounds like on the piano: https://picosong.com/whnvw This is what the brass chord sounds like on the piano: https://picosong.com/whnv3 By the way, Williams here is essentially recycling a technique he used in another film, TPM, where he used a similar wind chord. However, that time he used it in a much more dramatic manner, less as a purely colouristic effect (listen to the chord at 3:28 and pay attention to the high register): Finally, I want to go off the track a bit (though I hope it's still relevant) and close with some music from another composer who was a master at "masking" dissonances via orchestration, a composer who greatly influenced Williams and other Hollywood composers - namely, Korngold. His opera "Das Wunder der Heliane" closes with the two lovers making their way into heaven through the pearly gates, being welcomed by the sound of singing angels. But if you listen to it, there's a distinctly bittersweet tone coming from the orchestra: It's almost like the angels merely represent a "sheen" of something that is filled with sadness and sorrow. The reason is that the orchestral accompaniment is in fact full of dissonances - try playing some of those chords which fall on the downbeat. There are instances earlier in the opera where Korngold plays a major chord on top of a minor chord, though it's barely audible the way he orchestrates it.
  3. © Recording of the Century
  4. I wouldn't be surprised if he's forgotten about the whole thing.
  5. The "Forest Scene" from Franz Schreker's DER FERNE KLANG (9:53 - 14:49) is one of the most gorgeous pieces of music I've listened to in recent memory: I just love the constancy of the rising chords set against a constantly-shifting key center. It gives the climax at 12:53 a truly "force-of-nature" kind of feeling.
  6. After a lengthy period of intense research and discussion, scientists from institutes across the globe backed by multi-national corporations have arrived at the consensus that the best version of Rey's Theme is to be found in the final minute of "The Scavenger":
  7. First thing that comes to mind is ALIENS.
  8. It probably would've sounded more like this: https://picosong.com/w8meg
  9. 0:00 - 6:04 is probably what Williams would have sounded like if he were writing action music 150 years ago (especially from 3:19).
  10. I love the "chirping" section starting at 14:39. In the Ansermet recording you can clearly hear the bells doubling the decending chromatic strings, which sounds so unusual it's almost like it represents some sort of hallucination (at 12:33 and 13:03):
  11. I recently visited the Troldhaugen museum (Grieg's summer villa in Bergen) and became inspired to learn this piece. A pianistic gem if there ever was one!
  12. I would wait to listen to the score in the film if I knew that I would be watching the film soon after its release, which was my case with TFA. But with TROS I don't plan to watch the film until well after its release. So it's straight to the listening room!
  13. I've been obsessed with Temple of Doom ever since I listened to the complete score!
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