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TownerFan

The Ultimate James Horner's Plagiarism List

109 posts in this topic

The thread's title says it all. I don't know if it's already done before, but I think it could be fun to compile the most complete and accurate list ever of James Horner's homages/rip-offs/plagiarisms found in all his film scores. For the thread's own sake, I'd like to have some kind of rules to play a fair game:

. Point out ONLY the rip-offs from other composers' oeuvre (mainly from classical repertoire and film music)

. Use YouTube videos to make specific examples. If not available, provide correct track names and timings.

. Please keep Horner's own self-plagiarism totally out of this.

ALERT for both Horner-bashers and Horner-worshippers: this thread is NOT aimed to childish finger-pointing at this gifted composer, nor to spit on his brilliant oeuvre. I like Horner and I have a lot of his scores I love to listen to. But since his own kleptomaniac tendency is such a part of his style, it would be nice to have a complete and definitive list readily available. If you're like me, you'll likely discover some great symphonic music from the classical repertoire you'll love to listen to.

I know we could make a thread like this for every single film composer, but if we can treat it just like a game it could be both fun and educational, imho. Again, it's not to beat the deadliest horse on the ground.

I know this is potential problematic discussion, so I'll let Jason and Mark decide what to do.

What do you think?

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As long as religion and politics stay out of the discussion and members are polite to each other, there's no problem.

As usual I would recommend that if people don't like a thread, do the mature thing and not read or comment in it.

Of course we can always delete posts that don't adhere to what this thread is about if they get too bad.:)

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It doesn't have to prove anything. It's just for the fun of it and maybe to extend a person's knowledge of the classical symphonic repertoire.

I'll begin:

"End Credits" from Red Heat:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhTdO47ppAI

2nd Movement ("the Philosophers") from "Cantata for the 20° Anniversary of the October Revolution", by Sergej Prokofiev:

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Why would this thread be any worse than any of other the composer discussion threads?

I swear this place is a melting pot of little fairy fury sometimes. Talk about sensationalising something before it's even happened :rolleyes:

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For me, one of his most striking was used in that superb speedy beginning to Stealing the Enterprise.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7s5lQ-bGe6c

It was either Khachaturian of Prokofiev, I can't remember now (somebody did clear it up on here, a few years back).

One day I was listening to a tape in my car and I couldn't belive my ears. Horner didn't come up with it after all.

If I find out what it was, I'll search for it on YouTube and put in on here to compare. It's quite startling really.

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It was either Khachaturian of Prokofiev, I can't remember now (somebody did clear it up on here, a few years back).

One day I was listening to a tape in my car and I couldn't belive my ears. Horner didn't come up with it after all.

If I find out what it was, I'll search for it on YouTube and put in on here to compare. It's quite startling really.

"The Death of Tybalt" from Romeo & Juliet, by Sergej Prokofiev:

(at 1:30 mark)

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"The Death of Tybalt" from Romeo & Juliet, by Sergej Prokofiev:

Thanks.

You beat me to it. Went through the R&J vids on YouTube and heard it on this one at 6:57

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Talk about sensationalising something before it's even happened :rolleyes:

I pray we're both here on the 22nd to discuss what would not have happened before then.

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Yeah ever since I heard the main theme from Agnes Of God and American Journey I have kinda forgiven Horner for his antics and have since then come to realise that other film composers do the exact same thing... :(

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Yeah ever since I heard the main theme from Agnes Of God and American Journey. I have kinda forgiven

Horner for his antics and have since then come to realise that other film composers do the exact same thing... :(

Same here. Others have been more subtle in weaving influences into their works. Horner was a bit heavy footed in that regard.

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That reference of Theme of Thomas Tallis which is more influenced by the Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on the Theme of Thomas Tallis (at least it acknowledges its intention and influence unlike Horner) is really blantant from Horner. Even though he had a short time to write the score is no excuse for such obvious lifting.

But it should recognized that all composers borrow or utilize music from their own ouvre or other's at one point or another, especially film composers since their work is riddled with temp tracks and musical influences from the film makers and by simply the work load and schedules making life difficult.

E.g. Rózsa, Korngold, Herrmann (who got really angry when someone pointed it out but had to admit it however grudgingly) all did this and even Williams has done this. In their cases it has been more self referencing than the borrowing of others even though that can't be denied. I think Horner does it so blantanly and obviously that there is only a thing layer of his own orchestration and perhaps some melodic modulation in play in the worst offenders.

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I have heard that James Horner stole from The Towering Inferono's "Trapped Lovers" for one of the Land Before Time videos

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From STII: The Wrath of Khan, at 2:58 or so:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KilBvojsMdw

From Alexander Nevsky, "Battle on the Ice" by Prokofiev, at around 1:54:

Actually, although there's "creative borrowing" here, I like the reference. In Alexander Nevsky, the viking armies are battling out on a glacier and are blinded by snow, making it difficult to conduct their battle. Very similar story going on in the Trek movie right there.

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That reference of Theme of Thomas Tallis which is more influenced by the Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on the Theme of Thomas Tallis

Yep. But I decided to go the root one instead, in case anyone said - "Ah yes, but Vaughan Williams borrowed his from Thomas Tallis" :P

From Alexander Nevsky, "Battle on the Ice" by Prokofiev, at around 1:54:

Fascinating. And I've got to 'praise' Horner here in that in several cases the comparison game has introduced me to works I'd yet to become familiar with.

Already there are several examples being posted here that have caught my interest in listening further to works that people are comparing Horner's work to.

Yay for Horner! :D

Btw, I've just heard another one of Horner's in airmanjerm's Prokofiev video.

1:31 to 1:47

0:11 - 0:35

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we're gonna need a bigger boat

There is a similar story in music I feel is related to Hornerisms.

In 97, Neil Young and his reverb-backups the Crazy Horse released a live album called "Year of the Horse". in the first few seconds of the album somebody in the crowd yells out "they all sound the same!", to which Neil fires back with a witty remark "It's all one song". This, to me, is the same about Horner. It's all one song. To talk about his self-rips, you would need to compare every album with one another. From Cocoon sounding like Aliens or Star Trek II or rips of classical pieces, it's all the same because that's what he's good at. Directors ask him exactly what he puts up on paper.

He's never evolved compared to other composers, but that's ok. Nowadays he's even starting to be old and forgotten about in the business (except for his relation with Cameron).

Have you ever heard somebody else try to emule Horner?

"I've been plagiarizing all my life. It's called learning" - Hunter S. Thompson

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Maurizio, you should do one on Williams and Goldsmith both klepto's themselves, especially Jerry, whose every score sounds just like the one before. Listening to Poltergeist I suddenly realize I'm listening to Gremlins, except Gremlins isn't written yet, or is it Star Trek the Motion picture, but it could be Alien, but I'm sure I'm listening to Matinee, oh f... it, I'll just put on Titanic.

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Maurizio, you should do one on Williams and Goldsmith both klepto's themselves, especially Jerry, whose every score sounds just like the one before. Listening to Poltergeist I suddenly realize I'm listening to Gremlins, except Gremlins isn't written yet, or is it Star Trek the Motion picture, but it could be Alien, but I'm sure I'm listening to Matinee, oh f... it, I'll just put on Titanic.

How often you have now tried to get this shit off the ground? (unsuccessfully, i might add).

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Maurizio, you should do one on Williams and Goldsmith both klepto's themselves, especially Jerry, whose every score sounds just like the one before. Listening to Poltergeist I suddenly realize I'm listening to Gremlins, except Gremlins isn't written yet, or is it Star Trek the Motion picture, but it could be Alien, but I'm sure I'm listening to Matinee, oh f... it, I'll just put on Titanic.

How often you have now tried to get this shit off the ground? (unsuccessfully, i might add).

oh Im sorry, you don't like my post then don't read them. How many times do we have to run a very good composer down for his alleged plagerism? You can go back to your jackbooted marching now. Thanks Seig Heil

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Joey's right. Good composer, bad composer, it doesn't matter. If you listen to the composer enough, you can tell when you're listening to another score written by the man even if you never heard it before.

Many of Elmer Bernstein's scores sound the same. Let's pick on him next.

Many of John Barry's scores sound like they were cut and paste. How dare he.

David Arnold had a very obvious and repetitive style in the 90s, when large chunks of Godzilla, ID4, and Stargate were interchangeable. What a hack.

Goldsmith and Williams had/have their favorite stylistic approaches to writing music that makes much of it sound the same. Sure, Horner took it one step further by recycling melodies, chords, and overall feels of the score when he wrote soundtracks. But...it's still good music.

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I think this thread is not so much about bashing Horner but more about having fun taking his music apart (in a way). And yes, we can do that with many (if not all) composers.

Karol

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Yes I agree Wojo. It's obvious that Horner does have some direct borrowing going on sometimes, and often a little more direct than others. But at the same time, a 10-second snippet here or there is still surrounded by a ton of great original material. The guy is very talented at what he does...every composer has begged, borrowed, and stolen from time to time (I've done it myself when operating under intense deadlines!). Also keep in mind that often composers are working after the film has used a temp track, and they can sometimes be under pressure from the director to make something sound "more" like the temp track.

Not making excuses for the guy, cause some of it is just outright plagiarism. I do, however, like some of the connections he uses occasionally, like my example up there of how that scene from Trek II had a little quote of Alexander Nevsky. Who knows, maybe Meyer had used Prokofiev as a temp track? Maybe Horner put it in himself as an inside musical reference/joke? Not every one is a reference to something else though (i.e., not sure how "Stealing the Enterprise" has anything to do with "The Death of Tybalt"), but I do notice that in the film cut of that, the big string flourishes are absent and its just the bass line. I just think it's important to note that for every one of these little things we can post above, there's a wealth of material he created on his own. And borrowing from yourself is similar to borrowing from someone else, but with one giant exception: it's free! :)

Just a little opinion, I'm sure we've all got one. Just be careful not to confuse "plagiarism" with "compositional style."

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I don't think you can justify Horner's lifts by saying that other composers do it. And we are not debating wether he repeats himself (which I agree, most composers do). The thing is Horner has copied entire sections from classical works to his own advantage and he has done this far more often than other mainstream Hollywood composers. His borrowings from Prokofiev alone could fill an entire thread. What he has done in many of these examples is not an homage, or a pastiche or a stylistic similiraty. In many of these cases, he literally copied the melody. It's fun to analyze so many of these examples, but I still don't think it is a particular commendable aproach by Horner. I have no problem when he repeats himself.

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Maurizio, you should do one on Williams and Goldsmith both klepto's themselves, especially Jerry, whose every score sounds just like the one before. Listening to Poltergeist I suddenly realize I'm listening to Gremlins, except Gremlins isn't written yet, or is it Star Trek the Motion picture, but it could be Alien, but I'm sure I'm listening to Matinee, oh f... it, I'll just put on Titanic.

I don't have a problem with a composing re-using, or 'quoting' his own work. Bernard Herrmann did it all the time, often deliberately. I have a problem when it resembles another composer, to the point of mimicry, as so often with Horner. The guy's a parasite!

Here's another:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOTQ9TVkG98

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY7igJS2eY8

In fact, it resembles several of the more atonal cues from ALIENS.

'Snap pizzicato thru echoplex' taken from Goldsmith's original ALIEN.

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In fact, it resembles several of the more atonal cues from ALIENS.

'Snap pizzicato thru echoplex' taken from Goldsmith's original ALIEN.

um, that's reasonable and i'm glad he did not toss goldsmith material out of the windows and quoted it a few times.

I dislike it very much when a composer ignores the previous composer in a franchise.

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In fact, it resembles several of the more atonal cues from ALIENS.

'Snap pizzicato thru echoplex' taken from Goldsmith's original ALIEN.

um, that's reasonable and i'm glad he did not toss goldsmith material out of the windows and quoted it a few times.

That's my problem. He's too reliant on Goldsmith far superior score, and simple builds his as an extension of ALIEN. Not an original, startlingly score, that can stand on its own - i.e. Goldenthal's ALIEN 3.

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I remember hearing Mike Oldfield say he'd love to make an album of his favourite bits of other people's musical pieces /styles (or words to that effect). For some people,loving an existing work/approach so much that you want to emulate it to varying extents in your own works, is a thieving outrage. For others, they like it. When I first started hearing striking similaritys between Horner's works and earlier ones, I don't remember getting outraged by it. Perhaps a 'little' idol worship diminshed as I thought Horner had come up with those magical musical expressions all by himself originally, but it didn't effect my enjoyment of his works. If anything, it's his re-use of his 'own' stuff that gets a bit frustrating at times because your mind already has a connection between a certain musical expression and a previous film he used it in. When he uses it again in a film subject entirely unrelated to what he previously used it for, it just confuses things for the viewer.

For example, when a giant tree is being felled in Avatar you're envisioning Troy's walls being attacked,Nash being delivered documents by an imaginary agent, or Lilian having her heart attack.

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In fact, it resembles several of the more atonal cues from ALIENS.

'Snap pizzicato thru echoplex' taken from Goldsmith's original ALIEN.

um, that's reasonable and i'm glad he did not toss goldsmith material out of the windows and quoted it a few times.

That's my problem. He's too reliant on Goldsmith far superior score, and simple builds his as an extension of ALIEN. Not an original, startlingly score, that can stand on its own - i.e. Goldenthal's ALIEN 3.

?????

i find aliens rather original..not relying too much in previous material only a few hints. too few even!

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For god's sakes. We all know today's composers draw inspiration from the classical composers so why are you are singling James Horner out when JOHN WILLIAMS is just as guilty?

Take a listen to the Main Title of Star Wars FFS. When the Star Destroyer first flies over the camera I could have sworn I was listening to Mars (from The Planets) by Gustav Holst.

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We all know today's composers draw inspiration from the classical composers so why are you are singling James Horner out when JOHN WILLIAMS is just as guilty?

Because he usually ADAPTS the material, where it's more than just a plain rip-off of Holst, Stravinsky, Bartok, Prokofiev, Respighi etc... Horner doesn't seem to put much effort into that. More often that not, it's a straight copy-and-paste job.

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In fact, it resembles several of the more atonal cues from ALIENS.

'Snap pizzicato thru echoplex' taken from Goldsmith's original ALIEN.

um, that's reasonable and i'm glad he did not toss goldsmith material out of the windows and quoted it a few times.

That's my problem. He's too reliant on Goldsmith far superior score, and simple builds his as an extension of ALIEN. Not an original, startlingly score, that can stand on its own - i.e. Goldenthal's ALIEN 3.

?????

i find aliens rather original..not relying too much in previous material only a few hints. too few even!

No he borrows heavily from Goldsmith's Capricorn One as well.

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