indy4

John Williams and Implicit Lyrics

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As far as I know, JW is the only composer that does this? Some examples of what I'm referring to:

- The the last 3 notes of the theme that opens the Superman March Concert Version-->SU-per Man!

- The first 3 notes of the Superman theme that we hear after the osinato build up-->SU-per Man!

- The first 4 notes of the Raiders March-->Innnn-di-an-aaaaaa

- 0:19 of "Harry's Wondrous World"-->Ha-rry-PO-ter, Ha-rry-PO-ter

- first 2 notes of main title from Star Wars-->Staaaaar-Waaaaars

Am I crazy, or are these legit?

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Well, his music is definately operatic at times...and honestly, I sometimes put words to the music... the way it plays out reminds me of a chorus standing off to the side of a stage, murmuring to eachother about whats going on.

Another example of what you are saying is like the Solo horn opening to "Theme from Jurassic Park"

-Jur-ASS-ic PAAAAAARK!

:-p

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As far as I know, JW is the only composer that does this? Some examples of what I'm referring to:

- The the last 3 notes of the theme that opens the Superman March Concert Version-->SU-per Man!

- The first 3 notes of the Superman theme that we hear after the osinato build up-->SU-per Man!

- The first 4 notes of the Raiders March-->Innnn-di-an-aaaaaa

- 0:19 of "Harry's Wondrous World"-->Ha-rry-PO-ter, Ha-rry-PO-ter

- first 2 notes of main title from Star Wars-->Staaaaar-Waaaaars

Am I crazy, or are these legit?

ROTFLMAO

Yeah right!

In the Titanic score, didn't you hear the TI-TANIIIIC, TI-TANIIIIIIIIC! ? :P

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Is this thread JWFaners on drugs?

Is this the "state the obvious" thread BloodBoal?

We've been down that road before, Finnish boy. "Never again", we said. So don't start it all over again!

But yes, it is another the "state the obvious" thread. Obviously.

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I've always thought the theme from SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL seems to say "It's Sun-day Night Foot-Ball!".

Not Williams, but I love Kaplans interpretation of the Silvestri theme from NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, which seems to say just that. Niiight at the Museeeeeeum. :)

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Some examples of what I'm referring to:

- first 2 notes of main title from Star Wars-->Staaaaar-Waaaaars

Ever since I heard this on the radio about ten years ago, I've never quite been able to listen to the main titles of Star Wars without thinking of this:

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Yes I've noticed this.

Also many of Williams 60s scores include a main title song, so it's probably a habit of his that comes from this.

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Superman is the only one that sounds possible. And even so, I have hard time believing that.

If I'm listening to it in the car, my 8 old year son and I will "sing" along to Superman.

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I have heard of a couple of examples of this happening. For example, I remember seeing a behind-the-scenes video where the composer of the X-Files theme said it was set to the imaginary lyrics, "X-Files is a show . . . with music by Mark Snow." That was probably a joke, though.

You could find this pattern in virtually any theme, though. ("Gone WIIITH the Wind, Gone WIIIIITH then Wind!")

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You could find this pattern in virtually any theme, though. ("Gone WIIITH the Wind, Gone WIIIIITH then Wind!")

I think the thing that separates this examples from Superman, Indiana Jones, or Harry Potter is the accented syllables. You wouldn't emphasize the word "with"if you said "Gone with the Wind," but the second note is clearly the dominant one of the musical phrase.

When you say "Harry Potter," for example, you would emphasize the "Po" in "Potter" more than any other syllable. When you say "Superman" you accent the first syllable the most, the third syllable the second most, the second syllable the least. The musical phrase does the same. When you say "Indiana" there's usually a bit of space between the first and second syllable.

The other thing that separates these examples from Gone with the Wind is that it makes sense for them to be proudly declaring a character name. Indy and Superman are both macho heroes who you might picture saying "I'm SUPERMAN!" Harry Potter is a name that often discussed in the wizarding world, even if he's not particularly macho in Sorcerer's Stone. That doesn't really apply to GWTW.

You could say the same about Star Wars, since the yellow text is proudly declaring "Star Wars" in the beginning, but I think that's difficult to prove given that the rhythm isn't very unique and the world is only 2 syllables.

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You could say the same about Star Wars, since the yellow text is proudly declaring "Star Wars" in the beginning, but I think that's difficult to prove given that the rhythm isn't very unique and the world is only 2 syllables.

If you listen to the alternate takes on the Star Wars main title in the Binary Sunset (Alternate) track, earlier versions began the main title without a single chord, but two notes that clearly sound like the verbal phrasing of 'Star Wars'.

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How bout we try Hook?

Hook, Hook, Hook hookhookhookhook Hook hookhookhookhook Hook

Hook, Hook, Hook hookhookhookhook Hook hookhookhookhook Hook....you get the point....

In all seriousness, I think Williams has only used the technique for Superman, not the many other films listed here. The Superman thing (as many of you know) have been pointed out by someone else in a interview (that I don't remember well)...

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Yeah, Dick Donner talks about it on the commentary track for Superman: The Movie. It's been a while since I listened to it, but as I recall he talks about how he realized the theme was saying "SUP-ER-MAN!" the first time he heard it, and that he pointed it out, but (I think) Williams said he didn't do it intentionally.

I need to revisit that commentary track. It's really great.

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This technique is for real, as some members have already pointed out. It was prevalent in Golde Age scores by Steiner (who did this a lot!), Korngold and others, and I'm wondering a little whether this technique might actually be endogenous to film music! I certainly can't recall encountering it in any other genre. And it makes sense in a way: It is really a matter of sonic "branding". The Steiner Gone With the Wind-example is a very good one, but there are countless others. Korngold would actually at times more or less set to music an entire opening crawl, as in The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Whether or not Williams does this consciously, I couldn't say, but I don't see why not, as this is a practice he is certainly very familiar with, and it would be completely in tune with his hommage-approach to a score such as Star Wars. And the later practice of theming a score on a main title song is sort of related to this, I suppose.

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I recall in the commentary on the Brazil laserdisc, someone (probably Terry Gilliam, I'm guessing, it's been a long time) said that Michael Kamen deliberately scored the fanfare for Robert De Niro's character Harry Tuttle so that it sounded like someone could sing "Harry Tuttle!" along with it. Most notably in the scene where Tuttle jumps down some sort of zip line kinda thing when leaving Lowry's place.

So I'd say it's not unique to JW. :)

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So I'd say it's not unique to JW. :)

To add on to this point, there is a feature on the Blu-ray release of Rise of the Planet of the Apes that talks about Doyle's score. Apparently for the cue "Cookies", the whole rhythm was based off the phrase "I gotta cookie for ya". It was really fun watching Doyle get a kick out of that!

http://t.co/esSq5b53

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I read somewhere that Richard Rodney Bennett used the technique to compose the opening piano piece in his score to Murder on the Orient Express.

Some idiot put lyrics to the "MOTOE" main titles, and the first line was "Silky, there was murder in her eyes". Honestly...

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Sorry to dredge up an old topic, but I've been listening to my recently purchased Blue Box, and it got me thinking about this topic - which, oddly enough, I never seem to have participated in, but I I remembered its existence.

It seems to me that this phenomenon really is surprisingly predominant in Williams' work. There's plenty of room for debate over whether it's the product of intentional effort, subconscious linguistic influences, overactive imagination on the listener's part, or some combination of the three. But as I was thinking about this today, I started realizing how you can "hear" the subjects of so many Williams themes "spoken" in the themes.

"Superman" in the film's A theme is probably the most obvious example, to the point where it's actually mentioned in the Blue Box liner notes. But I think the "Indiana" in that film's A theme is just as real. Each of these examples place the downbeat right on the stressed syllable of the word while perfectly following the rhythmic pattern of the word. The fact that these each occur at the very beginning of extremely iconic melodies with extremely clear leitmotivic associations makes them pretty conspicuous, and with these particular examples, I wouldn't be surprised if there were some degree of conscious awareness on Williams' part.

Then there's the theme from Jurassic Park. Early in this old thread, GoodMusician mentioned the opening horn solo, but what I have in mind is the theme itself - not the introductory melody that starts in the violas and horns, but the grander and better-known section of the melody that was the topic of Blumenkohl's recent "insufferably annoying?" thread. Its first five notes perfectly follow the rhythm and stress of the phrase "[in] Jurassic Park." More of a stretch with the extra syllable in there, but the "Jurassic Park" section itself fits sooooo perfectly. And just for funsies, while you're knee-deep in that score, see if you can hear the original cue title "To the Island" in its big fanfare theme - it's there, too, right after the first four notes.

You can even start going a little crazy with adding extra words in to create cheesy little lines, like Jason says he did as a child. The original Imperial motif could be warning, "Here come Imperials!" What about the mischievous celeste melody heard in the opening titles of Home Alone? "We are home alone, we are home alone..." Hedwig's theme? "The story of Harry Potter..."

Make no mistake, I'm sure that many of these are pure coincidence. But it's fallacious to assume that any words can be thrown onto any melody and stick. There are far more cases in which it doesn't work. For instance, if you try to apply the words "Princess Leia" to the first four notes of her theme, the stress is completely wrong. Apply the words "E.T. the extra-terrestrial" to the theme Williams refers to as "the call", and you end up with the wrong number of syllables, the wrong rhythm, and the wrong stress.

In contrast, the examples I've cited all constitute three or more musical "syllables" that very closely match a specific prosodic pattern in a very relevant word or phrase, usually at or near the beginning of the melody. Whether or not they are intentional, there are measurable, objective similarities, and I think it's very interesting to notice them.

Side note: in the OP from last year, indy4 mentioned Williams being the only composer who does this. But one counterexample immediately comes to mind. Shore's jarring 5/4 theme for the Uruk-hai practically bellows the name of their creator: "SAR-u-MAN!" ;)

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LOL I made very similar thoughts about this matter many times :)

You can even start going a little crazy with adding extra words in to create cheesy little lines, like Jason says he did as a child. The original Imperial motif could be warning, "Here come Imperials!" What about the mischievous celeste melody heard in the opening titles of Home Alone? "We are home alone, we are home alone..." Hedwig's theme? "The story of Harry Potter..."

Ha! In the case of Harry Potter, I always thought Williams spelled the main character's name in the four-note motif of "Harry's Wondrous World" (Har-ry Pot-ter! Har-ry Pot-ter! Har-ry Potter! Har-ry!) :)

Another theme that seems to spell the characters' names is "Luke and Leia".

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These aren't Williams examples, but I always sing "Oh, Chariots of Fire" with the first part of Vangelis melody.

And with the main theme of HTTYD, I always sing during Test Drive or Coming Back Around "So, come now fly with me, we will make history".

Pathetic, I know :P

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