Jump to content
TGP

General Harmony/Orchestration/Theory Questions

Recommended Posts

1:42-2:00. Those "dense minor harmonies" as Doug calls them have always transfixed me. Anyone want to venture an analysis? Bonus points for getting the voicings correct and not just deciphering each harmony's type.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok ok, I'll have to find a more stumping one.

In the meantime, that cluster at 0:44. Go!

5:23-7:55

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

And how about some thoughts on the cue 528491 from Inception? Can't find non-pitch shifted version on Youtube. It's not your standard Zimmer passacaglia - instead kind of like a two voice mensuration canon - a repeating bass line, but with the same line moving faster as an ostinato over top of it. Against the static effect that creates, you have stepwise rising string/synth lines that add harmonic tension. Very satisfying stuff.

I guess this is becoming a general analysis/theory thoughts thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what I get for the cluster in FOTR - I've shown it as building up from the first two notes at 0:29, each bar here adding one new note (not in the original rhythm, of course!). Basically, it's a diatonic cluster, using all the notes of the C natural minor scale:

Shore_Fellowship_of_the_Ring_01.jpg

Hard to hear whether the violins stay on the high C in the last chord. I thought no. Any different thoughts?

I guess this is becoming a general analysis/theory thoughts thread.

Nice to have one on Shore. What's with this board's obsession with Williams anyway?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice! That's essentially what I had come up with, and it sounds right. I think the violins might divide further to cover the high Eb on the last chord, doubling the trumpets but still sustaining that D. Love the way the whole cluster is orchestrated and how the brass kind of kaleidoscopes in at the end.

And yeah, figured it was time to bring this kind of talk to GD; there's certainly been no shortage of this treatment for John's work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just curious is there a reason these two pieces make me think of the other?

Both have the natural 7th note of the scale dropping down to the 5th. In Ben-Hur's theme, it's done three times in those short phrases after the initial figure. In Zelda, it's the climax of the second phrase, where the high note (the 7th) drops down to the 5th by filling in the gap with an added step. But since the 7th has a very characteristic sound, especially when dropping to 5, it sticks out in themes that use it. That's probably what you're hearing.

But hang on - there's another piece the Zelda theme comes much closer to. In fact, I would say it's a blatant rip off of it - the Imperial March!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a method for using parallel major chords like this. Miklos does it a lot. Quite often with what would seem to be a minor melody. Is there a way of thinking that describes this as functional harmony ?Where does this originate from in the CPP ?

T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Help with two chords from John Barry's best score.

Chord numero uno:

0:06, 0:26

Chord numero dos:

2:48, 2:58, 3:07, 3:16, 3:26, 3:35

Chord numero tres:

4:09

PS. if you're thinking of looking at Nic Raine's typeset transcription - don't. It's all wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Friendship theme ben hur part 2.png

Is there a method for using parallel major chords like this. Miklos does it a lot. Quite often with what would seem to be a minor melody. Is there a way of thinking that describes this as functional harmony ?Where does this originate from in the CPP ?

T

I wouldn't try to fit it into a functional scheme. It comes from Debussy's "planing", where he was writing "harmonized melodies" instead of any functional progressions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Friendship theme ben hur part 2.png

Is there a method for using parallel major chords like this. Miklos does it a lot. Quite often with what would seem to be a minor melody. Is there a way of thinking that describes this as functional harmony ?Where does this originate from in the CPP ?

T

I wouldn't try to fit it into a functional scheme. It comes from Debussy's "planing", where he was writing "harmonized melodies" instead of any functional progressions.

And like with Williams's Rebel Fanfare, the melody of Rozsa's Friendship theme is octatonic. So it's like Rimsky-Korsakov by way of Ravel and Debussy.

Any idea about the Barry chords, Grey? I answered you're question, you answer mine. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my phone at the moment, but once I'm back in the studio I'll give it a go.

Ok that first one is really gnarly - is it something like an EaugM7/G#? (G#, E, G#, C, D#, E) That does't sound right to me now... really hard to focus on each voice of those strings.

The second one actually sounds pretty similar to the first.

This is incredibly frustrating on phone speakers hahaha.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Take a listen to the main titles from Newton Howard's Signs, and a gander at the score if you can. What's the guiding logic here, if any? It's not completely dodecaphonic, not quite octatonic... can you think of any way to categorize it, or is it just free atonality?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Help with two chords from John Barry's best score.

Chord numero uno:

0:06, 0:26

Chord numero dos:

2:48, 2:58, 3:07, 3:16, 3:26, 3:35

Chord numero tres:

4:09

Chord one is the actually the same as chord two: both are an Am/G# chord that grows smoothly out of its preceding chord, Bbm(add9).

Chord three is an outgrowth of the opening Bbm(add9) chord: it's this plus B-natural squeezed in between the Bb and C.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Almost 100% certain. If you're hearing more dissonance there, I should say that the G# isn't just in the bass, separated from the upper chord. It's in the strings too, where it sits right against the A a semitone higher. And this happens with pretty much every statement.

Play the chord G#-A-C-E in the right hand above middle C and the G# below middle C in the left hand. I think that's the spacing of the first chord. It's actually clearer in the second statement at 0:26, where the brass play the upper chord (though the lower G# is moved down an octave).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chord one is the actually the same as chord two: both are an Am/G# chord that grows smoothly out of its preceding chord, Bbm(add9).

I think you're right. It's the Major 7th in the bass that threw me off initially, colours the sound in a way that implies harmonics are they're that actually aren't (like the 3rd harmonic of G# - D#).

Chord three is an outgrowth of the opening Bbm(add9) chord: it's this plus B-natural squeezed in between the Bb and C.

That sounds correct, but I also hear a high G in the violins/flutes (G6), and possibly (but not certain about it) an E a minor third below that, making it a polychord.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chord three is an outgrowth of the opening Bbm(add9) chord: it's this plus B-natural squeezed in between the Bb and C.

That sounds correct, but I also hear a high G in the violins/flutes (G6), and possibly (but not certain about it) an E a minor third below that, making it a polychord.

Hmm, I'm not getting that. If it's there, it's incredibly faint, though it does make sense theoretically coming from the C major chord just before. Where's a score when you need one?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chord three is an outgrowth of the opening Bbm(add9) chord: it's this plus B-natural squeezed in between the Bb and C.

That sounds correct, but I also hear a high G in the violins/flutes (G6), and possibly (but not certain about it) an E a minor third below that, making it a polychord.

Hmm, I'm not getting that. If it's there, it's incredibly faint, though it does make sense theoretically coming from the C major chord just before.

It's either a G or Ab, though it's hard to tell.

Where's a score when you need one?

Burned in a fire apparently.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah pretty sure that's right. I was obsessed with this cue some time last year and spent hours just sitting at the piano playing them over and over.


Lots of parallel fifths in the lower voices too.

Are those what you think the actual voicings are? I've got (Db, Ab, F, Db) (E, Cb, Gb, Db) (D, A, G, D) (Cb, Cb, Gb, Db), only differ on that last one... yours fits in better with the rest I think.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will do. BTW, I hear the four motto chords as Db Maj (sometimes DbMaj7), E-B-F#-C#, D-A-G-D, B-F#-C#-C#.

I love the progression, especially the extensions in the other voicings like when the thirds kick in the dominating strings of the higher register (F, F#, A, A#), followed by the Dbm3 kicking in the brass, and the high Db in the strings in the cycle after that. And after everything's died down, you have a suspended Db, with the (synth?) choir mimicking the four chord motto with P5, M6, m7, M6.

I'm new to this, and I'm not very good at it, so apologies if I'm spewing out nonsense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Help with two chords from John Barry's best score.

Chord numero uno:

0:06, 0:26

Chord numero dos:

2:48, 2:58, 3:07, 3:16, 3:26, 3:35

Chord numero tres:

4:09

Chord one is the actually the same as chord two: both are an Am/G# chord that grows smoothly out of its preceding chord, Bbm(add9).

Chord three is an outgrowth of the opening Bbm(add9) chord: it's this plus B-natural squeezed in between the Bb and C.

All Notes playing at @ :06:

G#

A

C

D#

E

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Help with two chords from John Barry's best score.

Chord numero uno:

0:06, 0:26

Chord numero dos:

2:48, 2:58, 3:07, 3:16, 3:26, 3:35

Chord numero tres:

4:09

Chord one is the actually the same as chord two: both are an Am/G# chord that grows smoothly out of its preceding chord, Bbm(add9).

Chord three is an outgrowth of the opening Bbm(add9) chord: it's this plus B-natural squeezed in between the Bb and C.

All Notes playing at @ :06:

G#

A

C

D#

E

Maybe for the first one (still, it's pretty hard to tell), but the one at 0:26? I dunno. You'd hear a distinct semitone D# if it was there, and I'm not getting that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes, well I think it's entirely possible. The brass chord I'm not so sure of. And if it's not in the brass chord, it's probably not in the first chord since the second one is obviously a restatement of the opening.

A kind of inductive reasoning...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Analyse this.

Will do. BTW, I hear the four motto chords as Db Maj (sometimes DbMaj7), E-B-F#-C#, D-A-G-D, B-F#-C#-C#.

Yeah pretty sure that's right. I was obsessed with this cue some time last year and spent hours just sitting at the piano playing them over and over.

Lots of parallel fifths in the lower voices too.

Are those what you think the actual voicings are? I've got (Db, Ab, F, Db) (E, Cb, Gb, Db) (D, A, G, D) (Cb, Cb, Gb, Db), only differ on that last one... yours fits in better with the rest I think.

Will do. BTW, I hear the four motto chords as Db Maj (sometimes DbMaj7), E-B-F#-C#, D-A-G-D, B-F#-C#-C#.

I love the progression, especially the extensions in the other voicings like when the thirds kick in the dominating strings of the higher register (F, F#, A, A#), followed by the Dbm3 kicking in the brass, and the high Db in the strings in the cycle after that. And after everything's died down, you have a suspended Db, with the (synth?) choir mimicking the four chord motto with P5, M6, m7, M6.

I'm new to this, and I'm not very good at it, so apologies if I'm spewing out nonsense.

Your thoughts, Ludders?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Apparently my playing Compass and Guns on the piano has a sedating effect on people haha. Put the whole crew to sleep last night.

But what a finely written cue with string harmonies to die for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your thoughts, Ludders?

I basically agree with both your interpretations of the chord, but I'd combine what both of you said for the last chord: B-F#-Gb-Db, and yes I mean to write it weirdly like that (F#-Gb) because the chords are divided into two upper voices that behave separately from the lower voices. The lower voices are always in parallel 5ths whereas the upper voices are about moving by semitone or staying the same.

Also, the second time the chords are stated, the top voice fails to rise to D, staying anchored to the Db, as though there has been a loss of will or hope, and at the same time creating a dissonant chord that suggests the negativity of the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also interested in the second chord of the sultry BODY HEAT-esque theme for alto sax. The first is obviously BbmMaj9, but is the second Caug7#9? It's hard to tell.

Yes, but there may be a b9 as well. Fills out the chord a bit more and gives it the close spacing I think we're hearing there. And though I'm not a "cat", the aug part would probably be referred to as b13, but it's the same thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also interested in the second chord of the sultry BODY HEAT-esque theme for alto sax. The first is obviously BbmMaj9, but is the second Caug7#9? It's hard to tell.

Yes, but there may be a b9 as well. Fills out the chord a bit more and gives it the close spacing I think we're hearing there. And though I'm not a "cat", the aug part would probably be referred to as b13, but it's the same thing.

The real clue for whether or not it's that, or a C#mMaj9 is in the double bass landing on a C natural or C sharp.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also interested in the second chord of the sultry BODY HEAT-esque theme for alto sax. The first is obviously BbmMaj9, but is the second Caug7#9? It's hard to tell.

Yes, but there may be a b9 as well. Fills out the chord a bit more and gives it the close spacing I think we're hearing there. And though I'm not a "cat", the aug part would probably be referred to as b13, but it's the same thing.

The real clue for whether or not it's that, or a C#mMaj9 is in the double bass landing on a C natural or C sharp.

It lands on the C. But I'm sure this isn't what you're asking. What am I missing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also interested in the second chord of the sultry BODY HEAT-esque theme for alto sax. The first is obviously BbmMaj9, but is the second Caug7#9? It's hard to tell.

Yes, but there may be a b9 as well. Fills out the chord a bit more and gives it the close spacing I think we're hearing there. And though I'm not a "cat", the aug part would probably be referred to as b13, but it's the same thing.

The real clue for whether or not it's that, or a C#mMaj9 is in the double bass landing on a C natural or C sharp.

It lands on the C. But I'm sure this isn't what you're asking. What am I missing?

No, you're correct. Had trouble hearing that the other day.

For the opening Mickey Mousing chords:

Chord #1: Bb7(b5)

Chord #2: AbMaj9(b5,#6)/D - Which chromatically planes up to same chord a semitone higher

B natural pizz on bass

Chord #3: After rising by minor thirds in parallel (outlining a diminished 7th) - it arrives on (Ab-D-Ab-Bb-C#-E-G) (?)

Cellos and violas play a little octatonic figure

After that I'm lost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also interested in the second chord of the sultry BODY HEAT-esque theme for alto sax. The first is obviously BbmMaj9, but is the second Caug7#9? It's hard to tell.

Yes, but there may be a b9 as well. Fills out the chord a bit more and gives it the close spacing I think we're hearing there. And though I'm not a "cat", the aug part would probably be referred to as b13, but it's the same thing.

Not a cat? We'll have to change that.... ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also interested in the second chord of the sultry BODY HEAT-esque theme for alto sax. The first is obviously BbmMaj9, but is the second Caug7#9? It's hard to tell.

Yes, but there may be a b9 as well. Fills out the chord a bit more and gives it the close spacing I think we're hearing there. And though I'm not a "cat", the aug part would probably be referred to as b13, but it's the same thing.

Not a cat? We'll have to change that.... ;)

Well, I don't perform it, but I could listen to it all day.

I guess I have a cat's ears.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since no one's bothering with the NAKED GUN cue, I'll try something else. A score very dear to my heart, RRB's FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oVZlSJL2JI

@ 1:01 when the strings, high winds and horns play the main theme in 3 octaves unison, what are the trombones/low winds/harp playing?

They sound like jazz chords to my ears. For the first one, I can hear a low B, and obviously an F#-A, but I'm not sure what it's in between. Whether ir or not it's a C#/E or D changes its whole character from a sus9 to a minor 7th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×