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General Harmony/Orchestration/Theory Questions

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Anyone with perfect pitch/a good ear for intervals want to try and figure out what temperament Jeremy Soule uses? I know he tunes everything to A=446.99 instead of A=440, but he also has something other than equal temperament going on. He's said it's not Pythagorean tuning I believe, even though it does sound very close to that.

I'm not sure that he does it outside of Skyrim as I don't really listen to his non-Elder Scrolls stuff, but any track from that album should be a demonstration. I just love how this opening chord shimmers in a slightly different way.

Just listened and have gotta say, damn that piece is lovely. I'm think starting to get Jeremy Soule, or at least his music.

I have decent relative pitch but unfortunately nothing like perfect pitch, so I couldn't help you with the tuning system. The opening chord (Am9?), ground bass and oboe line sound like equal temperament to me. That is--when I play them on my digital piano I don't hear any beating or microtonal dissonance, but maybe my ears aren't sensitive enough.

There could be a synth pad doubling the string chord, with a number of oscillators (all detuned by a couple of cents) on each voice.

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It is very mysterious... I think it might be meantone, maybe 1/5 comma or something like that. It's very subtle and I feel like I notice it almost exclusively in the strings, around major sevenths and the like.

Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Like I said I don't really listen to his non-Elder Scrolls music, but there's so much there as it is. Still awaiting his symphony which promises to at least be pleasant on the ears.

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Basically. ;)

I've been hearing some better things about Sibelius. Greater flexibility. Any Sibelius users here?

By the way, did I mention how much I hate Noteflight?

What do you (and the other musical folk here) normally use for notation?

I've just become acquainted with LilyPond. It's the bees' knees! (Although that's from the perspective of someone with virtually no other experience of notation software.)

If you want an easy-to-use, aesthetically pleasing notation software to start off with, try Notion 3. That's what I started off with. It pretty much covers most of your basic needs, but doesn't have the really advanced stuff you could get with Finale. But it's still a good program!
I dropped Sibelius 2 two years ago, and switched to Notion 3, and it was a pain in the royal ass to get used to it. There is nothing in Notion that even gets close to the comfort of the Sibelius note/articulation notepad.

And you can't even save scores directly as PDF.

The built-in MIDI sounds don't even include a MIDI choir

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Any idea on the clusters at :09 and :15? The first seems to be octatonic - Eb-G-A-Bb-Db-E  - but the second sounds more dissonant, like there's an open chromatic cluster hidden in it. Something like E-F#-B-C-G-Bb.

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Hm odd, the second sounds less dissonant to me actually - more bitonal. Maybe that's just because of the open voicing as you say.

I think they're both bitonal, it's just the spacing that's different.

I reckon it's E-F#-(G)-C-D#-G-Bb. CM and D#m in first inversions yet interlocking.

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The Blu-ray's available too, though it depends how old your kids are. I was 6 when I saw it didn't trouble me, but I retrospect, I must've been one fucked up child.

Nah. Everyone knows the author was fucked up. Him and Anthony Burgess both.

Or maybe you thought you were because you watched it and didn't feel any disgust or revulsion to the material.

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The Blu-ray's available too, though it depends how old your kids are. I was 6 when I saw it didn't trouble me, but in retrospect, I must've been one fucked up child.

Haha, they can probably handle it. I'm more worried about myself.

I've never read the book either. It's one of those glaring things I've missed out on. It's sitting right on my shelf though. Maybe tonight's the night to start.

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About as much as the 16th President of the United States has to do with National Geographic.


Williams clearly likes hurting animals!

Elmer Bernstein, to be precise.

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Williams clearly likes hurting animals!

That plagiarizing, animal-abusing hack!

Okay, this I gotta hear out.

Which of Williams' cues sounds the most like the theme music to National Geographic?

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Right? And cruel, mocking trills and jabs during the frogs scene in ET! He's sick! And must be stopped!

Williams clearly likes hurting animals!

That plagiarizing, animal-abusing hack!

Okay, this I gotta hear out.

Which of Williams' cues sounds the most like the theme music to National Geographic?

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Okay, I somewhat hear it @ 1:43 and then repeated several times in different sections, but come on. Plagiarizing?

I mean, he doesn't copy the whole NatGeo theme, just the first half of it. And he uses a different pedal tone for each reiteration in comparison to the original theme.

...

...

...

Well, so goes my personal saying for composers:

If you copy yourself, you're just unoriginal.

If you copy someone else, you're both unoriginal and a thief.

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A good composer does not imitate; he steals.

- Igor Stravinsky

True, but a great composer makes the work that others steal from.

- Me

Boy, I guess you don't want to know where he got one of the key Potter themes then!

Which key Potter theme? "Hedwig's Theme"? "Nimbus 2000"? "Harry's Wondrous World"?

Hey, I'm not a kid anymore. In the immortal words of Pat Benatar:

"Hit me with your best shot."

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Anyone have access to this score? I feel like some of the less-audible harmonic writing for the strings during the last big statement of the theme is really, really beautiful, but I want to actually see it so I know what's really there and what's "phantom" music (the brain filling in stuff on its own). At 6:22-6:30, a low string line, and 6:37-6:50, violins, for example.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fS8WFUdON5I

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I was perusing my copy of Cecil Forsyth's Orchestration and came across a rather unusual convention he uses which I've never seen before:

"[if[ your piece is in 3/4 time, nobody...would waste his life writing out the crotchet rests. He would write the easiest correct notation for the part--dotted minims, with pizz above them. In other words, he would accept the convention, and if he had to write a pizzicato on the down-beats of a passage in 5/4 time, he would write as follows:"

He then shows five measures in 5/4 time notated with a double-dotted whole note filling each bear. Is this really kosher? It seems off to me.

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Yo, can anyone help transcribe this dissonant chorale-like bit from ROTS? (1:21 up to the Vader quote at 2:46)
 

 
I love how increasingly twisted and Vaderish the harmony gets, as you're getting primed for the Vader theme to drop.

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I think those are whisper words, and they most likely don't have any written transcription that could form legible words sans the music.

From what I'm hearing, they're completely devoid of any tonal center and the choir utilizes clusters that are scattered about.

If I were John Williams and had to give instructions to the choir for this section, my best guess would be to have them whisper random sibilant consonants ( s, f, sh, h, and z) without pitch, and at a tempo and rhythm equivalent to an unintelligible conversation, like that of whispering demons.

But that's just my educated guess.

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There's no choir there, that's just muted sound effects.

Sharky wasn't referring to that. He meant the brass chorale that leads up to Vader's thematic statement.

I'll take a crack on it tomorrow evening or Saturday.

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Dude that's thunder, volcanoes erupting and anything else Ben Burtt could find to drown out Williams's score!

What you're listening to is a rip of the rear channels of the soundtrack, which usually has a lot of bleed from ambient sound fx and even dialogue. Here it sounds like it's been muted through an EQ or a bandpass or hipass filter to temper some of the lo end rumble. Unfortunately that means it's harder hear low chords - particularly the bass note.

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Yeah, the bass note is nearly indistinguishable. And it's harder to hear any of the more possibly dissonant lines there, so it'd be hard to get any accurate transcription.

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