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Favorite short musical moments in Williams scores?

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On 2016. 02. 08. at 5:24 PM, CapitalJ said:

I always loved that little power march at 7:31. March of the Resistance in The Force Awakens reminded me of this cue. Both get stuck in my head a lot. 

 

Me too, I was thinking about posting this here, now I guess I won’t have to :)

It brings back memories from when I was 5, it was one of the first little musical moments that stood out to me besides the main themes and maybe the suspense-panic motif.

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31 minutes ago, Red said:

1:57 to 2:11

 

 

So wistful and bittersweet. It's moments like this that speaks to what being a child is so profoundly to me. It essentially is childhood coded in music. 

 

 

Hopefully Williams will channel some of this magic for The BFG.

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On 2/10/2016 at 10:16 AM, SzPeti42 said:

Me too, I was thinking about posting this here, now I guess I won’t have to :)

It brings back memories from when I was 5, it was one of the first little musical moments that stood out to me besides the main themes and maybe the suspense-panic motif.

Same Here. I was probably around the same age when I first saw the movie, and it brings back memories every time I listen to the soundtrack. It's like watching the movie in my head just by listening to the score. I remember that part was right after they showed the valley of dinosaurs, then they cut to the jeeps rolling up to the visitor center. 

17 hours ago, Red said:

1:57 to 2:11

 

 

So wistful and bittersweet. It's moments like this that speaks to what being a child is so profoundly to me. It essentially is childhood coded in music. 

 

You said it. It is essentially childhood coded in music. Listening to his scores brings back so many memories watching these movies. 

On 10/30/2015 at 0:24 AM, nightscape94 said:

1:41 - 2:09

 

 

We've all heard the Star Wars "theme" and the concert suite so many times that I think it can be easy to forget how wonderfully effective Williams' scoring is in the moments immediately after the crawl and its weight and power in the actual movie experience.  This is an incredibly important section in terms of setting the transitionary tone out of the bombastic title march and into the movie proper.  The way it shifts with the strings climbing up frantically as the words disappear into a series of ominous chords, heightening the tension, only to allow us momentary pause as we reflect on the stars.  This fleeting meditation gives way to more rushing strings, giving us yet another pang of unease as they rise rise but we descend.  A new alien planet system is then announced with a massive timpani roll and gong hit before ramping up into a fanfare flourish which is abbreviated due to the sudden overhead appearance of visual chaos.

 

All of this juking around purposefully puts you off balance and is musically striking at the same time.  Williams prepares you so perfectly for all of this in the span of about 25 seconds that it's ridiculous.

Nicely put, couldn't agree more. 

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27 minutes ago, mrbellamy said:

Suddenly got that little tag at the end of "Attack on Jakku Village" stuck in my head today. Vintage Star Wars transition!

 

Yea, good call!

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4 hours ago, E.T. and Elliot said:

I was going to post examples from The Sword Fight from Hook, but it ended up being the entire thing.

The whole Ultimate War is such a terrific sequence full of great little musical moments.

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4 hours ago, nightscape94 said:

 

Yes!

Verily yea!

 

And I too prefer the choir over Barbara Bonney's humming in this case.

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At 0:07 and 0:39

I was watching Raiders of the Lost Ark awhile ago, and I noticed the music when Indiana is on the German Sub. It reminds me of a part from one of the Star Wars scores, I'm pretty sure it was in the prequels, but I can't find it. I remember it was one of the victory music songs in Star Wars Battlefront 2. 

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I love the trumpets that play during Indy's flight to Venice in TLC:

 

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18637418/venice.mp3

 

They remind me a bit of the trumpets in Farewell and the Trip from TFA (starting from 0:48). Has that same celebratory quality:

 

 

(interestingly, the woodwinds at about 0:10 in that TLC excerpt are reminiscent of the woodwinds at 1:51 in Indy's Very First Adventure from the same score:

 

)

 

 

 

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Speaking of The Last Crusade, I've always been fond of this bit at 2:30 to 2:35 where Williams tricks us into thinking we're getting a full statement of Indy's theme but instead quickly switches back to the Nazi theme. 

 

 

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To me, it does, though perhaps "adventure" is a vague word, but the kind of adventure that is moreso vast and broadly epic. Indiana Jones is going for a different style of adventure I didn't mention: more of progressive, humorous and playful adventure, and not vastly epic adventure. A couple indicators would be that JP sounds incredibly "giant" like Star Wars main theme, but the difference is (a) JP is more collected in its bold moments, not filling simply one tone of loud bright reverb throughout the whole like Star Wars, and (b) it has a slightly more sophisticated sweeping melody which is grouped up into a few bold calls, thereby (a) and (b,) developing more emotional response. The second call carries stronger than the first by emphasizing three forte beats of bass and strings, the third of which ends on the terrific IV chord of which 'collected deep brass' resonates particularly "gigantically" and epically, and then the third call, which is more of a counter-response to IVs, mimicks that by dropping down to III. Both of these call-and-response chords (IV and II) are incredibly vast and giant-sounding giving a greater emotional deviation and development than Star Wars, along with the stronger and richer trumpet playing on top of this that the Star Wars theme seems to mask in its messier sounds of orchestration. These are the kinds of rich collected vibrations, the kinds of sweeping tones of adventure, which resonate boldly across canyons and echo into the deep. I'm sure I could dig a bit deeper into why to me it's his most adventurous or epic crown achievement compared to Star Wars main theme or Indiana Jones, it's difficult to explain.

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26 minutes ago, Cantus Venti said:

To me, it does, though perhaps "adventure" is a vague word, but the kind of adventure that is moreso vast and broadly epic. Indiana Jones is going for a different style of adventure I didn't mention: more of progressive and humorous adventure, and not vast or broadly epic adventure. A couple indicators would be that JP sounds incredibly "giant" like Star Wars main theme, but the difference is (a) JP is more collected in its bold moments, not filling simply one tone of loud bright reverb throughout the whole like Star Wars, and (b) it has a slightly more sophisticated melody which is grouped up into these few bold calls, thereby (a) and (b,) developing more emotional response. The second call ends on the IV chord of which collected deep brass sounds particularly "gigantic" or epic, and then the third call, which is more of a counter-response to IVs, mimicks that by dropping down to III. Both of these call-and-response chords are incredibly vast and giant-sounding giving a greater emotional deviation/development than Star Wars, along with the stronger and richer trumpet playing on top of this that the Star Wars theme seems to mask in its messier sounds of orchestration. These are the kinds of rich and collected vibrations, the kinds of tones of adventure, which resonate boldly across canyons and echo into the broad deep. I'm sure I could dig a bit deeper into why to me it's his most adventurous or epic crown achievement compared to Star Wars main theme or Indiana Jones, it's difficult to explain.

 

Can you explain a little more what you mean by second call, third call, counter-response...? Where are those in the video? (which almost gave me a seizure, btw...)

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Another questionable but incredibly genius move by Williams putting this theme as the celebration for the major resolve of the film. The theme that's never used as the resolve... finally gets, resolved! Brilliant.

 

Ending sequence begins at 13:20 and the theme plays at 13:52 - 13:55 (the notes G G E repeating in the key of C# major. The harmonies C major, C major, C# minor repeating in the resolved key of C# major.) Absolutely lovely. The theme appears to be celebrating Vader's frustration mostly, hahaha, from the audience's perspective.

 

 

4 hours ago, loert said:

Can you explain a little more what you mean by second call, third call, counter-response...? Where are those in the video? (which almost gave me a seizure, btw...)

 

Hmm. While there's a certain incompletion to focusing on only harmonic aspects, the park theme follows the harmonic progression: I - II(/I) - vi - iii - IV (4:39-4:40) - vi - V - III (4:42) - vi - IV - VII4. The call and response melodies are almost identical too but for the last note dropping down a half step. 

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5 hours ago, Sharky said:

It's more helpful to think of the III as a V/vi secondary dominant, helping to further tonicise Gm, which has been already been given its localised i-VII-VI, through the vi-iii6-VI move. Have a look at this thread I made a while back.

 

 

You are absolutely correct! Thanks for showing me that, as I'm not as familiar with minor keys. It makes the afformentioned IV interpreted as so in the smaller context of Bb major's starting tonality, a move JWs pulls often, but clearly the rightful relative VI (Neapolitan 6th chord) as you've pointed out in the appropriate context which then needs to be resolved to V.

 

IV and the Neapolitan 6th sound a lot alike. This play on being interpreted in both major and minor is an exact reason why I'd say the theme is so sophisticated. He's essentially beginning the theme on III, then to VI, to trick us into resolving this Neapolitan, not later twisting a III harmony into it that sounds too natural. There seems to be a catchiness to his roundabout progression to V, an "adventure" of its own which demonstrates a true intention to inevitably go to V.

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On 01/04/2016 at 1:49 AM, Cantus Venti said:

Hmm. While there's a certain incompletion to focusing on only harmonic aspects, the park theme follows the harmonic progression: I - II(/I) - vi - iii - IV (4:39-4:40) - vi - V - III (4:42) - vi - IV - VII4. The call and response melodies are almost identical too but for the last note dropping down a half step. 

 

Thank you. I just wasn't sure what you meant by call and response. The bolded symbol should really be iii btw (or v/vi).

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17 hours ago, Cantus Venti said:

You are absolutely correct! Thanks for showing me that, as I'm not as familiar with minor keys. It makes the afformentioned IV interpreted as so in the smaller context of Bb major's starting tonality, a move JWs pulls often, but clearly the rightful relative VI (Neapolitan 6th chord) as you've pointed out in the appropriate context which then needs to be resolved to V.

 

You have to bear in mind that Gm is just the relative minor of Bb. Functionally the vi is a tonic substitute--the strongest there is, with both chords sharing two pitches. So it functions in both Bb and Gm at the same time, but with one key centre temporarily given priority over the other.

 

The theme's A section is an eight measure period composed of a four measure antecedent (ending on a half-cadence of A with a 4-3 suspension) and a four measure consequent (another half-cadence prepared by a suspension, now on D). The D cadence makes sense as both a secondary dominant in the context of the A section, and as a primary dominant of Gm--the new tonality of the B section. On the other hand, the A is an unfilled secondary dominant of D, a sort of deceptive cadence that's function is only revealed in hindsight, once we reach measure eight.

 

You might find academic piece below by Frank Lehman interesting. It's less tonally orthodox and coins a phenomenon found in film music as chromatically modulating cadential resolutions (CMCRs). Lehman suggests that these are employed at crucial moments to intensify (rather than hide) cuts, and create a sense of awe, wonder and excitement, The feeling of a held breath or your heart skipping a beat.

 

Type 0 = Down a minor third

Type I = Up a minor third

Type II = Down a major third

Type III = Up a major third

Type IV = Up a major second

Type V = Down a major second

Type VI = Up an augmented fourth

 

 

 

 

 

lehman_ex28.png

It's at [6.4] towards the very end of the paper.

 

http://www.mtosmt.org/issues/mto.13.19.4/mto.13.19.4.lehman.html

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Sharky said:

You have to bear in mind that Gm is just the relative minor of Bb. Functionally the vi is a tonic substitute--the strongest there is, with both chords sharing two pitches. So it functions in both Bb and Gm at the same time, but with one key centre temporarily given priority over the other.

 

And this is not atypical, but the way Williams makes it work in this piece is very effective, likely due to the resolving intention you mentioned. II does act like a secondary dominant to V as well, although much less necessarily to the constitution of the theme it seems.

 

Out of all the examples in the article, example 28 seems the most harmonically ingenious and well-executed. The theme definitely plays around. Thanks for sharing that article.

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On 03/04/2016 at 10:54 PM, Cerebral Cortex said:

0:56 to 1:20 of The Tide Turns/The Death of Darth Maul from The Phantom Menace, where Williams is able to use both Dual of the Fates and the Force theme and play them against each other (with great success). 

 

 

 

I feel like the entire score is a buildup to that moment. It's just awesome!

 

Here's an excerpt I really like:

It's so cool how the music builds...then builds again...then dramatically collapses in on itself. Terrifying and awe-inspiring at once. (Can anyone guess where this is from?)

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