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Favorite short musical moments in Williams scores?

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I guess everyone likes something different about John Williams too. I personally love his most catchy little motifs, like Nobuo Uematsu's. Hook and the original Star Wars trilogy had so many of these for just one film, he must have written 7 really stand-out themes on average for each film.

 

To start off, one of the best melodies he's written imo:

 

 

I think even a melodic quality like 1:48 or 0:34 could've worked better as an element of Rey's theme, even though having an extremely light segment like this would not be a perfect fit. It is moreso the quality of the music. She's portrayed as good character with playful moments, but catchiness is the real deal with JW for me personally. But when we leave moments that are not purely catchy and melodic, even though JW is an amazing orchestrator, the choices don't seem nearly as exquisite. One of my favorite segments that isn't revolved around catchy motif, but around purely orchestration, is sort of like a Bach piece in an orchestral film style, with its interplay being between the fiddles, the bass, and the variety of countering instruments:

 

 

Although, these aren't my most favorite moments overall...

The two Jurassic Park segments I just listed are two of my favorites. Extremely simple but effective and memorable.

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2 hours ago, Cantus Venti said:

 

 

I guess everyone likes something different about John Williams too. I personally love his most catchy little motifs, like Nobuo Uematsu's. Hook and the original Star Wars trilogy had so many of these for just one film, he must have written 7 really stand-out themes on average for each film.

 

To start off, one of the best melodies he's written imo:

 

 

I think even something like 1:48 or 0:34 could've worked better as an element to Rey's theme. She's a good character after all, with playful moments. Her theme doesn't need to be so dark for starters, even though having a segment like this wouldn't be a perfect fit. Catchiness is the real deal with JW for me personally. But when we leave moments that are not purely catchy and melodic, even though JW is an amazing orchestrator, the choices don't seem nearly as exquisite. One of my favorite segments of his that isn't revolved around catchy motif, but around purely orchestration, is sort of like a Bach piece in an orchestral film style, with its interplay being between the fiddles, the bass, and the variety of countering instruments:

 

 

Although, these aren't my most favorite moments either...

The two Jurassic Park segments I just listed are two of my favorites. Extremely simple but effective and memorable.

so many wonderful musical moments in the Prisoner of Azkaban.

 

I disagree about changing the tone of Rey's theme, it represents her isolation and loneliness akin to how Tattooine was scored in the Original Trilogy, as well as her propulsion for greatness. particularly the concert piece where it keeps going up a key until it arrives at the exact opposite of the one it started for is a wonderful foreshadowing that Rey may either end up on the opposite extreme to where she started, with friends and purpose, or on the dark side. having too much of a cheery tone doesn't fit her character at all, in the main theme there's always this underlying sorrow because you know that Rey started off with nothing, hence why she runs away and is so unbalanced by her first ever friend, Finn, leaving her.

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I know you can analyze this down to every detail as to why Rey's theme needed to be perfectly this way, but I don't believe changing the music or story would have yielded something worse, but simply something else. However my analogy is misunderstood. The lightness comparison is only to parallel something playfully quaint in some aspects of Rey's theme, which doesn't need to be the main emphasis in a theme but simply one aspect (as Rey's theme is literally a mix and match of random junk.) I hear Rey might in fact be a dark character. This banquet theme like better themes I think Williams tends to write, are light, and it doesn't matter if Rey is a light or dark character. Simply The Force Awakens has way too many unmemorable, one-toned themes, not delivering enough sense of excitement or catchiness to the film material he was given.

 

Here is a truly genius move by Williams on the other hand. Hands down one of my favorite scoring moves by Williams. Boarding the bad guy's "ship" for the first time, Williams chooses instead to put the scene to very light, adventurous, even celebratory music, in some sense, taking the individual enemy perspective out of our consciousness for the time being. Absolutely inspirational:

 

 

Directly following this, at 2:39, he does decide to change to the enemy perspective. But he wants to bring a sense of wonder and adventure to the forefront of this scene, and he masters doing just that before any enemy is introduced.

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On April 9, 2016 at 9:44 PM, Cantus Venti said:

 

 

I guess everyone likes something different about John Williams too. I personally love his most catchy little motifs, like Nobuo Uematsu's. Hook and the original Star Wars trilogy had so many of these for just one film, he must have written 7 really stand-out themes on average for each film.

 

To start off, one of the best melodies he's written imo:

 

 

 

His Hook score has so many amazing moments.  My personal favorite theme from that movie is the one for Smee, and this is my favorite small quote of it, at 5:40 in "The Ultimate War":

 

 

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2 hours ago, Cantus Venti said:

I know you can analyze this down to every detail as to why Rey's theme needed to be perfectly this way, but I don't believe changing the music or story would have yielded something worse, but simply something else. However my analogy is misunderstood. The lightness comparison is only to parallel something playfully quaint in some aspects of Rey's theme, which doesn't need to be the main emphasis in a theme but simply one aspect (as Rey's theme is literally a mix and match of random junk.) I hear Rey might in fact be a dark character. This banquet theme like better themes I think Williams tends to write, are light, and it doesn't matter if Rey is a light or dark character. Simply The Force Awakens has way too many unmemorable, one-toned themes, not delivering enough sense of excitement or catchiness to the film material he was given.

 

Here is a truly genius move by Williams on the other hand. Hands down one of my favorite scoring moves by Williams. Boarding the bad guy's "ship" for the first time, Williams chooses instead to put the scene to very light, adventurous, even celebratory music, in some sense, taking the individual enemy perspective out of our consciousness for the time being. Absolutely inspirational:

 

 

Directly following this, at 2:39, he does decide to change to the enemy perspective. But he wants to bring a sense of wonder and adventure to the forefront of this scene, and he masters doing just that before any enemy is introduced.

 

I interpret that to mean something differently. they're going right to the heart of the imperial war machine and so the music is glorious, militaristic and triumphant with a hint of dread at the beginning. its the kind of music that when you hear you envision the empire marching to domination, sort of like a proto Imperial March.

 

not having a go or anything but I find it amusing how your responses seem to follow a formula:

 

"I appreciate that you have a different opinion but TFA is unmemorable and some of Williams worse work. 

here's a piece of score that's much better than that miserable red-headed stepchild of John Williams. hear how much more masterful it is, witness memorable themes instead of Rey's theme, John Williams probably came up with it by whistling it in the park one day."

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11 hours ago, DarthDementous said:

 

I interpret that to mean something differently. they're going right to the heart of the imperial war machine and so the music is glorious, militaristic and triumphant with a hint of dread at the beginning. its the kind of music that when you hear you envision the empire marching to domination, sort of like a proto Imperial March.

 

not having a go or anything but I find it amusing how your responses seem to follow a formula:

 

"I appreciate that you have a different opinion but TFA is unmemorable and some of Williams worse work. 

here's a piece of score that's much better than that miserable red-headed stepchild of John Williams. hear how much more masterful it is, witness memorable themes instead of Rey's theme, John Williams probably came up with it by whistling it in the park one day."

 

Militaristic and celebrationally triumphant for the empire, exactly what I was thinking. The audience all knows what's happening in the scene, but he uses a subconscious deception definitely, to me, if you interpret it closely, like "this is somehow more adventurous, glorious, wonderous than you thought it would be." He's switching the sides without us quite catching on to what's going on, vaguely hinting at the dark side's good theme thereby giving us the opportunity to subconsciously relate to their victory. It does so in a way of flowing in tandem with the overall conflicting theme of the film.

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5 hours ago, Cantus Venti said:

 

Militaristic and celebrationally triumphant for the empire, exactly what I was thinking. The audience all knows what's happening in the scene, but he uses a subconscious deception definitely, to me, if you interpret it closely, like "this is somehow more adventurous, glorious, wonderous than you thought it would be." He's switching the sides without us quite catching on to what's going on, vaguely hinting at the dark side's good theme thereby giving us the opportunity to subconsciously relate to their victory. It does so in a way of flowing in tandem with the overall conflicting theme of the film.

props for breaking the formula :P

 

after listening to it again I definitely hear a lighter tone to the whole ordeal that does give it the feeling of adventure. its a very exciting and memorable sequence to be sure, there's danger and there's trepidation at the same time.

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Basically any time he uses a third relation... (For the theory nerds out here)

 

But for more specifics, I love any of the transitions for the seasons (the tree moments from fall to winter, winter to spring, etc.) in The Prisoner of Azkaban. They are virtuosic for the solo instruments and just gorgeous.

 

Aunt Marge's Waltz oboe solo is just dripping with sass as well. Matches the scene perfect.

 

The Terminal piano and bass duet at the beginning of Jazz Autographs is just contrapuntal perfection, particularly from a rhythmic standpoint. especially the duple and triple play.

 

E.T. and Close Encounters have far too many moments to even mention. The opening's in particular I think convey such a great amount of fear and uncertainty while exploring so many post-tonal colors. 

 

Jurassic Park "Journey to the Island" after the fanfare from 7:30-8:00 and 8:30 to the end is a perfect setting for the entire film.

 

I'm most impressed with Williams when he finds a new color I haven't heard before, a line/countermelody that is genius or a rhythm that incorporates syncopated jazz in a way not normally done in orchestras.

 

Just a list of some more of my favorites from a more technical perspective:

The flute/trumpet octave mix and the clarinet/bassoon quartet from Hymn to the Fallen

The Bass Clarinet substitute for bass in The Knight Bus

The simple rhythmic layering across registers for Buckbeak's Flight (especially when the bass drops out)

The horn layering of "Lando's Palace,"

The Fugue in Jaws

The Ives style writing dueling melodies in Jaws

The contrasting rhythmic layers he uses for "The Asteroid Field,"

The slow accellerando he uses for the Battle of Hoth AND the Battle of Endor,

The viola ostinatos that tie together the entire Star Wars Prequels (DOTF, and the beginning of RotS etc.),

A Dream Discarded (which has as much to do with composition as Yo-yo Ma's impeccable ability to choke the tone of his Cello to tear every bit of your soul to shreds), 

The descant the violins have in "Flight to Neverland" over the woodwinds around 2:08, 

Chords for "The Immolation Scene" (They are some of the most devastating written for strings, second only to Barber of course),

and probably my favorite is a combination between him and the cellists/alto's in Close Encounters that blend so well at times you can't tell them apart. 

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2:51 to 2:59, but ultimately 1:59 to 2:59


The way how Williams slowly introduces and builds and builds that downward falling section of notes in the background until they finally get to be alone in the forefront at 2:51 to 2:59, now fully realized, is SO grand. Feels as if you're soaring. 
 

 

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On 7/27/2015 at 10:18 PM, Cerebral Cortex said:

I always really liked this little bit from 1:23 to 1:49. As far as I can tell, it doesn't show up anywhere else in the soundtrack.
 

Wow, that reminds me a lot of the opening to the second track of the book thief score

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On 3/9/2016 at 1:38 PM, CapitalJ said:

 

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 cue 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. 

 

At 2:35, that's what that part in the German Sub made me think of in Star Wars. I finally found it! It was in Empire Strikes Back actually, not the prequels. 

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I love the final few bars of Meeting Sicily from Monsignor, a thrilling conclusion.

 

Invariably I often go back to this rhythmic showcase from The Lost World's End Credits:

 

 

 

By the way, speaking of short moments. Some of you will enjoy this compilation of isolated sections of the orchestra performing 'Harry's Wondrous World'. A Genius of Orchestration!

 

 

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The 57 second mark and the 8:22 mark in KOTC Finale. Love those two moments. also the 1:15 second mark in Welcome to Jurassic Park.

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When the orchestra comes back in at around 3:30, of "Gloria".

 

The "The Towering Inferno" musical in-joke in "Journey To The Island".

 

The shot of the water cascading down in the Promenade Room, as "Waking Up" plays the hero theme.

 

All of "Let There Be Light" (hey, it's short enough!).

On ‎01‎/‎05‎/‎2016 at 10:17 AM, Mr. Big said:

The face-morphing music from 3:45 of The Last Battle from Saving Private Ryan.  

 

 

Excellent choice!

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4 hours ago, Richard said:

 

The "The Towering Inferno" musical in-joke in "Journey To The Island".

 

What's that now?

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2 hours ago, Richard said:

If you listen carefully, you can hear the four-note (two notes played an octave apart) hero theme that accompanies the first shot of the helicopter. Honestly, guys, it is there!

 

I think I know what you mean. It is these flutes + synth (listen to this portion here):

 

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It definitely has the same feel as those four notes in TTI, but they are not the same notes exactly:

 

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(in JTTI's tonality these would Eb-F-D-F).

 

In fact these aren't two notes an octave part, they're a kind of a I/V polytonality. And the flutes in JTTI play V against I as well, and end on the same scale degree as in TTI, and have a similar rhythmic motion, which is what gives it a similar kind of feel!

 

But as Sharky says there's an overall similar feel in the two pieces, particular with the "B section" from TTI opening titles. There's an undulating accompaniment there, as in the violas and cellos playing in the third line from the bottom in the first image, which runs throughout the first helicopter scene. And the high, unison strings also appear in both cases.  

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Spookily, Williams uses a very similar sequence of notes when the camera pans across the New York skyline to the World Trade Center in a transitional scene in Stepmom.  It has been years since I watched the movie, so I do not remember the context of the scene or how similar the tune was, but it was close enough to take me aback when I first saw it.

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On 5/5/2016 at 6:39 AM, Biodome said:

Those grandiose chords from 3:14 to 3:22. Gets me every time. So majestic and powerful.

 

 

that part really strongly reminds me of gustav holt and his Planets suite, which I believe is a documented influence seeing as how the beginning of the movie (after the title crawl) lifts a progression very similar to 'Mars, Bringer of War'.

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3:33-4:27 is probably one of my top five favorite Williams moments. It's so powerful, I get chills every time. And IMO both the bonding theme and the Dartmoor theme are absolutely five-star, incredible themes. 

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On 7/27/2015 at 5:54 AM, JWfangirl1992 said:

 

I don't know why but I absolutely love this part of the Battle of Hoth in Empire, such a great climatic moment (4:01-4:23). I have not watched Empire in quite some time but I do believe this part is not in the actual movie itself, but I could be wrong.

 

That reminds me of this (stick with it to 3:19), which kills me a little bit inside every time I watch it:

 

 

Also just noticed this lovely little passage in the FYC of Farewell and the Trip that seems to have been excised from the Rey Meets BB-8 OST cue (or is an insert here). It's in the middle of the BB-8 material (0:19), but then at 0:29-0:39 there's this gorgeous, sumptuous bit, like a Rogers and Hammerstein musical breaks out.

 

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13 minutes ago, aviazn said:

Also just noticed this lovely little passage in the FYC of Farewell and the Trip that seems to have been excised from the Rey Meets BB-8 OST cue (or is an insert here). It's in the middle of the BB-8 material (0:19), but then at 0:29-0:39 there's this gorgeous, sumptuous bit, like a Rogers and Hammerstein musical breaks out.

It's a nice little moment.  Great "waking up" music.

 

13 minutes ago, aviazn said:

That reminds me of this (stick with it to 3:19), which kills me a little bit inside every time I watch it:

Some of those are fairly obscure passages to be fair.  

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On 7/27/2015 at 1:20 AM, Muad'Dib said:

You reminded me of a great one from CoS

3-30 to 3:42

 

It's some sort of Russian dance or march on cocaine. I love it!

 

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