Jump to content
Tom

Force Awakens ABC TV Spot - CONFIRMED premiere of Williams' score!

The Music In The Spot  

59 members have voted

This poll is closed to new votes
  1. 1. Is the music from 0:03-0:38 in this TV spot written by John Williams?

    • Definitely John Williams - probably written a while back for potential trailer use
    • Definitely John WIlliams - It's gotta be from the Force Awakens score!
    • Definitely John WIlliams, but redone / remixed to sound more "trailery"
    • Definitely not John Williams!


Recommended Posts

Something about the way those opening phrases return to the root strike me as lazy. And the chord progression isn't very inspired to my ears either.

Yeah, I think there's something to that. Melodically and harmonically it hangs around the tonic (no hints yet of the modal writing you get right off the bat in many SW themes, especially the "reflective" ones) with nothing really that interesting or surprising to grab onto rhythmically either. So far it sounds pretty and static to me, like a lot of film score tunes but not typically ones written by John Williams for a Star Wars movie. Once again, expectations...fine if it's not a crucial theme, but not so inspiring to me (again, so far) if this is meant to be one of the big ones.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Huh... To my ears, it's a very elegantly constructed theme, with a sense of balance I don't often hear from living composers other than Williams.

It's lyrical, poetic and immediate, but there's also something clever about it, something artificial (in the best sense); it feels like the work of a craftsman. It feels sculpted, and not the result of happenstance while noodling away at the keyboard.

I think the simplicity is a matter of purposeful design (much like Luke's theme almost 40 years ago). There's also an emotional quality to it that feels refreshingly austere. It's a very solitary theme. Ruminative and desolate. I find it very interesting. It has me intrigued. It's not a broadly romantic theme, there's nothing lush or really otherworldly about it. Still, it's completely star wars-ian, and sits comfortably among the other themes in the glossary, while at the same time offering something we haven't quite heard before.

I don't hear all the lyricism and emotional qualities in that you do. You use the word artificial, where I might argue it is too much so. It sounds competent enough to fit into the SW universe, but that's all I'd use to describe it. Competent. Something about the way those opening phrases return to the root strike me as lazy. And the chord progression isn't very inspired to my ears either. I don't need high romance, but I like some intrigue in my themes. The second half of the statement offers more promise.

If this is Williams, it's probably too early to make any grand statements, good or bad, without hearing the whole thing, or its application in context. But so far...meh.

How would you describe the melody at 1:22 here:

https://youtu.be/Ssnb-eiehoo?t=1m22s

Beautifully broad, like the old-school tunes of high romance. And it has a gorgeous chord progression to carry it.

All I can say is that where you hear lazy, I hear clever melodic writing, and where you hear uninspired harmonic progression, I hear conscious restraint. It takes guts to write something so simply.

And I think this is also a current "project" for Williams: To try to get at the core of an idea, to say what's essential, neither more nor less. He expressed such sentiments around the time of Tintin and War Horse, I believe, and they're sentiments quite often found in late work stages of composers. Fluff, color and more chromatically saturated harmonic progressions are easy for a composer of Williams' calibre. Crafting a tune with so few notes and so much elegance, on the other hand, is a true challenge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It takes guts to write something so simply."

Lord, to see that thinking so zealously applied to, say, Zimmer.

Let me rephrase: It takes guts to write something so simply when you have the craft to write otherwise.

(Having said that, I like much of Zimmer's work, and I think he's written some very effective film music, and his sense of sonic adventure can be delightful at times. But he is of an entirely different tradition; his craft and Williams' are not the same, nor can they be. Zimmer is a symphonic pop composer, Williams is a contemporary classical composer.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's remarkably Star Wars-ian in that you can recognise the theme from so few notes, just like all the other great themes in the saga. The Force Theme, Imperial March, Han's Theme, and Emperor's Theme are instantly recognisable from their first 6 notes and this theme follows that exact trend.

Similarly, Luke's Theme and Across The Stars only require 7 notes to complete their first phrase. I think Williams is trying to return to the simplicity of the earlier themes by taking less notes to say what he wants to say; conversely, Battle of the Heroes took a fairly unmemorable (by casual moviegoer standards) 9 notes.

This also makes the theme far more pliable because Williams can hint at bits and pieces of it gradually throughout the score, before blowing out into the inevitable orchestral porn rendition in the finale. You can't do this as easily with a 9 note theme (potentially an explanation as to why BOTH only appears right at the end without any development at all).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That's one of the best moments of the entire score!

Not to mention it's one of the best cues of Williams' career!

Sounded off to me, both this and the new theme are pieces I've heard for the first time. Sorry.

Anyway the point was to KK after claiming this new theme is 'dull, uninspired and mechanical even'. I presume he holds up the OT music up as the gold standard, when I think nostalgia and familiarity with the scores is kicking in. That line after the force theme in the clip was an example of something that sounds kind of dull (at least on first listen).

Whaaaa?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Someone should ask this guy https://twitter.com/missingwords/with_repliesif he can answer. I think he could look it up. As far as I know, he is managing the StarWars.com social media stuff (at least one of the people doing it). http://www.starwars.com/news/contributor/mmartin

I don't use Twitter but if no one asks then I guess I could make an account.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can hear Williams in some of the orchestrations, but that melodic content is painfully boring.

How so? What about it bores you?
It's KK.

Quintus - awaiting context during the movie before addressing the rabid 10 second snippet ultimate judgment brigade.

This!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Williams or not, I like the magic of that melody. Makes me think on Tintin or Harry Potter. If this score had Potter-esque colours I'd be delighted.

As for the way it returns to the original note, isn't that modular structure a typical thing with certain kinds of cinematic themes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is my take on what I have read above: the cue is not a "blow your socks off" sort of thing we are hoping for, and thus maybe it is not Williams. However, the theme is too good to be the work of a pedestrian composer, and, thus, the most reasonable explanation is that it is Williams (though messed with for the trailer).

For my part, I think it is Williams and I think it is Rey's theme (or at least part of her theme). If that is the case, I would not mind as it is very different from his previous "feminine" themes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did Robocop have a theme in STID? I think that's what it reminds me of.

Here is Marcus's Theme from STID:

He even gave it a six and a half minute concert arrangement:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't there a tune from some recent score, maybe Giacchino, that has almost the same rhythmic/intervallic profile as this one? I swear it reminds me of something but I can't place it.

Yes! It quickly reminded me of this:

Wasn't that fond of that theme either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's interesting about the comparison, is actually just how much better Williams' theme is. On the surface, they're all fairly innocuous, but Williams' little melodic construction seems so much more promising; there's a spark to it that Giacchino's themes lack, and again, I think it's a matter of not only talent, but sculpting. Applied craft & patience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Isn't there a tune from some recent score, maybe Giacchino, that has almost the same rhythmic/intervallic profile as this one? I swear it reminds me of something but I can't place it.

Yes! It quickly reminded me of this:

Wasn't that fond of that theme either.

Too complex a melody to be Giacchino.

Isn't there a tune from some recent score, maybe Giacchino, that has almost the same rhythmic/intervallic profile as this one? I swear it reminds me of something but I can't place it.

Yes! It quickly reminded me of this:

Wasn't that fond of that theme either.

HAHAHAHAHA! It does sound like it!

How vulgar are those sudden choppy strings though? Eww, get it away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The supportive material in the Gia cue is abysmal, and obviously Williams will provide more sophisticated harmonies, but the actual melodic construction is rather similar. Not that I'm thinking Williams or whoever wrote this was inspired by the Gia theme in any way. But just like this tune, the trailer melody does little for me.

What's interesting about the comparison, is actually just how much better Williams' theme is. On the surface, they're all fairly innocuous, but Williams' little melodic construction seems so much more promising; there's a spark to it that Giacchino's themes lack, and again, I think it's a matter of not only talent, but sculpting. Applied craft & patience.

I agree Marcus. Williams' knack for craft and "sculpting" is what always sets his themes apart from the likes of others.

But its that distinction that I don't hear as much with this trailer melody, which is why I'm not as convinced that this is Williams.

Though as Quint says, it's really too soon to say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen some people comment about the high-register string ostinati in the TV spot, which sounds like Williams. Yes, Williams uses this particular texture a lot in Star Wars, but the way he uses it, it's always very subtle and clearly in the background. With the TV spot, however, there are places where it's so "in your face" that it's almost in the foreground (especially throughout 0:18 - 0:37). Would Williams do this? Would Williams place a solo horn playing the main melody, only to be almost completely overpowered by strings playing "D-Bb-D-Bb-D-Bb..." over again? To me it sounds like messy orchestration.

I'm still undecided on the theme...it's no "Raiders' March" or "CE3K 5-notes". It sounds much better in the brass than in the flute/clarinet, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The supportive material in the Gia cue is abysmal, and obviously Williams will provide more sophisticated harmonies, but the actual melodic construction is rather similar. Not that I'm thinking Williams or whoever wrote this was inspired by the Gia theme in any way. But just like this tune, the trailer melody does little for me.

What's interesting about the comparison, is actually just how much better Williams' theme is. On the surface, they're all fairly innocuous, but Williams' little melodic construction seems so much more promising; there's a spark to it that Giacchino's themes lack, and again, I think it's a matter of not only talent, but sculpting. Applied craft & patience.

I agree Marcus. Williams' knack for craft and "sculpting" is what always sets his themes apart from the likes of others.

But its that distinction that I don't hear as much with this trailer melody, which is why I'm not as convinced that this is Williams.

Though as Quint says, it's really too soon to say.

Those Giacchino themes are not the best, I agree. This melody currently on trial is a little more memorable and cohesive than either of those IMO, but in terms of construction, I wouldn't say it's like in a whole other class from the best stuff in Pixar, Lost, John Carter. It's good, nice. Masterful, I dunno. I'm repeating myself now but it's just why I'm assuming/hoping the score doesn't hinge on this, that thematically there's more of a "knock your socks off" type theme in waiting, or at least something a whole lot more to this one. We'll see! This figure as it stands just doesn't intrigue or inspire me enough to want to hear variations of it all over the movie (and the upcoming sequels and forevermore in advertising, clip reels, theme parks etc.) It reminds me more of the dozens of little ideas in a typical Williams score that somebody like Gia would use as their whole foundation.

I will say for Marcus's sake that I'm really glad it's stirring up all this vocal passion in somebody. What a drag this thread would be otherwise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There we go, he replied:

"I don't know and I'm as curious as you are. However, if I do manage to get that answer I likely won't be allowed to say it publicly. Sorry!"

Hoping he will get back to me if he finds out/is allowed and willing to share the info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this spot really features the premiere of a snippet of Williams music for TFA, then why isn't Disney/Lucasfilm making a formal announcement? That guy said he may not be able to publicly say so? What's the big secret!?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...