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Jediwashington

JoAnn Kane's Mark Graham Interview on orchestrating for Williams

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Wow, it sounds like Williams has almost finished work on The Last Jedi. I guess there have been a lot of recording sessions, but I assumed he still had a lot of work ahead of him. I wonder if he's thought about Ready Player One yet? Earlier last year, he did say he expected to start work on that in November, but it seems that's around the time he started writing The Last Jedi. 

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That was a great interview. Nice mix of anecdotes and also insight into the process. I think most of us would be enviable of those lucky enough to work on these scores so closely.

 

35 minutes ago, pete said:

I wonder if he's thought about Ready Player One yet? Earlier last year, he did say he expected to start work on that in November, but it seems that's around the time he started writing The Last Jedi. 

 

I'd guess RPO wasn't in a complete enough state to start last November, so they worked out a way to do Star Wars early with Kathy Kennedy. I'd think TLJ sessions would be finished by the end of May and Williams will probably move on to RPO (or take a break and wait for The Post).

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7 minutes ago, crumbs said:

That was a great interview. Nice mix of anecdotes and also insight into the process. I think most of us would be enviable of those lucky enough to work on these scores so closely.

 

 

I'd guess RPO wasn't in a complete enough state to start last November, so they worked out a way to do Star Wars early with Kathy Kennedy. I'd think TLJ sessions would be finished by the end of May and Williams will probably move on to RPO (or take a break and wait for The Post).

I don't think I have ever complained about a Williams scoring assignment.  I will break with that tradition and say I wish The Post was not part of the schedule.  Perhaps it will turn out okay as a movie and score, but I hate movies that so desperately try to be relevant to current evens (and seem hackneyed as a result).  Plus, it will rush RPO on either the front or back end, which has much greater potential for an interesting score.  Okay, not even the right thread for this, I am done. 

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1 hour ago, Disco Stu said:

What I've read about RPO sounds like it's really dumb, whereas the true story of The Post is a very very interesting part of American history.  So...yeah.  I hope The Post is really good.

Which if done as a historical piece true to the time would be fine.  However, I guarantee (okay 90% chance) the screenwriter and Spielberg will makes all sorts of "clever" allusions to Trump that will make the whole thing feel forced and trite. 

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Very insightful. It just shows how hard all this scoring process is. Hats off to the team and those who make it worth it for the longevity.

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Who is JoAnn Kane? She is supposed to be Turkish. Some say her father was German. Nobody believed she was real. Nobody ever saw her or knew anybody that ever worked directly for her, but to hear Kobayashi tell it, anybody could have worked for Kane. You never knew. That was her power. The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. And like that, poof. She's gone.

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1 minute ago, pete said:

Who is Artie Kane?

 

I found this helpful sentence in a newspaper profile of Artie and JoAnn Kane:

 

"Joann and Artie Kane’s music-driven life is reflected in their vast Whidbey Island garden. Artie is a pianist who composed scores for “Looking For Mr. Goodbar,” “Dynasty” and “Love Boat,” among many films and television shows. JoAnn sang in Vegas, and opened for Perry Como before starting a successful company that prepares and transcribes music for clients as diverse as Barbra Streisand and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. "

 

http://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/a-whidbey-island-island-garden-composed-for-musicians-moves-to-the-rhythm-of-living-things/

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12 hours ago, Stefancos said:

Doesn't that basically mean that JoAnne Kane has basically muscled out the traditional orchestrator?

 

To the extent that they're just glorified copyists, probably. Luckily, a lot of modern composers are untrained in orchestral writing, so orchestrators won't have to starve.

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10 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

 

To the extent that they're just glorified copyists, probably. Luckily, a lot of modern composers are untrained in orchestral writing, so orchestrators won't have to starve.

 

Why not then just promote the orchestrators to become composers? Since the composers themselves seem so unskilled and incompetent afterall.

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On 5/5/2017 at 1:05 AM, Stefancos said:

Doesn't that basically mean that JoAnne Kane has basically muscled out the traditional orchestrator?

 

Depends on the workflow. Williams needed copyists with some ability to fill in details more than he needed orchestrators. He is really familiar with ranges, tone colors, and blend, no doubt from all his years on a podium as well. There are tons of composers who don't know that level of detail, and thus need someone to flesh out their ideas more clearly, or they work in a team environment where they do more signing off of material than actually writing it and call those people "orchestrators."

 

Orchestration and Copyists have been a dying art form anyway. It was sort of the middle man built by the pace required in Hollywood. Finale is so quick now, most competent composers don't need much help. Finale even indicates now when a note is out of range for a particular instrument while you are writing. The biggest annoyance is formatting the parts for page turns, anything that might overlap accidentally, and printing. For that JoAnn Kane is a blessing, as most printers have NO clue how to do music.

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I have played many outdoor concerts where wind was a factor, when you need to juggle eight clothespins, or find a note you can play with one hand and flip with the other, or photocopy and tape pages to plan ahead. Never tried Plexiglas. 

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2 minutes ago, I Need About Tree Fiddy said:

Never tried Plexiglas. 

 

That was definitely something I wish I had had. For one piece, I devised a system with the trumpeter next to me where she had the page already turned and I had the front, and we just looked off each other's music.  Other than that it was clothespins and a water bottle.

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22 hours ago, Jediwashington said:

 

(...) Finale is so quick now, most competent composers don't need much help. Finale even indicates now when a note is out of range for a particular instrument while you are writing. (...)

 

But "out of range" is a very fuzzy term. Is it not playable at all? Is it playable, but only by a seasoned pro? Is it hard to play soft/loud/get it to sound good? Is it hard to play fast in context?

Apart from cranking out a full 30+ staff score (which may or may not be needed to create parts, as the interview shows), orchestrators provide a lot of expertise and assistance regarding voicings, doublings, avoiding pitfalls that cost time/money during recording etc.

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5 hours ago, ChrisAfonso said:

 

But "out of range" is a very fuzzy term. Is it not playable at all? Is it playable, but only by a seasoned pro? Is it hard to play soft/loud/get it to sound good? Is it hard to play fast in context?

Apart from cranking out a full 30+ staff score (which may or may not be needed to create parts, as the interview shows), orchestrators provide a lot of expertise and assistance regarding voicings, doublings, avoiding pitfalls that cost time/money during recording etc.

 

Dad, we're well out of range. 

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Back in the '80s, in an interview for On the Right Track, Herb Spencer indicated that "it's all there" in the Williams short score.  With that said, is it any wonder that a copyist could take care of Williams' work.

 

Other composers... yeah, probably could use a seasoned orchestrator to augment instrumentation as needed.  e.g. A Clarinet in A would sound better than a Clarinet in Bb for this piece.

 

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There are many who do.  But it's not often desired by directors for that to be shown.

 

It also doesn't help that there is this odd culture of "no one can orchestrate anymore" pushed by certain notable figures.  

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4 hours ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

There are many who do.  But it's not often desired by directors for that to be shown.

This.

 

4 hours ago, TheGreyPilgrim said:

It also doesn't help that there is this odd culture of "no one can orchestrate anymore" pushed by certain notable figures.  

Not this.  Equally odd is the culture that believing "no one can orchestrate anymore" is an odd opinion to have. 

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On 5/8/2017 at 7:43 AM, ChrisAfonso said:

 

But "out of range" is a very fuzzy term. Is it not playable at all? Is it playable, but only by a seasoned pro? Is it hard to play soft/loud/get it to sound good? Is it hard to play fast in context?

Apart from cranking out a full 30+ staff score (which may or may not be needed to create parts, as the interview shows), orchestrators provide a lot of expertise and assistance regarding voicings, doublings, avoiding pitfalls that cost time/money during recording etc.

 

Of course they do. Finale actually allows you to select what range you want to work within: Professional all playable notes, common ranges, and then more education based ranges. Not saying it's perfect, and it's still being refined to show what would be harmonics and whatnot, but even some instruments can have variation. I have a lovely oboe with a third octave key that makes some of the extended range stuff easy, but most guys with a loree with just 2 octave keys would have a hard time, even though it's a common configuration for professionals. Same goes for flutes with a B foot vs. a Bb foot. 

 

Woodwinds tend to be the messiest with these things, so I'm not surprised Williams leaves it vague for them to fill in details. He must trust someone specifically at JoAnn that is a beast at woodwinds.

 

That being said, I'm pretty sure most composers aren't sophisticated enough to care. Can't tell you how many times I've been handed professional parts from composers who should know better that are writing non existent Bb's for oboe or thinking anything above a high D is going to sound decent. I've seen the same for string double stops that are impossible and no regard for the difference between that and a divisi. Finding people that know their stuff these days is rare, and the arrogance of some composers to "just make it work" is infuriating. That is where I tend to disagree with the reverence for composers intent that permeates the industry.

 

On 5/9/2017 at 10:59 AM, nightscape94 said:

Williams unfortunately now has that rare quality among composers who actually have professional orchestration in their background.  I wish more composers would continue to graduate from that skill.

 

Tell me about it... I graduated from one of the best conservatories in the US and our orchestration class was a joke. The teacher barely knew how to engrave a part, let alone basic ranges and questioned standard doublings all the time. I had to dumb my work down to satisfy her. 

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