Bajak

How long does it take you to get familiar with a score?

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How long does it usually take (with usual Williams-level score) before you recognise all the themes, memorise the melodies and are able to hum whole tracks from memory, notice some clever musical connections (between themes) etc.? Or do you need to read the score analysis?

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Honestly some members here impressed me by their knowledge of some scores.  I must admit that since all the years I listen to John Williams's music, Star Wars: A New Hope is perhaps the only score that I really fully digested from the beginning to the end.

 

And there are still some scores, for which I can't even hum any single note, I simply don't remember their music! War of the World, Sleepers, Stepmom, Black Sunday, JFK, Nixon, etc.

 

Now at the rate the new expanded releases are now released, I buy every thing... But I simply can't follow... I'm also a collector of Roy Orbison and Charles Aznavour... so that's simply too much music for my little head to absorb in so little time!

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It depends. Sometimes it's 63 minutes (The Wind and the Lion), sometimes it's 1 year (The Empire Strikes Back) and sometimes it's until the special edition is released (A.I. and maybe E.T.).

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I've listened to Empire Strikes Back sometimes bordering on a daily/weekly basis. I can't say for certain if I know every note, but I can say I'm familiar enough with it that I know most of it. I find it's often a treat to listen to some the cues that I often skip (cover your Thors) and I will usually pick up on small little things I never really heard or gave a chance in all these years.

 

With Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit I find it a bit more challenging to pick out each and every implementation of a theme or motif, because there are lots that are woven in so tightly that I I don't pick up on them immediately (Evil Times is everywhere when I go back over the scores and The Music of Lord of the Rings Book).

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Hmm, this is the second thread this week where the questions posed in the poll or main post is different than the thread title

 

To answer each separately

 

Quote

How long does it take you to get into a score?

 

Depends on the score of course.  Some I love right away, some I don't really "get" until after I see the film... some I just don't click with me right away, but then later do seemingly randomly.

 

 

 

Quote

How long does it usually take (with usual Williams-level score) before you recognise all the themes, memorise the melodies and are able to hum whole tracks from memory, notice some clever musical connections (between themes) etc.? Or do you need to read the score analysis?

 

Well this is a crazy, loaded post.  I mean, "hum whole tracks from memory"?  Do people do that?  WHOLE tracks?  I've never heard of such a thing.  I don't do that with any score, not even my most favorite stuff from my childhood.  


For the other stuff you talk about like recognizing melodies, it really depends on the composer.  Some tend to write really obvious themes, some tend to write more nebulous ones, or vary their themes a lot making the development less obvious on first listen, etc.

 

There really is no way to answer all this...

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Like many people I guess, I can hum and whistle several complete JW concert version themes by heart... from Superman To Raiders of the Lost Ark, Yoda's Theme, Dath Vader's Theme, etc.

 

But I can't hum all the tracks, by example, of the Star Wars double-album.  I can hum the main motive of the big tracks... but not all. Who can do that? (while writing this, I try to remember the motive of the Jawa tracks... and the only melody that comes in mind is the Jabba Hutt Theme!).

 

Well, as you get older... :sarcasm:

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I don't hum out loud, but I can... Play out the entirety of SW, a lot of Empire, all of the Battle of Endor, most of the Indy Trilogy (mostly every single setpiece), huge chunks of the first two Potters (my preparation for my CoS originality analysis was one single listen through the PS sessions), almost all of BTTF1 plus the entire train sequence, some iconic bits from LotR, most of HTTYD, a lot of the first three PotCs, and a multitude of standalone cues from all over the place in my head. It's just something I do to entertain myself when I can't sleep sometimes, or I'm bored in class. It's pretty weird when I think about it now- I can play the entire SW score in my head without actually having to listen to it! I don't make mistakes - even if I do, following actual listenings will correct them. Granted, some of these I've been listening to since I was about 9. TFA is also starting to creep in my head and sometimes some Rogue One versions of the Rebel Fanfare or the Force Theme just pop up. With SW, nowadays it's not even the main melody I play, but all the underlying stuff, like in the Main Title. I still "hear" all of it, but I focus on those semi-buried bits or sync my gestures to them.

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To get into a score it takes me as long as it takes for Musicbee to load the first track on the album. First listenings are often the most exciting, but after about 3 days I start to internalize the score and the "wow" type of enthusiasm gets weaker, although I still value the score in the same way. I have very poor short term musical memory (I find it very difficult to hold a new melody in my brain for more than one minute), but if I listen a couple of times over the course of three days I seem to end up becoming "One" with the music and I find it very easy and natural to recall my favourite sections as if it's just a matter of "tuning the radio". 

 

As for humming WHOLE tracks from memory, it depends on the type of music, but usually I wouldn't be able to do that...with the exception of my favourite film score, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom; I've listened to that thing so many times now that I can practically play the whole thing in my head (but not hum it! ;) ).

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To get on the level that I really want to be, where I basically know the whole thing by heart -- several dozens of listens (JURASSIC PARK is my benchmark here, with my several hundred listens).

 

But to be properly acquainted with a score -- perhaps 3-4 times.

 

But first impressions are also not to be underestimated. If the first impression fails, I either delete it, or -- If it has a lot of buzz, or if I find there is "something there" that I can't quite put my finger on -- I'll give it one or two more listens before I possibly decide it's not for me.

 

I'm guessing it's like this for most everyone else.

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2 hours ago, Thor said:

But first impressions are also not to be underestimated. If the first impression fails, I either delete it, or -- If it has a lot of buzz, or if I find there is "something there" that I can't quite put my finger on -- I'll give it one or two more listens before I possibly decide it's not for me.

 

This.

 

The first impression is crucial for me. If the general tone of the score doesn't immediately grab me or I can't identify a catchy theme very quickly then it's going to lose me within minutes. I'll emphasize that it doesn't have to be a good, obvious theme - the score just has to have something going for it - texture, melody, rhythm.

 

My most recent purchase was Passengers, and while it's not a particularly standout score, there was enough going on, and it worked well enough in the film, that I decided to give it more attention and start noticing thematic links.

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19 hours ago, Jay said:

Hmm, this is the second thread this week where the questions posed in the poll or main post is different than the thread title

Better? Or how would you phrase it? By "get into" I meant both how long until you "get emotionally attached" and realise things on intellectual level (like the themes and so on).

19 hours ago, Jay said:

Well this is a crazy, loaded post.  I mean, "hum whole tracks from memory"?  Do people do that?  WHOLE tracks?  I've never heard of such a thing.  I don't do that with any score, not even my most favorite stuff from my childhood.

I don't mean that I can hum whole tracks from every album, but just as @Bespin says, if there is a track that sticks with me (and I usually listen to it a lot, over and over), I usually know it by memory. The concert arrangements are a good example, but quite often there are tracks that I just listen to so much, that I know them in full. Granted, I always hum out-loud just parts of them, but I can play some tracks in full in my head. But I meant "whole" rather as a "large sections of".

19 hours ago, Jay said:

For the other stuff you talk about like recognizing melodies, it really depends on the composer.  Some tend to write really obvious themes, some tend to write more nebulous ones, or vary their themes a lot making the development less obvious on first listen, etc.

Well, say, John Williams? I mean... Of course it depends. But try to use some average, or some specific example. And I mean the less obvious themes/motifs (well... those that don't have a concert arrangement named "... Theme" or "Theme from..." on the album). Perhaps The Adventures of Tintin is not a bad example. How long until you noticed the Unicorn theme, Tintin's theme, Haddock's, Thompsons'...?

 

19 hours ago, Bespin said:

I can hum the main motive of the big tracks... but not all.

Same with me. For example parts of Ultimate WarQuidditch MatchAdventure on Earth... However, I am pretty positive I could hum Journey to the Island in full (not perfectly though).

 

To complete and specify the initial question: I meant everything from how long until you start get familiar with the music and start enjoying it to how long until you are able to identify which track I played you. Both how long until you develop an emotional response to the music (I am able to feel the music from the first listen, but it usually gets stronger the more I listen to it) and how long until you would be able to write a (thematic) analysis.

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9 minutes ago, Bajak said:

Perhaps The Adventures of Tintin is not a bad example. How long until you noticed the Unicorn theme, Tintin's theme, Haddock's, Thompsons'...?

 

Well, those are all obvious themes that are recognizable right away; The Unicorn Theme is one of Williams' best!

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4 hours ago, Bajak said:

(...) how long until you are able to identify which track I played you.

 

I would say pretty much 40 years by score, since the first time I listen it.

 

Sadly, I think I will die before having completely digested The Last Jedi score. :sarcasm:

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