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Are people rating and judging scores wrong?

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49 minutes ago, publicist said:

your local supermarket for stocking food every day. 

 

I hate when they run out of stock of things, because some lazy student who cannot do his job forgot to order more, and then I'll have to go to another store!

 

49 minutes ago, publicist said:

Stock Answer #543: if it's released on an album separately from the movie, it should be judged as pure music.

 

It's not an unreasonable view, though.

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Level of effectiveness also lies within its timing of quality music. If something sounds cool, and to a relevant scene, it's going to be more effective at that build-up. This also applies to 'freshness' of the sound; people like hearing new things.

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2 minutes ago, Borodin said:

Level of effectiveness also lies within sheer music quality. If something sounds cool, it's going to be more effective too.

 

Is that necessarily the case though? A score could be a hard slog on album but it does the trick in the film, which is the point of film scoring in the first place.

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I think what happens in Jurassic Park, at least for me, is when those epic and beautiful moments finally come, the effect is much more heightened because Williams creates this huge contrast in quality, between silence and evocation, light and darkness, whereas a modern score might be a lot more single-themed and toned. In a sense, a score should try to accomplish effectiveness both in relevance and quality but as a sequential art where timing is everything. Some scores just try to overdo each attribute and forget to build an experience with ups and downs, subtleties and contrasts.

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1 hour ago, publicist said:

Stock Answer #543: if it's released on an album separately from the movie, it should be judged as pure music.

 

As often as this debate plays out, I really don't understand how it can go much beyond this. If you don't want your work to be judged as music, don't put in the same section of the store where you can buy a Jimi Hendrix or Daft Punk album.

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Wouldn't that be inevitable when you release a score on a medium and in a format designed for musical entertainment? And even if a score is released with the works, the whole C 'n' C thing, people buy it for musical entertainment, yeah?

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

What's wrong with recycling though? Especially with film music where the director might be asking for it?

i

But that's not a question of 'right or wrong' but how you approach a rating of a musical work written for the screen. You can always find rationalizations for applauding everything composer X does in any given context (remember the old Horner fights) but in response to Mr. Original's ponderings it seemed fair to point out that both of his pro arguments are rather vague and probably not of much help in providing context.

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Judging the score only within the context of the film? But then the score is judged through the lenses of how did the sound department ultimately handle it  / how did the director meddle with it, not just by how did the composer do his/her  job. December 2015 I thought Williams has sold out to modern trends or gone insane. Without the album I would possibly continue thinking that, (or at least until hanging around JWFan for a while) because there is no way to get me to watch TFA again.

 

In another thread I observed that I perceive a film's quality largely through its music. For everything else it might get a lot of thumbs up, but not a single rewatch.

 

Maybe I have expectations of music like a young lady would have of a man. Ought to lead, not merely "blend in with the surroundings" or "work".

 

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42 minutes ago, Holko said:

But then you're not judging the score itself at all, but an abridged, reimagined separate entity.

 

And that's the point: you listen to it freed from the medium it was written for, you should rate/review it accordingly. An efficient score - say, 'Halloween' - might be wanting as music, repetitious, lacking variation etc. and to excuse these musical shortcomings with 'works great in the film' can imho only work if you point out the shortcomings in the first place.

 

Again, we're not curing cancer here, it's a purely academic dicussion. But a surplus of depth never harmed anyone.

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8 minutes ago, Koray Savas said:

You can read the M:I Fallout thread for some fun on this topic. 

 

I deliberately didn't bring that up....

15 minutes ago, publicist said:

But a surplus of depth never harmed anyone.

 

So I take your position to be then that you wholeheartedly, unwaveringly,  and enthusiastically endorse 70 minute releases from scores by dudes such as Brian Tyler? 

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29 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

So I take your position to be then that you wholeheartedly, unwaveringly,  and enthusiastically endorse 70 minute releases from scores by dudes such as Brian Tyler? 

 

I wholeheartedly, unwaveringly,  and enthusiastically endorse a fair rating of their musical qualities regardless of ho complete they are and how good they (supposedly) function in a movie.

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14 minutes ago, publicist said:

 

wholeheartedly, unwaveringly,  and enthusiastically endorse a fair rating of the ho they are  in a movie.

 

They're hired guns and most often selected to solely support the film and contribute nothing more, but I think your rhetoric is going too far here pubs.

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Even if, why should a reviewer play devil's davocate for every misconceived product on the market? I never got that attitude, 'y'know, i just bought this cd for $18,99 and it might not be very good, but y'know, the studio just wanted cookie-cutter stuff, so there!'

 

That's for relatives and family members of the composers.

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6 hours ago, The Original said:

So that leads me to ask what is it people are even looking for in film music?

 

 

Checklist wise, I want clear storytelling in the music, including strong melodic writing and at least one really standout setpiece cue. Listen to how Close Encounters of the Third Kind sounds like an unfolding musical narrative, and you get the idea.

 

Quote

 

Do they want films with good scores or are they just seeking some kind of musical catharsis on album as a separate listening experience 

 

Both, where possible. But it's certainly not a given. When it happens, it's a bonus (and it's what births legions of new soundtrack enthusiasts into the world every time it does).

 

Oh, and one thing that will turn me off an OST album when I look at the tracklist is a playlist comprised of short 2 min long cues. There's no way such a thing can ever tell the sort of story I'm looking for, nor achieve any semblance of catharsis in me the listener.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Not at all. When they release the music on an album, that implies it's supposed to work on its own.

 

And this statement implies that every release works on its own, otherwise, they wouldn't have released it. 

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7 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

And this statement implies that every release works on its own, otherwise, they wouldn't have released it. 

 

No, because there's also those who's just doing it for the money. Ref. Balfe/Fallout...

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2 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

I deliberately didn't bring that up....

 

I was about to deliberately bring up Fallout because I think it was a good example.

 

It's true that the primary purpose of a score is to serve its medium. If the composer arranges an album then I think they're explicitly indicating that they think the music is worth listening to on its own. They've had the chance to remove what they think doesn't work and therefore it's fair to critique it musically.

 

When scores are released complete then I'm personally a lot looser with the quality control. Too much stuff happens in the scoring process for the end result to be perfect so if a complete score has dull areas, that's fine, I don't have to listen to them.

 

Fallout was an interesting case where Balfe seemed to like pointing out that the primary purpose of his score was for the film (in response to most criticism) but also rather quickly got a very comprehensive standalone album release, suggesting he wanted us to enjoy it as music. You can't have it both ways.

 

Problem is, there's a huge grey area where the composer has put most of a score on album, but maybe hasn't done much to rearrange it. You can either take it as mostly a complete score and forgive its shortcomings, or take it as a listening experience and critique it as such. When has the composer done enough?

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25 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

Fallout was an interesting case where Balfe seemed to like pointing out that the primary purpose of his score was for the film (in response to most criticism) but also rather quickly got a very comprehensive standalone album release, suggesting he wanted us to enjoy it as music. You can't have it both ways.

 

Yeah, he dismisses all criticism by saying the music isn't meant to work out of context, then he capitalises on it by releasing an album that's supposed to work out of context. Geez, what an idiot.

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26 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

Problem is, there's a huge grey area where the composer has put most of a score on album, but maybe hasn't done much to rearrange it. You can either take it as mostly a complete score and forgive its shortcomings, or take it as a listening experience and critique it as such. When has the composer done enough?

 

The underlying problem is that with today's mediocre talent and the decline of the creative role music had in the past (it's about technical stuff nowadays), a non-release would probably be the best option.

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1 hour ago, Marian Schedenig said:

LTP concerts (which would be even better if they were done like iso scores)

 

What exactly do you mean?

 

1 hour ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I'm disappointed by scores that *could* have musical value but don't even seem to attempt it, and annoyed if these scores have people raving about album releases when I had to shut down the musical side of by brain while watching the film because I found the blandness of the score too distracting.

 

Well said!

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1 hour ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I'm disappointed by scores that *could* have musical value but don't even seem to attempt it, and annoyed if these scores have people raving about album releases when I had to shut down the musical side of by brain while watching the film because I found the blandness of the score too distracting.

 

But wouldn't you just treat a bland (but functional) score as a loss and instead focus on other areas of merit in the film?

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19 minutes ago, Jurassic Shark said:

What exactly do you mean?

 

I'd rather have LTP concerts without dialogue and sound effects, and with the music presented in a way that matches the composer's original intentions as closely as possible, i.e. unnecessary edits or removed cues reinstated. The edits and removals may make sense in the context of the film as a film, but I'd rather have an LTP presentation be a concert first and a film second.

 

11 minutes ago, The Original said:

But wouldn't you just treat a bland (but functional) score as a loss and instead focus on other areas of merit in the film?

 

More or less, yes. I liked MI: Fallout a lot. But there's always the part of my brain that knows that an MI film can usually be enjoyed on a musical level as well. There's a dimension that's missing, even if many people wouldn't even notice it.

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3 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I'd rather have LTP concerts without dialogue and sound effects, and with the music presented in a way that matches the composer's original intentions as closely as possible, i.e. unnecessary edits or removed cues reinstated. The edits and removals may make sense in the context of the film as a film, but I'd rather have an LTP presentation be a concert first and a film second.

It'd have to be done smartly, though, with a very much case-by-case approach. You can't have the audience just sitting for possibly 15-30 minute stretches at worst just watching the film on mute, if it doesn't happen to be scored tightly. I do agree about the original intentions with no snips and tracking, but again, a heavily changed cut might have necessitated those, which you probably can't really revert.

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14 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

More or less, yes. I liked MI: Fallout a lot. But there's always the part of my brain that knows that an MI film can usually be enjoyed on a musical level as well. There's a dimension that's missing, even if many people wouldn't even notice it.

 

Are you sure you're not just allowing your MV/RC prejudices to colour your judgement? Before I watched the film, I had similar reservations about the score given I was probably subliminally influenced by all the negativity directed towards Balfe on this forum. But as it turned out, the score was fine and even featured some real highlights. Certainly not as delicately crafted as Kraemer's score, but not enough to ruin the whole experience.

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It's a case-by-case basis.

 

Like Goldsmith once said, the real challenge of composing music for film is to write a score that works brilliantly in the film and also has a life of its own.

 

That duality isn't something all soundtracks pull off.

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I would go back to the greatest scores of all time thread.

 

My criteria explicitly was which score was able to create a sizable impact within the film. That is THE most important criteria for judging a film score. That is why I picked the scores that I picked.

 

I picked E.T. has the JW's best score because it has the most monumental impact in one of his films. Maybe there are prettier albums or more accomplished music. But none of his scores tops how well his E.T. score works in the film. That is why it wins out.

 

This is why I think Gone With The Wind is the greatest film score ever written. If you see the movie even once, you will come away with the score etched in your mind.

 

The magic of cinema is music and images working in unison. Basically, that is even the premise of film music itself. You can't deny the premise of something you enjoy. Film music has the tern film in it for a reason. It is written for film.

 

Of course beauty helps too. We are all aesthetic beings. Of course we take beauty into account by default. So it's not like that factor is ignored. But paramount is its effectiveness in the film. That weird alchemy of perfect music synced with perfect images is what makes film score fans out of us all in the first place.

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Like I've said before, I judge film scores primarily as music.  What makes great music, at least for me, is not something synonymous with "listenability."  Certainly if a score works well or very well in a movie that is a good thing.  But, if that is all it does, then it is solely a work of craft.  

A great film score must be both an expression of the composer's artistic, musical voice and his scoring craft.     

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When film scores are put into album form, I look for the ability of the music to paint a picture or tell a story. Not every track has to tell its own self-contained story, but the full album should be able to “narrate” you from one place to another over the course of 30-80 minutes. After all, that’s what movies are supposed to do, even in spite of the way many of them are made today: tell a story. 

 

If a score gets a deluxe or expanded treatment, I like to hope that it’s because there are musical story elements that were left out of the original album release (or alternate versions of existing elements), so that the result is a fuller story experience. Sure, there’ll probably be more filler/underscore material included too, but ideally the goal isn’t to tell the same musical story as before, now just heavily padded out with filler. And in most cases, deluxe treatments tend to be the former and not the latter. 

 

When it comes to the dreck that Zimmer &Co. (or almost every superhero movie composer) has put out for nearly two decades now, my frustration is that the OSTs are already padded with filler that doesn’t tell or advance the story as you listen. I mean, there’s no reason Silvestri needed to put out the last two avengers scores at 80+ min (or however long they are) when the stories being told could be covered in far less time. Therefore, being “treated” to deluxe versions of scores like Interstellar or MI Fallout simply reeks of vanity—with a dose of cynicism given the fact that these “treats” cost us extra and the composers behind the cash grabs are so mediocre.

 

i guess I’d summarize by saying that many of the biggest OSTs today are produced by lesser talents who (1) can’t musically convey stories as well as the generation of JW et al., and (2) like to release overlong versions of their mediocre product. Compare a 30-min Goldsmith OST from back in the day to a 150-min OST today of synths (or real orchestras auto-tuned into synths) droning on in D minor... which one makes for a more satisfying listening experience?

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24 minutes ago, Bayesian said:

When film scores are put into album form, I look for the ability of the music to paint a picture or tell a story. Not every track has to tell its own self-contained story, but the full album should be able to “narrate” you from one place to another over the course of 30-80 minutes. After all, that’s what movies are supposed to do, even in spite of the way many of them are made today: tell a story. 

 

If a score gets a deluxe or expanded treatment, I like to hope that it’s because there are musical story elements that were left out of the original album release (or alternate versions of existing elements), so that the result is a fuller story experience. Sure, there’ll probably be more filler/underscore material included too, but ideally the goal isn’t to tell the same musical story as before, now just heavily padded out with filler. And in most cases, deluxe treatments tend to be the former and not the latter. 

 

When it comes to the dreck that Zimmer &Co. (or almost every superhero movie composer) has put out for nearly two decades now, my frustration is that the OSTs are already padded with filler that doesn’t tell or advance the story as you listen. I mean, there’s no reason Silvestri needed to put out the last two avengers scores at 80+ min (or however long they are) when the stories being told could be covered in far less time. Therefore, being “treated” to deluxe versions of scores like Interstellar or MI Fallout simply reeks of vanity—with a dose of cynicism given the fact that these “treats” cost us extra and the composers behind the cash grabs are so mediocre.

 

i guess I’d summarize by saying that many of the biggest OSTs today are produced by lesser talents who (1) can’t musically convey stories as well as the generation of JW et al., and (2) like to release overlong versions of their mediocre product. Compare a 30-min Goldsmith OST from back in the day to a 150-min OST today of synths (or real orchestras auto-tuned into synths) droning on in D minor... which one makes for a more satisfying listening experience?

 

Vanity is not the only reason - the other reason is technology.

 

Limited material was predicated on limited CD space.

 

Today, honestly most people don't buy CDs. People by digital. Digital space is infinite. So you don't have to do any sort of selection. Just dump the entire thing online and let the listener to what she/he wants.

 

Honestly even digitals downloads is passing by. I don't even do that.

 

Streaming is the game. You just get a subscription of Spotify or Apple music and you don't even download. The album is there just stream it.

 

So with technology, assembling an OST is obsolete.

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9 hours ago, Jurassic Shark said:

Yeah, he dismisses all criticism by saying the music isn't meant to work out of context, then he capitalises on it by releasing an album that's supposed to work out of context. Geez, what an idiot.

To even suggest that composers are releasing albums to make money...

 

How much are his royalty checks, ya think? 

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4 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

For a movie like that? $$$$$$$

You do realize we’re talking about soundtracks, right? The thing maybe a couple thousand people buy for $10 and the rest of the world steals and streams?

 

Balfe’s money comes from writing the music for the film, not album sales. 

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2 minutes ago, Koray Savas said:

You do realize we’re talking about soundtracks, right? The thing maybe a couple thousand people buy for $10 and the rest of the world steals and streams?

 

Balfe’s money comes from writing the music for the film, not album sales. 

 

Ohhh, I thought you meant the performance royalties.

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1 hour ago, TheUlyssesian said:

 

Vanity is not the only reason - the other reason is technology.

 

Limited material was predicated on limited CD space.

 

Today, honestly most people don't buy CDs. People by digital. Digital space is infinite. So you don't have to do any sort of selection. Just dump the entire thing online and let the listener to what she/he wants.

 

Honestly even digitals downloads is passing by. I don't even do that.

 

Streaming is the game. You just get a subscription of Spotify or Apple music and you don't even download. The album is there just stream it.

 

So with technology, assembling an OST is obsolete.

 

What good is streaming if you can't do anything with the music? You can't edit it, you can't put it on a USB stick for the tape deck in your car, etc. Is it even lossless?

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