Jump to content
Henry Buck

Favorite Williams Counterpoint?

Recommended Posts

Counterpoint being the overlapping of multiple themes, i.e. The Raiders March and Short Round's Theme in The Temple of Doom End Credits or the Sorceror's Stone Motif and Voldemort's Theme in "The Face of Voldemort."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if it has to be 2 themes,but those are good ones

Also

DotF over The Force Theme in The Tide Turns from TPM

Rebel Fanfare over Lando's Palace theme in Betrayal at Bespin from ESB

K.M.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps a little fuzzy on what qualifies as counterpoint . . . but I?ll bite. I would consider the instances referred to in Raiders March and the other mentioned examples to be more of a melodic imitation which is not really the same as counterpoint.

Anyhoo, three JW pieces that come to mind as strongly contrapuntal:

'Prelude And Fugue' - Concert Work From 1965

features a lot of jazz elements stylistically

Fugue and Scherzo from Black Sunday

Shark Cage Fugue from Jaws

Of these three, Shark Cage is definitely my favorite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shark Cage is very good, especially the extended version on the Williams/Spielberg collaboration CD. Unfortunately the arrangement of the Jaws Main Title on that CD is pretty awful (What the hell is that ending all about????)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like "Smee's Plan" from Hook - the first theme and the second theme work as melody and countermelody as they might in a fugue.

And Lockhart's theme always struck me as very contrapuntal - kind of a fugato take on Hedwig's theme.

There's also some great contrapuntal writing in POA, I think, but I can't remember where.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I like "Smee's Plan" from Hook - the first theme and the second theme work as melody and countermelody as they might in a fugue.  

And Lockhart's theme always struck me as very contrapuntal - kind of a fugato take on Hedwig's theme.  

There's also some great contrapuntal writing in POA, I think, but I can't remember where.

Uh.............................

I like music. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, come on, I did my dues enduring Counterpoint class at 8 AM.... at least let me use my knowledge somewhere!  Otherwise that entire terrible experience was a waste! ;)

By all means, go for it. :P

I just felt the need to point out my own musical ignorance, that's all. And my own 8 AM tortures included Public Speaking and Politics of the Pacific Rim, so I know where you're coming from!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice topic. I guess I'm not the only one who's enjoyed early morning counterpoint classes (though mine were at the slightly less ungodly hour of 9:00 AM).

JW definitely has a distinct quasi-fugal style that he often injects into tense cues, one that delights me every time I hear it. Fairly syncopated minor mode subjects, usually first heard with marcato strings or low brass. The most recent example I can think of is from Quidditch, Third Year (0:35-0:53), though it amounts to little more than a brief fugal exposition, dropped fairly quickly (nevertheless, it's a great action cue!). Other notable examples of this tension-building contrapuntal writing that come to mind are "The Preparation Fugue" from Black Sunday, "The Shark Cage Fugue" (of course!) from Jaws, "Setting the Trap" from both Home Alones, and the middle section of an older arrangement of the NBC News Theme (a fugal development of the Meet the Press Theme, I think).

"The Big Jolt!" from Jaws 2 is a favorite cue of mine, one of JW's best sustained climax set-pieces I think, and it contains a great fugal section (specifically, 1:53-2:18).

There are also plenty of examples of JW themes and action motifs which are very close in spirit and sonority to the aforementioned examples, but which don't recieve complex contrapuntal development. I'm thinking of the first half "Belly of the Steel Beast," perhaps moreso in "The Arena" from AOTC, and the wonderful, Bachian "Crimebusters" theme from Heartbeeps.

And there are even more examples of different kinds of counterpoint in JW's writing. Just from POA, there's scores. Listen to the beautiful imitative string lines complimenting the melody in "Window to the Past" (1:36-2:16), the alternatively active and chord-outlining modal lines in the first third of "Hagrid the Professor" (very much in the style of nonchoral Renaissance counterpoint) and the completely independent, chaotic sounding brass lines in "The Werewolf Scene" from 2:50-3:05. However, I disagree on one example cited, the overlaying of the Past Theme on top of the Patronus theme in "Finale," the two of which don't sound at all independent to my ears. I'm hesitant to even declare there is a distinct Patronus "theme' beyond a beautiful, if largely unmelodic chord progression.

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

I do, it robs music of all the magic it has.

Does the trick become any more fun when you know how the magician saw that women in two?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine would have to be "The Motorcade" from JFK. I find it incredibly moving and get shivers down my spine every time I hear the JFK theme and bagpipes amidst the chaos.

Kathy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Could Desert Chase count too? It's pretty sweet counterpoint when Indy takes over the truck for the second time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JW definitely has a distinct quasi-fugal style that he often injects into tense cues, one that delights me every time I hear it. Fairly syncopated minor mode subjects, usually first heard with marcato strings or low brass. The most recent example I can think of is from Quidditch, Third Year (0:35-0:53), though it amounts to little more than a brief fugal exposition, dropped fairly quickly (nevertheless, it's a great action cue!).

This is the POA example I meant - I love this part! Who says Baroque styles are stuffy? ;)

...and the middle section of an older arrangement of the NBC News Theme (a fugal development of the Meet the Press Theme, I think).

I've heard this - it exists in the band arrangement that is widely available, but isn't on the By Request Recording. It threw me for a loop the first time I played it, but I like it!

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

Not me! I hate to dredge up an old argument, but I think my ability to analyze music does make me appreciate it more. I don't remember any JW "German 6ths" (I'm sure there are, but I haven't looked too hard yet), but boy, if I find one, it'll be a great day! Things like that are exciting to me and make it all the more magical. :P "JW did that with just I and V?"

Mine would have to be "The Motorcade" from JFK. I find it incredibly moving and get shivers down my spine every time I hear the JFK theme and bagpipes amidst the chaos.

I don't remember any specific fugal-esque counterpoint from that selection - I was too busy being completely blown away to really remember what it sounded like the first and only time I heard it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mine would have to be "The Motorcade" from JFK.  I find it incredibly moving and get shivers down my spine every time I hear the JFK theme and bagpipes amidst the chaos.

"The Motorcade" is, in my opinion, Williams' most menacing track. And it's kind of unique sounding too. You can't find a "Motorcade" variant on one of his other scores.

Would you believe that Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks) doesn't even think it's music? He calls it choppy! Choppy? He gets lost so easily. What a charlatan!

Oh yeah, I said this before but "the bagpipes" is in fact a synthesizer. Play this track loud!

----------------

Alex Cremers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ick.  Politics of the Pacific Rim?  Sounds like Confluence of Cultures, but at least that started at 9:30.

Well, it wasn't TOO bad since my major (now degree ;) ) is political science, so at least it was in my major. And it was one of my favorite professors.

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

Well, I went cross-eyed about halfway through, does that count as mystified? :P

I'm with Steef, I really don't care for musical theory, just the end result.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't remember any specific fugal-esque counterpoint from that selection - I was too busy being completely blown away to really remember what it sounded like the first and only time I heard it!

I know what you mean. I did have the CD before the concert, but it was my first time hearing it live. The electricity in the air and the emotion I felt when soaking in this incredible music blew me away too!

"The Motorcade" is, in my opinion, Williams' most menacing track. And it's kind of unique sounding too. You can't find a "Motorcade" variant on one of his other scores.

Menacing might not be a powerful enough word. Terrifying might be closer!

Would you believe that Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks) doesn't even think it's music? He calls it choppy! Choppy? He gets lost so easily. What a charlatan!

He only gave it two stars! ;)

He and I must have been listening to different albums. Perhaps he hasn't realized that not all music has to be "pretty" in the traditional sense to be considered music?

Kathy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Would you believe that Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks) doesn't even think it's music? He calls it choppy! Choppy? He gets lost so easily. What a charlatan!

He only gave it two stars! :P

He and I must have been listening to different albums. Perhaps he hasn't realized that not all music has to be "pretty" in the traditional sense to be considered music?

Kathy

If he thinks the Motorcade is choppy, or not music, I'd love to know what he thinks of, say, Wozzek or Pierrot Lunaire. Demonic noise? ;)

SeekUYoda, who had been waiting for a chance to use that emoticon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

I do, it robs music of all the magic it has.

Wow, I hate to think of what that means for the Maestro. With all his training, he must be in pretty rough shape. :thumbup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

I do, it robs music of all the magic it has.

Does the trick become any more fun when you know how the magician saw that women in two?

That's a fair opinion if you are not a musician. If any musician shares your view then boy are they in the wrong career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JW'distinguishes himself from most other film music composers by writing thorough counterpoint in all of his music, which always adds a certain depth to it. So in all his music there's counterpoint but speaking in terms of two themes used as counterpoint here are my fav ones:

1) Empire of the Sun - Jim's New Life, second half: the main theme against the second theme;

2) Witches of Eastwick - Devil's Dance, second half: the horn theme against the main theme and later on the strings riffs against the main theme;

3) Phantom Menace - Anakin Destroys the Battleship: from 0:57: the Force theme against the Duel of the Fates motif.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
John Crichton said:

Uh.............................  

I like music.  ROTFLMAO

Me too! This thread isn't about counterpoints to me, it's about "cross-combination-theme-thingys". I think my term is far better. ;)

One day I might just understand half the stuff that's being said in this thread, but until that day, I'll just sit in the corner and say "Gee... that there Williams music sure is purdy". :oops:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

Not me! I hate to dredge up an old argument, but I think my ability to analyze music does make me appreciate it more. I don't remember any JW "German 6ths" (I'm sure there are, but I haven't looked too hard yet), but boy, if I find one, it'll be a great day! Things like that are exciting to me and make it all the more magical. ROTFLMAO "JW did that with just I and V?"

Just thought I'd make your day great, SeekU, by informing you of the Augmented 6th chord in "Aunt Marge's Waltz" at 1:47, lasting a full two bars, in classic Romantic style ;).

Oh and hello to everyone on the boards and at JWFan.net...

I'm Johnny's biggest fan, but I'm sure you get that all the time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

I do, it robs music of all the magic it has.

Does the trick become any more fun when you know how the magician saw that women in two?

But if nobody knew the tricks then there'd be no magicians.

And, though I know little about the technical aspects of music, I think counterpoint is different to two overlapping themes. For two overlapping themes, it has to be that instance of the Force theme and Duel of the Fates in TPM. The whole track is a gem.

Counterpoint? The light counterpoint motif in the gentle piano passage in Hook's Remembering Childhood - it goes up at the conclusion of the phrase. I discovered this in isolation whilst wondering across a field with earphones in - they always seem to accentuate frequencies you can't hear on speakers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Nice topic. I guess I'm not the only one who's enjoyed early morning counterpoint classes (though mine were at the slightly less ungodly hour of 9:00 AM).

JW definitely has a distinct quasi-fugal style that he often injects into tense cues, one that delights me every time I hear it. Fairly syncopated minor mode subjects, usually first heard with marcato strings or low brass. The most recent example I can think of is from Quidditch, Third Year (0:35-0:53), though it amounts to little more than a brief fugal exposition, dropped fairly quickly (nevertheless, it's a great action cue!). Other notable examples of this tension-building contrapuntal writing that come to mind are "The Preparation Fugue" from Black Sunday, "The Shark Cage Fugue" (of course!) from Jaws, "Setting the Trap" from both Home Alones, and the middle section of an older arrangement of the NBC News Theme (a fugal development of the Meet the Press Theme, I think).  

"The Big Jolt!" from Jaws 2 is a favorite cue of mine, one of JW's best sustained climax set-pieces I think, and it contains a great fugal section (specifically, 1:53-2:18).

There are also plenty of examples of JW themes and action motifs which are very close in spirit and sonority to the aforementioned examples, but which don't recieve complex contrapuntal development. I'm thinking of the first half "Belly of the Steel Beast," perhaps moreso in "The Arena" from AOTC, and the wonderful, Bachian "Crimebusters" theme from Heartbeeps.

And there are even more examples of different kinds of counterpoint in JW's writing. Just from POA, there's scores. Listen to the beautiful imitative string lines complimenting the melody in "Window to the Past" (1:36-2:16), the alternatively active and chord-outlining modal lines in the first third of "Hagrid the Professor" (very much in the style of nonchoral Renaissance counterpoint) and the completely independent, chaotic sounding brass lines in "The Werewolf Scene" from 2:50-3:05. However, I disagree on one example cited, the overlaying of the Past Theme on top of the Patronus theme in "Finale," the two of which don't sound at all independent to my ears. I'm hesitant to even declare there is a distinct Patronus "theme' beyond a beautiful, if largely unmelodic chord progression.

Who says a musical education is useless! Apologies to anyone who was completely mystified by this post.

I find the Flying-from-ET-esque "Meet the Press" theme one of the most rich-in-counterpoint cues ever written by Williams! Such a simple and killer theme gets warped in and out of itself just how Beethoven would do it if he were alive today. Speaking of whom, I wonder what he'd say of our... dearly beloved... Williams...

I agree that most of the Prisoner of Azkaban score is GOLD in terms of quality Williams complexity, just like the brilliant and often overlooked Face of Voldemort cue from Sorceror's. In fact, I chose that piece for my film music analysis in final year of school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
But if nobody knew the tricks then there'd be no magicians.

. . . though I know little about the technical aspects of music, I think counterpoint is different to two overlapping themes.

It is different (and most of the examples mentioned on this thread would not generally be called counterpoint.)

But hey, let's not crash the party . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I do, it robs music of all the magic it has.

Does the trick become any more fun when you know how the magician saw that women in two?

Yeah but if no one studied music there would be no music other than a few people whistling. :music:

Justin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Augmented 6th chord in "Aunt Marge's Waltz" at 1:47, lasting a full two bars, in classic Romantic style :music:.

Oh and hello to everyone on the boards and at JWFan.net...

I'm Johnny's biggest fan, but I'm sure you get that all the time!

Sorry to be such an annoying know-it-all :music: but the chord you are refering to isn't an augmented 6th. The flat 6 is there but not the raised 4. The chord is actually a flat-VI 7 (borrowed) over a pedal V.

Welcome to JWFan. I'm not always this annoying BTW.

Pixie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And, though I know little about the technical aspects of music, I think counterpoint is different to two overlapping themes.

Actually today counterpoint generally refers to any two (or more) melodic lines played simultaneously. In the 16th century counterpoint had more rules concerning intervals between each successive group of notes. This eventually gave rise to species counterpoint and then 18th-century counterpoint as exemplified by the genius Bach! These days anything goes! It's all good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Actually today counterpoint generally refers to any two (or more) melodic lines played simultaneously . . .  These days anything goes! It's all good.

Technically, yes but applying that consistently to countermelodies and harmonic lines would classify virtually all 20th century music as counterpoint.

I guess everyone uses the word differently, but in my circles, I don't often hear the term used for "Raiders March" and those kinds of examples. I think that would generally be called melodic imitation or overlapping themes.

But I would agree that by the broadest definition, almost all good writing contains some contrapuntal elements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Augmented 6th chord in "Aunt Marge's Waltz" at 1:47, lasting a full two bars, in classic Romantic style :music:

Sorry to be such an annoying know-it-all :music: but the chord you are refering to isn't an augmented 6th. The flat 6 is there but not the raised 4. The chord is actually a flat-VI 7 (borrowed) over a pedal V.

Welcome to JWFan. I'm not always this annoying BTW.

Pixie

Annoying? Compared to AlexCremers or JoeinAr, you're still working on bothersome.

. . . but I do find myself agreeing with Bowie here. In the key of G Major, you have an Eb, G, Bb, Db which would spell a German 6th chord resolving to a V. Though G6 chords often resolve to 2nd inversion I chords they also progress to root position V (haven't figured out how to do superscripts on here).

My apologies to John for moving one step closer to truly annoying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Apologies to John for moving one step closer to truly annoying.

If that's me you're referring to, don't apologize on my account. It's my own fault if I wander in here and go all cross-eyed skimming the posts of incomprehensibility. I just felt like commenting earlier, that's all. :music:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Annoying? Compared to AlexCremers or JoeinAr, you're still working on bothersome.

How sad, nja. You're so transparent. This thread makes you feel so confident, doesn't it. It's making you confident enough to start calling me "annoying" whenever you feel like it. It's right up your "elitist" alley, mister. Is this the common attitude found in "your circles"? How sad.

----------------

Alex Cremers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Annoying? Compared to AlexCremers or JoeinAr, you're still working on bothersome.

How sad, nja. You're so transparent. This thread makes you feel so confident, doesn't it. It's making you confident enough to start calling me "annoying" whenever you feel like it. It's right up your "elitist" alley, mister. Is this the common attitude found in "your circles"? How sad.

----------------

Alex Cremers

I rest my case.

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...