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Orson

I Can't Be The Only One To Notice This........

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So I pop in Jane Eyre (Herrmann's 1944 version) that I just got in the mail today and when I get to track 6, I nearly fall out of my chair. The first four notes are exactly the same as the five note theme from Close Encounters !!! I did a topic search and couldn't find anything as I can't possibly be the first person to notice this. The track is called Time Passage- The Letter and if you have no idea what I'm talking about, go to the link below and listen to the sample which conveniently starts at the beginning. Or message me with your address and I will be happy to send it to you. The track itself is only 1:17.

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Well,the 4th note isn't the same...but the idea sure is.

You're right. After I listened to it a few more times, I did notice that it is only three notes that are the same with the fourth being darn close. The flow of the track as it progresses makes the comparison even more obvious.

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Yes, Williams clearly crafted the famous 5-note theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind from this obscure, incidental bit of Herrmann's classic score to Jane Eyre. Herrmann truly lives on in this stunning homage.

Ray Barnsbury

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Don't you read the booklets that come with your CDs? It's been picked out of hundreds of other 5-note themes. He wrotes so many variations that, at the end of the ride, Williams couldn't hear a bleeding difference between them. A mathematician friend calculated that 5 notes can create 134.000 variations and feeling slightly irritated about that, John circled and altered one of the variations. The next day, it was Spielberg who said, "play that one again, the one you circled yesterday". Slowly they were realizing that this "circled" one was the best of the lot.

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Alex Cremers

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Don't you read the booklets that come with your CDs? It's been picked out of hundreds of other 5-note themes. He wrotes so many variations that, at the end of the ride, Williams couldn't hear a bleeding difference between them. A mathematician friend calculated that 5 notes can create 134.000 variations and feeling slightly irritated about that, John circled and altered one of the variations. The next day, it was Spielberg who said, "play that one again, the one you circled yesterday". Slowly they were realizing that this "circled" one was the best of the lot.

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Alex Cremers

Booklet or not,it's almost impossible that it's a coincidence.Spielberg and Williams obviously had this motif in their ears before starting to work on it.I'm sure JW would have preferred Spielberg to pick a different one though,as i'm sure he's very well aware of where it comes from

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4 notes? It's easily a coindience . You know that there aren't that many motif's to do with just 4 notes, as the majority mathmatically possible sound nearly the same. What I find more significant is that 4 notes, plus the bells and horn that both pieces use.

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We all know about the hundreds of combinations that were tried before Williams finally came up with the famous five note theme. Is it coincidence? I don't see how considering the fact that he himself also scored Jane Eyre which was well before Close Encounters. I don't think I can buy the possibility that Williams was not familiar with Herrmann's version. I mean, this is the very composer who inspired him to get into film composing in the first place.

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We all know about the hundreds of combinations that were tried before Williams finally came up with the famous five note theme.  Is it coincidence? I don't see how considering the fact that he himself also scored Jane Eyre which was well before Close Encounters. I don't think I can buy the possibility that Williams was not familiar with Herrmann's version. I mean, this is the very composer inspired him to get into film composing to begin with.

Absolutely...i'm not taking away anything from Williams though.As i was saying i'm sure he would have preffered Spielberg to pick a different motif.

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Yeah.  Sorta like how Alex North wanted Kubrick to pick different music aside from the classical temp tracks we now hear in 2001: a space odyssey.

Its not the same. I think north discovered his score was rejected when he was watching the premiere.

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This is one of the most ridiculous threads I've ever read. It's one motif in one score, and it shares three notes with a far more famous motif. They are played in a different context with different orchestrations . . . this is not an homage. It would be a horrible homage. It's a coincidence. It's unfathomably obvious.

~Sturgis

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Looks like you changed your tune rather quickly. How can the same topic go from interesting to ridiculous in less than 24 hours?

Well,the 4th note isn't the same...but the idea sure is.

Yeah, it's just the first three. Interesting though.

~Sturgis

This is one of the most ridiculous threads I've ever read. It's one motif in one score, and it shares three notes with a far more famous motif. They are played in a different context with different orchestrations . . . this is not an homage. It would be a horrible homage. It's a coincidence. It's unfathomably obvious.

Guess it must have just become obvious to you now.

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This is one of the most ridiculous threads I've ever read. It's one motif in one score, and it shares three notes with a far more famous motif. They are played in a different context with different orchestrations . . . this is not an homage. It would be a horrible homage. It's a coincidence. It's unfathomably obvious.

I agree, it's 3 notes, which could easily be a coincidence, however the orchestrations do have some similtarities, not the same, but the start of the fanfare version of the 5 note theme on the final CE3K track, it starts with bells and horns.

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Not another example of John Williams poaching other people's work. Doesn't that guy have a conscience?  ;)  

Jaws Soundtrack should say original music composed by Dvorak.  

:P

If Dvorak was so good, then how come he didn't live long enough to really score it?

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This is hardly poaching, there is not enough similar notes to call it a thief.

Even I with my limited music ability could change one note. It's like saying Sid Vicious wrote My Way because he changed a few of the lyrics.

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Actually the 4th note of the Hermann piece is the same ending note of the Williams piece too. If we use the key of the Hermann piece (E major) as an example, the notes are F#, G#, E, B. If it was Close encounters in the same key, it would be F#, G#, E, E (one octave down), B. So technically, all the notes in Hermann's piece are used, but Williams' theme has one extra note before it ends on B.

That being said, it is coincidental. As mentioned earlier, if you read the booklet, or even watch the DVD feature on the music, it was picked randomly, and really without much ado or care.

Tim

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But the organ in the background of Herrmann's piece sounds so much like the synth when it's talking to the first three ships that use the car horns to play the five tones. The opening of Herrmann's piece actually sounds like Meco's disco version of CE3K.

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If Orson & Co were musicians, composers or mathematicians, they would know that any of those 200-300 5-note motives can sound "familiar". If you really concentrate on it, you can always find "some" similarity. There's only so much you can do with 5 notes.

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Alex Cremers

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If Orson & Co were musicians, composers or mathematicians, they would know that any of those 200-300 5-note motives can sound "familiar". If you really concentrate on it, you can always find "some" similarity. There's only so much you can do with 5 notes.

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Alex Cremers

One doesn't have to be a mathmetician or a musician to recognize similarites in what they hear.... that's absurd. If someone differs with their opinion that's fine, but what is getting me a little irritated is this attitude that it is impossible there was any influence on any level, thus inferring I started a topic just for the heck of it without any basis at all. This is a little more than just "oh I think I heard something that sounds a little like something else". I have actually played that part of the track for five different people, two of which are musicians and everyone of them thought it was Close Encounters.

For the record, I did not start this thread to try and discredit Williams in any way shape or form. Whether there was or was not any influence, it doesn't change how much I love his music.

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If Orson & Co were musicians, composers or mathematicians, they would know that any of those 200-300 5-note motives can sound "familiar". If you really concentrate on it, you can always find "some" similarity. There's only so much you can do with 5 notes.

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Alex Cremers

I am a musician,and even if i think JW didn't use that note sequence on purpose,one has to assume he knew that score very well before writing CE3K.To be honnest i think it's more than "some" similarities.But again,i'm only a pro musician.....

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I am a musician,and even if i think JW didn't use that note sequence on purpose,one has to assume he knew that score very well before writing CE3K.To be honnest i think it's more than "some" similarities.But again,i'm only a pro musician.....

Why would he know that score very well? He's not some fan boy who has too much time on his hands memorizing all the scores, you know. In fact, I really doubt Williams listens to film scores when he's not working.

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Alex Cremers

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While it's likely that Williams knew the Herrmann score, there's no way to know if it's was ever on his mind while he was writing CE3K.

There's no reason Williams would steal those notes on purpose, nor does the subjects of both films lend itself to any kind of homage.

I agree with Alex, it's probably just a coincidence, if you start looking for it you can hear similarities in just about any piece of music.

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I am a musician,and even if i think JW didn't use that note sequence on purpose,one has to assume he knew that score very well before writing CE3K.To be honnest i think it's more than "some" similarities.But again,i'm only a pro musician.....

Why would he know that score very well? He's not some fan boy who has too much time on his hands memorizing all the scores, you know. In fact, I really doubt Williams listens to film scores when he's not working.

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Alex Cremers

Didn't Williams say he was admiring Hermann's work?And that he was an inspiration to him...one has to know a bit about the music of another to admire him...

Besides..we're talking about a score that was written many years ago(Jane Eyre)..i'm not saying JW listens to scores now,but he may have when he was a student in composition.

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Didn't Williams say he was admiring Hermann's work?And that he was an inspiration to him...one has to know a bit about the music of another to admire him...

Besides..we're talking about a score that was written many years ago(Jane Eyre)..i'm not saying JW listens to scores now,but he may have when he was a student in composition.

In 2003 I was fortunate enough to see Williams conduct the Boston Pops. Before they performed music from Citizen Kane and The Devil and Daniel Webster he talked a little bit about his friendship with Herrmann. He spoke very highly of Bernard and the friendship they had before his untimely death in '75. He later talked about Lucas with far less enthusiasm or affection as he had shown for Spielberg or Herrmann. :angry:

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I've only read the first post in this thread, but I wanted to let you know that you weren't the only one to notice this.  I'd never seen the 1944 Jane Eyre until last night when I watched it on Twilight Time's Limited Edition Blu-ray.  I connected the dots the very first time I heard the theme, but I "rewound" enough to replay and confirm that it was identical.  Without reading the rest of this thread, I'm wondering if it John Williams' homage to Hermann.

 

P.S.  I scrolled back to read the post right before mine.  Looks as if I also guessed right about the homage.

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