More Conrad Pope comments!
Would love to see one of his sketches one day. Are they like JW's sketches? 7-8 lines short score?
Conrad Pope says...
I can't comment on anything I'm working on, Scott- I hope you understand, and what I'm about to write pertains in no way to my current work or the people I'm presently working with or for. It's merely a "rumination" about composers' "sketches" from someone who's work a long time, on many different films as an orchestrator. I'm often asked about JW's sketches, so here goes: JW's sketches AREN't sketches per se--- they are what the Germans refer to as a particell --- a short SCORE. The only composers who come close or equal that, whom I've worked for, are Jerry Goldsmith, Don Davis and William Ross-and, whose sketches I've seen: Bruce Broughton.
In addition to being composers, these gentleman are and were "students" of the craft as well as original, thoughtful orchestrators/arrangers in their own right-- besides being composers! Their kind of "sketch" has dynamics, articulations and is reasonably complete and "orchestrally" conceived--- properly notated durations for the choirs, for the tempi they've chosen, etc.etc., "conductorly savvy", etc. That said, most writers today provide an mp3 and a MIDI sequence---- and call themselves "John Williams" because, after all, isn't THAT the music, isn't it all there ( if you've heard the "sequence"? No, sadly.) A well written short score is a novel, a letter which--- through the individual use of notation - can reveal an artistic soul. That many don't appreciate the coordination of the hand, eye and ear is an ever increasing problem today-- because, frankly, these skills are less relevant in today's music production mill.
As one of my teachers replied to me when I said "Boy, writing music is hard", he said: "Writing music isn't hard, COMPOSING music is hard". I know my rambling this doesn't answer your question directly--- as I can't, but I hope it offer my view into-so called "sketching"--- which everyone does. No matter how you sketch, you always reveal the composer- and musician- you are. JW is "ne plus ultra".