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Ludwig last won the day on January 5 2018

Ludwig had the most liked content!


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  1. We had a discussion about this very thing a number of years ago now and found some examples in The Last Crusade rather than ROTLA, as was implied by the editing of the Nazi entrance over the part of the interview where Williams was talking about "7th on the bottom". Though the examples we found were not the minor-major 7th, but dominant 7ths. If Johnny really meant the former, then we still don't know what he's talking about for Indy scores.
  2. I came up with a breakdown of Williams' film output into style periods for an academic chapter I wrote on Williams' theme writing a couple of years ago. It was in John Williams: Music for Films, Television, and the Concert Stage. See below. There are several points supporting the divisions between the periods, but my study of his theme writing further bolstered them. Basically, I took one theme from each of his films to be the "main" one (if he composed the theme, of course, so excluding those based on others' pop songs or musicals) and included a primary new theme from any sequels. What I found was that: Whereas in the first period, Williams' main themes tended to state an idea and repeat it (e.g., Daddy-O, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, and The Poseidon Adventure) Williams' second period showed a marked shift towards themes that stated an idea then varied it (e.g., Superman fanfare, E.T., Imperial March). I think this is something we all kind of know about Williams' style, and it really became apparent in this period. While the first two periods showed an overwhelming preference for long-lined themes based on 8-bar models, his third period regularly included either much shorter themes (like Nixon, Amistad, and Minority Report) or ones that are more amorphous because they're drawn out way beyond a more regular 8-bar model (e.g., the dinosaur theme in Jurassic Park, Duel of the Fates, and Catch Me If You Can). The fourth period shows a return to the long-lined theme as the norm, the sole exception thus far being Tintin's motif from The Adventures of Tintin. I did this work to justify some further conclusions I made about Williams' theme writing and their associations in the film, but it was good to draw some divisions in his output. As others above have stated, you could certainly get more granular with further divisions, but the four I proposed seemed to me pretty convincing distinctions at a very broad level. And it seems many others here agree with 1975, 1993, and 2008 as new beginnings of sorts.
  3. A young Tonal Jedi named Boom Tss betrayed and murdered Sharky. Now the Tonal Jedi are all but extinct.
  4. Here are some titles this generator came up with - looks like they fit right in:
  5. I love the statements in the first 40 seconds of this cue, when Brody is flipping through a book, looking at shark attack victims. I think this is great because it emphasizes not the more recognizable ostinato but the melody on top of it. And the wonderful thing is that the ostinato is actually still there but very subdued and in descending whole tones instead of ascending semitones, gently being plucked by the harp - perfect for depicting someone mentally conjuring up the terror of the shark without the shark actually being there. I can imagine the cue being done in a horribly straightforward way, but am always delighted to hear Williams' brilliant solution.
  6. Thanks @Disco Stu! So now it's clear that your mystery chord is embedded in a sound world of harmony by major 2nds/minor 7ths and perfect 4ths/5ths rather than by 3rds/6ths (i.e., secundal and quartal harmony rather than tertian). Notice how the piece starts off - with the major 2nd C-D. Then the minor 7th B-A is added in. And in bar 3, the melody starts to unfold in 4ths (which becomes a motive at least in the opening of the piece): B-E-B-E. The harmony here starts to blend secundal and quartal ideas together: taking the melody's 4th B-E along with the supporting chord, we can unfurl the harmony as B-E-A-(D-)G-C. Sure, there's no D, but it's still easy to hear the fourthiness of the harmony (and besides, we already heard several Ds just before in the harp and viola). So when your mystery chord suddenly arises, I would call it 5ths-based (quintal, which is quartal harmony inverted), meaning I would understand it as two perfect 5ths plus an augmented one (hence the F#): Ab-Eb-Bb-F#. And notice on the second page when the chord is sustained, Piston goes out of his way to bring back a major 2nd-ish sound with the piano's Gb-Bb-Gb-Ab, and blend it with a perfect 4th melodically in the piano's Ab-Db (the motive I mentioned). Vincent Persichetti's Twentieth-Century Harmony neatly describes this kind of blending of 2nds-based and 4ths-based chords in this passage from his book (written in 1961, only 6 years after Piston's piece - clearly something was in the air!):
  7. Yes, I want to know this too as well as what chords came before it. Harmony is best understood as a contextual thing since, as @Score and @SteveMc have already pointed out, this vertical "slice" this can have several interpretations. And if non-chord tones are considered, then the possibilities become extensive indeed since each note could be on its way to resolving to the chord tone, and may be doing so at the same time as another note in the "chord". For example, following @Score's lead, maybe the F# is on its way to resolving to a "real" chord tone of G to produce an EbM/Ab (whatever that would mean in context). Or maybe the F# will resolve to G at the same time that the Bb will resolve up to C to give an AbM7. Or maybe F# will resolve to G, and the Ab (which seems like a stable note) is actually a non-chord tone that resolves down to G as well, resulting in an EbM/G chord. Beethoven's actually written this with exactly the chord @Disco Stu cites (voiced differently but with F#!). It's in the slow movement of his Bb Piano Sonata, Op. 22. Here's the relevant bit: But likely the many interpretations of Stu's mystery chord would whittle down to one when heard in its context. So, what piece is this from, and where in the piece is it?
  8. All I want is one more kick-ass march before he finishes with the saga movies, even if it's just heard just once. I'm hoping Knights of Ren?
  9. So Williams now goes for walks outdoors to solve compositional problems? That's exactly how Beethoven used to work. And Williams is reading the Beethoven symphonies for pleasure. Hmm... Clearly, he's channeling his inner Beethoven for TROS! (Btw, would absolutely love to hear a concert orchestral work from Williams whose musical architecture is influenced by Beethoven. Maybe something akin to a Shostakovich symphony. Williams loves 20th-century Russian music anyway!)
  10. Very, very sorry to hear this, Sharky. Know that you have many friends here and that, I'm sure I speak for many when I say, I'm both incredibly sorry for your loss but very glad to have you back!
  11. Here's a quick summary of Powell's picks by decade (up to 2008, where the list ends: Interesting, though not really surprising, that his favourites really pick up steam in the 1960s, the decade he was born in. But what is surprising to me is how few there are from the 2000s. And if you're wondering which composer has the most scores on the list, it's a three-way tie (7 scores each): - Williams - Goldsmith - and Elfman Zimmer is a close second with 6, but with the list's bias towards the pre-2000s, the most recent Zimmer score is Gladiator. It is a bit curious, especially since Powell has worked at RCP and with Zimmer himself. On the face of it, it looks like Powell just likes older scores, and that may be all there is to it. But maybe the list is born more out of nostalgia, a kind of list of scores from the now-distant past that he's enjoyed the most. It would be cool to see an updated list of his top scores from 2000 onward. Maybe he'd still have only 7!
  12. I think basically what Ennio's saying is that he disagrees with the choice to use an established style of score ("standardisation of stylistic choices") for such a prominent movie (this is probably what he means about it being "commerical"). He's also probably viewing Star Wars through a personal rather than historical lens, meaning that he personally remembers the classical-Hollywood-style score being popular in films of the 30s and 40s and so regards it as a nothing new even though, as @SteveMc points out, that kind of score really wasn't in vogue at the time. So essentially he doesn't like the stylistic choice because he feels it impinges on a film composer's desire for innovation. Fair enough. Personally, I feel that when people criticize Star Wars, it's for its old-Hollywood orchestration and the late-Romantic harmonic leanings. Funny thing is, there's actually a lot of modernism in Star Wars that is somehow never mentioned despite its very prominent role, e.g., Luke's theme and the use of "quartal harmony", the Stormtrooper chords and their use of "bristling" notes that don't agree with the rest of the chord, or the use of polytonality by having the bass disagree with the chord above it. But it's also probably worth mentioning that Morricone regards tone colour as one of a film composer's greatest resources, and of course this is one of his own greatest achievements. So he probably hears old-Hollywood orchestral scoring as more backward-looking than other composers might even if it includes significant modern qualities in the realm of harmony.
  13. Nah, this is too happy:
  14. Easy peasy! The B section here is actually really cool in a sinister way.
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