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Everything posted by Ludwig

  1. Film Music Notes is happy to announce the next set of lessons for Action-Music Harmony in Classic Blockbuster Films at the launch sale price of $99! Through these lessons, learn the most common harmonies for the two action scales of hexatonic and Hungarian minor. Then see how scales interact with planing harmonies and how octatonic, hexatonic, and Hungarian minor scales combine in sophisticated action music. Find out more on the courses page, where you can navigate to each group of lessons to see their contents, watch a preview, and enroll in the course. Hurry, sale ends Oct. 15!
  2. Yes, it came up as a result of an interview David Arnold did with Barry before Arnold scored his first Bond film. Barry claimed that he was the composer of the Bond theme. This wasn't the first time he had made such a claim publicly, but The Sunday Times ran a story sensationalizing it. This caused Norman to sue because he his royalties on the theme, according to Burlingame, is often in the hundreds of thousands of pounds each year, and Norman claimed that the Times "rubbished my career". Anyway, long story short, yes @Sweeping Strings is right. After a very detailed trial, a jury decided in favor of Norman, who remains officially credited for composing the theme to this day. Barry always was considered the arranger, though he wasn't officially credited as such, only his band was credited with the performance.
  3. So a number of years ago, I compiled a couple of quotes on this question and posted the results over on Film Score Monthly. Here's what I wrote: Monty Norman, who is credited with penning the theme, was always adamant that he wrote everything in the theme as we know it, and Barry just helped flesh out the orchestration. But there's also Jon Burlingame's thorough book, The Music of James Bond, which states: There's much more to read in Burlingame, but you probably get the picture: Barry essentially took Norman's guitar riff (which was from Norman's "Bad Sign, Good Sign") and created what we know as the Bond theme. He never got the credit because he was new to film scoring and agreed to signing away the credit, not knowing it would become one of film history's most successful franchises ever. Brilliant composer, though. It's great to hear you've taken an interest in his film work. I think he was a master of using harmony as the primary vehicle for emotional expression. I also think this is why his music isn't as texturally complex as others - it allows the harmony to shine through and be the focus of attention. As I say, brilliant.
  4. I hadn't considered it, but since you suggest it, I'll mark it down as the next post!
  5. Just wanted to chime in with my two cents on this score. A number of years ago, a couple of JWFanners and I had a crack at analyzing this score to see how Williams worked atonally. What was interesting to me was that there wasn't any particular "system" he adhered to in the cues. In other words, it wasn't 12-tone music for example, where you take the 12 notes of the chromatic scale, put them in a certain order and use that as your main material. It also wasn't based primarily on any kinds of scales, like octatonic for example. Instead, it seemed to use small chords of 3 or 4 notes as the basis of most cues, and have those chords be of the same or a very similar kind as one another. I mention this because, although the score is in its harmonies vastly different from what Williams usually writes for film, the method really isn't different at all. Since I've been studying his action music, the name of the game there is variation. I've also studied and seen the same thing in his theme writing: variation is big there too. It's just interesting how you can take very different sounding musical styles and find that they were assembled using basically the same method of grouping together sounds that are mostly the same but slightly different. That's probably why Williams has never been 12-tone in his writing - it doesn't provide enough freedom to use different materials but insists on different forms of the same ones throughout.
  6. Well, he did do this scene, though: Talk about cliché, I mean how many times have we seen a helicopter taking people to an island to see dinosaurs for the first time, all the while scored by the most glorious, awe-inspiring fanfare you can imagine, one that roots itself firmly into the history of film music as the centerpiece of one of the most memorable scenes ever to come out of Hollywood? Actually, on second thought...
  7. I posted this in the thread @mrbellamy linked to above, but when I was writing a chapter for a collection of Williams essays a few years ago, I had a need to define his output into style periods. Although making such distinctions with hard dates and films is admittedly artificial and ultimately arbitrary, I think it still helps us to understand broad stylistic changes, which I think we all agree are there. Anyway, my breakdown looks like this: To justify this, I looked to major biographical events, changes in filmmaking techniques, and - the thing that was my focus in writing the chapter - the type of structure he used in writing the main theme of each film (which well supports these divisions). I go into plenty of detail in the actual chapter, which you can access here in case you're interested: https://www.academia.edu/37265666/The_Use_of_Variation_in_John_Williamss_Film_Music_Themes
  8. @BrotherSound Thank you for this. So what does it mean that Part 1 of some titles are missing here?
  9. @InTheCity Thank you so much for pointing all this out. This really is invaluable information and I'm looking into it right away! Thank you again.
  10. The avoidance of this issue is all clarified in the course description. The Lesson 1 preview on the website demonstrates how this is all put together.
  11. Scores and audio are absent. I direct students to the name and timestamps of the appropriate track on the soundtrack, then my analysis of a cue goes into the techniques and how they're used. So you get portions of cues transformed through analysis in order to demonstrate the technique. You'll see what I mean if you watch the preview on the course page of my site. Not silly at all! The way it works is that the course videos are all stored online and I link to them so they're streamed directly on my site. Streaming only right now, no downloads. And yes, once you enroll, you're enrolled for life! So watch as many times as you like! The flow of lessons generally goes: Theory --> Analysis --> Composition Tutorial --> Composition Exercises I'm happy to answer any other questions about the course here. Also, here's a link to an audio sample from a composer who's already taken the course and wrote music from what he learned in it: https://vi-control.net/community/threads/john-williams-course-lessons-1-3.108008/post-4807211 I thought it was great!
  12. I am excited to announce Film Music Notes' very first online course, Action-Music Harmony in Classic Blockbuster Films. To see what's in the course, watch the video below and find out more on the course page, where you can view lesson contents, watch a lesson preview, and enroll in the course! Please Note: To avoid copyright infringement, this course contains no score excerpts or audio from film scores. Students are directed to find and listen to soundtrack excerpts while the course content consists of: 1. Music theory connecting the techniques to be discussed 2. Analysis describing the techniques behind Williams excerpts 3. Composition tutorials applying the techniques to original compositions, and 4. Composition exercises comprising abstract scales, chords, and original music
  13. Yes, "Emperor" in the sketch was changed to "Nursery" in a later version. So that one is the same cue, it just got slightly renamed.
  14. An early sketch of the Approaching the Nursery cue was originally titled Approaching the Emperor. So yes, the #2 seems to refer to the Approaching the Throne cue rather than a revision of the same cue.
  15. I'd say that in ANH, the figure in the accompaniment that comes in before the theme is based on the Force theme itself, a kind of outline of it that even uses the same notes: A-Bb-D (see the boxes I've drawn in the music below). Williams also transposes the figure so it has a version that ends on G (the tonic) as well, so it doesn't get too repetitive. It isn't unheard of for Williams to do this in his golden-era Star Wars scores, either. What @Falstaft calls Heroic Descending Tetrachords, which generally ushers in Luke's Theme, is a faster version of the same figure from the B section of the same theme. And in "The Asteroid Field", the entrance of Vader's Theme comes with a triplet figure in the strings that's again a faster version of the same Vader theme. I know Williams loves classical concert music and knows a good deal of it, but I would probably say that, once the references to any other works have been established beforehand either by a temp track or instructions from the director / music editor etc., that he works by developing the material he already has. And that's what I'd say is probably going on here: basically compress the Force theme's first phrase into fewer notes and allow the theme's big entrance to be led up to by a form of itself. What could be more appropriate?
  16. Why so doubtful? They are Matessino's liner notes after all...
  17. The liner notes from the 1997 Special Edition of A New Hope's soundtrack says of Newman's fanfare, And I think that makes the most sense. Lucas had already drawn together influences from old serials, samurai films, westerns, and sci-fi, and he knew he wanted the music to be like the old Hollywood scores of the 30s and 40s, so it fits neatly with that whole creative vision.
  18. Ha! I thought you might ask that since we talked about this cue's origins here. Yes, your theory seems likely, I would say, because from what Williams said in that interview you cited here earlier this year, it sounds like he meant that he only had Luke's theme and had to assemble or compose the rest for the main title. So he imported the Throne Room's B section as the main title B section, then probably wrote the opening fanfare at that point as well. What's really interesting is that the fanfare sounds a lot like the Rozsa Ivanhoe opening that was used for the temp of the main title in its orchestration and harmony in 4ths. But Rozsa's fanfare doesn't have the 4-note motive. So if Williams wrote the fanfare as one of the last things in the score, he must have fashioned it to be close in structure to Luke's theme while having the general sound of Rozsa's. That's what I find so ingenious is Williams' ability to forge a main title from no fewer than three separate sources either as temp (Ivanhoe) or pre-composed themes (Luke's and Throne Room) and make it sound as though the separate pieces were composed to go together in the first place and that they grow naturally out of what starts it all. We all know that Williams loves variation as a compositional device, but another example where it's worked out to sound so organic? No, this main title is just spectacular that way.
  19. Hi all, Here's the second video in my series on John Williams themes, this one on the Star Wars main title. It argues that one of the reasons the cue is so powerful is that it's highly unified by melody, harmony, and rhythm. Enjoy, and if you like it, please subscribe!
  20. Hi all! Film Music Notes will now be offering videos of some of our most popular blog posts on our very own YouTube channel. Here is the first video, analyzing John Williams’ Force theme from the Star Wars saga. If you like the video and would like to see more of them, just click the YouTube logo on the video, then hit the Subscribe button in YouTube!
  21. I'm with you, @Jay, and @Falstaft. I don't think the Elegy theme is in those last 2 examples. Generally, I'd say when Williams wants to make reference to a theme, he's pretty darn clear about it. Sure, we've seen examples where he's not, like the use of Anthem of Evil in "Advice", but that's really the exception, one that seems tied to him "putting a bow" on his final SW score, as he himself said. And there wouldn't be much point in being really subtle in thematic references anyway since the whole point is for the audience to gain a better understanding of what's going on when we hear and recognize a theme. And we do that as we're bombarded with images, dialogue, and sound effects. Like Bernard Herrmann said, the best you get is the audience listening with "half an ear". So I think this is why Williams and film music in general isn't usually subtle when it comes to theme statements.
  22. The Ludlow motif is different from other themes because it lacks an explicit association. It's more of a basic outline, something like Horner's danger motif, that can be hammered into different but closely-related shapes for a generalized feeling of tension. Call this one a different name if you like. The point is that its notes follow the same outline as the other things we call the Ludlow motif. This one, being slower, is like the Desperation motif from TLJ, which is also Ludlow-based. And even with that theme, the association is much more vague than with other themes, following the pattern of Ludlow motifs throughout Williams' scores.
  23. Isn't this Williams' beloved Ludlow Motif, or what @Falstaft in his catalogue calls "Tension"? There, @Falstaft notes another instance of it in "Hallway Shooting" from TROS, so it's elsewhere in the score. It's kind of cool how at 2:05 and 2:22, it appears over a single chord like usual, but then at 2:32, it appears a third time, now each note of the motif harmonized with a different chord, sounding twisted and forced into a new mould.
  24. What impresses me the most about this theme in TROS is how expressively flexible it is. Yes, Falcon Flight is awesome. And it seems part of a larger approach to varying the emotional quality of the theme. So we get the expected old-time creepy statements and big climactic statement we heard with the original in ROTJ, and in Falcon Flight, we get it as an action theme, but there's more to it than even those. The scoring often has a quality of expressing the evil "from afar", meaning not by Palpatine himself because the low bassoon/cello/chorus combination is substituted with something lighter. In what that compilation calls "Rey Swears Revenge", we get it in this forlorn, emotionally wounded form in the oboe/English horn as Rey vows to track down Palpatine and destroy him, a statement that makes Finn question Rey's character. This scoring is very similar to that heard in "Boolio's Head", where Ren talks about the mole in the organization then about the new fleet of Star Destroyers on Exegol. But there, a slight but very important change makes all the difference - we hear dissonant chords in the high strings, making it now sound like the music of a madman. Evil, but not the head honcho of evil, kind of thing. And there's also the statement in "Hard to Get Rid Of", where Ren is telling Rey her backstory and how Palpatine was behind her parents' death. The scoring is in French horn, which gives it a quality of an old story about evil rather than evil in the here and now. It's these sorts of subtleties I appreciate with the Emperor's theme in TROS and in the score generally. We've seen on several other occasions how there is a kind of freshness in this score that keeps it from falling into a trap of simple regurgitation, which would have been easy with so much previous material. I think this is another example of that. But simple answer - Falcon Flight because it's so unexpected but so effective!
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