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Posts posted by Ludwig

  1. 16 hours ago, Bayesian said:

    It was enlightening, too, to think about the two examples you chose, from 1980 and 1983. You’re  discussing advanced harmonic methods he was employing four decades ago—that folks have only relatively recently started grappling with musicologically. Imagine what JW’s worked into his repertoire since then!




    Yes, and he continues to use these techniques now, too! This is the moment from The Dial of Destiny where Indy and Helena slide down the pool of water into Archimedes secret chamber. Could have been written for a Star Wars score from 40 years ago - the chords, spacing with the semitone spaced out to a major 7th, chromatic planing of those chords, and of course for the last chord, the leap up of a minor 3rd, a common octatonic move! While his action scoring as a whole is now certainly different than it was back in the day, it's good to see he hasn't abandoned such effective techniques. Without even seeing the scene, it just seems to scream "oh no!", the last chord almost being like the musical equivalent of shouting "aaaaah!".







  2. This is weird. I can't add it to the cart on jwpepper. It says "No new items added. Proceed to cart to finalize order", but nothing gets added to the cart. Also weird is that I tried this earlier today and I could add it, but it said item was not in stock.


    I'm hoping this means that the suite is coming soon, but there's nothing listed on Hal Leonard's own site or even Sheet Music Plus. Fingers crossed, though! We've been waiting for this one for a loooooooooooooooooong time.


  3. I like the way the ostinato at 2:12 comes in sounding at first like an innocuous accompaniment figure, then it beautifully blends with Helena's theme in counterpoint. And more than that, with the varied form of the ostinato (it's second statement and every other one after that), it seems like a variant of the opening figure of Helena's theme (I would say most like the one in its second phrase from 0:50 of "Helena's Theme"), which is more than an ostinato because it works in counterpoint with the melody of Helena's theme. That's what's the most interesting thing to me, almost like Williams is taking a technique that's more from concert music and importing it into his film work.


    It's something that is pretty subtle, but hearing the ostinato as related to Helena's theme I think explains why the ostinato blends so well with it.


    So compare this:



    to this:



  4. On 03/07/2023 at 8:56 PM, Falstaft said:

    I'm curious, do you feel this makes up a grammatical theme in your sense? Discursive maybe? Most of the time, Voller just gets the first few notes, but here it's much more extended. 


    So, you mean is this a true long-lined theme in the manner of an 8-bar type of theme (grammatical) or something longer and more free-form? (Just translating my own obscure academic terms for fellow JW fans!) What's interesting is that I think pretty much every other statement of Voller's theme is just the opening idea, maybe repeated, so it seems like it's more a motif than a long-lined theme. But here, he stretched it out with more statements and they basically add up to a couple of AAB, or sentence, structures.


    It kind of reminds me of how Kylo Ren's aggressive motif becomes something more substantial at the end of TLJ and it almost turns into a full 8 bars. But there, I think Williams writing that was probably related to Ren becoming the accepted leader of the First Order by Hux (though reluctantly). The character becomes more substantial and so does the theme. In DOD, it still feels like a motif even when it's arranged like this, and I think that's because 8-bar themes tend to have a kind of predictability to their phrasing, so you kind of know when each idea and phrase will come to an end. But this use of Voller's theme is so much the opposite! Slow tempo, changing meter, different phrase lengths. It just doesn't feel like a long-lined theme, more like a motif that's being manipulated, if that makes sense.

  5. 1 hour ago, Falstaft said:

    I've taken a stab at a more extended version of Voller's motif, as heard in "Voller Returns." As far as I know, this is the longest unfolding of his material in the score. It's a devil to get this metrically accurate, and I'd be especially curious if anyone hears its rhythmic structure differently.



    I think it's especially intuitive to place the chromatic figure starting on a downbeat each time. I tried transcribing it as well, and found that my ear was also drawn to the soft timp hits as downbeats, so I added as another factor and came up with this. I think we only differ in the amount of time between phrases, which doesn't always sound exact anyway.



  6. 31 minutes ago, Holko said:

    Help me jog my memory please, which renditions of it are triple? I'm cycling (heh) through them in my head and it's only the Friendship theme which fits, Flying seems like a 4 to me. The Call could be triple too, actually, never thought about this stuff before.


    The theme is in a slow 3 (counting the first 3 melody notes as the main beats), so it's really any rendition that's in that meter. It can have a slightly different feel at that tempo, but I would say the feeling of 3's is still prominent. Take the ones at the end of The Magic of Halloween:





    Or the one at the end of The Rescue and Bike Chase:





  7. Great topic, @Holko. For the flying association, I would add the E.T. flying theme. I'd agree that there's something buoyant about waltz-tempo triple times, and the examples you mention are excellent ones. And you might be onto something with the fairy-tale beauty idea as well. That could explain the triple time of The BFG's main theme, for example. For me, one of the most challenging things with these kinds of discoveries is understanding how strong the association is, meaning how widespread and frequent the connection is. What you provide here is a massive step towards that, so kudos!


    When I was working on my course on rhythm and meter last year, I came across a whole bunch of passages in triple time / compound time (basically faster 3's) in Williams that had narrative associations and that were pretty frequent. One that he returns to often is the use of 3's in a slow compound time for sorrow. Examples include the main themes for Angela's Ashes, The Book Thief, Presumed Innocent (also includes mystery as an association), as well as Petticoat Lane, Across the Stars, Jedi Steps, and the new Obi-Wan theme. There were other associations, but that was the one that seemed to have the most examples I came across (aside from the action music association you mention, of course!).

  8. 7 hours ago, Falstaft said:

    Remarkable! Who knew. The reedy instrumentation really lends it a different affect. And structurally, it puts a new spin on the theme -- perhaps the most "four-square" AABA form it's ever been in. Kind of like that unused statement of Kylo Ren's theme in TFA 2m17 that is in a traditional fourfold structure. What say you, @Ludwig


    37 BOTH1 new!.png



    In this form, it's a lot like the "ancestral" theme from Far and Away, which has the very same kind of large AABA form, where B is a variation of A, and funnily enough, that theme has very similar pitches and melodic shape as well, and is even in the same key of D minor:




  9. 3 hours ago, Disco Stu said:

    You can hear this approach to melody right up through Obi-Wan and Helena's themes from this year.


    Yes! The one in Helena is more in what @Falstaft labels the A portion of the theme in his transcription back in that thread (the kind of introductory-sounding statement we get before the full-fledged version he labels A'). Though there he stretches the notes of second cell out to double the length.


    I even think there's a hint if it in Rey's theme, where the cell is 3 notes in the first bar and only 2 in the second. The technique probably warrants even more study. But it was something I first noticed in the 3 themes I discuss.

  10. 9 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

    It's not just the rubato that makes it fun but tricky to transcribe, but the metrical flexibility. I think the first, most provisional statement of the theme alternates 3/4 and 4/4 for a bit -- gives it a kind of tentative, finding its way quality, don't you think?


    Yes, it's a bit like the Obi-Wan intro, where the theme hasn't yet solidified into it's final form until the whole orchestra gets going. He seems to like these provisional intros to his themes in these later scores. Even the Victory theme opening "The Rise of Skywalker" track has that provisional quality even if it's a bit more formed in that case.


    14 minutes ago, Falstaft said:

    What do you make of the figure that he repeats and sequences starting at m. 10 -- could it be a very, very distant cousin of the main motif from the Raiders March, the way it spans a rising 6th and then repeats a step lower?


    Could be! I'm hearing several places where it also sounds a bit like Marion's theme (as others have noted above), so those sequences can sound a bit like the 6th and 7th notes of Marion's theme, if only in rhythm and contour, not so much interval.

  11. 4 hours ago, Falstaft said:

    Wow, @Ludwig, we are possessed by the same need to transcribe, aren't we!


    Here's my own attempt, just of the opening first minute and a half. We can compare notes, literally!



    Helena.tif 263.47 kB · 0 downloads


    I think we match! You're probably right about the rhythm of the triplet being changed to quarter-eighth-eighth in the 2nd bar of your 2nd-last line. There's just so much rubato in the piece, I went for the straight rhythms instead.


    And bravo for including the harmony! Will make a fine addition to your Indy catalogue!


    EDIT: After listening again, I changed the triplet I had in my m. 10 to the quarter-plus-eighths. Williams loves little changes like that, so I could see that being the case.

  12. It really depends on what you're looking to do. If you actually want to perform some written music, probably a full 88 keys is better. Then you can hear the pitches as written and never have to leave out or rearrange any notes. But it's totally possible to just learn to read music on a small instrument. You might also think of what space you have for it and whether that's a factor as well.

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