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Everything posted by Ludwig

  1. It has these little details that make it interesting, even if it is treading over much of the Imperial March's ground. I especially like the weird things going on in the rhythm and meter. The second bar of accompaniment actually has five beats rather than the four of the first bar, so it throws us off when the melody comes in a beat later. The first short idea then overlaps with its repetition, so again it comes as a surprise since it sounds like the end of the first then suddenly becomes the beginning of the second. At the end of the first phrase, the last bar has only three beats, making the repeat of the melody an unexpected entrance. Then there's that ending - who knows what's going on there, but it really sounds like half a beat goes missing somewhere. Awesome. If this is the real deal, then it's nice to see Williams delving into these kinds of oddities in rhythm and meter since not many of his themes do this, at least the big ones in Star Wars. And if not, well, good for whoever wrote it!
  2. Most of these uses of musical spelling limit themselves to the notes A-G (with B standing for Bb) and add two other notes: H (for B-natural, the "hard" B rather than the "soft" Bb) and S (for Eb since in German, when you add the letter "s" to a letter, it means flat, so "S" actually means "Es" or Eb). This is why you get a lot of "sch" or "ch" in these monograms. They're some of the only combinations that work. The idea for the whole alphabet I got from the Debussy "Hadyn" piece. You'll see that he kind of mixes systems together, having H for the note B, but then Y and N by continuing the notes after G the way I do. With the whole alphabet, H should be A, not B. But I guess having the B worked better, so he used that. But probably the best thing I know about all this comes from a personal story. When one of my composition teachers did his doctorate, he of course wrote an extensive piece, as one does for the thesis. When it came to coming up with the material for it, he (in his wonderfully subversive way) noticed that "thesis" sounded kind of like "faeces", which can be written musically using the more limited German-based notes. And that became the main motif for the work. And no one ever noticed! So with 100% accuracy, you could say that what he wrote was a piece of shit.
  3. There's kind of a tradition of this kind of musical spelling in classical music. Of course, they're all far better than my trite exercise here, but they are based on essentially the same idea. The main difference is that these composers all use very short names or abbreviations of names to get a motif rather than the long-lined melody I present here. Obviously, the short motif is more useful if you're going to base a whole piece on it, but since I'm writing just a few bars, I go for the whole sha-bang. Anyway, the first famous example comes from Bach, who wrote a prelude and fugue on his name: This B-A-C-H motif became a favourite of composers in the Romantic period and thereafter, probably the best-known examples being Schumann's six fugues on the motif. Schumann himself had a fascination with this kind of "musical cryptography", and famously wrote several of the pieces from his Carnaval using motifs he called "Sphinxes" that were derived from the letters of the town his fiancee of the time was from (Asch) and the musically translatable letters of his own last name: SCHumAnn. Then there is Debussy's "Hommage a Haydn": And my personal favourite, Shostakovich's monogram, similar to Schumann's in that it's derived mainly from the translatable letters of his first and last names:
  4. I figured we could use some diversion while waiting to pore over new JW music, so here's another musical spelling of a composer I wrote as a melody in their style. Ennio works rather well since his full name starts and ends on E, and the repetition of letters in each name helps to create a kind of motive in the first two bars, so his name was made for this! Because the first bar happens to give us an E minor chord, I gave an E minor key signature, making all the Fs into F#s. Enjoy! http://picosong.com/wFXTz
  5. How do I show my appreciation? Make a melody out of his name using a musical "alphabet" and make it into a theme that has CE3K vibes (in honor of today's release!): Audio here: http://picosong.com/wFCHw
  6. I agree. I never hear a cue of his he conducted and think, for example, that it was too slow or too fast. The way he conducts, he seems to find just the perfect tempo (among other things) for everything, and that is no mean feat!
  7. "When 85 years you reach, be as productive, you will not. Hmm?"
  8. I was just going to say as much. The plot seems very focused on the kind of morality, politics, and patriotism that characterize Stone's films, and with courtroom scenes included as well, it seems most like JFK. Perhaps we'll get a similar theme to JFK, which has a do-the-right-thing kind of vibe. But somehow I sense the main theme will be much darker and less "heroic" than the JFK main theme. Which is cool. I'm always down with darker.
  9. Apologies to TGP for changing one note and adding another. The opening scale degrees, 5-4-5, were a cool challenge to work with. I figured it was best if the solution was not an orthodox one.
  10. Uh oh... We may already have a future candidate for the homage/plagiarism thread.
  11. And stranger still, the three films you list were not distributed by Columbia but rather (in the order you list them) Fox, Paramount, and United Artists. If there is any credence to the story with Stoloff, could you go down the list of Columbia films during those years and check the IMDb for each? It's not an airtight method, but might be worth a shot.
  12. I don't know about the puppet, but months ago, Frank Oz said he was asked not to talk about whether Yoda's in the film. Hmm... http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/will-yoda-star-wars-last-jedi-frank-oz-isnt-allowed-say/
  13. I don't think we have - good call! First, a couple of points on the transcription. I'm fairly certain that the second chord has C#-D rather than C-Db, and although the first violas appear to have Gb on the attack of this chord, the next bar shows a leger line that it's tied to, so I think it's probably Ab rather than Gb. Lastly, I would probably regard the C in the first chord as D for two reasons: it looks closer to being centered on the D-line rather than the C-space below it, and the interval to the next note (if we assume Ab) is a tritone with D but a minor 6th with C. In these two chords, the only part to move up more than a 5th is the first violin. With these minor changes, I would probably write the progression as follows: As for how to analyze them, it could probably go a few ways. What I'm leaning towards right now is an octatonic reading that is enhanced by non-scale tones. In the analysis above, I've notated which octatonic scale I hear as the basis of each chord. The stem-down notes are those notes in the chord that are not part of the octatonic scale in question. The notes in parentheses are in the scale but not used in the chord. One appealing aspect of this view to me is that, in both chords, the lowest note is not part of the scale, so it jars against it in an audible way (i.e., it's not buried in inner voices). But notice that this analysis places the inner-voice C in the second chord outside the octatonic scale, so it's a monkey-wrench in the analytical gears. Then again, we have talked about inexact uses of systematic materials in Williams' atonal writing before, so maybe it's not so strange here.
  14. Ha! Not in the least. I'm glad you offered this alternative reading because I couldn't make sense of a G#. I didn't think of reading the splotch as a leger line, but the C# does make plenty more sense. Then all the short notes in the chord derive from the (C,C#) octatonic scale, except that he doesn't use the C. The tuba's B-natural that you insightfully point out in the recording then jars against the whole octatonic sonority. Maybe it was a podium change that was called for to make that prominent tuba note stand out more, so that the overall effect we get is a "noise chord" for a frightening sound, an "out-of-place" high tuba note that punctuates the texture like the shark's bite, and a sustained chord on top that depicts the freezing up Chrissie experiences as she desperately wonders what just happened. This is why this one reason why this is one of my favorite Williams cues - with but a single chord, it manages to capture several onscreen events at the same time, translated into purely musical terms.
  15. Indeed! I've also revised the harp to include the D# you suggested (though I left it out of the total chord because it's the same as the Eb). So here we are:
  16. Even so, there's something to be said for the tritones outlined in some of the instrumental groups - the piano and harps outline tritones in their outer voices, perhaps adding to the "noise" effect. And even with the E you mention, while I don't show what comes before, that tuba run starts from a Bb and ends on the very prominent E - another tritone. So thanks for (inadvertently!) pointing out the tritones!
  17. Cool! You mean the Bb atop the strings and harp? That would make sense to pack a wallop between outer voices as well.
  18. Great observations, Marcus! Agreed on all points. Nice how the [0,8,11] chord meshes with the Eb7(#9), as though the latter is a filled-out version of the former. Yes, I think you're right about the harp. I think it makes more sense for Williams not to double a note in the same instrument when it comes to these highly dissonant chords. Otherwise it's kind of a waste of musical real estate, if you know what I mean - the whole point is to create loads of dissonance in the same timbral groupings so the ear hears the dissonance in each orchestral group. So yes, probably D# makes more sense than the E. You could be right, but I'm not entirely sure about D in the 2nd violins because that would mean having a non-polychord note there. I'm thinking Williams probably saves the D for the sustained chord only. It's just the score is so hard to read, a splotch could be a note or nothing at all! Since we're talking about splotches, what is that notated under the first violin chord?
  19. Here's a chord from Jaws I've been curious about for a while. It's from "The First Victim" (such a great little cue!) and is at the moment that Chrissie is first bitten by the shark: Though the chord is over in a flash, I've been wondering what notes he chooses to create this massive hit point. Note that I've transcribed this myself from the nearly illegible score. There is a fan-engraved version but it's full of mistakes. Ive done my best to read what is there in a way that hopefully makes the most musical sense. The notes I'm unsure of are those in the middle of the harp chord. I just can't be certain what those notes are, but my instinct is that they double notes that are already in other parts (excluding the sustained chord's D). It seems that the chord is basically composed of three components: a tertian chord rooted on Eb, a tertian chord rooted on A, and the three-note sustained chord on top. The Eb and A chords derive from an octatonic scale. The Eb chord is an Eb7(#9) which is hammered out in the piano and lower notes of the brass, and the A chord I would say is an A major triad. The juxtaposition of chords a tritone apart (Eb/A) has already been heard together several times in the cue in those tinkly harp and piano lines at the start, meaning that they are a kind of harmonic motive for the cue (and score). At this moment of "first strike", however, there are more notes added to the mix. The A major triad is intermingled with G# and Bb, then the F# that the violins glide up to. We could always group these notes together under a single chord symbol, but that seems rather beside the point. For one thing, the G# isn't part of the octatonic scale that houses the Eb7(#9) and A major triad. Second, both the G# and Bb clash with the highest chord tone of the A major triad, meaning their effect will be stronger because they will be more audible at the top of the harp's chord. So I suppose I'm inclined to hear these as "bristles" against the A major triad. Though with so much dissonance already, it's hard to know how meaningful it is to distinguish between chord tone and non-chord tone here. The last component is the sustained three-note chord high up in the strings and winds. This is definitely not tertian, so stands out nicely from the Eb/A polychord in chord type, rhythm, and of course register. I would probably just call this a set class of (016). Interestingly, the D in this chord is not a part of the octatonic scale of the chords below it, so it works as a kind of boundary that distinguishes it from them. The G and C# at the very top are actually present in the Eb chord at the very bottom, so they blend well with the overall mass of sound. Feel free to comment on any of this. In all, I would call this another composite chord (or mixed polychord, if you like). What's most interesting to me though is not what to call the chord, but that it is drawn from the octatonic materials of the preceding music in the cue. It's not drawn from "out of the air" as a randomly dissonant chord or from a standardized way of writing stinger chords, but from the musical ideas already in the cue. This is what I love about Williams' film music - once some of the basic ideas are established, it seems to grow largely out of itself.
  20. Sorry about the misunderstanding. I'm so used to octatonic meaning a scale with alternating half and whole steps that I'd forgotten that some use it in a more general way. And of course you could call it an octatonic chord, but what does "complete" add to the label? What would an incomplete octatonic chord be? I'm just curious. Other examples of this structure are throughout this thread. The ones I was thinking of were the "I can't remember what my parents look like" chord from EOTS, the Nazi-zapping chord from Raiders, and several chords Sharky posted from CE3K. Interesting that almost all of the chords we're discussing derive from that most prominent period of Williams' career, roughly 1975-1993. It may be that he drew on these kinds of composite chords more during that period than any other.
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