Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Everything posted by Ludwig

  1. One can dream what a Williams score to a film based on a film scored by Lalo Schifrin would sound like, even if it never comes to pass. Personally I think it would be really interesting as Schifrin was more influenced by jazz and Williams grew up with that music himself. It might be a more classically tamed version of what Schifrin did, or you could say a more overtly jazzy version of what Williams might normally do. Either way, would be cool.
  2. Musicologist Barry Cooper once recorded a 1st movement that he completed of Beethoven's 10th. Interesting, and you can hear fingerprints of the maestro there, but ultimately it doesn't amount to much as a whole, unfortunately.
  3. Williams' film music has a very improvisational feel to it (understandably given his jazz background) and I think it serves his highly coordinated style of scoring very well, catching and clarifying many of the nuances of the events onscreen. And because the feeling in his scores can change on a dime, it can be microedited so as to improve the flow, as @Jay says, removing bits that may interrupt that continuity. If his music were more constantly thematic, say more like How to Train Your Dragon, it probably couldn't be microedited very well. That said, I agree with many here that it's the choices that are made on the OSTs as to what it microedited and how that can sometimes detract from the cue's flow. But I think his music probably fares better than many would with such editing because of the improvisational aspect, meaning that we don't usually feel that the music must go any particular place, only that when it does, it creates an appropriate kind of emotional shape for the scene at hand. I think that's probably one of the (many!) reasons why we love his music so much, anyway.
  4. Yes, absolutely. And now I think the reason for the resemblance between Krypton and Close Encounters is becoming clearer. Richard Donner recalls about the Krypton theme that: And in his notes to the 40th anniversary Close Encounters soundtrack release, Mike Matessino notes that: So it seems that the similarity of the two themes may primarily be the result of both being influenced by 2001. And as Close Encounters was so recent when making Superman, there may be an added layer of choosing a collection of notes that perfectly coincides with those of the communication theme.
  5. I believe he means that the first 3 notes of the melody in the Robin Hood overture are the same notes as the 4th, 5th, and 6th notes of the Krypton theme, which they are in terms of the notes of their relative major keys. After that, Robin Hood seems pretty different to me. But since we're talking about the Krypton theme, it's always struck me how the notes of that theme are precisely the same collection of notes in the five-note "communication" theme in Close Encounters. It's like Williams took one of the dozens of possible combinations he wrote for the latter in 1977, maybe added a few repetitions of notes and voila - Krypton's theme in a film from 1978.
  6. Thanks for sharing! And congrats to @Falstaft for his prominent contribution to the article. I'm glad he mentioned the care and effort that Williams puts into shaping his themes. Their memorability and tailor-made nature may make it seem that they are in a sense easily done, especially because they don't generally go overboard in what it is they are meant to express. I know WE know this here of course, but I'm happy it was put in a mainstream article because it really gives a different perspective on his work - with the complexity of his underscoring, one could easily think that that's the greatest struggle for him, but no, it's the more easy-sounding themes that take the most work. So thinking of them that way, one can better understand why they're memorable enough to not only live well beyond their films but to actually become cultural icons as well. In other words, it isn't simply that they tap into film and classical traditions but that they draw on particular aspects of them that he deems the best fit for a theme and melds them together in a convincing and original way. I'd also add that jazz harmony is a huge part of his theme writing, though not jazz style. The themes don't sound jazzy, they draw on aspects of jazz, and in being blended with film and classical aspects, they become something new, original, and memorable. I think this is a big part of Williams' genius for film music, his blending or better yet, assimilating, of many influences into a style all his own.
  7. I love this. Really gives you a clear picture of the overall tonal structure at a glance. And I think even for those unfamiliar with the notation, it still shows one big difference between film cues (even with a solid internal structure like this one) and typical Romantic-era concert works: ending in a different key from the one started with (and stayed with most of the way through). I think If this were simply a film cue imported unaltered into the concert hall, it wouldn't be a very interesting observation. But the fact that Williams has revised it somewhat makes it much more interesting. By the way, @Falstaft has already said something about this in his full article, where he states that: The thing I'm wondering is whether, with these 2nd-round revisions, Williams may be trying to smooth out some of the changes in key, or at least give a little more time in preparing for them so they sound even more like a concert piece rather than an imported film cue. It just seems that Williams has been trying to establish his legacy in the concert hall as much as he can in recent years, even in seemingly smaller ways like this.
  8. Film Music Notes is happy to announce the launch of a new course, Associations of Harmony in Film Themes at the super-sale price of $89 with the use of this coupon code: LEQ2F271SS. After Jan. 3rd, the price will go to the launch price of $99 (full regular price is $109). By studying many of the greatest themes to come out of Hollywood, this three-lesson course will teach you the most common harmonic progressions in Hollywood film music and the emotional and musical associations they tend to have. Learn how to use harmony to evoke the perfect emotions in your themes! Find out more on the course page, where you can watch a preview, see the course contents, and enroll in the course. But hurry, the super-sale ends Jan. 3rd!
  9. Sure, I'm game. So about the Sad Theme, one thing about it is that in the suite, it gets combined in counterpoint with the main theme at 6:26, kind of like Williams' Rey's theme + Force theme combination in the end credits of TFA. Okay, so Giacchino does change the notes of the main theme after its first motif, but what the hey, I still like it. What I found really striking was the Mysterious Theme - it has exactly the same harmony as the main theme all the way through. You could play the main theme over the chords of the Mysterious Theme and get the same thing. As Jay points out as well, the Mysterious Theme leads into the main theme each time. I would add that this happens yet a third time in the suite starting with the Mysterious Theme at 7:01 then the main theme at 7:19. So the two themes are inextricably intertwined. I don't know anything about the plot of the film, but maybe the Mysterious Theme has something to do with Spidey's identity, that he's questioning who he is, who Spider-Man is, or maybe there's another Spidey? Who knows. But the two themes here are definitely connected to the point where they are in one respect the same. Eager to find out what it means.
  10. And I think it's somehow better that it happened around that time, bringing together all that life and experience by the time he's given those big assignments. Actually, with the release of Fiddler, I'm realizing just how important that score was for his career. It was the highest-grossing film of 1971 and received the most Academy Award nominations of any film that year. And that was when Williams was 39, still around the start of middle age. So still a lot of life and experience went into that, and clearly it showed.
  11. After studying so many of Williams' action cues and looking at this one, it's clear that "Here They Come" doesn't draw on his go-to materials for action writing in any significant way (i.e., octatonic and hexatonic scales). Sure, there are elements of them, of course, but the main vamp of the cue defies any consistent use of a scale or harmonic pattern. And yet it doesn't sound like a patchwork in the least. It seems that Williams had developed his action style enough even by this time to have a large buffet of options at his disposal. And what comes across is the confidence in being able to harness them without a compositional pattern in mind but simply by blending them into a coherent and distinctive battle-music cue. This, to me, is one of Williams' greatest strengths as a film composer: to be able to take more-or-less common materials (at least for action writing in this case) and shape them into something distinctive. Original while being entirely traditional (for film music) at the same time.
  12. I don't know about which I'd say is best, but I've always liked this set piece of the score from Toy Story 2:
  13. 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!
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. I hadn't considered it, but since you suggest it, I'll mark it down as the next post!
  17. 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.
  18. 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...
  19. 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
  20. @BrotherSound Thank you for this. So what does it mean that Part 1 of some titles are missing here?
  21. @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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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!
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.