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Ludwig

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Everything posted by Ludwig

  1. You are correct about the III chord in the 2nd last bar - sorry about that. But that doesn't change the fact that the last bar is a sequence of the 2nd last, as I think you agree. So what we're really debating here is the key, not the chords. I urge you to try this musical experiment: in the 2nd last bar, instead of the last chord, play a 1st-inversion F chord. It sounds like the tonic because or course it is. Now in the last bar, instead of the last chord, play an A-flat major chord. Would you agree this sounds like the tonic? I don't think you should worry about having your analysis change keys for one bar. If it happens in the music, our analysis should reflect that. Not doing so seems to me a case of forcing the music to fit the theory rather than the other way around! Listening to the piece on YouTube was the first thing I did before responding to your JFK question. It's my modus operandi.
  2. I disagree that F is the tonic in this bar. The last bar of the first page is a sequence of the previous bar, which goes VI-V-IV-III in F major. When the last bar begins as a sequence, I think we are inclined to hear A-flat as the tonic, so the same progression in that key, VI-V-IV- then an altered version of III (borrowed from A-flat minor, or Aeolian). The next bar then gets right back to F minor, starting once again on the VI chord, as though trying to correct the shift into A-flat. If we hear the second last bar with F as tonic, how can we NOT hear A-flat as tonic in the last bar?
  3. The structure of the scores are totally different, especially as presented on CD. Granted the style of the scores are pretty similar, but I would attribute that to the "Williams sound." But the Oscars don't care about CD presentation, they evaluate film presentation. Also, the structure is not really relevant when the style of the scores are very similar. I listen to scores mainly for their sound and style, and not really their structure. And I don't think the Academy goes that deep into "structure" either. When something sounds similar, it sounds similar, end of story. That's most likely also one of the main reasons why An Unexpected Journey wasn't nominated. They just don't care about structural and thematic connections when the whole score as presented in the film sounds like a LotR highlight reel. Well then YOU and the Academy don't care about structure. That doesn't make your original statement true. What exactly are we talking about with "structure"? To me, that means the choice of harmony, melody, and rhythm, but that amounts to style, doesn't it? Indy, you said the "style" of Lincoln and War Horse are similar, but the "structure" is entirely different? Could you clarify? Just wondering...
  4. By the way, Prometheus, very nice observation here. I agree, especially because, as you say, the march comes in earlier. So the whole cue seems to grow out of that material in a way. Very organic. Maybe that's partly why the cue works so well.
  5. I think this is the case. Have a look at the sketch, which appears to me to be accurate. The clefs aren't notated on p. 67, where your excerpt begins, but it's clear enough from context - the bottom staff is bass clef, the two above it are treble clef, all strings. Oboes and clarinets are in the top staff in the treble clef. No sign of any F in the first chord or D in the second (end of bar). Besides, those notes would give a very different sound, and it's not present in the recording, so it must just be a mistake. Which could conceivably fit into G Harmonic or Hungarian minor. Well, sure. But why call it Hungarian minor when that scale is contradicted in the 3rd and 4th bars? To hear it that way would mean that all the notes except the Cb are in the scale, so that note should stand out. I don't think it does (any more than other notes). I mean, if a passage is in a key, for example, that's to say we can hear any foreign notes as being just that. To me, all the neighbour notes to the Bb-D (so the A-C# and the Cb-Eb) are equally foreign to the main thing in this passage - the G minor chord. Everyone seems to want to say what "scale" these brilliant Williams passages use, but there is always something to contradict that view. I think we should consider the possibility that the notes he writes are governed more by one or more chords rather than scales.
  6. Nice to see you're chipping away at this project, Ted. A couple of things I notice in your transcription: I'm comparing this with the sketch of this passage and notice that in the top example, the D#s, F#s, and A#s should be spelled with flats, This makes it much clearer that the chord at the beginning of each bar is a G minor chord, and that that last chord in each bar is part of an E-flat minor chord. Also, the top note in each triplet in the first system isn't there in the recording, nor in the sketch. And in the second system, the strings don't go that high - have a look at p. 67 of the PDF sketch and you'll see what I mean. The brass bit should all be close-position chords going from G minor to B-flat minor with the melody you have. Just thought I would add these observations to help you out. About scales. I don't hear a governing scale in a passage like this. I hear it rather as polytonal. G minor is the overriding tonality, especially because it is persistently in the bass as a pedal (not shown in the example above). Then there are the E-flat minor chords at the end of the first two bars (heard more in the winds). The strings have semitone neighbours to the B-flat and D of the G minor chord. That's why we get A-C# after Bb-D, and in the 3rd and 4th bars, Eb-Cb going to Bb-D. That's how I understand it, anyway.
  7. Even though it's no surprise that Life of Pi seems poised to win the Oscar, I was able to dig up some interesting evidence to back this up. (It ain't JUST a gut feeling, much as I like gut feelings!). Have a look: http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/oscar-prediction-2013-best-original-score/
  8. My vote is for Life of Pi both for "should win" and "will win". Don't get me wrong - I thought JW's job on Lincoln was absolutely first-rate, but it wasn't the kind of film that gave much space for the music. And I think that should be part of the award since film is a collaborative art. Hence my vote for Pi.
  9. That's how I would think of it, though borrowed chords can also be thought of as altered, so they're not mutually exclusive. I feel this way about all 1st inversion major and minor chords if they're spaced widely with only 4ths/5ths in the upper parts - love it. Any other examples you had in mind?
  10. Great example. Part of the confusing thing about this passage is that we like to think of a theme as being in a certain key or certain mode. Here, the G fluctuates from G# to G natural, so we can't say it's any single mode. But since it comes back to D as a tonic chord after only 4 bars, it seems to me that D governs the whole passage. The chords with G# are a bit like secondary dominant chords - they are borrowed from another mode but they don't undermine the feeling that the original tonic is still in place. So I would say that the passage borrows from the Lydian mode on D then goes to the D major scale. It's a mix of both but D remains the tonic throughout, so you could say the theme is in D Lydian/Major. I know it doesn't sound like the Lydian mode because we don't have the more familiar I-II# progression as in other cases, but if you're going to say D is the tonic throughout, you kind of have to say that the mode is Lydian, IMO.
  11. With less than a week before the Oscars, I thought the time is ripe for a poll. But here, you don't have to decide between what you think WILL win and what you think SHOULD win. Have your say...
  12. Haven't seen too much discussion of Dario Marianelli's score for Anna Karenina, but here's my take: http://www.filmmusicnotes.com/oscar-nominees-2013-dario-marianellis-score-for-anna-karenina/ I think it's strongest points are its long, lyrical melodies. Not only are they great to listen to, he actually combines them together in counterpoint in several places - cool!
  13. The only consistency I hear in most bitonal music is that the two chords tend to have semitone clashes and be distantly related (the key signatures would have many sharps or flats different between them). Yes, a relationship like B major with C major is a common one. So any two chords that bring this about seem to be the most used. In the bit from Star Wars I was talking about, the bitonal music starts with a D-flat major chord in the lower parts combined with a C major chord in the upper parts. So each note in one chord clashes by a semitone with a note in the other. Hear it in this clip in 1:16-1:18: The next "polychord" (combination of chords) is an A major chord in the lower parts combined with the same C major chord in the upper parts. So now, there is only one semitone clash (between C# and C). This is in the last clip from 1:19-1:20. And the last polychord combines an A-flat augmented chord in the lower parts with, again, the same C major chord in the upper parts. There is now a semitone clash between A-flat and G. This happens in the clip above from 1:21-1:23. The trick in keeping bitonal chords from sounding awful is to keep the chords in different registers so we can hear each one as a chord and not as a mish-mash of dissonance. Williams does that brilliantly here.
  14. Yes, now that I hear it again, there is a major 2nd on the bottom of the first chord, and a G in the second chord. But I disagree that there's a C in the first chord - that makes it sound like some kind of G7 chord with C suspension, which I don't hear. I think it's essentially a D minor chord with added dissonance. Something else I noticed is that the voices in the lower parts have more dissonance than I initially thought. More than that, one dissonance seems to stay the same through the first five chords - the G-A. The chords are basically tonal chords but with added dissonance - and diatonic dissonance at that. It's hard to pick out the individual notes, but when you try different combinations together (I'm using Sibelius), it sounded very close, if not identical, to the original when I put more dissonance in the lower parts. Here's my revised version - see what you think: It won't let me post the audio here too, so let me try it in another post below... This isn't great audio quality, but it's the only way I could get it to upload, so here it is...Excerpt from CEO3K - 2nd draft.mp3
  15. I've only just read through this thread and think it's a great idea. I have a couple of suggestions - let me know what you think. First, I think it would be useful to have a "Style of the Score" section on each entry that discusses general points like -harmonic style (tonal, atonal, modal, etc.) - melodic style (intervals emphasized, whether there is a predominance of themes or not) - instrumentation - use of diegetic music (occurs in the fictional world of the film, heard by the characters) vs. non-diegetic music (not occurring in the fictional world of the film) - use of original vs. pre-existing music These sorts of things - you could have more or less depending on the score. None of these require too much detail, but I think something like this would give people a sense of what the score's about, musically speaking. And it would also be a good summary of the character of the score. It might be a good way to describe how one score differs from the next. Second, I could add a sentence or two about the musical features of the score's themes that contribute to the theme's emotional character. Just simple things, nothing too theoretical. Things like use of dotted rhythms to suggest a military feel, or rising fifths to suggest a heroic character. That sort of thing. Not too much, but just enough to give an idea of how the composer makes the theme sound like it does. I would be happy to add what I can - I have had extensive training in composition and music theory, and these kinds of things would not take long to add for a single score at a time.
  16. Exactly. But it doesn't have to be done with two or more different chords at the same time. Herrmann, for example, often sounds a chord (usually major or minor) overtop of a note that has nothing to do with the chord. The chord suggests the tonic chord of one key and the single note suggests another key. Actually, he usually strings several bars like this together so that the single notes together suggest a major or minor chord when played successively. In cases like this, it's usually considered "bitonal" because there are only two keys. But there can be more than two, in which case it's polytonal - say, with three different chords sounded at the same time, or two chords together with a different bass note. That sort of thing. There is a good example of bitonal music at the end of the Star Wars introduction, where the scrolling text fades away into blackness. Polytonal music generally relies on the familiar chords of major, minor, dominant 7ths, and so on, whereas atonal music generally relies on chords that emphasize dissonant intervals like 2nds, 4ths, tritones, and 7ths.
  17. Here's what I got. It's not perfect, but I think the harmonies are basically correct, but there may be a note missing somewhere in the middle. I haven't indicated which instrument does what because that's damn near impossible in this kind of large orchestra recording. I've also attached an audio file, but it's just piano. Kind of lame, but you get the picture anyway. By the way, I threw in the 7th chord for free! Excerpt from CEO3K.mp3
  18. How is the B section defined in the concert version? Double-bar lines? The Beethoven example proves my point exactly. The first and second themes there are in different keys - the first in C minor, the second in E-flat major. In the Williams examples, the "second themes" are in the same key as the first, so I consider them part of the same overall theme. B sections also usually use the same motives as the A section. So in Raiders, we get the same dotted rhythm as a pickup to all the downbeats, just like in the A section. And the same thing happens in the Superman March, where there the iambic (long-short) rhythm that opens the A section returns to start the B section and is heard throughout that section as well.
  19. Yes, I've heard Spielberg say this in one of the documentaries. But the two themes are in the same key within the piece. If a theme is going to be considered separate from another in a musical form like a march, it is always in a different key. Why wouldn't this be a B section?
  20. I had a look at the score, and there's no scale of B minor in the piano (harp is scratched out and piano is left in) where you mention. And I don't see any "Bm" marking either. Is that in a piano version you have? If so, that would be someone else's interpretation of the harmony. And in jazz lead sheets, chord symbols change from one arranger to the next. At the same spot (bar 55), there is an arpeggio in the piano and clarinet F#-B-D-G, G-F#, which is repeated in the next bar with the addition of more winds and the celeste. You say the G is an appoggiatura, but it seems to me that Williams goes out of his way to emphasize the G - he has it on a strong beat and even has it accented. And the second time this bar comes around, in bar 59, we actually reach the G in the melody and in all the arpeggios in the accompaniment. Notice how the melody reaches this G as a goal note - from E in bar 57, to F# in bar 58, and finally to G in bar 60. For these reasons, it sounds very much like a part of the chord to me and not merely a dissonant note that is not to be heard as a goal. But I suppose the biggest piece of evidence is the progression itself. We have IV-VII then the chord in question. Well, IV is subdominant, and VII is dominant, so we are certainly expecting to hear tonic in the next bar, and indeed he gives it to us. Sure, the root is not a sustained note in the chord, but as I said before, a rootless chord is not uncommon in jazz. As I've pointed out in a PM, Mark Levine shows how this same rootless chord can be tonic in his book The Jazz Piano Book (p. 43, Fig. 7-5). I think it matters because it would be another way that Williams tends to use a lot of tonic in his B sections. Think of the Raiders March or the Superman March, which have long tonic pedals. This chord would fall into the same category in my opinion. As for your 3rd example, this looks good to me. You just left out the last I chord, where the phrase ends. I would add that the entire progression seems to be motivated not so much by harmonic function but by parallelism. The first two chords move in parallel, as do the 3rd and 4th, and the 6th and 7th. The 5th chord (C minor) is almost in parallel except that the following chords are major instead of minor. But it's still a first-inversion chord in parallel. It's really only at the beginning and end of the phrase where we hear any sort of harmonic functions in D. It starts on tonic, then ends with dominant-tonic. Probably the F minor chord is tonic in F Dorian as you say, but the other chords in between seem to me to be sequential and not functional. In other words, their purpose is just to move towards a goal rather than make us expect any particular chord.
  21. Fascinating. It's truly amazing how Williams is able to blend both the pop/jazz and classical traditions together so seamlessly. I suppose that's partly what makes Williams' style so unique and therefore recognizable. Composers are usually either one or the other with very little overlap.
  22. Nice work to all. Below I've added my analysis to Prometheus'. Just to explain the notation... What I noticed is that there are a lot of strange chords in this theme. But then, there are really only 3 functions a chord can have in a key: tonic (T), subdominant (S), or dominant (D). In themes from classical music, the tonic function is usually "prolonged" or stretched out by intervening chords, then there is a cadence. Williams does the same thing here, but with a lot of substitute chords. Of course, in classical music, tonic, subdominant, and dominant functions are usually given by the I, IV, and V chords, but as wanner251 mentioned, the last chord in the theme is a V substitute. Basically, substitute chords have two notes (perhaps altered with accidentals) in common with the original chord. Here are all the substitute chords in a key: vi - tonic substitute ii - subdominant substitute VII# - dominant substitute III# (= V/vi) - dominant substitute The III6 chords in the passage I regard as passing chords because of the passing motion in the bass, so I give them a (P) marking. I find it fascinating that there is only a single I chord, two IV chords, and absolutely no V chords! Apart from I, V is the most common chord in classical music (hence its name as the dominant), so it's very odd not to see any here, and odd to have so few tonic and subdominant chords. Williams uses substitute chords instead. This is probably what gives it a sound that is so unique but still somehow coherent and solidly supported. Great example, Prometheus. Thanks for sharing!
  23. Yes, Roman numerals and jazz symbols don't mix well, but I think it would at least help explain what the root is when you have a lot of added notes in chords, as happens so often in Williams. I see. Well, if you see the mystery chord as I do, couldn't you call it a contrapuntal chord and give it a label based on how the voices move or how it is used? Something like the "passing 6/4" (P6/4) or "cadential 6/4" (C6/4)? Maybe in this case, "passing #iv" (P#iv)? The mistake was mine, calling this "modulation" (which necessarily involves a cadence) instead of "tonicization" or "regions" or something less strong. I understand exactly what you mean, I just respectfully disagree. I don't hear any mediant region in the theme at all because everything (except the mystery chord) fits neatly into the G major scale (the mediant would have C#s and A#s if you ask me). But then, your analysis reflects that since you keep your Roman numerals in relation to G. It sounds like you want to show a B minor influence in the passage, which would require symbols in relation to that tonic at some point, no? Of course, you could show it like Schoenberg does, with different levels for different keys. Aside: If I can add one more thing to the interpretation of "I" instead of "III" in bars 3 and 6, I would point to the melody. Notice that in bars 3 and 5, the last note in the melody is a quick eighth note that anticipates the chord on the following downbeat. In bar 2, we get almost the same thing, but the melody drops down a 4th instead of repeating the same G. I hear the eighth note G in bar 2 an anticipation of the chord in the next bar, as these quick notes are in the rest of the passage. So I hear the G being prolonged through bar 3 as well, which to me helps hear tonic here. In bar 6, it is as if the melody "realizes" what was only implied in bar 3 by actually sounding the G after the anticipation. And to me, this G is a chord note, not an appoggiatura - after all, anticipations always resolve to chord notes. You may still disagree but I wanted to give you a full picture of how I hear this theme. I, for one, would love that. Why don't you start a new thread on it so it doesn't get buried here?
  24. Thank you. And I do briefly touch upon the fact that the themes seem to share a common root, the rising broken triad as you say, but I guess it is either conscious or subconscious way for Williams to link them together and also link them to the American musical vernacular as he hears it. As I have said numerous times allusion is one of Williams' fortes, to quote recognizable elements in a given musical style while remaining original in the actual content, which is of course a very great asset to a film composer. Even with some nods or homages at Aaron Copland, intentional or unintentional, his themes do bear the instantly recognizable Americana imprint from the first notes. Williams is very humble and unpretentious about his process when he says he doesn't do a lot or any musical research on his work but I think he succeeded in peeling away another layer from his earlier Americana writing to achieve a certain level of simplicity in Lincoln that would address both the time and place of the film and feel familiar and suitable at the same time. Whatever his process is, he in my opinion succeeded in capturing the essential elements of the story and the musical style in his score. I agree that the broken triads have to do with capturing an American folk style. And I'm glad you raise the point of Williams being original while quoting elements of a style since I think the links between the themes would absolutely have to be intentional with a composer of Williams' stature. It makes me wonder whether it's something of a Williams fingerprint in some film scores. I've noticed something similar in E.T., where almost all the themes begin with a rising 5th. Again, I could never come up with a good explanation for why those themes should be that way. After all, they represent different things (say, Keys and E.T.). The best I can come up with is that they serve to unify the themes of the film, as if to say "these are all E.T. themes", or "these are all Lincoln themes" or what have you.
  25. Very nice review and analysis, Mikko! I enjoyed it very much. You draw out some interesting points, like the Freedom's Call theme providing a link between the public and private side of Lincoln's life - great stuff. What do you make of so many of the themes starting with a rising broken triad with precisely the same do-mi-so scale degrees? I thought it striking but never had time to fully explore it.
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