indy4 reacted to Sharkissimo in The Definitive John Williams Plagiarism/Homage Thread
Anyone remember Ants! from KOTCS?
Well check out :20 onwards from Grażyna Bacewicz's Music for Strings, Trumpet and Percussion.
She's an interesting composer. A forgotten member of the Polish school (Penderecki, Górecki, Serocki, Baird etc.), her music lies at an intersection between sonorism and the neo-impressionism of early Dutilleux and Ohana, with a bit of Bartok and Lutoslawski thrown in.
indy4 reacted to The Psycho Pianist in Williams interview on Classical KUSC (February 11)
It's only half 11 in Los Angeles. Still over 9 hours until it's even on live!
indy4 got a reaction from crumbs in Will The Force Awakens be Williams' 50th best score nomination?
I'd say Lincoln had a much better shot at winning than TFA. It was to a critically adored, non-sequel, dramatic movie with a real shot at winning more "major" awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor). There were no scores with obvious advantages that year (unlike, for instance, 2011's The Artist). I'd be very surprised if TFA won. It's rare enough for fantasy scores to win Best Score, let alone sequel fantasy scores (with RotK being the exception).
indy4 reacted to Sharkissimo in Analysis - Battle of the Heroes
To quote Williams on what constitutes "Star Wars-ian" music from very recent interview:
“It would include, without being technical about it, a similarity in harmonic modalities, a similarity in stylistic intervallic choices for melodies, similarities in orchestral textural presentations and the like."
I think that's the simple reason why the opening phrase of these themes encompass a minor third. Through these films he's established a vocabulary, and while he pushes boundaries with each successive score, there's a constant through-line between them.
Even with the original film, you have both the Imperial Motif and the Rebel Fanfare derived from an ascending and descending minor third respectively (the inversion possibly representing dark vs. light). And then you have the original trilogy's two key romantic themes, Princess Leia's Theme and Han Solo and the Princess, with an opening interval of a major sixth--the minor third's inversion. Most of these opening intervals are anacruses but a few also arrive on the downbeat (or on the first offbeat of the bear). Generally these downbeat themes are the more active or bellicose (such as Battle of the Heroes, the Imperial March, Kylo Ren's A Motif). The anacrus-ic (to coin a new word) themes tend to be if not passive, definitely reactive in nature. These are usually associated with the good guys--The Rebel Fanfare, The Force Theme). There are a few exceptions to that, such as the Battle of Endor B Theme (below), which starts after a quaver rest but is associated with the Rebel Alliance.
indy4 reacted to Ludwig in Analysis - Battle of the Heroes
Thanks for everyone's thoughtful replies. It's always good to add these facts to work them into the complete picture.
That said, I think we have to make a distinction between compositional intent and audience interpretation, since they are not always the same thing. As you said, Inky, my analyses are indeed from the films themselves, so I have in that way absolved the analyses of dealing with how the music got there. All that matters here is what is there in the film regardless of its what was intended where. This is a more appropriate tact in film music than in concert music, since in film, decisions about what music goes where is a collaborative effort whereas in concert music it is generally done only by the composer. One thing that we're never privy to, for example, is what is said during spotting sessions, so we're never really sure who made what decision in the first place.
So this question about compositional intent versus audience interpretation even affects a claim like this. It's one thing for a composer to say that, and entirely another to find evidence of it in the score. I actually considered linking Battle of the Heroes to the Force theme, with the former's opening three notes rising through the first three notes of a minor scale. But then, I looked through the Star Wars canon and found that a whole slew of themes do the very same thing - the instrumental melody in Duel of the Fates (not the ostinato or choral melody), the Trade Federation march, the Flag Parade, the Walkers on Hoth theme, even the Arena march (though that continues further up the scale), and of course the Force theme.
There really isn't anything else that could link it to the Force theme, so with only three notes in common with the Force theme that are indeed a part of so many other themes, it seemed unconvincing to connect the two, even with the appearance of the Force theme twice during the battle.
I'm not denying that Williams composed it with that theme in mind, only that what he wrote in the end leaves very little connection between the two themes and so makes it difficult to hear as based on that theme specifically, especially when there are other themes that it has more in common with.
indy4 reacted to Oboejdub in John Williams might be giving some answers with Rey's Theme!
I think we will have a new Luke centred theme. The "Luke, rebel hero" theme has sort of been repurposed for all rebel heroes, and I don't think it fits the new Luke. He'll need a new "Luke, jedi master" theme. I'm looking at Jedi Steps. It's probably more about Luke than Rey.
It's a powerful moment of music (possibly best in the movie) and yet it only appears at the very end. I expect it'll become a major theme in the next movies, now that Luke is back (is he coming back? or is this his Dagobah and he's not going anywhere?)
Are we seeing a merging of elements of Yoda and Vader in this?
Here's a sketched transcription of Jedi Steps (it's not perfect, especially inner voices, but it's the rough idea). I stopped before the force theme entrance, because that part is obvious.
Opening is clearly a transformation of Luke's theme, played slower, a few notes left out (every second note, in fact)
If you need to see:
We get some gentle marching G minor chords in the vibrophone, with little runs in the background. Very pensive, but indicative of marching or walking. (She is climbing the steps - true)
Somewhat evocative of the imperial march. (just imagine the 16th triplets after 3 and on 4)
Our jedi steps melody is simple and evocative. Descending fifth. upwards reaching two eight notes, arrive on a new chord and repeat the pattern.
There are similarities to imperal march:
The last two eight notes of each bar - not identical, but same contour (like the part of Rey's theme mentioned by IvanP)
The harmonies - g minor to Eb major, i to VI (inverted). If it were i to vi (minor!) that would be an absolute dead giveaway, so it's just a hint or possibility. At this point.
It repeats in the flutes, and as the phrase ends, the brass enters with a new idea. and this one is 100% vader. It has the dotted rhythm, it has the flat vi minor chord on beat 4. It has the low brass. There is no way that this is not vader. 100% vader.
The horn has a transition bar (maybe a fragmented alteration of Luke's original theme, but less signficant) and comes back with the Jedi Steps melody. The horn plays it once then repeats it down the octave and it gets considerably darker and more menacing.
after that, the force theme enters and we know how it goes.
So that's the vader, now where did I get Yoda?
The opening of yoda's theme is gentle pulsing quarter note chords, about the same tempo, with harp flourishes in the background. Very similar texture but different harmonies.
The contour of yoda's melody: descending major triad on the first three beats, then a higher note on beat four leading to a chord change on the next bar.
The contour of Jedi Steps melody: descending perfect fifth (quarter note, half note) on the first three beats, then two higher eight notes on beat four leading to a chord change on the next bar.
The contours are not identical, but comparable. The harmonies are different (Yoda I to II major, Jedi Steps i to VI6 major). There could be something, but that's not very compelling in itself. There are slightly stronger similarities when you look at Yoda's death from RotJ, but it still feels like grasping at straws.
Next similarity, and this is the one that grabs me. The two bar vader quote is a similar rhythmic pattern to the second part of Yoda's theme, with the dotted figure on each downbeat, and in both cases it shows a marked change in character from the first part of the theme. In Yoda's case it gets considerably brighter and more jubilant, but in Jedi Steps it goes the opposite direction. Sad and plaintive sinks deep into menacing darkness.
Yoda meets vader. Does this get used elsewhere in the movie? It kinda sounds like it could be a generic evil/mystery motif whenever there's a shot of the imperial fleet or starkiller, but I don't think it is. It could just be the mystery of the situation. A hooded figure, a mythological figure, standing alone on an island being approached by a girl who has only heard the legends.
and one more thing, is there any Rey in here? I'm struggling to see it if there, is except for one thing. The tremolo'd harmonies between the first ands econd phrase of the Jedi Steps melody. g minor, and the strings move, and they seem to go to a sus2 type chord, or an incomplete ii with tonic pedal, or whatever you want to call it. G minor -> G A C -> G minor. That's the same as the vibes/piano riff in Rey's theme, the one that sounds a bit like Dies Irae. The upper two voices are moving in thirds and the bottom voice pedals on the tonic, leading to that exact chord pattern. It could be on purpose, or it could just be there because it sounds nice (it really does)
Has anyone spotted any other uses of this thematic material in the movie, besides the final scene?
The thing is, I feel like it's missing connections to the original Luke theme. Maybe it's not him, maybe it's the island/temple they are standing on. But the whole movie leads up to finding Skywalker, not just finding some temple.
indy4 reacted to #SnowyVernalSpringsEternal in Who was worse: Karen Allen in KOTCS or Carrie Fisher in TFA?
And she's right too! It's really rather repugnant. Even at 59 an actress is held up to ridiculous standards.
indy4 reacted to Taikomochi in Fantastic Star Wars Music Podcast - Star Wars Oxygen
Is it positive about the score? Because I literally only want echo chamber opinions that confirm my views that the score is a masterpiece. If that is the case, I will find time to listen to it.
indy4 reacted to Loert in .
There's actually a little bit of self channelling going on, between TFA and The Reivers (1969) (46 years apart - must be a new record!)
Compare 1:11 from 'The Falcon' with the part from ~3:19 of this track:
Particularly the bit around 3:33.
Apart from that Williams no doubt went on his usual round of ripping off Holst, Tchaikovsky, Mahler... *sigh*
indy4 reacted to Omen II in Celebrity Praise for John Williams
He's not exactly a celebrity, but I was not sure where else to put this; former LSO managing director and cellist Clive Gillinson talks about playing cello on the original Star Wars score:
indy4 reacted to #SnowyVernalSpringsEternal in So...anybody else miss the politics of the prequels? (*TFA spoilers*)
TFA needed to make clear that the Republic started to fracture during debates about quantitative easing. And that proposed defense cut-backs led the First Order to separate themselves from Republic control.
indy4 reacted to publicist in So...anybody else miss the politics of the prequels? (*TFA spoilers*)
That may be a half-sentence in the opening crawl but the last thing TFA does or wants is to engage political discussion. It does not present anything except opposing forces that are made clearly distinguishable by look and design. No ambivalence at all.
indy4 reacted to #SnowyVernalSpringsEternal in So...anybody else miss the politics of the prequels? (*TFA spoilers*)
But that's actually how politics work!
People talking and lobbying endlessly trying to gain an upper hand over the "other side".
Politics isn't about taking action, it's about hedging bets, spinning webs. Revolution is usually the antithesis of politics.
Lucas got that very richt actually.
He just didn't make it very interesting.
indy4 reacted to Datameister in How would you rank The Force Awakens among the Star Wars prequel scores?
I can't speak for anyone else, but for me, yeah, an LSO-level performance would have elevated the score. I gotta give the LA players credit for a very solid effort, better than I expected, but compare it to something like TPM.
indy4 reacted to mrbellamy in The Force Awakens ALBUM Discussion (No Film Spoilers)
Yes, absolutely. I noticed this too.
I think Williams may be creating a motivic parallel here between Anakin and Ben's complete turns to the dark side. And I believe that what we've been calling Kylo's "tragic motif' (12 seconds into The Abduction below for an example) is a variation of what we hear starting at 2:15 of "Anakin's Dark Deeds".
This is actually REALLY cool, has this already been pointed out elsewhere? This had to be intentional, right? Or am I crazy?
indy4 reacted to nightscape94 in The Force Awakens ALBUM Discussion (No Film Spoilers)
I was fine with his use of the old themes, especially the Force theme. If I had one small criticism....
indy4 got a reaction from His Royal Noelness in The Force Awakens SPOILERS ALLOWED Discussion Thread
Saw it last night. Here are some thougths:
Overall, very good. Acting and new characters were definitely strong points, and it was awesome to see Han, Leia and Chewie back together again. SFX were great, awesome to see practical effects used so much (particularly for the characters). The one exception was the new lightsabers...I didn't like the way they looked in the trailers, and that carried through to the film (I don't mind Ren's cross-sword, I mean the actual glowing part looked weird).
The design for both the head bad guys was pretty weak...Snoke looked like the KotCS aliens. Ren's mask was pretty good, but when he took it off it was pretty bad...Adam Driver looked too young and twerpy to be a serious villain. But I like that the film seemed to acknowledge that, with Snoke referencing that Ren needs to "complete his training," and having him be emotionally torn, etc.
Han's death, however predictable, was really quite sad. I'm bummed we won't be seeing anymore of him, and that his story had to end to sadly.
And yes, the story is a complete rehash of Star Wars, which was disappointing.
Music--need to listen more to develop a complete opinion. I hear the criticism of some...the new themes don't seem particularly interesting, but I also think there's room for it to grow. The Scherzo for X-Wings is pretty cool. One of the bad guy themes reminded me of Tintin (same rhythm). And yes, it was great to actually hear the music. And also to get confirmation that JW still remember the love theme for Han and Leia.
Hmmmm, other random tidbits:
- all the non-Stormtrooper, non-Ren, non-Snoke badguys had British accents ala Tarkin. lol
- what was with that shot in the beginning where BB8 was rolling over a hill on Jakku, and a random Cantina aliens' head pops up out of the sand and then we immediately cut to another scene??? That was so sloppy
- nice "Starkiller" reference
I liked this movie, but I'm also feeling very nostalgic for BOTH the OT and the prequels.
indy4 reacted to Gruesome Son of a Bitch in Star Wars: The Force Awakens - The Quotable Lines Thread
" " - Luke Skywalker
indy4 reacted to Hedji in The Force Awakens SPOILERS ALLOWED Discussion Thread
You knew as soon as he went out onto the bridge that it was over for him.
I blame Chewie. It was his idea to set the charges on separate levels.