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OrchDork

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  1. This pretty much sums it up. As for the picking of keys question from the original post, I suspect that JW is very mindful of this sort of thing, picking tonalities based on aural (color/mood) and instrumental considerations. I'll add that I doubt it's much of a conscious choice at this stage of his life and career - he probably gravitates toward a tonality naturally.
  2. There was an article a couple of years ago that said Williams had "his Steinway" shipped to his cottage in Massachusetts during his summers there... http://www.berkshirelivingmag.com/John-Williams-Tanglewood-Clarence-Fanto-August-2010
  3. Randy Kerber does practically all of the synthesizer programming for Williams - meaning the actual synthesizer parts ("Synth Celeste," "Synth Bells," etc.), not the material in Munich and Memoirs from the Magic Box folks. I actually had a conversation with Kerber about this, back in 2008; he said that Williams writes out the type of sound(s) he wants in the music and that he (Kerber) then crafts the sounds with Williams' approval. I wish I had had more time to chat with him about that...
  4. I had a conversation with Randy Kerber (Williams' principal keyboardist) about this and his work on Williams' "Harry Potter" sessions a few years ago, actually. He told me that Williams uses a synth celeste so that he can get rid of the 'hard attack' that a real celeste has. I can't recall what synthesizer Randy used for those sessions, unfortunately. He mentioned using the same synthesized celeste for "Home Alone," "Hook" and "Jurassic Park," too. While I'm writing, a funny little story that Randy shared with me: he got the music for the first "Harry Potter" sessions ahead of time (I think
  5. Joey225 pretty much nailed it. I'll add one other point: in Hollywood, the players are expected to be able to play anything - such that they're equally comfortable with both extremes of the instrument's range. Traditional voicings (where 1st and 3rd horns are high, while 2nd and 4th horns are low) are rarely used, simply because the players in LA can do it all. In particular, with most film orchestral setups, you'll have an average of 6-8 horns, so the traditional voicing really serves no purpose. I believe that Williams himself uses the more 'modern' voicing on his concert works; and, both
  6. You're welcome - I'm happy to provide some input.
  7. The issue of slurs stopping at the first note of a tie also bothers me, though I have a suspicion that it's more of just a way of avoiding collisions with staves/notes above or below the staff with a slur. In many cases, handwritten orchestrations will have the slur only go to the first tied note, but when parts are copied, the slur will include all tied notes. The performing musicians' parts being perfect is the top priority. When using Finale or Sibelius, the "complete slur" practice is the convention when creating full scores (and, of course, parts) in Hollywood.
  8. While the low instruments do have vastly different timbres, an orchestrator can guess which ones are appropriate, depending on the style and scope of the passage or cue. Williams will make changes on the stage as well - so it really is all his work. Remember, too, that Williams and Pope have been working together for close to 20 years at this point, so I'm sure a short-hand has developed. Plus, there's an invention called the telephone which I'm sure would alleviate any questions Pope may have...
  9. You've pretty much nailed everything as far as Williams' sketches go. I'll add that he sometimes uses 10-staff sketch paper for more dense cues. Conrad Pope (and formerly John Neufeld, Courage, etc.) uses varying orchestral manuscript paper (mostly depending on the size of the ensemble for the cue and if there is choir). I believe that magical_me is correct: basso signifies tutti 'bass' instruments. In the realm of Hollywood, Williams is the only composer who currently works this way - with his sketches going to his orchestrator(s) and then off to the music preparation office to compile the
  10. Both of these books are great, particularly "On the Track." It's a fantastic resource - filled with a wealth of information; and as a bonus, it features a forward by Williams. What did you learn about in the course? Did he lecture and then you would watch a movie? Kenny lectured and answered questions both before and after watching film clips, and in many instances we would watch movies in their entirety over the course of two or more classes (with breaks for discussion in between). The great thing was that, since the class was a mix of film making and film scoring students, he would talk
  11. Both of these books are great, particularly "On the Track." It's a fantastic resource - filled with a wealth of information; and as a bonus, it features a forward by Williams. What did you learn about in the course? Did he lecture and then you would watch a movie? Kenny lectured and answered questions both before and after watching film clips, and in many instances we would watch movies in their entirety over the course of two or more classes (with breaks for discussion in between). The great thing was that, since the class was a mix of film making and film scoring students, he would talk
  12. Both of these books are great, particularly "On the Track." It's a fantastic resource - filled with a wealth of information; and as a bonus, it features a forward by Williams. What did you learn about in the course? Did he lecture and then you would watch a movie? Kenny lectured and answered questions both before and after watching film clips, and in many instances we would watch movies in their entirety over the course of two or more classes (with breaks for discussion in between). The great thing was that, since the class was a mix of film making and film scoring students, he would talk
  13. I do feel that film students should at least have the option of taking a class on film music. As a film scoring student at USC, I was required to take a particular film music class taught by Kenny Hall (Goldsmith's music editor); a number of film students were required to take it as well - which I thought was fantastic. It was very relaxed (not intimidating at all) but also very informative. Both of these books are great, particularly "On the Track." It's a fantastic resource - filled with a wealth of information; and as a bonus, it features a forward by Williams.
  14. I'll try to add to what hasn't yet been mentioned. These are the first things that came immediately to mind; there are, of course, numerous examples that could be added. For solo/duet/etc. moments... Oboe (solo) + Tuba (solo): "Jar Jar's Introduction" from TPM (0:08 - 0:25) Bassoons: "The Audience with Boss Nass" from TPM (1:45 - 2:06) Violin (solo): various cues from Schindler's List Violin (solo): various cues from JNH's Signs score Viola: "What American Women Say" from Under the Tuscan Sun (Christophe Beck) (0:31 - 0:51) Viola: "Duel of the Fates" (the ostinato figure) from TPM For ensem
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