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Who is the pianist in E.T.?


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Is it possible that JW was at the piano and that no one was conducting?

Yes

Since this was done in a recording studio, I assume that the players had metronome click-tracks in their ears which would have significantly reduced the need for a conductor during the actual recording performance.

I wanted to say something in that vein but i didnt know how write it in english...

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This is him--on the right.  Ralph Grierson played the end credits piano solo on the ET score.  Ralph is an amazing guy and I had the privilege of utilizing his recording studio last week for a session

The session pianist on the film E.T. is Ralph Grierson, a first-call recording musician for many years.  Ralph talks about those E.T. sessions on the video interview Studio Legends Part 1 at:  FilmMus

After some searching I haven't been able to turn anything up. Whoever it is, the pianist is especially incredible in the 'End Credits'

I'm looking at the original score scans I have, and It's just one piano, and the line is difficult, yes, but it's playable. The piano players they have for these scores are insanely good. Probably have been sight reading since they were kids and can work magic on music like this.

As for Williams playing, it's possible, but I bet the session pianist did it.

There's only two options though:

Williams tracked in later,

Williams conducting, session pianist.

The part right after that is too difficult to go without a conductor given the 3/8 measure, though they could have used a click track, that was not something Williams would have done in the early 80's. He's only resorted to click tracks for some very difficult sections that won't ever line up otherwise. He did all of the original Star Wars without a click track.

I'm betting on a session pianist played it though, as it's difficult to track in later lines like that, though I guess you could have tracked the piano ahead of time and used that. Williams conducting and playing at the same time would make the session pianist obsolete, which he needed for the rest of the score since he needed to conduct the rest of the credits. Again, there could be a cut there, but I don't hear one, the piano line for the next couple bars is able to be heard, and it sounds the same as the piano before, so I think it's a fade out done at the session, so I think it was just one take, which is typical with credits music. There's no reason for the click track in credits music.

I don't think it's Williams. I could be wrong though. I'm sure someone is around that played at the session who could tell us.

~JW

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As Jediwashington says, it is indeed one piano part in the full score. The left hand plays straight 8ths across a two octave span and the right is playing triplets against the eighths. I actually find the left hand part a bit more difficult than the right - keep the rhythm even and keep the notes at the same relative dynamic are definitely a challenge.

In the live performance, I heard the pianist making a lot of errors in the performance. But I read the story in this threat about a sudden last-minute replacement.

"ET's Halloween" definitely has an easier part - way easier. It is indeed mostly octaves.

(Another tricky Williams piano part is "The Tennis Game" from EASTWICK - I saw the piano part years ago from an orchestra rental copy, and it has lots of wide leaps (10ths if I recall), and some fast repeated notes.

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Or Williams to play it while someone else conducts. But that's unlikely.

but I doubt he would play the over the moon, it is not really a hard part for a studio pianist (it sounds much harder).

Actually pi, it is a tad bit harder than one may think. I transcribed it a while back and unlike the published version from Hal Leonard which has the RH staying within the range of a 6th, the actual soundtrack version has the RH spanning an octave, which sets up an akward position where the RH 1 and 2 fingers are bunched up minor 2nd C# and D while pinky plays an octave higher on C#. It's nothing that a concert pianist couldn't play, but it does take quite a bit of practice (to play gracefully), unlike the supposedly accurate Hal Leonard version which fits the hands much more comfortably.

I hope you still have these transcriptions ;) ;) ;) ;)

Were is the piano in magic of halloween?

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I'm quite sure that Ralph Grierson was one of the session pianist on E.T. (it was mentioned in an old article on FSM).

On various old Boston Globes articles, it was revealed that Williams played the piano on the Schindler's List end credits, the theme from Sabrina and in parts of Angela's Ashes (also, I remember that during the USC seminar last year Williams said he played the piano part himself in several of his scores).

Didn't remember about Sabrina, but it makes all the sense! Every time I listen ot it, I think of Williams playing it. There is something in his playing, that since I'm no musician am unable to explain, that is very sweet and tender, I guess like the man himself, and so adequate for a fairy tale score...

Miguel, falling in love again... under the spell of fairies and wizards... and Sabrina!

Just 'found' another Williams composed and played cue:

Goodbye Mr Chips' source cue 'katherine's party piano'

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I believe that, these studio pianists can sight read mozart piano concerti. They are just nasty players. And if over the moon is the same as the magic of haloween, it is not hard at all all octaves which are really simple, you only need to read one line.

From what has been posted before that pretty much sums up all of the Hollywood studio orchestra players.

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I'm looking at the original score scans I have, and It's just one piano, and the line is difficult, yes, but it's playable. The piano players they have for these scores are insanely good. Probably have been sight reading since they were kids and can work magic on music like this.

You're right. In fact, I was referring to the "Over the Moon" concert version of the 1982 original album. That has two pianos, while the "End Credits" film version is just one.

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I'm looking at the original score scans I have, and It's just one piano, and the line is difficult, yes, but it's playable. The piano players they have for these scores are insanely good. Probably have been sight reading since they were kids and can work magic on music like this.

You're right. In fact, I was referring to the "Over the Moon" concert version of the 1982 original album. That has two pianos, while the "End Credits" film version is just one.

Theres two pianos?? how could you notice?

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You'll have to ask him that. Sometimes he offers his own theory on the evolution of certain scores while not stating it's purely theory, and sometimes he goes as far as to state that a certain theme appears in a certain track, when in fact it doesn't.

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sometimes he goes as far as to state that a certain theme appears in a certain track, when in fact it doesn't.

You mean you can't hear the "great crescendo" of Buckbeak's theme in Saving Buckbeak??

Ray Barnsbury

Yes,and i clearly hear Dark side Beckons in Anakin's Dream

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In I think it was the Memoirs dvd, in the featurette, I believe Williams mentioned something about recording the score then superimposing (probably spelled wrong) the solos. So maybe they recorded the orchestra and then Williams did the piano solos with the recording of orchestra.

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Yet you never heard Jabba's theme in TPM?

Yes that jabba's theme is barely noticable and it only appeared once in TPM. I mean you woudn't be able to notice it by hearing it the first time would you? Since it incorporated in a brass Farefare section which make it hard to notice it.

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Yet you never heard Jabba's theme in TPM?

Yes that jabba's theme is barely noticable and it only appeared once in TPM. I mean you woudn't be able to notice it by hearing it the first time would you? Since it incorporated in a brass Farefare section which make it hard to notice it.

I wouldn't say it's hard to notice, it's really very obvious.

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Yet you never heard Jabba's theme in TPM?

Yes that jabba's theme is barely noticable and it only appeared once in TPM. I mean you woudn't be able to notice it by hearing it the first time would you? Since it incorporated in a brass Farefare section which make it hard to notice it.

Took me a few years to hear Jabbas theme even when looking for it.Neil had to send me a slowed down clip for me to hear it

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When I saw TPM for the first time (also my first listen to the score) I perked up when I heard the tuba underneath the fanfare and smiled a little at the hint of Jabba's theme.

Same here....I think its a magnificent, albeit brief, rendition of Jabba's theme. Fits in very well with the Fanfare.

In I think it was the Memoirs dvd, in the featurette, I believe Williams mentioned something about recording the score then superimposing (probably spelled wrong) the solos. So maybe they recorded the orchestra and then Williams did the piano solos with the recording of orchestra.

If he's employed this technique recently, I can't see why he wouldn't have done the same for E.T. in the past. Whatever the result, i'll always imagine JW playing that part in my head.

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In I think it was the Memoirs dvd, in the featurette, I believe Williams mentioned something about recording the score then superimposing (probably spelled wrong) the solos. So maybe they recorded the orchestra and then Williams did the piano solos with the recording of orchestra.

If he's employed this technique recently, I can't see why he wouldn't have done the same for E.T. in the past. Whatever the result, i'll always imagine JW playing that part in my head.

But on MoaG there was still a whole lot of experimenting going on with the solos on the recording stage. I've read reports that Williams basically recorded most of the solos both as a violin and as a cello part, and then later picked which instrument would be featured in the final track used in the movie.

Jaws in Close Encounters.

Eh?

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I am afraid that is not true: given the accuracy of the tempo changes whomever played this session it is his work who still exists.

This was in the end of the JW esb documentary someone kindly had sent me in the summer.

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I've read reports that Williams basically recorded most of the solos both as a violin and as a cello part, and then later picked which instrument would be featured in the final track used in the movie.

Where did you read that? Are the reports still available? This would seem a bit odd to me, since Williams explains in the doc. (if I remember right, haven't seen it recently) that the cello was specifically chosen as the "voice" of Sayuri, and the violin in its "Valse Triste" represents a more romantic "Westernized" character for the chairman... and honestly, I can't really picture the instrumental parts working nearly as good the other way around...

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