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Who is the pianist in E.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

You can also hear "Zam the Assassin and the Chase through Coruscant" in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during the Quidditch Match. Did anybody else notice this?

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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'

A while ago on this site somebody posted the videos for when John Williams made an appearance speaking at USC for all the film composer graduate students.

He fielded questions and there was a 6 part video I downloaded.

One of the guys sitting in the audience was the audio editor or mixer for ET and he makes a comment saying "I remember there was a piece that was very difficult to play on piano and you came up and played it on stage. You are the only composer I know who could both compose and play the material you composed."

So I guess that doesn't directly answer the question but it seems to imply John williams played this difficult piece from ET on the soundstage at least. So that leads me to believe it is him on the recording.

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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

You can also hear "Zam the Assassin and the Chase through Coruscant" in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during the Quidditch Match. Did anybody else notice this?

Yes. Lucius Malfoy's theme is also a direct lift of one of those mystery motifs from AotC.

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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:  FilmMusicFoundation.org/interviews.  Other session players featured in the interview are Tommy Morgan (harmonica), Louise Di Tullio (flute) and Gene Cipriano (woodwinds).  The interviewer is conductor Richard Kaufman, himself a former studio violinist on over a dozen John Williams' scores.  If you click on the photo, you'll see a ten-minute highlight.  Click under the photo for the full 2 1/2 hour interview.  

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I listened to the Legacy... podcast with Grierson a few weeks ago and was delighted with what a nice guy he sounds like, interested in the way he said he moved from straight piano to keyboard work over the years and finally very saddened to hear that he fell and permanently ruined one of his playing hands just after the rehearsal for the L2P ET recording (is that the one on the DVD?). Very sad.

 

One day I'll be able to play Over the Moon. I can currently manage about three bars before my fingers end up tied in knots. How Grierson played it at that speed, even with the extra rehearsal time he said Williams gave him on the OST recording sessions, I'll never know. Respect.

 

Mark

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50 minutes ago, QuartalHarmony said:

I listened to the Legacy... podcast with Grierson a few weeks ago and was delighted with what a nice guy he sounds like, interested in the way he said he moved from straight piano to keyboard work over the years and finally very saddened to hear that he fell and permanently ruined one of his playing hands just after the rehearsal for the L2P ET recording (is that the one on the DVD?). Very sad.

 

One day I'll be able to play Over the Moon. I can currently manage about three bars before my fingers end up tied in knots. How Grierson played it at that speed, even with the extra rehearsal time he said Williams gave him on the OST recording sessions, I'll never know. Respect.

 

Mark

Are there two pianos being played on " E.T.'s Halloween"; The part just before they take off?

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Ralph Grierson, with pictures and videos:

L.A. Studio Legends: Ralph Grierson – The Legacy of John Williams

 

The piece isn't particularly difficult to play for an accomplished pianist. Correct fingering is incredibly important. It wouldn't surprise me if he just sight-read this, as it's mostly arpeggios on the left hand. I've seen pianists sight read much harder pieces than that.

 

I transcribed and learned to play this some 10+ years ago and even performed it live to an audience once or twice. But it took me months to learn, and it would take me a while to get back in shape to play it again without any fumbles.

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3 hours ago, Pando said:

Ralph Grierson, with pictures and videos:

L.A. Studio Legends: Ralph Grierson – The Legacy of John Williams

 

The piece isn't particularly difficult to play for an accomplished pianist. Correct fingering is incredibly important. It wouldn't surprise me if he just sight-read this, as it's mostly arpeggios on the left hand. I've seen pianists sight read much harder pieces than that.

 

I transcribed and learned to play this some 10+ years ago and even performed it live to an audience once or twice. But it took me months to learn, and it would take me a while to get back in shape to play it again without any fumbles.

 

I have a lot of fun at the piano, but I'm far from virtuosic - far enough that those left hand arpeggios kill me every time! At best, I get a couple measures before I start miscalculating how far to move my arm. It's a pity, because it's a really gorgeous solo.

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On 10/23/2020 at 10:06 PM, QuartalHarmony said:

I can currently manage about three bars before my fingers end up tied in knots.

 

Speed and tension depend a lot on how much you curl your fingers while playing. There's different schools about this and no right answer, the best is to try with different degrees of curling and see what works for you.

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On 1/26/2021 at 11:46 AM, Nemesis said:

Did you transcribe "Over the Moon" or just the "End Credits"?

 

Just the piano section into the End Credits. I did a search on the net at the time, most sheet music I found had many wrong notes. I don't know if there is real sheet music available for this or not.

 

On 1/26/2021 at 1:38 PM, Datameister said:

 

I have a lot of fun at the piano, but I'm far from virtuosic - far enough that those left hand arpeggios kill me every time! At best, I get a couple measures before I start miscalculating how far to move my arm. It's a pity, because it's a really gorgeous solo.

 

I learned it by just meticulous repetition, slowly, over some period of time. Eventually the fingers will remember, but you must resist the temptation of speeding up the tempo until you can play both hands without mistakes.

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32 minutes ago, Pando said:

Just the piano section into the End Credits. I did a search on the net at the time, most sheet music I found had many wrong notes. I don't know if there is real sheet music available for this or not.

 

There's a piano folio from Hal Leonard (JW approved) with a very good arrangement.

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16 hours ago, bruce marshall said:

Isn't there some tricky thumb fingering in there?

 

Not really. Left hand is just arpeggios (4 notes up and 4 down). To make octave transitions properly, keep your left thumb on a white key.

 

The main melody is played by the pinky finger in your right hand, with the other two notes in the triplet played by the index finger (mostly) and thumb.

 

Coordination in the two hands is the biggest challenge as you have 16th notes in left hand and triplets in the right.

 

Damn, I need to get back in shape to play this... :)

 

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8 minutes ago, Pando said:

 

Not really. Left hand is just arpeggios (4 notes up and 4 down). To make octave transitions properly, keep your left thumb on a white key.

 

The main melody is played by the pinky finger in your right hand, with the other two notes in the triplet played by the index finger (mostly) and thumb.

 

Coordination in the two hands is the biggest challenge as you have 16th notes in left hand and triplets in the right.

 

Damn, I need to get back in shape to play this... :)

 

 

As a product of my own idiosyncracies as a performer, I actually find simply hitting the right notes in the left hand harder than the 16th note/triplet polyrhythms. But I've never been very good at moving swiftly to a different octave, and I also like polyrhythms in general.

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