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Have we heard or seen too much?


Ollie
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I wonder if there comes a point in a person's life where after years and years of watching movies and listening to film scores one might feel like they've heard or seen too much. Does one reach a point where they grow tired of listening and watching because it's been fed to them before in one way or another?

Almost every film has some formula that has already been used or worked much better in a previous film. Most music has ideas that have been composed before, either for bad or worse.

Granted there are foreign and independent films but they also face the same problems that mainstream movies do, poor ideas, poor scripts, bad acting etc etc. Some people feel they are above criticism but they aren't.

If you are young there is a whole world for you to discover in movies but I wonder if 20 years from now you might feel the same way.

I personally feel that film music has lost a lot of creativity, most of that has to do with the loss of some of the greats from the past. Also films are made differently and composers are not allowed the freedom they once had, however so slight it may have been.

When I think of the hours and hours of film music I've heard it makes we wonder if I've heard so much that it's finally starting to run together and that the limits of film music are becoming more and more apparent.

Is film music finally doing what is was meant to do, support the action on screen and not draw attention to itself? That's not to say film music hasn't done that in the past but it was also more enjoyable away from the film and you could leave the theatre whistling a theme from the film. I don't see or hear that these days, in fact I hear alot of people lamenting the loss of the themes from films. I hear people say that alot of it sounds like wallpaper these days and that films are overscored.

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I don't agree AT ALL.

Film music--or just music, for that matter--is an art form. There's no limit to art . . . the human mind is capable of coming up with endless variations, always. What we do have nowadays, however, is IMO a lack of good artists, or specifically good film composers. Apart from John Williams, there are only a few handful left. I think that's the main problem.

The great ones like Jerry Goldsmith, Max Steiner, Bernard Herrman, Alfred Newman, etc. don't "score" anymore.

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I wonder if there comes a point in a person's life where after years and years of watching movies and listening to film scores one might feel like they've heard or seen too much. Does one reach a point where they grow tired of listening and watching because it's been fed to them before in one way or another?

So far, I haven't encountered such problem and I don't expect to any time soon. I agree that nowadays, we have a lack of great composers and great soundtracks (with some exceptions to the rule, of course), but personally, I'm somehow content with listening to hundreds of old(er) soundtracks I never get tired of.

When I think of the hours and hours of film music I've heard it makes we wonder if I've heard so much that it's finally starting to run together and that the limits of film music are becoming more and more apparent.

I know exactly what you mean. It is my opinion that we "real", devoted film music lovers begin to listen to it almost too analitically after some time and sometimes we go so far that we begin to hear certain things that aren't always there at all. :| It's certainly true for myself, so much more for being a musician, thus developing a professional deformation of some sort. :lol: But usually, sooner or later I succeed in taking my mind off it and just enjoy the music, although I of course still consciously marvel over orchestrations, performances etc.

A very interesting thread, Mark, and a very complex issue. :P

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I agree with Mark .There is nothing that will make me appreciate modern film scoring and MV derivates .And I deplore people starting threads about how great pieces like Requiem for a Dream are. And I cringe every time I hear that same apocalyptic choir music in action movie trailers.

Although it still happens sometimes a score will grab my attention...Pan's Labirinth,parts of Spiderwick Chronicles,it's rather rare. Even Elfman and Silvestri have taken a modern style I don't enjoy

There USED to be a time where every new Fantasy /Sci Fi film would bring a great score along with it.

K.M.

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Film music--or just music, for that matter--is an art form. There's no limit to art . . . the human mind is capable of coming up with endless variations, always.

Revered composer James Horner said in a 2004 interview with Film Score Monthly that we were approaching a point at which there are no more new melodies to write. Are you saying that the dean of film music is wrong?

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Horner said that because HE can't come up with new themes >>>Casper in Spiderwick (other than that it was a good score)

Oh yeah? Well, I haven't exactly heard any new themes from you, recently! I guess that completely invalidates your opinion, doesn't it!

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Film music--or just music, for that matter--is an art form. There's no limit to art . . . the human mind is capable of coming up with endless variations, always.

Revered composer James Horner said in a 2004 interview with Film Score Monthly that we were approaching a point at which there are no more new melodies to write. Are you saying that the dean of film music is wrong?

mathematically that is correct.

however I do not think film music is an art form, sematics again, but its a craft. Few scores today acheive art status, some do, but as a whole the newer composers are less talented(overall music quality is down in all genre's) or they're limited in their windows of opportunity, or in some cases some just haven't reached their potential yet. Listening to John's early 60's stuff you can't see Jaws and Star Wars as his breakout scores, so may it be with Giachinno, or Tyler.

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Feeling old today, buddy? ;)

It's hard to tell if it's that all the good music has been written, or if we just become more discerning as we get older. People might have been saying the same thing 40 years ago before John and Jerry came along. Film music is in a sad state right now, but there is still good stuff being written (mostly for video games) and I maintain hope that they'll always be something new and surprising on the horizon.

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I personally feel that film music has lost a lot of creativity, most of that has to do with the loss of some of the greats from the past. Also films are made differently and composers are not allowed the freedom they once had, however so slight it may have been.

I agree with the first sentence, however I disagree that film composers are not allowed as much freedom these days. Film composers have rarely had much freedom, but they DID have a much better classical training. It seems that almost any idiot with a computer in his bedroom can write a film score these days. There has been a massive dumbing down of music in films, and as a result there has been a massive dumbing down in audience expectations. People will accept any old crap as a film score these days, and the most recent Oscar winners prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. When the mediocre score to Titanic won best score Oscar over 10 years ago I was shocked and disappointed. Now, 10 years later, I wish there were some new scores as good as Titanic! The only oscar winner in recent memory that was worthy of any great praise was Corrigliano's score to The Red Violin. Now is a pretty sad time to be a fan of movie music. Thank god John Williams can still surprise and delight us once in a while, although I feel that he too has sensed the change in people's expectations and that he no longer bothers to write the quality of film score he did 20 years ago.

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There are fewer good scores, I think it's impossible to deny that. So many great have left us. But there still are good ones. I can imagine getting to the point when nothing excites any more, it sometimes happens to me, though in small and temporary doses. But, thank heavens, I am not there yet. A handful of new scores are enough to excite me, along with the hundreds of the past. And I think there will always be people out there who continute to do credit to their profession. I'm not saying I'd take Desplat, Marianelli, Shore, Newman, Powell and a few others over Williams, Goldsmith, Morricone, Shire, Fielding and several others.....but it's still at a point where there are good composer doing good work.

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Revered composer James Horner said in a 2004 interview with Film Score Monthly that we were approaching a point at which there are no more new melodies to write. Are you saying that the dean of film music is wrong?

And just to prove a point - he even nicked that idea from another composer! This was said long ago....John Cage, I think....and probably a few others before him.....

....but I still like Horner ;)

On the whole, I tend to agree with the original posting, though I think there are many reasons for it that would take a whole new site to discuss....not least due to the fact that I think we are truly in the ass-end of another Golden Age of film scoring....who knows when the next one might be!

And of course - there are always exceptions to any rule.

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I agree to some extent with the original post, and I think it's important to remember that film music is a young art form (or craft) in comparison to, say, classical or opera music, or even forms of expression like painting and sculpting. We've already seen shifts in the way film music is composed, from the over-the-top orchestral music of Steiner and his peers in the '30s and '40s, to the increase of jazz and pop-influenced scores in the middle of the century, to the revival of the symphonic film score (widely attributed to Williams and Star Wars), to the more simple "assembly line" approach taken so often today. We can't know for sure how the trends in film scoring will continue, but I think it'd be naive to think that they'll simply progress along the same path they happen to be on today.

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I won't go into specifics, but I think the general state of listlessness, unrest and depression that pervades the world today affects our perception of music (and everything else). Obviously, it isn't a golden age for world events. Where are our triumphs? Our heroes? Where is our charity and good will? It's hard to enjoy things these days.

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I will never get tired of GOOD film and GOOD music. The two mediums have a great future I'm sure. Bloody doom mongerers will always find something to moan about.

Revered composer James Horner said in a 2004 interview with Film Score Monthly that we were approaching a point at which there are no more new melodies to write.

Well he would say that wouldn't he. No surprises there.

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Well, some people may grow tired of film music, but how does that apply to kids? If there is no new great music attached to the films they will grow up with, they'll just as well grow attached to the same scores we did. There is not a stream of great scores coming out with memorable themes, but when someone hears great music for the first time, it takes decades to discover a bunch of it. I am just now discovering new music. I never thought I'd love track 11 from Die Hard 2, but I listen to it in my car every day. There's a lot out there to discover, even if it's not being written as we speak, and some of it is.

I won't go into specifics, but I think the general state of listlessness, unrest and depression that pervades the world today affects our perception of music (and everything else). Obviously, it isn't a golden age for world events. Where are our triumphs? Our heroes? Where is our charity and good will? It's hard to enjoy things these days.

Agreed, and agreed. Massachusetts in the haaayooouuuusse!

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Film music--or just music, for that matter--is an art form. There's no limit to art . . . the human mind is capable of coming up with endless variations, always.

Revered composer James Horner said in a 2004 interview with Film Score Monthly that we were approaching a point at which there are no more new melodies to write. Are you saying that the dean of film music is wrong?

I was talking about variations . . . not melodies! Which are not quite the same thing.

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Ian McKellen told a story about the pantomimes that are broadcast in the UK and how every year the reviews come in saying "Well they were good, but nowhere near as good as in my youth!" So Ian went into the newspaper archives and looked at pantomime reviews from the early 1900's and the reviews he found said "Well this years pantomimes were good, but not as good as in my youth!"

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Film music--or just music, for that matter--is an art form. There's no limit to art . . . the human mind is capable of coming up with endless variations, always.

Revered composer James Horner said in a 2004 interview with Film Score Monthly that we were approaching a point at which there are no more new melodies to write. Are you saying that the dean of film music is wrong?

Much as I enjoy Horner's music, that was comment was the stupidest ever I've heard from a film composer

If an author or a painter said the same thing about their own art form, they'd qualify for the loony bin.

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Horner is GOD

We can call Horner a plagariser and a thief, but to call him God breaks the forum rules regarding religious discussion.

Try adding another 'o' to that word. Tell the mods it was a typo.

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Ian McKellen told a story about the pantomimes that are broadcast in the UK and how every year the reviews come in saying "Well they were good, but nowhere near as good as in my youth!" So Ian went into the newspaper archives and looked at pantomime reviews from the early 1900's and the reviews he found said "Well this years pantomimes were good, but not as good as in my youth!"

Haha ;) A nice story, tells a lot too ... :P

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It's definitely possible to get over-exposed, which has something to do with listening (or watching) the same stuff over and over. Maybe taking a break would be wise, I've done it myself and it helps.

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There was once was a Golden Age that died. From the ashes sprung the Silver Age, that died. Now we have the Bronze Age, technologically enhanced music and composers, that will die.

Many seem to forget that we are placed in generations. Older people have experienced both the Silver Age and the Bronze Age, and this leads them to pessimism. The way music has evolved leaves them no hope for a future that will be like it once was. Those of us that were born into the Bronze Age have no fear, fore we are filled with confidence and optimism that this is not the definitive music of the universe.

In other (better) words, people from the Golden Age said the same thing when the Silver Age came about. That crap Silver Age music will dominate forever. The Silver Age fans are saying the same about Bronze Age music.

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This question is like asking "How much better can you possibly get than a DVD?"

Now art as a whole tends to develop more slowly than technology, but ultimately it will continue to develop and change.

Just look at where film music was 100 years ago vs. today.

You may lose interest because you don't like the new material, but not because there is no where else to go.

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People think back on the glorious Golden Age, and marvel at how superior it was to today. The truth is, they're just remembering the good stuff. In a world we live in, every single new score can be advertised and promoted endlessly. We have iTunes samples, samples on websites, and much easier means of getting ahold and playing these scores. We're getting every single score, whether we buy it or not, and as a result we are hearing both the good and the bad stuff. There was bad stuff in the Golden and Silver Age. But why would we ever remember that stuff, it's pointless? With new technology, you have new opportunities. It is so easy to hear any score--including the bad--that we're hearing much more of it than we used to.

In addition, it's much easier to become a composer. Talent is no longer the only road to becoming a composer, you can become one without talent very easily. As a result, there are more and more composers who are getting into the business, and yes, many of them will be bad. It's not that there's less good composers out there, there's more composers in general, and therefore more bad ones.

Also, people who lived to see The Golden Age associate it with their happy childhood memories. It brings back a type of nostalgia that modern music, no matter how amazing, can't deliver. People often look back longingly to their youthful days, and love anything associated with happy memories of those days. To that person, nothing produced in the modern day can compare to that music, because it's not JUST music they're enjoying--it's also memories.

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Let's face facts, the marketplace for audiovisual being more crowded than ever due to lowered production costs and cheap technology has led to a decline in the amount of investment each production on average can put into its seperate elements (score, cinematography, and now special effects.) It is a system of deteriorating returns, with turnaround of entertainment being faster, cheaper and less artistically perfected as each year goes on. There will always be exceptions, but they will be,on a cultural level, drown out by the noise of whatever is most aggressively marketed and feeds the zeitgeist. As individuals, we'll recognize quality, but we'll be alone in our assessment. CSI Miami is the new Laurence of Arabia.

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And I deplore people starting threads about how great pieces like Requiem for a Dream are.

Well, then you probably won't appreciate me mentioning how awesome I found Clint Mansell's score to The Fountain to be.

In the past few years, there HAVE been excellent scores: The Fountain, Lady in the Water, Pan's Labyrinth, Howl's Moving Castle, Pirates of the Caribbean, Memoirs of a Geisha, Munich, The Village, Revenge of the Sith, Batman Begins, Finding Nemo, Signs, Friday Night Lights, The Incredibles, The Aviator, and The Lord of the Rings come to mind as scores that I've loved in recent years. Not to mention the Harry Potter series, and television series such as Lost, Alias, and the awesome Battlestar Galactica.

There might not be as many great scores on that list as there would be on a list from, say, 1977-1985, but so what? There is absolutely no indication WHATSOEVER that film music is dying. As long as people like Howard Shore, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, and (of course) John Williams are still on the scene, then each and every time they step up to the plate, then there is a possibility of a home run. And as long as composers like Michael Giacchino, Bear McCreary, and Clint Mansell are popping up every few years, then there are new voices to take the place of the old ones when they go silent. Not liking these newer composers is anybody's right, but it doesn't mean that they aren't well-liked by large numbers of other people.

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Not at all (to the title question).

I can't wait for new scores by all my favourite composers and discover great new stuff all the time, with memorable themes. Are modern practices hurting film music? You could argue that synths and tight schedules are cheapening scores, but I believe all you need is the right project and you will get a great score. LotR was a 3 score series, all entirely composed and orchestrated by one man, with zero synths and it turned out as I feel one of the greatest musical achievements in film.

To take some different examples, Lost and Robin Hood, two current TV series. Both are 100% orchestral (RH is outstanding as a TV score with one of the most memorable themes I've ever heard) and are produced under tight schedules. There Will Be Blood, the recent best picture nominee, although in my opinion the best film of the year, has a score about as far away as you can get from MV.

In short, I think it's the bad/popcorn movies that are attracting these 'substandard' scores. As long as Bruckheimer isn't let anywhere near the production, music will survive.

And I deplore people starting threads about how great pieces like Requiem for a Dream are.

Then you won't mind me deploring the fact that it only takes a mention of Zimmer's name for you to consign his entire output to the dung heap?

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Isn't the real problem here that the movies themselves have not been overly impressive the last few years? For the most part, you can't expect great film music to spring up around a turd of a movie (although it has happened numerous times in the past -- witness Heartbeeps or Krull -- and at least once recently, in Lady in the Water).

But when there have been massive surprise hits in the last decade, often they have had great scores associated with them: The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and even (to a lesser extent) The Fellowship of the Ring were surprise blockbusters, and in each case the score was an extremely important element in the movie. I might even make the same claim for The Sixth Sense, a score I don't care for on CD but LOVE in the movie.

As for all the stories being nothing but recycled stories and all the musical themes being nothing but recycled themes: there hasn't been an original story since way before film was even invented. We're basically the same creatures we have been since before recorded history, the only differences lie in how we react to the events that occur during our lives. And since the events are consistently different from one year to the next, stories will always have a relevance, as their retelling serves the dual purpose of allowing us to retain a connection to our pasts and to use those "experiences" to examine our present and our future. I think of it as being sort of like jazz: you can listen to twenty different jazz musicians play "Bye Bye Blackbird," and not hear the same song a single time.

Since it is the job of film music to enhance the movie, film music will ALWAYS have a relevant place in the arts. Or least, it will have as long as movies have a relevant place in the arts. I just don't see how anyone can think otherwise. If you're burned out on the movies, then that's just you; most of the rest of us still seem to be quite in love with them.

But I do wish a few more great ones were being made.

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In other (better) words, people from the Golden Age said the same thing when the Silver Age came about. That crap Silver Age music will dominate forever. The Silver Age fans are saying the same about Bronze Age music.

I doubt when Williams,Goldsmith and horner came along,that lots of people were missing the "Alfred Newman " or "Korngold" sound .the TRUE golden age is 1970-1990

Well, I only bought only about 10 new scores on c.d. in the past 5 years(mostly Williams)

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Well, that Horner quote was interesting. It was already said, but I think he may have only been talking about himself and how he can't come up with any more melodies. I have listened to Spiderwick a few times, and the only thing that I find I want to listen to over and over again is "Closing Credits", and even then I turn it off once I hear "Casper's Lullaby".

But, as for film music...not sure if this is to the exact point of the thread, but I find that the type of music that is in films like "Michael Clayton", "Jumper", "The Brave One" and to an extent the Bourne films...just doesn't interest me. It doesn't do it for me emotionally. The electronic feeling of the whole thing starts to get on my nerves after awhile. Now, a good 'ole ochestral score is fine, but they are few and far between these days. The more recent stuff (Beowulf, Spiderwick, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) is good, but inferior to past scores, from John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith and other classically trained composers.

So, have we heard too much? I don't think so, but I do think that we are entering a new era of film music, and I am not looking forward to it. I myself would like to see us move away from heavy electronic based film scores and back into melody-rich orchestral scores.

Again, just my opinion. It's been a busy week here, with quite a few tests and midterms, so I hope that all makes sense.

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Well, I only bought only about 10 new scores on c.d. in the past 5 years(mostly Williams)

A good chunk everything I've bought the last couple of years have been rereleases, not new scores. And pretty much all the new ones have been either VG or TV.

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I should probably mention that the bulk of my film score collection is John Williams material, followed by Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, and Alan Silvestri. I have a few score sprinkled in there by Mark Isham, Danny Elfman, Hans Zimmer, and a few more "recent" composers (Media Ventures* comes to mind), but I am a Williams fan thru and thru.

-odnurega1

*I no longer collect scores done by Media Ventures. For the most part, I find them to be repetitive, and they all sound the same after a while.

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After a quick count, I've purchased 35 new scores on CD over the past five years, and I'd say that over half are genuinely very good. So for me, although I recognize that film music as a whole is a long way from how great it used to be, there are still plenty of talented composers creating good music. If anyone's keeping count, the composers whose music I bought most:

Williams - 6

JNH - 6

Elfman - 4

HGW - 3

Debney - 3

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After a quick count, I've purchased 35 new scores on CD over the past five years, and I'd say that over half are genuinely very good. So for me, although I recognize that film music as a whole is a long way from how great it used to be, there are still plenty of talented composers creating good music. If anyone's keeping count, the composers whose music I bought most:

Williams - 6

JNH - 6

Elfman - 4

HGW - 3

Debney - 3

No Horner?

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I believe I understand Olivarez. I think there is a certain time in our life when music reaches us at its most intense. I believe that time takes place when we are discovering and exploring what the world has to offer. For instance, the kicks an adolescent gets when he connects and becomes one with his music are unlikely to return in the same form when he's sixty. There still will be kicks, but different.

Alex

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I believe I understand Olivarez. I think there is a certain time in our life when music reaches us at its most intense. I believe that time takes place when we are discovering and exploring what the world has to offer. For instance, the kicks an adolescent gets when he connects and becomes one with his music are unlikely to return in the same form when he's sixty. There still will be kicks, but different.

Alex

I completely agree. I am 20 years old, and have enjoyed film music since I was around 5 or 6, but back then, the extent of my love for film music was easily satisfied by the score for the film "Flipper" (Don't make fun...I was 6). As I grew older, I began to collect "actual" film scores, and my love for the scores of John Williams was born. Around 2004 I went crazy buying as many JW scores as I could on CD, and when I got my iPod in 2006, I spent over $500 during the summer before I went to College putting soundtrack music on my iPod (In hindsight, I should have saved for a car). Williams, Goldsmith, Horner, Silvestri...all of them. That satisfied me for a while, and then I kept reading about Out-of-Print scores, and my hunger for them became greater. I acquired my first Out-of-Print score of ebay, and it was October Sky (which I purchased for $45, burnt to my computer, and sold for $48). I then began to look for the rare Williams scores, and a member or two on this forum helped me with that. I know have almost every Williams score and most of the rare, more expensive Horner scores (Balto, The Land Before Time, We're Back), but I have to say, something is missing.

Once I acquired all these rare scores, put them on my ipod, and listened to them a few times, I found that they weren't all that I was hoping for. They were great scores (don't get me wrong). I was telling a friend about this, and she said that "its all in the thrill of the hunt". I guess she means that it was exciting to look for these rare scores, but now that I have most that I want, I am no longer as excited.

Whew...I just gave the JWFAN board the history of my soundtrack-collecting life. And that was the abridged version. :rolleyes:

I find that more recently, I am not as satisfied when I listen to works that once filled my head with emotion. I have listened to everything so much that I crav new stuff, and unfortunately, the new scores that are coming out aren't doing it for me. I really am hoping that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (long title...) is a brilliant score. I am also looking forward to J. Horner's next score. As much as I knock him for copying himself, I do like some of his music.

Does this make sense? I just spent 15 minutes typing it, and I think I woke my roommate up.

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You ungrateful little snots! You want these scores all your lives, and when you finally get all the ones you want, plus more, you turn your noses up at them as though they're disappointing or not as thrilling as you expected.

I have so many film scores, I try to listen to at least one every day.

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You ungrateful little snots! You want these scores all your lives, and when you finally get all the ones you want, plus more, you turn your noses up at them as though they're disappointing or not as thrilling as you expected.

I have so many film scores, I try to listen to at least one every day.

Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed? :rolleyes:

I'm not ungrateful, nor am I disappointed with the scores that I have. I like some better than others. I agree..I try to listen to a score per day. Sometimes I end up listening to two or three.

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While some of you understood the point I was making this was not a thread wishing for nostalgia or the old days.

My son gave me the idea for this thread when several months ago he was copying a few cues to his iPod from both of Varese's 25th Anniversary 4 discs sets.

After awhile he mentioned once the John Williams, Goldsmith and a few other of the more "popular" composer's cues were done that the rest started to sound the same, not in copying notes but in structure and orchestrations. And he was right, especially Vol II.

It made me wonder if perhaps there was only so much film music could accomplish in it's current form and if maybe after years and years of listening that all these ideas had become so integrated or burned into our consciousness that we know or are aware enough now that it does all sound familiar.

I don't know what the next level of film music will be, if we will go back to the traditional symphonic style or electronics will dominate for the next 20 years. Will filmmaking change to allow for the more dissonent and atonal styles of Alex North or early Goldsmith to re-appear? Or perhaps sounds might be used more extensively.

The same thing can be said for movies, in my social circle away from the message boards we have been discussing why alot of us don't go to the movies that much anymore. We were duscussing the possibilities of ideas & formulas being recycled so many times that maybe in our minds it has a negative effect. That's not to say that there haven't been any good films made but I wonder if it's made us more cautious about what we want to see.

But no, this has nothing to do with me getting older and wishing for the older days. I can always relive those with the music and movies I have.

I don't know if I'm making any sense, putting my thoughts into words has always been a problem for me. College english was a nightmare.

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