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Ancient sounding scores


Pelzter
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It's hard to place, but these two scores in particular just "sound" ancient to me, which of course is very appropriate in both cases.

Take Atlantean Sword, from Conan (1982), for instance. The melody and orchestration sound like they could be natively Atlantean, somehow. It does sound like modern instruments. Similarly with the atlantean parts of the Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (1992) videogame score; they have the same quality of 'otherworldly' og 'ancient' melodies and instrumentation. Has anyone else gotten this feeling?

What I mean is, those scores sound like they could have been produced from ancient hymns or relic sheet music, played by modern instruments but ancient in tone.

Thoughts on this? I don't know if it makes any sense.

--Pelzter, who hears a clear relationship between the two mentioned scores and Shostakovich' similarly ancient sounding String Quartet No. 15 in E.

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Don't know about the IJ video game music but yes Conan does sound "ancient". Back in the days that's what composers used to do for movies that took place in ancient times, give it a score that sounded like it could have been written back then.

Sadly a lost art these days.

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Poledouris's score is also helped immensly by the bad production values of the score. It sound kind of clunky, off kilter, full of rough edges, and that adds immeasurabely to the primal and ancient feel of the superb music.

Yared's Troy does a good job of feeling old. It doesn't quite feel 3,000 years old...but it doesn't sound like a 2004 score (except for maybe the vocalized love theme....and that is just too damn good for me to complain about).

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Strangely, the sound quality of Star Wars gives it that sort of ancient feel, which I guess is appropriate for run-down locales like Tatooine.

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That ancient and pagan feeling that Conan captures so beautifully is something sadly missing in Shore's LOTR scores, specially when Shore himselft claimed he wanted the music to sound ancient.

The Teutonic Camp from the Alexander Nevsky score (not the cantata), also sounds wonderfully old, medieval.

And of course, Lion in Winter really feels old. Such a great ambiance to that score.

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Poledouris's score is also helped immensly by the bad production values of the score. It sound kind of clunky, off kilter, full of rough edges, and that adds immeasurabely to the primal and ancient feel of the superb music.

Absolutely. That recording is terrible -- terrible! -- but it fits the movie so well, I'd be loathe for it to be improved much!

Several tracks from that score are amongst my favorite cues in all of film music (the above-mentioned "Atlantean Sword" being one, "The Leaving/The Search" being another, and "Theology/Civilization" being a third).

God, what a great year 1982 was for film-music fans. (And movie fans, too.) Any year that has E.T., Blade Runner, Conan the Barbarian, Poltergeist, Star Trek II, and The Thing is a year to treasure.

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That ancient and pagan feeling that Conan captures so beautifully is something sadly missing in Shore's LOTR scores, specially when Shore himselft claimed he wanted the music to sound ancient.

If you took away the pristine sound quality of LOTR and replaced it with the inferior recording quality of Conan, I believe the 'ancient' sound you desire would be evident.

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That ancient and pagan feeling that Conan captures so beautifully is something sadly missing in Shore's LOTR scores, specially when Shore himselft claimed he wanted the music to sound ancient.

Actually, I was going to mention LOTR. Parts of it do sound wonderfully ancient - most notably the Gondor theme (is it?), e.g. in Anduril. It has a scope that always makes me feel like I've just read the entire Silmarillion.

And forgive my constant nitpicking, but "MIDI" doesn't have a sound. It's just a protocol for transmitting musical events to instruments. What does sound bad are the old soundcards' synthesizers, which only produced low-quality bleeping noises (far inferiour to what other computers used at that time, like sample-based music on Amiga systems or - yes - the C64's SID chip when used well). But even then I think there were some higher quality cards, and with the arrival of wavetables, the sound improved a lot. Plus you could always hook up your soundcard to actual instruments, like digital pianos, to produce better sounds. I think that's how those Monkey Island soundtrack CDs were done.

In the end, composition tools today still produce MIDI, even if you ultimately send that MIDI stuff through expensive sample libraries. They rarely sound like a real orchestra, but usually somewhat close to it - and much better than the synthesizer of a Soundblaster Pro. And yet it's still all MIDI. :)

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Poledouris's score is also helped immensly by the bad production values of the score. It sound kind of clunky, off kilter, full of rough edges, and that adds immeasurabely to the primal and ancient feel of the superb music.

Absolutely. That recording is terrible -- terrible! -- but it fits the movie so well, I'd be loathe for it to be improved much!

Indeed. I think I also remember Poledouris in some documentary metioning that he wanted the music for CtB to sound as ancient as possible and that's also why he applied the certain playing techniques in the score (such as scraping the tam-tam with metal stick (heard in the sequence when Conan is turning the wheel) etc.).

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The melody and orchestration sound like they could be natively Atlantean, somehow.

Do we know what Atlantean music sounded like? Or, if Atlantis even existed?

If we go back to the most 'known' ancient music, it would likely be little but flute, lute, drum,and harp style instruments.

And it seems a lot of ancient music was for specific purposes, rather than for entertainment as such. Rituals, etc.

Melange - Being a rather boring S.O.B. I love the Conan score, and anyway what is steel compared to the hand that wields it?

Crush your JW CD's, see them trampled before you, and hear the lamentation of the fanboys!!!! :)

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