Jump to content

The source of the Jaws Theme: finally found


Recommended Posts

After causing some confusion as to my motiv on the issue I post here, I moved this explanation to my original post:

As you might have noticed, I find it very interesting to see what inspirational sources JW used, or at least what he might have heard and remembered when he wrote his great scores. It has nothing to do with that I think JW isn't original. He is very original, and when he is inspired by existing music, he certainly still totally creates something new out of it. Still there might be traces hearable, sometimes more obvious than in other cases. In some cases (Star Wars, see my thread on the classical Star Wars scores) we KNOW that there has been inspirational cues. I just wonder which cues might have inspired him on his other scores. I am NOT accusing him of plagiarism or stealing. Regarding to the Jaws Theme, it's still JW's composition, with it's own use in the movie, it's own rhythm and it's own meaning. I think however as to the musical content he is inspired by existing music.

If you don't like these kinds of threads, you are free to leave now.

----------------------

I think I found the definite inspirational source for the Jaws Theme. I'm pretty sure this time, because of the following findings:

1) The composer of the source has been a confirmed inspiration to John Williams: Bernard Herrmann.

2) The orchestration is identical.

3) There have been several suggestions regarding possible sources for the two-note motiv, most notably:

- Antonin Dvorak: Symphony no.9 , opening from 4th mov.: B-C

- Sergei Prokofiev: Alexandr Nevsky, Battle on the Ice (middle section): Dmoll-D

- Sergei Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, opening of 2nd movement (Dance of the Pagan Gods): D#-E (suggested by myself)

- William Walton: The Quest, first minute of 1st mov., Outside the House of Archimago: F-Gmoll (suggested by myself)

Although they are all similar to the Jaws motiv, none of these have the same pitch (E-F) as heard in the Jaws Theme. The cue I found has.

The cue is 'Car Crash' from 'North By Northwest' by Bernard Herrmann (track 8 on the OST).

(I am sorry I have no sound example.)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 62
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

It is obviously inconceivable that John Williams actually came up with these two notes in that pitch on his own to be applied to the shark in the film.

This is of course the easiest reply possible. Anyway, of course that would be possible, but in this case the similarity is too striking. Did you listen to the cue?

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why is it so many people on the John Williams Fan Network seem to enjoy spending time trying to discredit JW?

My goodness Charlie, of all people here, I am certainly not the one who wants to discredit JW!

As you might have noticed however, I find it very interesting to see what inspirational sources JW used, or at least what he might have heard and remebered when he wrote his great scores. It has nothing to do with that I think JW isn't original. He is very original, and when he is inspired by existing music, he certainly still totally creates something new out of it. Still there might be traces hearable, sometimes more obvious than in other cases. In some cases (SW) we KNOW that there has been inspirational cues. I just wonder which cues might have inspired him on his other scores. I am not accusing him of stealing, I actually hate it when people do that. Regarding to the Jaws Theme, it's still JW's composition, with it's own use in the movie, it's own rhythm and it's own meaning. I think however that he is inspired by Herrmann.

Link to post
Share on other sites
It is obviously inconceivable that John Williams actually came up with these two notes in that pitch on his own to be applied to the shark in the film.

This is of course the easiest reply possible. Anyway, of course that would be possible, but in this case the similarity is too striking. Did you listen to the cue?

why are you trying to discredit John Williams, what is the reason?

Link to post
Share on other sites
- Sergei Prokofiev: Alexandr Nevsky, Battle on the Ice (middle section): Dmoll-D

- Sergei Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, opening of 2nd movement (Dance of the Pagan Gods): D#-E (suggested by myself)

Although they are all similar to the Jaws motiv, none of these have the same pitch (E-F) as heard in the Jaws Theme. The source cue I found has.

You mentioned Prokofiev twice but no Peter and the Wolf?? :-) There's a moment in the middle with the same two notes (E and F) played with the same general instrumentation, articulation, and tempo.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, okay. Looks like I misinterpreted you yet again, Joey. To MSM's defense, I think he is merely trying to find the things that inspired John Williams. Never did I once read that MSM was at least insinuating that John Williams is a talentless thief, as so many "Classical Elitists" spend their life doing.

Link to post
Share on other sites
- Sergei Prokofiev: Alexandr Nevsky, Battle on the Ice (middle section): Dmoll-D

- Sergei Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, opening of 2nd movement (Dance of the Pagan Gods): D#-E (suggested by myself)

Although they are all similar to the Jaws motiv, none of these have the same pitch (E-F) as heard in the Jaws Theme. The source cue I found has.

You mentioned Prokofiev twice but no Peter and the Wolf?? :-) There's a moment in the middle with the same two notes (E and F) played with the same general instrumentation, articulation, and tempo.

Thank you. I played Peter and the Wolf myself, and th motiv didn't really occur to me, but I'll check it out. I am sure I missed more examples of similar moments in other works. I just came across the Herrmann, and it's really obvious, IMO.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, okay. Looks like I misinterpreted you yet again, Joey. To MSM's defense, I think he is merely trying to find the things that inspired John Williams. Never did I once read that MSM was at least insinuating that John Williams is a talentless thief, as so many "Classical Elitists" spend their life doing.

I don't know how else you can read it, MSM, I thought he was a she, no matter, is calling John a thief. If John isn't the creator than he stole it. Thats what that poster is insinuating.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, okay. Looks like I misinterpreted you yet again, Joey. To MSM's defense, I think he is merely trying to find the things that inspired John Williams. Never did I once read that MSM was at least insinuating that John Williams is a talentless thief, as so many "Classical Elitists" spend their life doing.

Thank you, Nick.

Maybe my 'search for the source' is a bit too academic and therefore it appears as like I want to take JW down.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You called him a thief MSM, you can sugar coat it all you want, call it academics, call it what you want, you accused him of plagerism, which is theft. Its one thing for some buttheads, who come and make posts saying he plagerized, its another when a long standing member does it and then trys to sugar coat it, its actually worse.

It some new poster had posted the exact same thread, people would be all over that person for trashing John Williams.

Link to post
Share on other sites
- Sergei Prokofiev: Alexandr Nevsky, Battle on the Ice (middle section): Dmoll-D

- Sergei Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, opening of 2nd movement (Dance of the Pagan Gods): D#-E (suggested by myself)

Although they are all similar to the Jaws motiv, none of these have the same pitch (E-F) as heard in the Jaws Theme. The source cue I found has.

You mentioned Prokofiev twice but no Peter and the Wolf?? :-) There's a moment in the middle with the same two notes (E and F) played with the same general instrumentation, articulation, and tempo.

Thank you. I played Peter and the Wolf myself, and th motiv didn't really occur to me, but I'll check it out. I am sure I missed more examples of similar moments in other works. I just came across the Herrmann, and it's really obvious, IMO.

It's hard to find, and there is narrating over it. But it's very close. I had the recording online a few years ago but it's been removed, I'll see if I can repost it and give you the exact minutes/seconds where it takes place.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh, okay. Looks like I misinterpreted you yet again, Joey. To MSM's defense, I think he is merely trying to find the things that inspired John Williams. Never did I once read that MSM was at least insinuating that John Williams is a talentless thief, as so many "Classical Elitists" spend their life doing.

I admit, I did read into it that way, hence my post. But MSM explained his behaviour, so I now understand it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Why is it so many people on the John Williams Fan Network seem to enjoy spending time trying to discredit JW?

My goodness Charlie, of all people here, I am certainly not the one who wants to discredit JW!

As you might have noticed however, I find it very interesting to see what inspirational sources JW used, or at least what he might have heard and remebered when he wrote his great scores. It has nothing to do with that I think JW isn't original. He is very original, and when he is inspired by existing music, he certainly still totally creates something new out of it. Still there might be traces hearable, sometimes more obvious than in other cases. In some cases (SW) we KNOW that there has been inspirational cues. I just wonder which cues might have inspired him on his other scores. I am not accusing him of stealing, I actually hate it when people do that. Regarding to the Jaws Theme, it's still JW's composition, with it's own use in the movie, it's own rhythm and it's own meaning. I think however that he is inspired by Herrmann.

any yet you did it anyways.

Link to post
Share on other sites
You called him a thief MSM, you can sugar coat it all you want, call it academics, call it what you want, you accused him of plagerism, which is theft. Its one thing for some buttheads, who come and make posts saying he plagerized, its another when a long standing member does it and then trys to sugar coat it, its actually worse.

It some new poster had posted the exact same thread, people would be all over that person for trashing John Williams.

Where does your anger come from? I have explained my intentions now several times, and still you think I am calling JW a thief? Isn't it allowed to search for JW's influences? It is known (especially for SW) that JW listens to other music. I am a composer myself, and I get my inspiration from other peoples music too. If I would call JW a thief, then I would call myself a thief too. Nowhere have I ever written a negative word about JW or his way of working. I never accused him of plagiarism let alone thievary. (I might have called James Horner a thief, though.) There is no composer that has influenced my life as has JW has, and none do I respect more than JW. There are actually people here who think I am heavily biased regarding my view on JW. So think before you start to rant like a madman, please.

I hope I have made myself clear now once and for all. I don't want to hear any more of your accusations.

No no and NO! all wrong!

Listen to the FSM CD - Gerald FRIED: I bury the Living Main Title and you will see that this is an EXACT statement of the Jaws theme. anyone familiar with that one??

Please can you post a sample? Btw did you listen to the North by Northwest cue?

Link to post
Share on other sites

MSM, I understand your explanation, I think its an explanation of someone who is desperate because what you intended backfired and now you're backtracking.

If you'd said the source of John's inspriation in the tread title, there would be no problem, but the thread title says John is a thief.

If the source isn't John Williams then he stole it and thats what your thread title says.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This post is completely illogical. Given the amount of music written, the likelihood of the same 2 notes being orchestrated in the same way is 100%. I have listened to North By Northwest hundreds of times, and have never heard what you mention, because unlike you, I realize that two repeated notes in any orchestration are a common part of musical language.

As a point of departure for your decades search for the "origin" of one of the simplest ostinatos ever composed, you assumed that every piece has a previous origin in another composition. If this is true, then surely Herrmann must have also had an origin before his own, and so on. The fact is, it goes back to the invention of the interval itself, and then the invention of the symphonic orchestra.

You might want to credit whomever invented Cellos and Basses in octave, the engineers of the orchestra, the first caveman to bang 8th notes on a stick, and also Pythagoras.

At some point, we have to accept that symphonic music is a language, and the same sentence can be created independently.

Link to post
Share on other sites
MSM, I understand your explanation, I think its an explanation of someone who is desperate because what you intended backfired and now you're backtracking.

If you'd said the source of John's inspriation in the tread title, there would be no problem, but the thread title says John is a thief.

If the source isn't John Williams then he stole it and thats what your thread title says.

I meant inspirational source of course. That's also a source, or not?

Link to post
Share on other sites
As a point of departure for your decades search for the "origin" of one of the simplest ostinatos ever composed, you assumed that every piece has previous origin in another composition.

Where did I state that?

Of course it could be coincidence. In this case I don't find that likely, I am sorry.

People, I really don't see the problem. We have had several threads on this very subject several times. Even in this thread there are SEVERAL people, not just me, suggesting inspirational sources. Are they all accusing JW of plagiarism? And you may tell me what you think about the origin of the music for Star Wars.

Link to post
Share on other sites
the origin for Star Wars is in John's brain, you fool, if he was inspired thats one thing but the SOURCE IS JOHN WILLIAMS.

It depends on how you define source. I have stated now several times what I meant, but you just don't read or you don't want to understand.

Link to post
Share on other sites
NO you don't want to understand. Maybe you have poor understanding of english, I don't know but a source other than John Williams is theft, thats undeniable.

Its not semantics here, you're the one who does not get it.

Then I apologize. Can we leave it at this?

Link to post
Share on other sites
He just prefers to hurt people's feelings.

shut up Koray, you're also calling him a thief. I don't care about your feelings, how do you think JW likes it when people like you and MSM say he stole something or as MSM trys to backtrack and say I mean his inspiration.

The man has been my idol longer than either of you've been alive, I get sick of people like you questioning his integrity.

MSM I will take what you've said, as you mean JW no harm, Koray I do not.

Link to post
Share on other sites
After searching for decades

But why?

I've noticed that every time someone offers another possible inspiration for a cue, you quickly ask them for some sort of link to the material in question, almost as if you need to listen asap to the alleged similarity so as to allow you to either eliminate or add the music in question to some sort of list of "source" possibilities. No offense, but I believe that behaviour to be a little obsessive and possibly even unhealthy.

Link to post
Share on other sites
After searching for decades

But why?

I've noticed that every time someone offers another possible inspiration for a cue, you quickly ask them for some sort of link to the material in question, almost as if you need to listen asap to the alleged similarity so as to allow you to either eliminate or add the music in question to some sort of list of "source" possibilities. No offense, but I believe that behaviour to be a little obsessive and possibly even unhealthy.

We all have our little obsessions, haven't we :)

But I removed the subsentence containing the word 'decades' (which was not to take literally of course). It seems these days people are offended by nothing :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites
He just prefers to hurt people's feelings.

shut up Koray, you're also calling him a thief. I don't care about your feelings, how do you think JW likes it when people like you and MSM say he stole something or as MSM trys to backtrack and say I mean his inspiration.

The man has been my idol longer than either of you've been alive, I get sick of people like you questioning his integrity.

MSM I will take what you've said, as you mean JW no harm, Koray I do not.

I may not agree with the things you say, Joe, but you just wished I was dead. Sorry if I don't take that lightly, especially since you used a personal event in my life to go about saying it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
He just prefers to hurt people's feelings.

shut up Koray, you're also calling him a thief. I don't care about your feelings, how do you think JW likes it when people like you and MSM say he stole something or as MSM trys to backtrack and say I mean his inspiration.

The man has been my idol longer than either of you've been alive, I get sick of people like you questioning his integrity.

MSM I will take what you've said, as you mean JW no harm, Koray I do not.

I may not agree with the things you say, Joe, but you just wished I was dead. Sorry if I don't take that lightly, especially since you used a personal event in my life to go about saying it.

Now stop posting here unless you have something useful to say.

Link to post
Share on other sites

MSM,

I would like to know why you believe that this ostinato is so unique that it would need inspiration to be repeated in multiple works? Even the most complex melody could be arrived at by two composers independently, but the likelihood of coincidence course decreases the more complex it is. If a composer loses credibility by constantly coming up with music that was unlikely to have been independently composed, that is also a factor, but nothing is provable even in very complex music. When we are talking two notes, it is nothing but empty conjecture. The orchestration is standard for the pitches represented. Perhaps your hunt is just too unscientific to be taken seriously.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.