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Musical sounds you hate


Quintus
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I don't think anyone has mention this - a jaw harp (or Jew's harp as it's called).

Terrible. John W. used it in "Rosewood".

To great effect. It's not a very flexible instrument and doesn't have a big range, but it's fine for what it is, and cool when used well.

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I don't think anyone has mention this - a jaw harp (or Jew's harp as it's called).

Terrible. John W. used it in "Rosewood".

To great effect. It's not a very flexible instrument and doesn't have a big range, but it's fine for what it is, and cool when used well.

It works, but it's so silly and I couldn't stand more of it.

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The jew's harp is one of the oldest instruments of mankind. Other than that, it's too insignificant and harmless to HATE it. It's not like composers are writing concertos for it.

Alex

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I love saxophone(s). Some of my favourite scores use it as a leading instrument.

Saxophones are a funny thing. I love them on their own, but they can be really annoying in some contexts (i.e., in any pop songs, which are annoying enough on their own anyway, and in most rock songs). They are all right in film music, though. Nothing expresses melancholy like them.

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It's not like composers are writing concertos for it.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000005975/

I love saxophone(s). Some of my favourite scores use it as a leading instrument.

Saxophones are a funny thing. I love them on their own, but they can be really annoying in some contexts (i.e., in any pop songs, which are annoying enough on their own anyway, and in most rock songs). They are all right in film music, though. Nothing expresses melancholy like them.

They go well with harpsichords.

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Damn, what composer writes a concerto for the jew's harp?!!!! I feel ... HAAAAAAAAATE!!!!!!!!!

A saxophone is annoying in pop music?! What?! Don't be so silly, Elmo, some of the finest pop songs feature a sax solo: Money, Girl From Ipanema, Baker Street, ...

Alex

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Ah the legendary nutter that is Ian Dury.

In the wilds of Borneo

And the vineyards of Bordeaux

Eskimo, Arapaho

Move their body to and fro.

Friggin' genius. And the sax ain't too bad either.

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I don't think anyone has mention this - a jaw harp (or Jew's harp as it's called).

Terrible. John W. used it in "Rosewood".

To great effect. It's not a very flexible instrument and doesn't have a big range, but it's fine for what it is, and cool when used well.

It works, but it's so silly and I couldn't stand more of it.

Giacchino puts it to good use in Small Soldiers.

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Yeah, I didn't wanna sound condescending towards your examples. They are just... not my thing.

That's the problem with the musical taste of the new generation. They don't have any.

Alex

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I was raised without a father, Steef.

Just listen to what's in the top 30 (or top whatever) and compare that to the old days. I think most of you are here because you don't see much in rap or R&B music, the two predominant music genres of the new generation. Where are the bands? Where is the diversity? Do you really think they are going to play the latest ganster rapper song in 10 years from now? Tomorrow it's already forgotten.

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Don't get me wrong I really like much of what is considered contemporary pop, but I can't friggin' stand the overpowering influx of R&B lately - its bloody awful - yet I'm told by people older than myself that my criticism is a sign of my age!

Worse thing is, I think they're right.

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I was raised without a father, Steef.

That makes both of us.

Just listen to what's in the top 30 (or top whatever) and compare that to the old days. I think most of you are here because you don't see much in rap or R&B music, the two predominant music genres of the new generation. Do you really think they are going to play the latest ganster rapper song in 10 years from now? Tomorrow it's already forgotten.

That's what we think now when we listen to todays music.

But to the young people of today, it's the music they dance on, have their first romantic experiences on, play whilst doing homework, going to school etc.

It's the soundtrack to their lives, to that particular period when they are forming themselves, or are being formed by society.

Whatever you listen to at that age, will never really go away.

The youth of today will picks out the songs that will become treasured classics to them, even if it sounds like generic rubbish to us.

And in a few years time they will complain too that the music the new generation is listening too pales compared to what Timberlake, Timbaland, Rhianna, Lady Gaga etc...etc...

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Marconi plays the Mamba,

Listen to the radio

Don't you remember?

We built this city

We built this city on rock and roll!

We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

Built this city, we built this city on rock and roll

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Don't get me wrong I really like much of what is considered contemporary pop, but I can't friggin' stand the overpowering influx of R&B lately - its bloody awful - yet I'm told by people older than myself that my criticism is a sign of my age!

Worse thing is, I think they're right.

A lot of young people tell me I'm right. They hate contemporary top 30 music but they like a lot of the old music. I see them dancing at it too. None of the rock bands (alternative whatever) make it into the top 30 these days. All these things tell me enough.

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Don't get me wrong I really like much of what is considered contemporary pop, but I can't friggin' stand the overpowering influx of R&B lately - its bloody awful - yet I'm told by people older than myself that my criticism is a sign of my age!

Worse thing is, I think they're right.

A lot of young people tell me I'm right. They hate contemporary top 30 music but they like a lot of the old music. I see them dancing at it too. None of the rock bands (alternative whatever) make it into the top 30 these days. All these things tell me enough.

Oh one will always get the 'educated young' agreeing with you, but the hundreds of thousands of others will always disagree, putting the likes of

convincingly at No.1, again and again, for years to come.
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There are other things: You didn't have to be beautiful to have a hit. It didn't matter what kind of music you were making: punk, pop, disco, hard rock, rock, film music. Guys like Vangelis or Jean Michel Jarre could have hits too.

Don't get me wrong I really like much of what is considered contemporary pop, but I can't friggin' stand the overpowering influx of R&B lately - its bloody awful - yet I'm told by people older than myself that my criticism is a sign of my age!

Worse thing is, I think they're right.

A lot of young people tell me I'm right. They hate contemporary top 30 music but they like a lot of the old music. I see them dancing at it too. None of the rock bands (alternative whatever) make it into the top 30 these days. All these things tell me enough.

Oh one will always get the 'educated young' agreeing with you, but the hundreds of thousands of others will always disagree, putting the likes of

convincingly at No.1, again and again, for years to come.

Not really, just listen to the top 100 of all times. Most of it is not from this generation.

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Yeah, I didn't wanna sound condescending towards your examples. They are just... not my thing.

That's the problem with the musical taste of the new generation. They don't have any.

Alex

Whoa, Cremers. I may not like pop, but don't count me as part of the new generation. I'm just not a pop guy.

Classic rock is a different matter.

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There are other things: You didn't have to be beautiful to have a hit. It didn't matter what kind of music you were making: punk, pop, disco, hard rock, rock, film music. Guys like Vangelis or Jean Michel Jarre could have hits too.

I think that's a naive outlook. Jarre's tiresome son would've never made it big in the MTV age. He got by purely by making people think he sounded cool, regardless of the fact that he was clearly an uncool audio nerd, with a successful father.

Facebook reveals unsavoury things about people like that.

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You rrally think Justin Timberlake looks beautiful?

And image has been a part of pop music for decades now Alex.

People used to think Freddie Mercury looked hot.

The guys from 'Cool And The Gang' or 'Earth, Wind And Fire' are not beautiful. 'De Zangeres Zonder Naam' isn't exactly hot either. If you wish, I can go on like that for a while. Looks are more important than ever. Everybody knows that.

michael_jackson.jpg

Even someone who looked like this could have a hit.

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He didn't have a hit when he looked like that.

And the "swoon for the singer" factor has been there since Buddy Holly, Alex. If not before.

That was a joke, Elmo.

I'm not denying that but visual appearance is more important now than it ever was. Now everyone has to look like a model or at least you have to be very athletic before you can have a hit. Music doesn't come first. BTW, Buddy Holly was a real musician, not some kind of faker with good looks.

Alex

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Didn't JM Jarre liked to tie up naked women to the bed and watch him have sex with chickens?

I don't think so no.

Where did you hear that?

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I saw The Boss in May. When the Big Man stood there with his saxophone...I swear to God that I had a religious experience...

In the parking lot the visionaries dress in the latest rage

Inside the backstreet girls are dancing to the records that the D.J. plays

Lonely-hearted lovers struggle in dark corners

Desperate as the night moves on, just a look and a whisper, and they're gone...

Goosebumps. Pure awesomeness.

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  • 1 month later...
Musical instruments come associated to a context very easily, they receive a connotation based on different reasons. Historical and cultural associations are the most common ones. Most natural sound is that of folk instruments from a certain area when striving to give a piece of music the flavour of this area or culture. Hollywood music works with preconceptions, basic human ideas about music, the knowing of this vocabulary is part of being a film composer, the best composers knowing where to utilize such sounds and voices and where to eschew from them. And then there are trends. Someone uses an instrument, another composer, director or producer thinks it sounds marvellous and wants to use it in his/her score. It becomes a staple of film music vocabulary for a period of time.

As an example duduk is a Middle-Eastern instrument, so why wouldn't it be associated with films about Middle-East or scenes if the composer is striving for a certain authentic sound. Is this too obvious or too lazy approach? I think it is more about what the film makers are trying to say with the music, enhance the cultural aspect or choosing a more poetic expression for some subtext. Brought out of this cultural context duduk sounds to most ears foreign when attached to an orchestral palette as it just is so different in timbre and colour and sound. Some people do not like the sound and some can't disassociate the sound from Middle-Eastern context. Some love the strange sound and think it adds something marvellous even to a film that has nothing to do with Middle East. It is all about perceptions.

And some composers have utilized even duduk out of Middle Eastern context like Bear McCreary in Battle Star Galactica that uses a lot of different ethnic instruments from different cultures.

A violin is another example. For Schindler's List it became emblematic as Williams sought to evoke the period and cultural tradition of Europe and Jewry. Jewish music is informed by both European and Middle-Eastern and the instruments that evoke Jewish music and culture are well known from their music. This is part of what a film composer does. He/she evokes in us sometimes the cultural references and allusions that many of us have from our life experiences and our experiences of music but also tries to communicate the universal emotions that are part of the Western musical vocabulary or indeed universal human musical vocabulary. These two aspects are there to enhance our perception of the film in one way or the other. The score of Schindler's List is as much a piece in classical European tradition as it is evoking the Jewish musical culture.

Williams' music became very influential and indeed the violin sound seeped into other films involving Jewish culture and Jews but then again they usually want to enhance the cultural aspect of the story but also the poignant lyricism for which there are few natural instruments. When these two ideas Jewish culture and lyricism are put together, violin seems like a logical solution.

But violin has so wide usage in film scores it can't be said that it has become solely representative of a certain culture or genre.

Film music is, if we look back at the beginnings of the art form, full of clichés, inherited first from the Western musical tradition. This field of clichés has slowly grown wider and wider as different films with different needs over the little over 100 year history of film have added different musical styles and genres into the library of this field. All the new musical forms of the 20th century have become part of film music's vocabulary from blues to jazz to contemporary orchestral techniques to hip hop and techno. And orchestral music has stood the test of time in the midst of all these influences as a corner stone of the art. In part all film composers rely on this musical tradition. How we hear emotion and drama is largely through the Western musical culture, it is a built-in trait in those who have been born and raised in this culture.

Your example of Darth Vader's Death and the music accompanying it relies heavily on this musical tradition. You are impressed with the way Williams approached the scene. There are myriad ways to approach any given scene when you have the footage before you and the director has given some directions you could go with it. Williams chose a subtle one, a right choice in my opinion too, but no less clichéd when you look at the tradition. It does not always mean bombast and blaring and blantant obviousness. I do not think there is any risk in scoring the scene this way, no chance of alienating an audience. It is artistically a beautiful choice and to some would come as a surprise but I do not think it is particularly adventurous musically speaking.

A composer is taking more of a risk when doing something completely unexpected and going against the grain of the tradition and the expected. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. It comes down to individual observations on the music and its connections to the film and how we perceive and receive them, want to understand them and how they affect us emotionally and intellectually. Composer should find his own way to illustrate the film, not only underline but add subtext in the way needed by the film. He should make it with his own voice. Film music business is and has become so tightly controlled and monitored by the studios who wish to create profit out it, that their play safe attitude offers composers very little room for free expression or exploring of ideas. Some directors allow such freedom, others look for the producers for approval. Starting a popular trend is a dangerous thing, as suddenly everybody wants to score a film in the popular and safe way to maximize the profit. Either composers adapt to this or they do not get hired. The change in film industry has affected also the film scoring industry.

And as I see it the unsubtlety and bombast are as much as a trait of the old as they are of the new film composer generation, but their usage and style differ. Williams, Goldsmith, Morricone or Barry produced a piece that is striking and may seem even too dramatic, something that makes a statement that seems even too overt for modern viewers and listeners, it is a proud piece of art that is an equal companion to the film it accompanies. It has something to say as a part of this art. Modern way is to pile sound above sound, blast of music to enhance something the director does not know how to get the impact out of any other way. Either scores do not say anything or become superficial booming blasts of noise and "cool" sounding chords to impress us for a nanosecond. The other extreme is the sound design music that for the effect of it becomes nothing but bland wallpaper that does a minimal job in the film and outside it can't achieve even that.

And still all is not lost. There are composers doing thoughtful and impactful work these days with directors who appreciate a score that not only enhances their film but tries to elevate it.

Well this is really digressing a bit but I hope I got some of my observations across.

:)

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Ah the legendary nutter that is Ian Dury.

In the wilds of Borneo

And the vineyards of Bordeaux

Eskimo, Arapaho

Move their body to and fro.

Friggin' genius. And the sax ain't too bad either.

In case anyone is wondering, the saxophone solo in "...Rythmn Stick" is not, I repeat NOT overdubbed. there is footage of the sax. player on TOTP playing 2 saxes simultaneuosly.

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  • 2 years later...

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