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Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 1 by Alexandre Desplat


Josh500
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There's nothing wrong with walking up to good ol' Johnny, shaking his hand and exclaiming, "Look Mr. Williams! Attack of the Clones sucked mummified ostrich balls!" and walking away.

Yes, that is true - it is nothing wrong with that, because it is just your opinion.. and why should anybody care?

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Hey, we must look like ants from where you're standing.

Hey, just because I work in the film industry doesn't make me feel as though I'm any cooler than any of you. Please don't think my comments are indicating that I wouldn't "stoop to speaking to fans!" I am simply saying that arguing about music on a message board, especially with people who are very passionate about the subject matter is futile and frustrating. I happen to love Williams' music. But if there is someone out there that hates him, and loves Hooper...no amount of me trying to prove my point will change their mind.

Yes, that is true - it is nothing wrong with that, because it is just your opinion.. and why should anybody care?

Well, I personally would care if someone walked up to me and insulted a score I did and then walked away. I mean...that music is my baby. I worked hard on it...even on "blow off" scores...you spend countless hours getting it done. And then for someone to trash it really sort of stings. Like I said...doesn't matter how many dollar signs someone makes. Composers are still humans, and I doubt any of you would be happy with someone walking up to you and insulting a passion project you invested a lot of time and energy into. But hey...if it's done in a friendly debate manner...then that is different.

By the way, Film Composer '518', is that from the world ranking?

Haha, good guess, but not true. And I will NEVER say what my real first and last name is on here. I have long standing trading relationships with several people on this site and I don't even use my real name for that.

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There's nothing wrong with walking up to good ol' Johnny, shaking his hand and exclaiming, "Look Mr. Williams! Attack of the Clones sucked mummified ostrich balls!" and walking away.

Now you know why I didn't get a picture of me standing next to him in Ft. Worth.

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Why don't you accept different opinions, why don't you discuss. You always cite the same arguments in support of Desplat's abandoning of continuity and ignore the arguments against it.

And if for example i try to explain my problem with that approach you declare me as extreme JW fanboy.. that's not fair

Maybe you should read my posts some pages ago. I help you with that and put my problems with Desplat's approach in this post again so that you don't have to look for it. If you again ignore my points it proves to me that you don't want a serious discussion at all.

4) Another big problem is that Desplat (and he was the only one) didnt deliver own memorable themes. I can't say if he couldnt come up with better motifs or just changed the approach but this is serious. In a franchise so dependent on its themes you just can't abandon everything old without delivering something new thematic and memorable. It's like one important element of Potter music misses now.

Im thrilled what you will say in defense of Desplat here...

....

There is no point in discussing the infinite merits John Williams' themes have over Desplat's, because someone like Koray, who thinks Inception sounds nothing like Hans Zimmer has done before, can come in and say it doesn't matter, and that's that.

Because, you see, everything is opinion :)

The bottom line is, your opinion is ridiculous. You're throwing around made up statistics and whatnot, and expect people to take you seriously. You haven't even seen the film nor heard the whole score in its context. You completely dismiss that there's an entire other film coming later, that could very well have further developed and grander themes (This I assume based on your opinion that Desplat's themes as presented on the OST are crap. I haven't listened to it yet).

You are completely ignoring his point.

Hearing the whole score or hearing the score in context has zero point zero to do with, er, "Freeze's" arguments.

I will not repeat his points, you can read them again if you are finally willing to do so.

So what you are basically saying is, there's no other conclusion possible, that there MIGHT be significant Williams material that is NOT on a 75 minutes album that includes the highlights of the score, and that Desplat uses a full 100 minutes score to build a theme that he planned to introduce in the NEXT film in full for the *first time*, intentionall leaving part 1 without any sort of more elaborate ideas, and he planned this not knowing if he will indeed score that film, willfully risking that his score may be perceived as anonymous.

How could Desplat's "themes" be developed? Their effectiveness relies on the quotation of the whole thing, it's nothing you hear the first two seconds of and go "yes!"

And if you don't manage to create a marriage of footage and a poignant musical signature, a great deal of what you can achieve with film music, also as an identity and storytelling device, is lost.

Then you can write skillfull music until your fingertips bleed, in the matter of memorability, you will always lose out to scores like Batman Begins, who may be bland otherwise, but at least have a musical signature (albeit a very simplistic one).

It's like going out on a date with a new girl. You can hit all the right notes, be a gentleman, do everything what the book says, but if you ignore the personality of the girl, you are one of many.

I got a PM from him requesting the Harry Potter 1 recording sessions.

Recording sessions? Is that actual music or something else? :)

You missed something, ahem, significant.

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Not everything has to be a standout theme to be a good score, you know. Gestures can be just as impressive and amazing.

And as to actual themes, we have Hedwig (obviously)

the Death Eater theme (Snape to Malfoy Manor, plenty of other cues)

Harry (The Burrow, several other cues)...it's the horn bit right at the beginning that's brought back in both the low strings and clarinet just in that cue, and many times in the other cues).

Friendship - which can be said is more of a gesture...but as I said...that works out just as well. Not everything has to be a giant sweeping theme. In fact, that's quite out of fashion in film scores these days anyways. This can be found right at the beginning of "Ron's Speech" as well as Obliviate and others.

Ministry of Magic (low brass figure right at the beginning)

I could go on and on as the score is fulllll of thematic material. Just because it isn't the Raider's March doesn't make it unmemorable either. You just need a trained ear to hear all of them. He actually references his themes almost more than Williams. Listen closely and you'll find them all over the place!!

And by the way, yes, we film composer tend to stay away from boards such as this. Music is subjective, and arguing about it with anyone, let alone fans that are incredibly passionate about the subject can lead to serious headaches - Especially when the industry is not usually understood by the people complaining. It really can be a bit too much for myself to take.

Very interesting post about all the gestures/themes Desplat used, thank you. To be honest i definetly didnt realize this rich structure/groundwork Desplat employed before i read your analysis. It's just that besides my personal dissapointment about the almost non appearance of established Williams material i usually love memorable music.

Somehow lots of tracks on this album sound more like very good underscore instead of being the great thematic journey the first Potter movies were.

One more memorable and easier accessible grander theme/voice in this soundtrack would propably have been enough for me to apprecciate it much more...

Does your statement regarding how the industry works relates to the demands from directors/producers which can prevent a memorable/creatively refreshing/great score?

(Such as copy the temp track or i dont want any big themes, make it subtle?)

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But come on, honestly, this is not about what trained composers can hear "all over the place", it's about what audiences can hear when they watch the movie for the first time. And which composer expects an audience full of musicians?

And for a theme to work powerfully, it has to click the first time.

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Though I wouldn't have put it in quite the same words as he did, I generally agree with the main point that SF1_freeze is making, which in my own words is this: from what I have heard of Desplat's score (fully acknowledging that my opinion could change if I hear more), it is brilliant for what it is, but I prefer Williams' style of having prominent, memorable, hummable themes. That may be a more "sugary" approach to scoring films, but it sure satisfies.

Desplat's approach may blend better with the film, which I appreciate, but I'm less likely to buy the score if I'm going to be bored listening to [rich, textured, thoughtful - doesn't matter really] underscore. The score must be more engaging to warrant me forking out cash for it - and it must stand on its own without the film. I'm not saying I won't buy it - but in general that's my sentiment.

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I wouldn't say it has to click the first time...sometimes that's the case, and it's great when it is, but sometimes the composer will allow the theme to build steam over the course of the film so that it's only really stuck in your head as you're leaving the theater, not during the film itself. Choosing between those routes probably depends mostly on what's appropriate to the film, and I think either way is fine as long as the themes do have an impact eventually.

I can't say what I think about Desplat's score specifically, though, because I'm still waiting till I see the film.

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But come on, honestly, this is not about what trained composers can hear "all over the place", it's about what audiences can hear when they watch the movie for the first time. And which composer expects an audience full of musicians?

And for a theme to work powerfully, it has to click the first time.

So should composers dumb down their approach so that we only cater to audience members? What about trying to craft a piece of art that has subtle layers and might take a few listens and interpretations to digest? You are trashing the score for being mediocre and not having good content, and yet you state that film music should be exactly that. Do you really think that Bernard Herrmann gave a crap about what the audience would think of his themes? He wanted to create fantastic music that would serve the film in both subtle and open ways. So you have the theme from Psycho...which everybody knows. But then you have the "madness" theme or the fact that the score is built on the idea of "F, Eb, D" in displaced octaves to create a sense of non-resolution. Or would you rather he just blasted out some scary accessible themes the whole time?

I'm not calling you dumb - nor am I calling the average filmgoer dumb. But c'mon...you are really asking me and my peers to not write complex music because the fans won't like it as much as masturbatory themes?

And you saying that if a theme is good it has to click the first time would be the same as me saying that in order for a score to be "good", it has to be listenable on a CD outside of the movie. It's an ignorant and completely irrelevant comment. You don't at all know how the themes work within the movie. Just like you don't know how the score serves the film yet. Do you really think the average filmgoer could hum the exact Raider's theme when they walked out of Raiders for the first time? Heck no. In fact, I'm willing to bet about 75% of them didn't even notice it as a "theme" at all. Over time, it has grown into our population's mind as a brilliant theme. For you to suddenly demand that of ANY music is absurd.

Though I wouldn't have put it in quite the same words as he did, I generally agree with the main point that SF1_freeze is making, which in my own words is this: from what I have heard of Desplat's score (fully acknowledging that my opinion could change if I hear more), it is brilliant for what it is, but I prefer Williams' style of having prominent, memorable, hummable themes. That may be a more "sugary" approach to scoring films, but it sure satisfies.

Desplat's approach may blend better with the film, which I appreciate, but I'm less likely to buy the score if I'm going to be bored listening to [rich, textured, thoughtful - doesn't matter really] underscore. The score must be more engaging to warrant me forking out cash for it - and it must stand on its own without the film. I'm not saying I won't buy it - but in general that's my sentiment.

Now THAT is a comment I can get behind. Do I agree with it? Nope. But instead of flat out saying the score is bad and the themes aren't good, you are just awknowledging that it isn't your cup of tea. I have no arguments with you whatsoever.

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There is a lot going on in this score, and repeat listens are bringing new moments to light each time. A lot of Desplat's work here is structured around several different motifs, as already pointed out.

There seems to be an Order of the Phoenix motif that plays right at the top of 'Polyjuice Potion' and then is later heard throughout 'At The Burrow' which i'm certain underscores the scene while everyone is waiting to see who survived the sky battle. This theme then goes on to become the basis for 'Harry and Ginny' in a slightly different form.

There is also an ascending motif that is possibly a different section of the main 'friendship' theme that is heard at the end of 'Obliviate'. This ascending section can be heard throughout, but very clearly at 1:02 of 'Ron Leaves'. This whole theme is then more fully developed and realized in 'Farewell to Dobby'. The interesting thing about the ascending motif is that it does play on its own throughout the score, an example being at 1:35 of 'Captured and Tortured' in which it goes through a much darker variation of itself. For me this aspect of the friendship theme seems to be particularly related to the struggle/sacrifice of the journey.

The Locket definitely has its own theme.

The Death Eater theme is clear. And plays throughout quite a few tracks.

The is a possible theme in 'The Will' that i'm wondering if it will expand into a theme for 'The Dumbledores' when we eventually hear that track. And as the Dumbledores' back story is as a storyline that slowly unfolds over both films, its a theme that can be explored very slowly over both I and II.

There is a lot in this score that is very easily missed on a first listen. It seems to me that David Yates has a preference for scores which sit quietly along side his films and aid the film with its emotional shape, but never take focus by having more obvious or prominent themes. It says in Desplat's score notes how specific and meticulous Yates is. So i applaud Desplat's work here for being so rich and emotional (it feels like his most emotional score to me) but also by filling the music without a lot of gems that need to be discovered by the listener. He clearly did his job as a composer for Yates, but for me he has also structured a clever and subtle score that i am thoroughly enjoying finding its many intricacies through multiple listens.

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The other thing I noticed is how many harmonic suspensions in the brass Desplat injects. And his use of ornamentation. These are John Williams staples that can be found in Hook, his seminal 70s works, pretty much over his entire career.

Sorry, I'm starting to get frustrated here. It's one thing to simply not like what you hear in this score. fine and dandy. But when some people launch into this nonsensical rhetoric to validate their stance when they have little musical foundation to support themselves, it just annoys me. A lot.

But come on, honestly, this is not about what trained composers can hear "all over the place", it's about what audiences can hear when they watch the movie for the first time. And which composer expects an audience full of musicians?

And for a theme to work powerfully, it has to click the first time.

So should composers dumb down their approach so that we only cater to audience members?

Yes, because most audiences have been weened on a steady diet of simple bombast from our friends at MV-RC.

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I love the "bouncing" woodwinds against the Death Eaters theme in "Death Eaters"

Yes indeed. For fun, we should post examples when we find these Williamsisms if for anything to underscore (pun intended) how much of Williams is actually in Desplat's score.

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@ FilmCompos518

First of all, you clearly didn't read other comments by me about Desplat's score because if you did, you'd know I like it very much.

The discussion at hand does not pertain to the qualities of the music, but rather its thematic approach.

Second of all, comparing the Raider's March or Psycho to Deathly Hallows is a ... stretch. It's one thing comparing the approach of Herrmann and Desplat, it's a completely other one debating in how far Desplat has the skill to do justice to it.

Who is asking you to "dumb down" music? Since when is a recognisable theme "dumb" music? Is Williams' music for any of his many classics "dumb" because people recognise it all over the world and associate it with certain images?

Do you really think a thematic whisper like the "Harry" theme at the beginning will take the historic path of the Raider's March?

Do you really think, when people are walking out of the theatre, they will hum anything but Hedwig's Theme?

The Raider's March was, and is, a short, brilliant way of arousing emotion in the audience, something that was identifiably "Indy". What is the rousing musical gesture in Deathly Hallows? The "brass figure" for the Ministry?

Yeah, I'm sure that warrants a couple of re-recordings.

Clearly, there is a huge gap between creating a "dumb" musical signature and writing music for an epic film where you almost need a degree in music to find thematic connections in counterpoints.

And surely there is a balance between the two, exemplified by all greats of film music history, and recently Lord Of The Rings.

And indeed, there is a severe lack "in the middle" nowadays, but that's not the issue at hand.

There is a time and a place for everything, but, despite its quality, Desplat's score may not be what is expected from the score to such a film.

That has always been the fun about film music, to have that variety between "dumb" music, "artful" music, and a mix of the two.

There were always guilty pleasure scores, like PotC is today, and subtle, more artful, harder to digest scores. And there were those occasional scores for big movies that combined both, tasteful music and a good dose of pure thematic enjoyment that made sense - that is the kind of film Deathly Hallows is. It's the very nature of the series, until David Yates thought he should turn them into some thought-provoking pieces.

That discrepancy between what the series is, and what Yates wants it to be, hurts both the films and the scores to this day.

It's dream thinking that the majority of people will listen to the score repeatedly and get the thematic whispers. The majority of people won't watch the film several times at the theatre. Hell, how many people actually play real attention to the music while watching?

Like it or not, they will hear Hedwig's Theme over the titles, go "alright, Harry Potter!", and then turn their attention to something else.

Not one second of Desplat's score will make people go "Oh, Harry Potter!"

Why would those people listen to, let alone buy, the soundtrack? If you want people to listen to the score on its own, how else would you achieve that without implementing some identifiable signature themes?

With most people, as a film composer, you have ONE shot, and that's it.

Like it or not, most people watching this film won't give a damn about a "created work of art". If they wanted a piece of art, they'd watch a film they expect to be a work of art, and not a movie about wizards, magical amulets and vaporising Death Eaters.

And that's where we venture into a territory where I can honestly say that the blame is not mainly on Desplat, but that it was simply an unfortunate choice by David Yates to choose composers like Hooper or, well, Desplat in the first place.

I feel this could be the end of epic and adventurous, and at the same time stylistically good, cinema if you (meaning "you film composers") think you need to continue making music ever-more subtle until you need a magnifying glass to find motivic ideas.

Once every composer thinks he has to really provide some subtle thematic material even for blockbusters, all we're left with as far as bold thematic writing is concerned is the type of power anthem a la Transformers.

It makes me sad to hear such words from a composer like yourself.

I don't believe for a second that the initial instinct of a film composer when he sees Harry Potter for the first time is not to write some good themes.

And guess what, sometimes the audience's instinct is not too far away from that. And if these two instincts match, you don't hire someone like Hooper or Desplat. Doyle had other issues.

Clearly, not everything has to be "big sweeping theme", but it has to be an instantly recognisable thing, maybe just a chord progression or a figure. Of course you walk on a fine line between too simplistic and genius, but all I demand from a film composer, especially in this kind of film, is that he has the guts to try and achieve that, instead of watering ideas down.

It takes more balls to expose your thematic idea than to hide it underneath something else.

Without balls, there'd be no Psycho, no Jaws, no Star Wars, and no Hedwig's Theme.

Williams realised what kind of movie he had to score in Philosopher's Stone, and he went for it, and look at what a combination of styles he came up with, perfectly serving the film, while at the same time creating a memorable theme that people can remember, plus a few smaller motifs that may not be as memorable, but add a unique touch to the film, and which give people enormous pleasure when listening to the soundtrack.

He also knew what kind of film he had to score in Prisoner Of Azkaban, and instead of reading some psychological guff into it, or intentionally going for a "gloomier" score, he scored what he saw, an adventure film, in parts lyrical, with some genuine emotion. He expanded the same soundscape, and replaced old themes when appropriate.

Movies often aren't as complicated as some people make them appear.

There is a reason why Williams is remembered, while other composers are not.

The argument that you can't please all the fans all the time doesn't hold up because it wasn't even attempted in the first place.

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And this is why we don't come on and discuss/debate our craft more often. It's pointless. You have your opinion - I have mine. But just know that in this BUSINESS, we composers have absolutely no obligation to the fans. Our obligation is to the film and the director. And guess what most directors want these days...NOT big sweeping themes. Does it break my heart? Of course. I would love to sit at home and write old-style film scores from the 30

s-60's or the 80's and 90's. Unfortunately, we aren't at that point right now. But don't fret...it will swing back eventually. In the meantime, don't expect many film scores to have a Raiders-esque theme or even a Hedwig's Theme unless it's a stylized film that is aiming to be a throwback.

I DO, however, want to point out a few large errors you made in your statement. Though I won't debate your opinions. Desplat, although perhaps not writing your favorite style all the time, is a VERY skilled composer. In fact, he's one of the most skilled and knowledgeable composers working today. You would be absolutely appalled to know just how many of the "classic" (meaning beloved up to today) film composers know jack sh** about composition and orchestration. ESPECIALLY most film/tv composers just coming into the fray. I am going to guess that 60% of composers from the 70's-2000 were actually legit composers and didn't just have a team of skilled orchestrators picking up their slack. Today, I would say it's more like 40%. In TV, it's probably more like 20%. Desplat is one of the few that is a MONSTER orchestrator and knows his stuff. And he is immensely capable of writing wonderful and thoughtful and not "shovel to the face" film scores.

Secondly, in no way did I say that writing thematic material is dumbing it down. Either you misunderstood my comment, or are trying to twist it to prove your point in our little conversation here. Quite the opposite, I simply stated that you saying the composer should write music the audience will understand and appreciate would be cutting off creativity at the ankles and "dumbing it down." So again, I will state that WRITING THEMES IS NOT DUMBING THE MUSIC. TRYING TO PLACATE FANS WHO DO NOT ALWAYS KNOW WHAT GOOD EFFECTIVE FILM MUSIC IS ANYWAYS IS DUMBING DOWN THE SCORE.

Finally, again, you put too much weight on what your average filmgoer thinks of the score. If composers were worried about that, we would have all Ke$ha scores today. You think I am being drastic...but believe me...I know how the mind of producers work. If they could, and the director would be happy with it - they would. You would make LOTS more money on tie-ins and soundtrack than with an antiquated orchestral score. The point I am making is that you really shouldn't have any "demands" on what the film music should be. We serve the director and the film...if the director wants us to burp into a microphone for an hour and call it Jurassic Park, then that's what we do. Thank God there are still directors working today that want thoughtful and meaningful and artistically viable scores. Because if it really truly was all about the fans, and making music accessible for everybody, guess who never would have been able to craft such immensely dense and wonderful scores in the first place? Our boy that this site is dedicated to.

Now, you can respond to this - but know that I won't be adding my comments anymore. I simply do not have the time to keep banging my head into the wall. I wish you all well, and perhaps we will talk again soon!

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And this is why we don't come on and discuss/debate our craft more often. It's pointless. You have your opinion - I have mine.

I'm sorry, this is quite the idiotic statement.

And I suppose it's the same attitude that made Zimmer and J.N. Howard call film score reviews like Filmtracks' about Dark Knight "idiocy", because it criticised their "work ethos".

It's just a few very short steps from doing what the director wants and becoming 10$ hookers like Steve Jablonsky on Transformers or Ramin Djawadi on Clash Of The Titans.

It's fine to go along with the flow of popularity, but that way you won't change a thing; only dead fish go with the current.

It needs someone with guts to break the flow, and guts is apparently severely lacking in your field.

And once someone did manage to turn the tide, you will gladly adapt again to the new "in demand" style.

That has nothing to do with "art". And that's why composers with that attitude will always play second violin.

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I think JoelParnis and a few others here have already identified the main themes and motifs very well, and FilmComposer has a point that they are all over the score.

I'm working on some excerpts that show the various guises the themes develop and will post a more extensive overview later, but for now these are the main themes and motifs, that really do show up a lot :mellow::

"Harry" Theme

dh1_1di3h.png

Some have called this the Harry theme, I'd say it's more of an emotional anchor theme for the whole story, as it shows up in different contexts, major and minor (as in tonality :lol:), the most prominent statement being later in "Ron's Speech" and "Farewell to Dobby".

Voldemort/Death Eaters:

dh2_20e4a.png

This is often heard over the relentless...

...evil ostinato :P

dh2a_2md3n.png

...which later mutates into an eastern-sounding motif for the Hallows or Horcruxes (I assume).

And we have a theme for Harry's allies:

dh3_3wh2e.png

Variations of this seem to stand for the Order of the Phoenix, Harry's friends, and Harry's relationship with Ginny.

Desplats thematic approach is definetely more low-key than Williams', but sounds coherent and well thought-through to me, and I believe that it will go well with the film, and possibly develop into grander things in part 2. :lol:

So much for now,

Greets,

Chris

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Nice work ChrisAfonso.

There's also what i'm calling the friendship theme which first appears at 2:25 in 'The Obliviation'. It often ties in with what you've called the 'Harry' theme but the two do not always come together which is why i think they represent different things. I agree that the 'Harry' theme seems to show in lots of different circumstances, which is why i'm calling it the 'Sacrifice' section of the Harry theme. Hehe, getting specific here.

Did not notice the ostinato under 'Snape to Malfoy Manor' later becoming the Deathly Hallows que. Very nice observation indeed. Quite clever on Desplats part, as it unites the Hallows as both Harry's goal and Voldemorts...

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Of course I *hear* the motifs - I refuse calling them themes - after all I'm not deaf, "low key" is just another word for ...

Oh whatever, I might as well point to my longer post above.

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I think the Death Eater and Order of the Phoenix themes are strong enough to be called Thematic... But would agree, that yes, the rest are probably more along the lines of Musical Motifs. Like Sirius Black and Pettigrew in PoA, just a few notes which represent the essence of the character reoccur throughout the score. I do think unlike those Motifs though, Desplats Motifs go through more development and variations in this score. He does use them like fully fledged themes so fall somewhere in between a theme and a motif for me.

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Oh! And I do want to add one more little tidbit.

The fact that you refer to someone in a working relationship with a director as a $10 whore shows exactly the "fan" mentality I talked about before. You don't understand the industry or film music as a whole, and you can't be blamed for that. But needless to say, that's why I can't really be bothered to take on too many board posts because it ALWAYS ends up with someone such as yourself breaking out similar rhetoric, or going into how much the directors/composers owe them. Believe me, I was a FAN for years before I was on the other end of the spectrum, and when I was a fan, the people that came before me didn't owe me crap either.

And by the way, if you knew who I was, you would not be suggesting that I played second violin - nor that I was a prostitute with no artistic merit. In fact, I'm willing to bet that you just may even own a CD of mine :-)

Either way, I know that you will come up with some inane argument about how what I just said is dead wrong etc. But the fact comes down to this: I'm a film composer who has spent years in the industry and tries to know it inside and out. You are not. You can have your own taste in music all you want - but to insinuate that I have sold my values and my respect like a whore is absolutely disrespectful and intolerable. It shows how quickly you make uninformed judgements about people (and God knows about music)

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FilmComposer sounds like a fan to me living out his ultimate fantasy on this board. Like a fat, 55 year old Texan truck driver posing as a 13 year old girl on a Justin Bieber fansite. I'm sorry; I've enjoyed your posts, but something about it just doesn't feel right.

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And by the way, if you knew who I was, you would not be suggesting that I played second violin...

Hey, what's wrong with second violins? That's an important section, you ought to know that... :mellow:

In all seriousness, gkgyver, take a chill pill. $10 whores? Really?

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Here is my track-by-track breakdown of the score album that I wrote last night upon listening to the music. I mostly likely have missed some things, named material wrong and gotten some musical jargon mixed up so feel free to comment and straighten things out. As I do not know the book very well nor have I naturally seen the film yet the names or assignment of the themes is purely conjecture. Please add to this and comment on this so I can make some sense of it all. Also be warned there are some spoilers of the plot of the novel in this analysis.

Track 1: Obliviate: The new main theme is woven throughout the piece starting at 0:54 with french horns and developing into its most complex and longest statement on the album.

Track 2: Snape to Malfoy Manor: The entire piece is a sustained development of the main motif for the villains, constantly pushed forward by the string ostinato which indeed evokes the sense of pursuit and motion that characterizes the Death Eaters who are now actively after Harry. The theme itself is intoned on top of this ostinato in brass and strings.

Track 3: Polyjuice Potion: Begins with another new thematic idea that I would call without the knowledge of the film in very general term the Friendship/Noble theme. It is first heard in horns 0:00-0:20 and develops airily in strings and playful woodwinds into a clarinet statement 0:39-1:16. Then follows some comical and flutteringly magical music for what I guess is the transformations and finally a short quote from Hedwig’s theme (3:09-end) ends the piece.

Track 4: Sky Battle: Starts of with rhythmic strings and deep brass intoning a threathning new motif which goes to a sudden blast of the Friendship/Noble theme (0:26-0:43) rising heroically only to land in a bed of gurgling low woodwinds that churn along with the deep strings until a fanfarish development of the Death Eater theme is heard at 1:01-1:07. Desplat obviously tips his hat to Williams in the cue with the furious string runs that follow and then the Death Eater theme rings out again, much deeper this time (1:21->). A racuous passage where brass and strings do battle suddenly quotes a lengthy passage of Hedwig’s theme at 1:51-2:20. After a pulsating threathning bass section (trademark Desplat electronic bass pulse) is heard the high woodwinds present another statement of the Death Eater theme (2:28-2:47) that is at its last moment augmented by a chilling appearance of soprano voice, a curious but a nice touch.

The Noble theme returns in urgent fanfares (2:56-3:24) and it is suddenly accompanied a brilliant clear flute solo which somehow reminds me of Star Wars. The rest of the track is a panicked deconstruction of the Friendship/Noble theme.

Track 5: At the Burrow: The track begins with a long french horn line which does not quite know if it wants to turn into Hedwig’s theme or the new Friendship/Noble theme but finally a warm statement of the new theme sounds (0:19-0:28). Friendship/Noble theme suddenly twists and turns into a new melody, the Dark theme first on solo trumpet, perhaps telling of the sorrow and casualties of Harry’s last minute escape (0:29-043) or perhaps presaging Voldemort himself. Desplat then fuses the main theme (heard on track 1) and the Noble theme to an emotional passage (0:44-1:25) but the new Dark theme takes over again, this time accompanied by choir (1:26-1:43). This melody appears again on tracks 11 Detonators and 24 Rescuing Hermione and could represent perhaps Voldemort himself. Suddenly a lighter choral passage lifts the mood for a few seconds and the Noble theme ends the piece (2:15-end).

Track 6: Harry and Ginny: The whole track is a variation on the Friendship/Noble theme and it is heard first on solo piano then on strings and harp and then in turn on piano and strings, the melody transforming into a melancholy lilting variation. Reminds me a bit of James Horner’s All the King’s Men material.

Track 7: The Will: A luminous and ennobling variation on the main theme plays in near Williams fashion (0:00-0:40) for what must be a transitional shot in the film. At 1 minute mark another new motif appears, an expectant but a bit melancholy and ominous Mystery piano theme that is passed on to a piccolo and chimes with a light choral accompaniment. This motif goes from 1:00 to 2:16 after which a short quote of Hedwig’s theme sings out on solo violin 2:16-2:26. The new Mysterious piano theme continues at 2:33 and last until the end of the track. Could it be somehow related to the Deathly Hallows or Dumbledore?

Track 8: Death Eaters: The main theme plays in strings quite forebodingly (0:00-0:50). The following passage hints at the main theme but finally a new rather gothic thematic passage that seems to develop out of the main theme (1:20-1:48) appears. Somehow it sounds like something half way between the dark melody heard twice on track 5 and the main theme or perhaps Desplat is just playing with the harmonics of the main theme.

After this thematic statement the music whisks of into a variation of the Death Eaters’ theme and their ostinato (1:49-end).

Track 9: Dobby: Quirky Desplat with off-kilter woodwinds, chimes and strings plus what sounds to be a mandolin. The music bounces forward with awkward gait until Desplat introduces a short statement of a new melody at 2:17-36 in whiny strings and brass. This will be heard again on the track 12 The Locket and could be Dolores Umbridge’s new theme.

The track ends with an urgent performance of the main theme in a bed of churning string ostinato (2:37-end).

Track 10: Ministry of Magic: A very “news room” style hectic, rhythmic and busy composition, a fitting theme for a busy and quirky ministry of HP world. A new melodic idea is introduced at 0:39-0:58 which will return on tracks 12 and 13 and perhaps refers to the sad fate of Muggleborn or others oppressed by the Ministry under Voldemort’s rule.

Track 11: Detonators: Desplat has composed a comedic almost Tchaikovskian theme for these gadgets. At 1:36 the Dark theme from the tracks 5 returns but is interrupted by the Mysterious piano theme from track 7 (1:54-2:03) and the piece ends with the Detonators’ bouncy material.

Track 12: The Locket: Track opens with a waltz melody (most likely the new Dolores Umbrage theme) on whiny strings accompanied by the harp (0:00-0:29) that was heard on track 9. Suddenly the Death Eaters theme subtly slides in on alto flute and soon the atmosphere turns icy cold with the string section adding tension (0:29-0:53). This is followed by a sad melody on strings (0:55-1:17) that was heard on track 10. Suddenly another electronic bass pulse appears under the sinister waltz melody and finishes the piece with menace (1:18-end).

Track 13: Fireplaces Escape: A variation on the strings and woodwind motif (similar to that of the Sky Battle 1:22-> buried there underneath the brass) starts off the track. After a furious but short action passage a bassoon line plays, recalling Hedwig’s theme (0:38-0:48). The sad theme from tracks 10 and 12 plays again 1:01-1:21. Then the hectic string runs return bolstered by brass and orchestral hits. The action is scored in a chaotic and furious way. Here again Desplat’s style is reminiscent of Williams’ in general way not specifically nodding to Maestro’s work on Potters but his stylistic traits.

Track 14: Ron Leaves: The main theme sounds on solo cello and basses punctuated by subtle bass drum accents and moves to solo violin and then to an openly emotional development of the main theme on strings that ends on a tragic note. The last four notes played by clarinet at the end of the track quote either the Mystery theme heard on the track 7 or the Friendship/Noble theme but it is difficult to tell without knowing how the scene plays in the film itself.

Track 15: Exodus: A disheartened and dreary march on strings punctuated by a whiny solo violin and supported by low brass.

Track 16: Godric’s Hollow Graveyard: Opening the track is solo piano playing scattered notes of what could be the main theme or the new emotional material that will soon appear on this track. Then a melancholy cello line winds its way through accompanied by a strange plucked instrument, probably the theorbo mentioned in the liner notes and reviews. At 1:01 new emotional melody plays, for Harry’s sorrow perhaps and continues until 2:02 when the theorbo returns and finally the new sad melody of the track plays out again but turns darker (2:41-end).

Track 17: Bathilda Bagshot: Almost entirely atmospheric littered with shakuhachi hoots and subtly skittering strings and brass. Interestingly the harp and orchestral chimes accompaniment similar to that of the waltz theme heard on tracks 9 and 12 is heard (1:34-2:00) under the ruckus. Then suddenly the Death Eaters’ theme sounds out (2:38-2:44) followed by an intense flurry of woodwind and string runs and blaring brass for what is most probably the confrontation with Nagini.

Track 18: Hermione’s Parents: A beautiful flute solo opens the piece with string accompaniment and stating a subtly emotional variation on the main theme (0:46-1:35). Fleeting forms of melodies appear but Desplat does not state any of his themes clearly here. Female choir intones a seductive sounding interlude (2:32-2:56) and harp plays a short motif underneath. The main theme appears again in 3:48-4:00 on solo cello and deep bass with a string ostinato accompaniment. The theme disappears but the ostinati continue until the female choir returns (4:25-5:06) and glides to a surprisingly optimistic horn reading of the main theme joined by strings (5:07-end).

Track 19: Destroying the Locket: A motoric string figure churns under a luminous string reading of the main theme that bursts into cacophony of battling brass fanfares and woodwind flurries.

Track 20: Ron Returns: The main theme takes a sudden warm turn, the strings performing an optimistic, conciliatory reading of the material, reaffirming friendship and love the main characters share.

Track 21: Lovegood: Quirkiness abound. Theorbo, jazzy flutter tongued and smoky flutes, a rolling piano and chimes motif, and slight Middle-Eastern influences propel this music forward. Definitely stands apart from the rest of the score but what I gather from everybody’s comments so does the character.

Track 22: Deathly Hallows: A variation on Lovegood’s theme interspersed with the main theme dominates this track. At 2:29 begins a dark gothic reading of the main theme or something akin to the dark melody heard in the middle of track 8.

Track 23: Captured and Tortured: Deep drums open the piece. Strings join in and gradually add tension and give away to a reading of the main theme (1:33-2:12). Something that sounds like a broken up Lovegood’s theme is then heard in a very dark guise, nearly unrecognizable in the gloom (2:14-end).

Track 24: Rescuing Hermione: A furious but heroic string passage, somewhat reminiscent of Williams’ HP music, plays and it followed by the Dark theme (0:17-0:36) heard on tracks 5 amd 11 and it is interrupted by Dobby’s whimsical flute motif (0:39-0:45). The string motif from the start of the track plays again (0:46-1:09) with some clarinet references to Dobby’s motif and then a new gentle but tragic melodic phrase plays out (1:12-1:26) which somehow reminds me of JW’s theme for Dobby and probably underscores his death. Pounding timpani and tense orchestral hits close the track.

Track 25: Farewell Dobby: Flute and clarinets intone sad chords and a new longing melody on flute is heard accompanied by solemn strings. Reminds me of John Barry on a good day. The main theme sounds out tragic and full of sorrow on strings and horns, the melody winding into a long development of the flute idea and the main theme. At 2:45 a solo violin adds its bittersweet voice to the lamentation and a long sustained bass string chord ends the piece on a dark note.

Track 26: The Elder Wand: Smoky shakuhachi starts the track and is joined by a new string melody at 0:12 which continues dark and foreboding until 0:32. Dark atmospherics prevail but are suddenly overtaken first by a light but rapt percussive passage (0:46-0:54) and secondly by a near martially striding string figure punctuated by the horns and trumpet calls that bring the cue to an ominous close (0:57-end). I feel this cue is deprived of the sense of completion and thus the music feels like it is anticipating Part II of the story.

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And by the way, if you knew who I was, you would not be suggesting that I played second violin - nor that I was a prostitute with no artistic merit. In fact, I'm willing to bet that you just may even own a CD of mine :-)

I'm trying to guess who you are. :mellow:

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I haven't listened to this score enough to identify themes on par with some of the more serious listeners, but I've heard snippets of Williams here and there, and other recognizable motifs/themes that repeat, though without the film itself, I cannot tie them to specific images or people as Desplat intends. It's growing on me.

I wonder if the people who speak negatively about this score would appreciate it more if it was not for the Harry Potter franchise. After all, John Williams composed for 3/7 (so far) of the Harry Potter franchise, which is less than half. Why should the other 4/7 (so far) feel indebted to use his themes, and why are we upset that they don't?

Superman II and III were regurgitated JW themes, but nobody really praises them, they're just...there. Superman IV gets praise for re-using themes and creating a few new stellar ones. But Superman Returns and JP 3 were regurgitated themes, and they get a lot of flack. HP 4-7 aren't regurgitated themes, and they get flack. Obviously someone was happy with the music, because it got attached to the film and the composers got paid. 100% of the fans will never be happy.

Were people upset back in the day when Horner didn't recycle Goldsmith's Enterprise theme for his movies? When Rosenman didn't use any of Horner or Goldsmith's themes? Or were they just happy that Courage's fanfare was used?

Is 518 a birthday? Rick Wakeman? Mark Mothersbaugh? Reinhold Heil?

Hey, what's wrong with second violins? That's an important section, you ought to know that... :mellow:

Second and third parts are often more important than the firsts. Without the harmony, the tones of the melody aren't as well-rounded.

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And by the way, if you knew who I was, you would not be suggesting that I played second violin - nor that I was a prostitute with no artistic merit. In fact, I'm willing to bet that you just may even own a CD of mine :-)

Not if you're Hans Zimmer. :)

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Wow! Thorough work there incanus! I've been trying to organise the structure of the score in my head as i listen to it, by attempting to remember musical cues and where motifs repeat / develop and which tracks they appear in, but your post is so much clearer. Thanks. It seems you've also identified a couple of motifs i previously didn't pay much attention too.

I can understand how some people can think that this kind of detailed listening shouldn't be necessary when listening to a new score, but i for one love finding new details and moments in the music. I feel like i'm delving into the mind and thought-process of the composer and its fun to make the connections. :)

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Either way, I know that you will come up with some inane argument about how what I just said is dead wrong etc. But the fact comes down to this: I'm a film composer who has spent years in the industry and tries to know it inside and out. You are not. You can have your own taste in music all you want - but to insinuate that I have sold my values and my respect like a whore is absolutely disrespectful and intolerable. It shows how quickly you make uninformed judgements about people (and God knows about music)

I totally agree. And Roald, if you knew about film scoring from the actual execution side of things, you would know that composer518 is not someone "living out his fantasies" and is who he says he is. There are a lot of composers working steadily out there that might not be on the same level as a John Williams or Hans Zimmer but their work is no less viable and functional. to dismiss what composer518 claims, with his lengthy exposition about things specific to the industry, without knowing all the facts shows how close-minded you are.

As I said before, it's no wonder why most film composers stay way the hell away from forums like this. Some people can be quite ruthless here.

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I don't think any creator of anything should interact with the "fans" on a level of coming to a forum where your work is discussed.

It's a very bad habit. I say this as someone working on video games that's been there and done that.

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I don't think any creator of anything should interact with the "fans" on a level of coming to a forum where your work is discussed.

It's a very bad habit. I say this as someone working on video games that's been there and done that.

Yes, I do believe you are quite right. It's just asking for abuse.

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And Roald, if you knew about film scoring from the actual execution side of things, you would know that composer518 is not someone "living out his fantasies" and is who he says he is. There are a lot of composers working steadily out there that might not be on the same level as a John Williams or Hans Zimmer but their work is no less viable and functional. to dismiss what composer518 claims, with his lengthy exposition about things specific to the industry, without knowing all the facts shows how close-minded you are.

Actually, I know a lot more about "the actual execution side of things" than you think, but that's besides the point.

What gave FilmComposer away is the fact that he had to shove the notion that he was "a film composer" and "working in the industry" a few too many times down the throats of the "fans" around here (which he - in a clever way - painted as ignorant morons). Nothing FilmComposer posted was new information to the more literate fans around here. In fact; I love the humble attitude of Conrad Pope who once said that the general film music fan knows more about the industry than he does!

It's clear FilmComposer came here to discuss Desplat's work for DH. Great; go ahead. Why the "I'm-a-film-composer-so-I-know-better/more-than-the-fans" attitude? Just discuss the score.

I think it's highly perceivable that established composers read forums like these and post here or at FSM from time to time. Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, James Horner. Who knows. It's possible. I've received some emails from John Ottman a few years ago. Yeah, these people are active on the internet.

I just don't see them talking about working in the industry like FilmComposer, especially the "I bet you may have a CD of me" comment. Come on.

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I don't think any creator of anything should interact with the "fans" on a level of coming to a forum where your work is discussed.

Today we salute you, Mister Pro Sports Heckler Guy.

They say those who can't play, coach,

Apparently those who can't coach, sit 30 rows back, shirtless, shouting obscenities.

Thanks to you, our team is armed with game-winning tips like "catch the ball" and "throw it,"

"You stink," "that sucks," "what a bunch of losers."

Not just catcalls, but subtle psychological ploys to prod your team to victory.

So here's to you, all sultan of shouting, because while there may not be an I in team, thanks to you, there's always an F and U.

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Little question... Is it possible that the new "friendship" theme is based around Hedwig's Theme? I imagine this could give Desplat an excellent opportunity to blend both themes together, maybe in a heroic way? I know he did this on Part I, but I would love to hear it extended in a "BOOM!" sort of way.

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Fair enough but by saying "I know more than you think" aren't you guilty of the very same thing you charge filmcomposer518 with? After all, you're qualifying your point to some extent eh?

I don't know who he/she is either but I imagine they have good reason to remain anonymous. Some professionals like Chris Tilton and Bill Stromberg post on these forums and don't hide behind a pseudonym (nor do I but I'm not a career film composer in Hollywood so I have nothing to hide anyhow) but everyone has their own circumstances and comfort levels so I believe in live and let live. It's just a pity that there's the omnipresence of such cynicism. But it's probably not just relegated to film score forums. I think it's a natural side effect of the internet in general. And yes, some people do lie and prop themselves up to be more than they are while most often the skilled masters underplay their abilities and are as humble as can be. Probably because they have assessed so much knowledge and experience they don't have anything to prove.

Anyhow, to get back on track here, I really appreciate all of the various posts from those who like this score. I like the musical examples provided and the points put forth in a thoughtful manner as to why there are merits to Desplat's latest work.

It's been a good thread by and large. :)

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And by the way, if you knew who I was, you would not be suggesting that I played second violin - nor that I was a prostitute with no artistic merit. In fact, I'm willing to bet that you just may even own a CD of mine :-)

I'm trying to guess who you are. ;)

It's Desplat trying to keep the insults at bay... :)

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If it were Desplat, he would be upset that so many have heard what they cannot buy yet. Will 100% of those who "have" the soundtrack also "buy" it, or delete it on the day it comes out? I don't think so.

If this had been a pet project of the labels, everyone would be sobbing or wringing hands in outrage that it's out.

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Good point. I actually pre-ordered both CD and iTunes (for the extra tracks). I have no problem deleting this 128kbps version the moment I can get my grubby paws on the real thing- twice.

Yeah, but listening to it and deciding it's not worth it is fair game, too.

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Wow, I'm really late to the game on this one. I'm already quite predisposed to Desplat...but these clips make it sound like this is going to be one of his most varied and exciting scores yer. Can't wait.

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Good point. I actually pre-ordered both CD and iTunes (for the extra tracks). I have no problem deleting this 128kbps version the moment I can get my grubby paws on the real thing- twice.

Yeah, but listening to it and deciding it's not worth it is fair game, too.

Yes I totally see your point. I'm a huge Desplat fan so even if I only heard the examples, I would have taken the chance on the pre-orders. He has yet to disappoint IMO. But that doesn't necessarily apply to everyone who DL this version. I know some of us got all high and mighty on another forum where they ripped and shared Lukas' Ron Jones ST pet project and we tore them a new one and now we're doing the same very thing. I think I'll stand in the hypocrite's corner until my CD copy arrives. :)

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Yes I totally see your point. I'm a huge Desplat fan so even if I only heard the examples, I would have taken the chance on the pre-orders. He has yet to disappoint IMO. But that doesn't necessarily apply to everyone who DL this version. I know some of us got all high and mighty on another forum where they ripped and shared Lukas' Ron Jones ST pet project and we tore them a new one and now we're doing the same very thing. I think I'll stand in the hypocrite's corner until my CD copy arrives. :)

But it's no going back to the stone age, anyway. I listened to the Desplat on youtube, and i will do so with every score available there just to check. I vividly remember the many times i bought a score unheard because of fan raves and what a hassle it was selling this stuff on eBay if it was not to my liking. WB might foam at the mouth that a potential buyer for their new release decides not to shell out 15$ because he/she already heard it for free and doesn't want it, but that's their problem. For me, i like to preview a lot and buy very little - because i don't like/need most of it.

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