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The Definitive John Williams Plagiarism/Homage Thread


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Found the opening 6 notes of the Force Theme in Haydn     5:02 - 5:06  

Thanks to @Falstaft for alerting me to this one in his (fantastic) article on JW action scoring.    

Kylo Ren 1:14-1:31.    

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Indeed! And I suspect he was one of those who made it fashionable? You hear a lot of latino percussion in film/TV music of that period. Some more "Johnny" examples...

 

 

(VOLUME WARNING) Very prominent guiro in this one...

 

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The first few seconds of Glazunov's "The Sea" sounds like Williams' Jaws:

 

 

It's in the same key too.

 

If the Glazunov piece wasn't titled "The Sea" then I wouldn't have posted this, but the fact that it is makes the similarity more interesting!

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I've always been surprised that the score to "The Hateful Eight", which was composed more or less at the same time as "The Force Awakens", has a theme whose first 4 notes are the same as Kylo Ren's theme. Of course there is no plagiarism involved, it's just a nice coincidence that the two major film composers alive came up with a very similar theme in the same year. In this track, it starts playing at around 0:37:

 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, Muad'Dib said:

Both composers are very big fans of Herrmann and it's a diminished 7th chord (I believe, I'm still learning...) so it's probably not that weird and I'm sure it appears in a lot of music.

 

No, it's not a 7 dim chord. I'm talking about the melody that, in Morricone's example, goes as G - F# - C - Eb in the key of c minor (the other instruments are playing the chord C5, so when the Eb comes, it completes a c minor chord). In "The Force Awakens", Kylo Ren's motif is often presented in C# minor, as G# - F double sharp - C# - E in the brass (then JW's melody continues with lower G#), with a C# minor chord in the strings. The melody is the same. I just find it curious that they had a very similar idea, although it's orchestrated very differently.

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Listen to the opening bars of the intermission music from The Ten Commandments (till 0:24):

 

 

It's basically "fanfare -> descending strings -> fanfare -> descending strings" right?

 

Now listen here from 17:42:

 

 

Not only do we have the same pattern of fanfare -> strings (17:57) -> fanfare (18:13) -> strings (18:27), but the strings melody has the same contour as the strings in The Ten Commandments: down, down, up, down.

 

Given the parallel between Mt. Sinai from The Ten Commandments and Devil's Tower from CE3K, do you think this similarity was a conscious decision by Williams? Or is it just a coincidence? Or is it somewhere in the middle?

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1 hour ago, Loert said:

Given the parallel between Mt. Sinai from The Ten Commandments and Devil's Tower from CE3K, do you think this similarity was a conscious decision by Williams? Or is it just a coincidence? Or is it somewhere in the middle?

Well, it would appear that Spielberg was definitely linking his movie with Mt. Sinai and Ten Commandments, since that movie plays on TV at one point during CE3K.

So, perhaps the music from The Ten Commandments was used as a temp track, and John followed its contours a bit.  So, more general inspiration than any outright copying/paraphrasing.

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Great example, Disco Stu. I think people tend to underrate Waxman's influence on Williams. Just in that cue from Taras Bulba, you can also hear at 0:45 where he gets the sort of whirling woodwind writing in, among other places, Anakin Defeats Sebulba from TPM. And the interest in fugal writing is something both Waxman and Williams were known for.

 

 

 

 

47 minutes ago, Disco Stu said:

 

 

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