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Fabulin

Estimate the total length of John Williams' music

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Just now, Loert said:

If we assume that JW composes a minute a day and that he has been composing like that for the previous 60 years then that gives 1 minute x 365 days x 60 years = 365 hours. This includes everything that he has composed, not just his film music (released or unreleased).

One minute a day keeps others away 😎

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I just happen to have counted my Williams collection - 189 individual CDs, counting double CDs as two discs and multiple releases individually (e.g. I have 5 discs for E.T.). Using 1 CD = 1 hour as a rough estimate, that would be about 190 hours, though quite a bit of that consists of duplicates. On the other hand, not everything has been released, and I don't have all of his non-film stuff (and a handful of minor gaps in his film output). So I'd say a minimum of something between 150 and 200 hours of released music is not an unreasonable guess.

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11 minutes ago, Loert said:

If we assume that JW composes a minute a day and that he has been composing like that for the previous 60 years then that gives 1 minute x 365 days x 60 years = 365 hours, or ~ 15 days. This includes everything that he has composed, not just his film music (released or unreleased).

 

And now we assume JW composes two minutes a day. That's 30 days.

 

And now let's assume Mozart composed 1 hour of music every day, for 30 years.... Blah blah.

 

So? Sorry, but your statement is so general as to have no meaning whatsoever! 

 

 

6 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I just happen to have counted my Williams collection - 189 individual CDs, counting double CDs as two discs and multiple releases individually (e.g. I have 5 discs for E.T.). Using 1 CD = 1 hour as a rough estimate, that would be about 190 hours, though quite a bit of that consists of duplicates. On the other hand, not everything has been released, and I don't have all of his non-film stuff (and a handful of minor gaps in his film output). So I'd say a minimum of something between 150 and 200 hours of released music is not an unreasonable guess.

 

Now this makes more sense.

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Just now, Josh500 said:

 

And now we assume JW composes two minutes a day. 

 

That's 30 days.

 

So? Sorry, but your statement is so general as to have no meaning whatsoever! 

 

Well, at least we can be pretty sure it's not 3 days or 300 days...

You should look up what an "order estimation" is.

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2 minutes ago, Loert said:

 

Well, at least we can be pretty sure it's not 3 days or 300 days...

You should look up what an "order estimation" is.

 

Again, your statement is so general as to have no meaning whatsoever. 

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1 minute ago, Josh500 said:

 

Again, your statement is so general as to have no meaning whatsoever. 

 

Again, at least we can be pretty sure it's not 3 days or 300 days... 

You should look up what an "order estimation" is. 

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1 hour ago, Fabulin said:

I wonder how long would it take to listen to everything by JW. What do you think? More than 200 hours?

 

It should be everything released, whether in film or on CD. 

 

What JW writes but decides not to publish is anybody's guess. That could be anything at all....

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To be fair, the modern collections of complete works by some of the great past composers include pieces that were never published during their lifetime. And definitely lots of works that were published, but not performed until after their death, so "released in film or on CD" is objectively too strict.

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9 minutes ago, Marian Schedenig said:

To be fair, the modern collections of complete works by some of the great past composers include pieces that were never published during their lifetime. And definitely lots of works that were published, but not performed until after their death, so "released in film or on CD" is objectively too strict.

 

Well, JW is still alive.

 

We can worry about the unpublished and unperformed music after his death. I'm sure the relevant people will.

 

Not sure what the OP intended, but imo everything he wrote is just too broad. That can literally amount to anything.

 

 

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42 minutes ago, Loert said:

Actually, here's an idea for a thread: Does JW work weekends?

 

He used to back in the day. I  think he took Sundays off, according to an old interview (the one in that Empire Strikes Back book where the interviewer gets lost on his way to Williams' house?)

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Of course, there are many other factors to take into account that make it difficult to compare these numbers. For example, Williams has orchestrators to help him write for full orchestra in a short amount of time - even if his sketches do contain nearly everything that ends up in the final score, they still take time off his hands. Bach, Mozart & Co had to do everything themselves (unless perhaps they sometimes had help from their students). On the other hand, the output of the top composers in the list linked above consists of many different types of compositions, including a lot of solo and chamber music and in many cases a significant share a-cappella choir works, whereas the major share of Williams's works is for full orchestra.

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How much of what JW has written have we actually heard?  There is probably so much that is written that is unapproved but still wonderful music.  Should that get counted?  For example if he wrote three hours of music The Force Awakens but only two hours is available, that third hour is still very good, just doesn't fit the directors intention so I would argue it should still be counted but how?  It isn't on a CD so should be in the 70 minute CD estimate.  Plus there are works he did that aren't recorded like other early jazz pieces which I certainly think count in his body of work but haven't been recorded.  What of discarded works?  What of the 150 other five note themes for Close Encounters?  This is true for any composer catalog by the way.  It can be a fascinating adventure to listen to rejected/withdrawn pieces by famous composers.  Should TV minutes per episode be equated with film music per minute or concert works that took years to complete?  For TV it isn't unusual to write 40 minutes of music per week but that is unrealistic for a feature film.

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One can tell that many people here have no idea about the creative process.

 

If the soundtrack to a movie is around two hours for example, it's not like the composer wrote 3 hours of music and only one hour was discarded, rejected, or got lost. He wrote literally 20 hours of music! And that's a conservative estimate. Most of it is no good, but more importantly, the composer thought it's no good. The creative process is one of a never-ending series of error and trial, half-baked and stupid ideas, and picking out the gems from the whole mess.

 

This applies to not just music, by the way, but to the literary process as well. 

 

For example: Williams wrote over 300 examples of the iconic five-tone motif for Close Encounters—before Spielberg chose the one incorporated into the film's signature theme. If you want everything he wrote, you want all 300 examples? And that's just one theme! 

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It's simple to calculate how long it'd take to listen to everything: Start every single released track at the same time, it'll only take 20 minutes or however long the longest is!

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8 hours ago, Josh500 said:

If the soundtrack to a movie is around two hours for example, it's not like the composer wrote 3 hours of music and only one hour was discarded, rejected, or got lost. He wrote literally 20 hours of music! And that's a conservative estimate. Most of it is no good, but more importantly, the composer thought it's no good. The creative process is one of a never-ending series of error and trial, half-baked and stupid ideas, and picking out the gems from the whole mess.

 

I'm sure you are largely overestimating the amount of music that gets discarded. There is literally no time to physically write down 20 hours of music for full orchestra (even in condensed form, as Williams does) in the few weeks that are usually given to him to compose a film score. I'm talking just about the mechanical labour of writing down the notes, without even including the concept of writing "good music". I think  @Loert 's order-of-magnitude estimate is probably realistic, although, if I had to bet, I would stay a bit lower (that is, I believe he wrote less than an average of 1 minute of music per day for all of his career). 

 

 

8 hours ago, Josh500 said:

For example: Williams wrote over 300 examples of the iconic five-tone motif for Close Encounters—before Spielberg chose the one incorporated into the film's signature theme. If you want everything he wrote, you want all 300 examples? And that's just one theme! 

 

This is a few-notes and few-seconds example, which does not alter the general statement. It would alter the estimate of the total duration by just a few minutes, and it's absolutely impossible that such a procedure was applied to all of his more elaborate themes. You should not expect that he wrote hundreds (or even tens) of different versions of, say, the Force theme. First, he did not have so much time, and second, he is not that uncertain about what he writes, otherwise he would have written much less, believe me. Moreover, I think we should count only the finalized stuff, not the sketches that were discarded and thrown in the dustbin. 

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The total duration of all the movies scored by John Williams is 235 hours.

 

By adding up the most expanded release of each film/TV score and including the bootlegs of unreleased scores, it adds up to roughly 127 hours of music. (In the case where the expanded release also includes the original album, I only counted the complete score, without duplicate tracks from the OST.) Of course, many movies have not been expanded, but that number gives you something to start with.

 

Meanwhile, his complete concert works (including Thomas and the King) last about 11 hours, of which there are 5 hours of concertos.

 

So, I count 138 hours of John Williams music either officially released or available as bootlegs. This is far from "more than 200 hours" (Some movies have an hour or so of unreleased music, but most only have a few minutes). Personally, I would not even count alternates in that total amount, as I would not count a discarded draft of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony in the duration of the work. Every composer writes a lot more music than they retain in their final work. If the composer only changes a few notes, or adds a 10-second insert somewhere, I would definitely not count the slightly alternate version within duration of the "complete works". Of course, some alternates are significantly different and deserved to be heard! The 127 hours counted here includes all officially released alternates.

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138 seems low

 I have about 220 hours (9.2 days) in itunes just for the OST/Expanded score section .There's a few repetitions because I left a few OST's after they were expanded so lets say 190-200 hours

 

Then there's his concert works and other stuff like concert versions and fanfares

 

 

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I counted 138 hours if you exclude any repetition (besides major alternates) and exclude the OST from expanded releases (which shortens a bunch of these releases by about half). For example, I did not count both volumes of "Not With My Wife, You Don't!", although they are different recordings. Of course, there are various ways to count this. I counted mine at the most conservative - let's say, how much completely original and different music JW wrote, trying to count only 1 version of each piece. Of course, the total amount of music recorded is way above that.

 

Reversely, if you only count OSTs, it's 76 hours of OSTs released at the time of the movie's release, and up to 91 hours if you include all first album releases.

 

(I counted the fanfares within the 11 hours of concert works. I did not count any of the concert versions - but that's an additional 7.5 hours for all of the Signature Edition.)

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On 10/20/2018 at 9:34 PM, TGP said:

How long before Bespin speed reads this thread title and starts talking about penis dimension?

 

I already count the total number of albums, and they find this number useless here, imagine the lenght...

 

Anyway, currently it's...

 

image.png

 

 

 

 

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