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New Project: John Williams Potter Scoring


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Great start to the Half-Blood Prince score! I noticed there's not a lot of reverb in these Harry Potter tracks, and I'm wondering is that done intentionally or not? I think a lot of these cues would benefit from some added reverb to give it a bigger, more realistic sound. 

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3 hours ago, superultramegaa said:

Great start to the Half-Blood Prince score! I noticed there's not a lot of reverb in these Harry Potter tracks, and I'm wondering is that done intentionally or not? I think a lot of these cues would benefit from some added reverb to give it a bigger, more realistic sound. 

Yeah, it sounds a tid bit more like LA than London doesn't it.

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On 6/7/2021 at 1:55 PM, Permanent Waves said:

Yeah, it sounds a tid bit more like LA than London doesn't it.

You got us. We had to switch orchestras for licensing purposes :lol:

 

But actually @superultramegaa, thanks for the feedback! We did add the usual reverb presets but hadn't really reexamined them after the end of Order. But I think it's about time we messed with it going forward. [we had mostly worried about losing details when working with the reverb before.] This is the benefit of having realtime fan comments though - we're fine with doing sort of a preemptive remaster of HBP with some new settings and a rerelease of the first cue :)

 

So here we go! A "London" version of cue no. 1.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1F6r5XaxFoE2Xt9i26ePj2oX--JZFV9HP/view?usp=sharing

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This is a great effort. But I just don't see it working. JW would have kept re-inventing the sound with each new director. He would have dropped themes and made new ones. He surely would not have used William Ross's Lucius Malfoy theme for the Death Eaters...

I hope Deathly Hallows has some exciting JW-style action music.

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On 5/31/2021 at 6:58 PM, mrbellamy said:

 

I can't remember if I ever shared it but I once literally just rewrote Desplat's cue with Williams's Dobby theme 

 

 

And a version using Williams's original harmony instead at 0:57 -

 

 

Hopefully not stepping on your toes there @Potter Scoring Project, I trust you will come up with something more original ;)

 

I haven't gone through all these but the new Window to the Past variations in OOTP are really nice, thank you for writing those.

 

Ah yes, old Finale SmartMusic SoftSynth samples. Good times.

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Am I the only one who thinks Williams just agreed to score a new Harry Potter film whenever this thread gets a new comment and is bumped up?

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3 hours ago, pete said:

Am I the only one who thinks Williams just agreed to score a new Harry Potter film whenever this thread gets a new comment and is bumped up?

Haha, sorry, we tried to avoid it a little by calling it "new project"... maybe "fan project" would have been better!

 

 

@Drew thanks for your comment- there's no saying that JW wouldn't have switched up the sound with different directors. As we've mentioned this is a total fan project based off of one possible route these scores could go. This:

On 7/11/2021 at 11:21 PM, superultramegaa said:

I think this project is more focused on the ideal situation Williams' work could have been throughout the series. Not necessarily a 100% accurate depiction of what the reality of the music would have been.

is definitely where we're coming from, and we'll probably never know what he actually would have done. Even within Star Wars there are some surprising reprisals vs new compositional moments (we've all seen those discussions on here). We too have thoughts on Marvel :lol: but that's for another time - with this, we just knew the Williams scores had so much potential to drive home the emotional journey past film 3!

 

 

And @bollemanneke, woohoo! Glad to hear, and let us know what you think. Thanks to everyone for listening!!

 

MS

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Okay, I finished HP5 and here are my (probably recurring) thoughts.

 

Some pieces are absolutely brilliant, like the cue when they return to Hogwarts after Christmas and the arrival of the Order at the Ministry, but what annoyed me more than ever this time is this obsession to force HP1-3 material to fit the story even when it’s blatantly obvious it just won’t work, the worst example of which was without a doubt the opening of the end credits. I understand the reasoning behind this approach for this project even if I don't like it,

But it is rather flawed when you then also go and invent your own themes which Williams never heard, approved or conceived. Yes, they sound a bit like other Williams material, but nothing more.

 

That then begs the question: why not just try and insert previous themes at appropriate points and keep the rest of the scores by the other composers intact? I realise you wouldn't have a project like this if you did that, but just saying. I tried to fit HP1-2 themes into HP3 and was surprised to discover it almost never worked. Yes, I don’t like the complete discontinuity between those three scores, but I do understand why they did it now.

 

Or you could take another approach I would be very interested in: paste random Williams cues from random scores over Potter scenes that have no regard for themes, but only for the mood of the scenes in question. At least that would be more consistent with JW's original approach to HP3 where he dropped all but two themes, or even one if you choose to use the alternate Firebolt, and you would have a full score ‘composed by John Williams’.

 

I really don't want to discard and dismiss this project, but the mixture of somewhat average samples (I fully realise better ones might be unaffordable) and the obsessive imitation of Williams trademarks, namely the incessant piccolo bursts in action scenes, just stood out for me a little too often this time. It sometimes sounds as if you’re forcing John Williams to write a Chris Columbus score for David Yates. (Let the record show I still think he’s a BAD director.) I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the experience, though, and certainly found some moments truly delightful and inspiring. They make for very interesting 'what if' thinking, but my counter arguments sadly outweighed the benefits for me this time.

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2 hours ago, bollemanneke said:

Okay, I finished HP5 and here are my (probably recurring) thoughts.

 

Some pieces are absolutely brilliant, like the cue when they return to Hogwarts after Christmas and the arrival of the Order at the Ministry, but what annoyed me more than ever this time is this obsession to force HP1-3 material to fit the story even when it’s blatantly obvious it just won’t work, the worst example of which was without a doubt the opening of the end credits. I understand the reasoning behind this approach for this project even if I don't like it,

But it is rather flawed when you then also go and invent your own themes which Williams never heard, approved or conceived. Yes, they sound a bit like other Williams material, but nothing more.

 

That then begs the question: why not just try and insert previous themes at appropriate points and keep the rest of the scores by the other composers intact? I realise you wouldn't have a project like this if you did that, but just saying. I tried to fit HP1-2 themes into HP3 and was surprised to discover it almost never worked. Yes, I don’t like the complete discontinuity between those three scores, but I do understand why they did it now.

 

Or you could take another approach I would be very interested in: paste random Williams cues from random scores over Potter scenes that have no regard for themes, but only for the mood of the scenes in question. At least that would be more consistent with JW's original approach to HP3 where he dropped all but two themes, or even one if you choose to use the alternate Firebolt, and you would have a full score ‘composed by John Williams’.

 

I really don't want to discard and dismiss this project, but the mixture of somewhat average samples (I fully realise better ones might be unaffordable) and the obsessive imitation of Williams trademarks, namely the incessant piccolo bursts in action scenes, just stood out for me a little too often this time. It sometimes sounds as if you’re forcing John Williams to write a Chris Columbus score for David Yates. (Let the record show I still think he’s a BAD director.) I'm not saying I didn't enjoy the experience, though, and certainly found some moments truly delightful and inspiring. They make for very interesting 'what if' thinking, but my counter arguments sadly outweighed the benefits for me this time.

 

Yeah, I pretty much disagree on a fundamental level. I agree that the samples could be better (they've already improved greatly in Half-Blood Prince), and some themes seem somewhat forced, but most of the time, the Order's score is a dramatic upgrade from the one we got. 

 

I'm getting very sick of this argument that this project doesn't change the tone at all from the Chris Columbus scores. This score has parts that sound that way, but it also has elements of the Prisoner of Azkaban score everywhere, and even some of the dark scoring that the post-Williams composers like Desplat and Hooper employed (see The Sacking of Trelawney where the string section of the first half is very similar in tone to Hooper's version, with some sections resembling the Desplat trio theme). If this project is just imitating a Columbus score, then so is Prisoner, just because it has medieval instruments, some of the action music is similar to the first 2 films, and Window to The Past has a similar development to the Family theme. 

 

The thematic argument you're making about Prisoner is just baffling to me. I roll my eyes when Harry goes upstairs at the Dursley's house to sit besides his family portrait, and Window to The Past plays instead of the Family theme. It so obviously would have worked there, but no this film has to have edgy, minor thematic material.

 

It almost comes across more childish to get rid of the "happy" themes for "darker" ones without any regard for what came before. Like a child saying, "This is a new year of school, I don't have to think about what I learned last year, just learn new stuff now!" not understanding that what came before informs what you learn later. While this project, at least tries to reincorporate what came before in new creative ways. Such as in the scenes with Kreacher, where we get a demented version of Wondrous World. Not to mention the wonderful use of Wand of the Phoenix in this project, which turned an atmospheric, mysterious, but not completely noticeable theme that was only used in 2 cues from the first 2 films, and turns it into one of the most resonant, and impactful themes in the series for me. 

 

I get where you're coming from with the frequent use of piccolo and certain Williams tropes, and how repetitive it can get but for someone who isn't Williams' age, without his scoring experience, this is an extremely impressive imitation. 

 

However, I have no clue why you have an issue with this project creating original themes that Williams "didn't approve." None of us are psychic or know exactly what Williams would have done, that's not the point. This project is both a guess as to where Williams could have gone, and an attempt to make the music of the HP films a cohesive unit a-la Star Wars or LOTR, rather than the jarring, tonal whiplash we got with how it actually turned out.

 

In this respect, I think this project accomplishes that goal almost perfectly. Umbridge's theme is memorable and suitably menacing, while still being tonally distinct from Voldemort and the Death Eaters, Luna's theme is one of my favorites, having a bit of the Hooper-like bounce while still being very Williams-esque. Order of the Phoenix I was a bit disappointed with at first, as I personally thought Desplat's was better, but it really grew on me. It might be my favorite example of how this composer is trying to make the music mature, turning from the noble, happy music of Hogwarts Forever, to the more stoic sound of The Fellowship theme or Desplat's Order theme. 

 

As for the question of only inserting themes here and there into the films' original scores... no. For one it wouldn't fit tonally as those scores are constantly different to the point of annoyance, so inserting old material suddenly would have tonal whiplash, whereas remaking the scores from the ground up to have more of a Williams feel would not only fix this problem, but fix the lack of those scores' continuity with the new themes as well.

 

If you just inserted non HP Williams temp-tracks to make the scores feel cohesive, first those movies' tones wouldn't necessarily work in HP since it has its own unique, distinct sound. Second, then there's no new themes and that leaves the score feeling even more repetitive, dull, and lifeless, and finally, it's just lazy. At that point you're only worried about replicating Williams' tone for similar scenes with no respect to originality. Besides, I remember the assembling of Dumbledore's army scenes being purposefully similar to Williams' work on The Post as a way of maintaining Williams' style, while giving a new sound to HP. Not really sure what more you can ask of the composer of this project at this point. 

 

You're free to dislike it and have issues with it. I do as well. I agree on your critique for the end credits opening, and I would have preferred if the composer put more of his original suites in the end credits rather than relying so heavily on Williams' Prisoner themes. I just don't see how your counter-arguments make this project invalid in any way. 

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Hey guys thanks for the comments. @bollemanneke As we've mentioned I'm not claiming to be John Williams, so feel free to take or leave the interpretation. We didn't include other composers' themes because the goal is a cohesive narrative and sound world in the style of JW. It's interesting to work with as the films evolve (cough Yates cough) so we hope you'll still enjoy some things, and we're taking inspiration from some predecessors in the Williams catalogue as well as some favorite successors in other sequel films. I do appreciate the feedback though.

 

And @superultramegaa thanks for sharing your thoughts, it pretty much hits the nail on the head with what we're trying to do. It's really fantastic to see that even though this could never really be a "perfect" project, it's still getting across some of that vision!

 

BP

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey all, we're back a day later than normal with some long cues this week! A lot of material is reprised from films 2-5 and weaved in with the new. We hope you enjoy Cue No. 12: The Potion Contest and Cue No. 13: The First Memory!

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Quality work again. Love cue 13 in particular! It's so satisfying to hear the Fawkes theme in a fuller statement again! The use of Chamber of Secrets' music is wonderful as well. For all of the talk of the later Potter films being so dark, the music never hit the darkness and suspense that Chamber's score was able to achieve for me. 

 

I have a quick question, however about the 3-note motif. Are you eventually planning to use it to represent Harry in his darker moments like it was used in the second film? I always found one of the most haunting moments in that score to be when Harry lies to Dumbledore, and Tom Riddle doing the same being connected by that theme. 

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@superultramegaa So glad you enjoyed Cue 13! It’s been a dream of mine to finish the Tom Riddle narrative set up so well in COS. 

 

In terms of the 3-note, since GOF, I’ve used it in reference to Voldemort’s quest for immortality as well as the Horcruxes (which obviously aren’t introduced yet but will be soon!). Absolutely 100% the best and most chilling part of COS is that paralell of Dumbledore asking both Harry and Tom the same question. Since the 3-note has been consistently used as a Horcrux motif (or more broadly an ‘evil quest for immortality’ motif), it can apply directly to Harry in the sense that he’s the last Horcrux. 

 

I can definitely see the 3-note representing Harry’s darker moments like in COS, but more because of the part of Voldemort’s soul that lives inside him than anything else (and what that possible connection means to Harry). This can be seen in the OOTP score when I put it over moments when Harry and Voldemort were directly connected through visions. In HBP, most of the 3-note stuff is used in direct relation to Tom and the Horcruxes since that’s the main plot point of the film. Harry also does not have visions in this film, nor does Voldemort himself appear, so I’ve been as conservative with the 3-note and the two Voldemort themes as I could with this score to leave room for Malfoy and Snape. This also helps the Tom Riddle moments because the listener feels starved for those themes, which gives them a greater impact. 

 

Hope this answers your question! Thanks as always for listening and commenting! 

 

BP

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Just made an Account here to say the following:

 

Harry Potter is a huge part of my childhood and one of my favorite franchises. I think it was the Goblet of Fire's music that raised my interest and love to filmmusic. But I noticed that from the third film, every score was a singular standalone, ignoring previous themes and style. I liked all of them, but they felt... disconnected. It was in the epilogue of Deathly Hallows part 2, where I learned the power of a Leitmotiv. It was a hard time in cinema, trying not to cry when after 6 films finally the family theme reapperared. After that, none of the emotional scenes in 4-7.2 had the impact that they could have. The music was there and good, but it was not the right theme.

 

And 10 years later I discovered your Rescore for tGoF. Boy did I cry when the family theme appears during Harrys fight with Voldemort on the graveyard... Or Sirius Death in OotP. Btw, The complete score presentation of the Order of the Phoenix is one of my most listened albums this year... I think that I quite like your work...

 

So in short: Thank you. both of you.

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Speaking of the Goblet of Fire rescore, do you ever plan on remastering that one with your new instruments? I'd love to listen to the whole score, but I'm not a fan of the samples that were used, so it makes it difficult. 

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This is a pretty long thread so forgive me for not scouring it for the answer. Any plans to put the music in with the dialogue and sfx? I know that's a bigger and different task. 

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On 8/26/2021 at 3:19 PM, HPFAN said:

This is a pretty long thread so forgive me for not scouring it for the answer. Any plans to put the music in with the dialogue and sfx? I know that's a bigger and different task. 


thanks for the comment! We haven't tackled that yet, but if anyone else on here wants to try we'd have no arguments.

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Today we've got another dark/light combo, starting with an understated Malfoy discussion followed by an awkward Slughorn dinner party. We hope you enjoy Cue No. 18: Accusation of Malfoy and Cue No. 19: The Slug Party!

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Last Week's cues:

I wasn't really impressed by the statements of the Half Blood Prince theme until last week. You got me with that Horn statement. And every PoA like music was good. I didn't expect to hear "Sir Cadogan" again...

 

This Week's cues:

Slughorns theme has the same 4 opening notes like Luna's theme. I searched the screen for Luna but the scene is without her... I was a bit irritated during the first listen/watch.

 

Molfoys Theme is just brilliant.

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@David Müller Haha that's so funny cause when I first played the score for Molly she said something similar. It's a tricky theme cause it has to be sneaky and in the background for almost the entire score. Yes POA is always welcome in Hogsmeade! Glad you liked that. Even though the first four notes of Slughorn's theme match the first four notes of Luna's (though it's technically the opening of her accompanimental material rather than her actual theme), it's missing the hooked rhythm, and because of the different functions of each, I never actually noticed that similarity. I guess I just played it and thought "that's very Williams-y" and called it a day haha. Thank you for the kind words about Malfoy. I feel he needs to have his moment, and I'm glad it's connecting! 

 

BP

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On 9/13/2021 at 8:23 AM, redishere said:

Hadn't check your progress with HPB in a while and boy oh boy was I pleasantly surprised. You're doing an insane job, (sorting) hats off to you!

I agree. Really really blown away by this project. I’m just sad that there isn’t a way for it to get more exposure/support without WB ultimately flagging it for some copyright silliness.

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Thanks @redishere and @WampaRat for such a great reception to HBP!! It really is a bummer we can't share this on YouTube or make it more public in any way. I guess only the cool people know about it. 

 

BP

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I have found this tonight, and I am both in awe and incredibly happy. This project, as an idea, is immense- but to see it handled and executed this well, is great. I've wanted Harry Potter to have a consistent score for a while. It is, along with a few other things, what stops these films from really being up there with the other movie sagas that mean something. I can't make music, and would never be able to make anything as fitting as the few cues I've heard, so far. Well done! Keep at it, and one day all this work will be rewarded (I hope). :)

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@Tizzeres, thank you so much! Totally agree on the saga consistency, that was a huge motivator in starting this project. An initial goal of mine was just to temp scenes I disliked as a book fan with Williams just to see if they could fit in and achieve the same emotional impact before we conceptualized a whole arc. It's really great to hear all this work for continuity is working out for you now! We hope you'll enjoy the rest of what we have planned!

 

MS

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On 20/09/2021 at 4:08 AM, Potter Scoring Project said:

Hello everyone, we have some reprises today (lots of Chamber of Secrets again) in Cue No. 24: The Christmas Party and Cue No. 25: Snape and Malfoy! Hope you enjoy!


I absolutely love the chamber theme (yayyyy the Petrified Colin alternate!) so I'm super happy to hear it again; one of my favorite rework you guys did of it is in HP5 after the discussion with Sirius. Also, I played the Ministry cue like 48 times on a loop: those A.I./MinorityReport textures are *chef's kiss*

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