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Is there any significance to the first chord of the Ark theme?

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I've been listening to Saint-Saëns' opera Samson et Dalila, and the third chord played in the opening piece, titled "Dieu! Dieu d'Israel!" seems to be the same as the first chord of the Ark's theme from Raiders.

Is there any historical symbolism attached to this, or does it come from SS' personal idiom? Orchestration, counterpoint, and some bass soon afterwards seem to suggest a direct inspiration, but the last time I asked like this about some Berlioz it turned out to be good 'ol dies irae...

 

 

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4 hours ago, karelm said:

Definitely not historical.  Well, let me clarify because this is multilayered.  We are hearing a romantic French version of what ancient Arabian music sounded like.  That influenced the next generation of modal composers like Ravel, Vaughan Williams, Respighi ergo Miklos Rozso in his biblical epics ergo JW in the closest thing he did to a biblical epic, Raiders of the Lost Ark, when he needs to draw on that tradition quickly.  So we are sort of hearing a romanticized French impressionistic version of this style that we associate with the period.  Hollywood dumbs epochs of styles because they might use an element from 4,000 years ago plus french romanticism with something from contemporary islamic heritage (like a call to prayer) to immediately establish an expected sound world with primitive instrumentation (heavy percussion and emphasis on rhythms and archaic modes) and that is what you are hearing.  My point is that you "hear" this as historically arabic because you are western and heard the western version of what traditionally arabian music sounds like.  This is what the authentic stuff sounded like which if we heard it in a film would be authentic but wouldnt make us think of ancient arabia:

 

 

All good points in general, but I'm not really seeing the connection to this passage in particular. The Ark theme doesn't use the sort of harmonic language and instrumentation that you normally get with the type of music you're talking about. If anything, it's always struck me as a uniquely Western musical in-joke, using the so-called "devil's interval" to represent the Judeo-Christian God. For what you're talking about, I'd look more at the music for the arrival in Cairo or for the swordsman in the marketplace.

 

@First TROS March Accolyte, you're not imagining the similarity between these. It's a B minor chord - just below the C minor chord heard in "The Map Room: Dawn" - and it's voiced very similarly. I'm guessing it's unintentional, born of Williams' familiarity with a wide range of orchestral works and there only being so many notes and so many instruments to work with.

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9 hours ago, Datameister said:

 

All good points in general, but I'm not really seeing the connection to this passage in particular. The Ark theme doesn't use the sort of harmonic language and instrumentation that you normally get with the type of music you're talking about. If anything, it's always struck me as a uniquely Western musical in-joke, using the so-called "devil's interval" to represent the Judeo-Christian God. For what you're talking about, I'd look more at the music for the arrival in Cairo or for the swordsman in the marketplace.

 

@First TROS March Accolyte, you're not imagining the similarity between these. It's a B minor chord - just below the C minor chord heard in "The Map Room: Dawn" - and it's voiced very similarly. I'm guessing it's unintentional, born of Williams' familiarity with a wide range of orchestral works and there only being so many notes and so many instruments to work with.

Yes, I was being more general but here is a more specific example though it follows the same french -> british -> epic biblical score heritage that we'll expect in "power of the ark" type music.  It's interspersed through out the two hour opera but anytime there is a mystical moment, you get the awe theme.

 

 

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