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I have a dumb Revenge of the Sith question


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When Obi-Wan watches the recording of Anakin killing Jedi in the Jedi temple, there's a weird high pitched atonal noise underscoring it. Is that a synthesizer or some other instrument?  Or just a sound effect?

Thanks. 

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Not a dumb question at all! It's a synthesizer, "synth voice," playing a high chromatic cluster with a quickly pulsating quality. The pulsation is especially noticeable a few measures in.  

Yes of course there's synth throughout the ST -- every celesta moment, for instance, is digital. But there's not nearly as pervasive or integral as in the PT.

Yeah I noticed an absence of synthesizers in the sequels in general; even the OT had quite a bit (minus ANH for the most part). The prequels were jampacked with them.

6 hours ago, karelm said:

 

IMG_5112.pngIMG_5116.png

 

If I'm seeing those photos correctly, that's the Nord Stage, which isn't exactly renowned for its heavy duty synth functions. Given the connections to the computer, it might also have been used primarily to trigger sounds on the Mac--as Falstaft says, probably things such as celeste samples.

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1 hour ago, Edmilson said:

I was listening to TPM and AOTC the other day, and there were some cool synth moments. Probably some of the best use of synths in a Williams score. 

In AOTC one of the later tracks (Tusken Camp) has this gloomy synth effect at the beginning pitching up and down.

 

2 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

If I'm seeing those photos correctly, that's the Nord Stage, which isn't exactly renowned for its heavy duty synth functions. Given the connections to the computer, it might also have been used primarily to trigger sounds on the Mac--as Falstaft says, probably things such as celeste samples.

...and samples are no synths.

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3 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

 

If I'm seeing those photos correctly, that's the Nord Stage, which isn't exactly renowned for its heavy duty synth functions. Given the connections to the computer, it might also have been used primarily to trigger sounds on the Mac--as Falstaft says, probably things such as celeste samples.

This is a synth but its generally adding a color to orchestral instruments.  Like in the finale its used to double the horn melody.  There is a lot of synth in this score guys.  It's all over the place.  Maybe not as prominently the original trilogy when synths were state of the art but lots of tension chords you hear have synth backing them up not as a celesta or acoustic instrument but for an added element of weirdness like in the Ren vs Rey final confrontation during clusters.  

 

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12 minutes ago, karelm said:

This is a synth but its generally adding a color to orchestral instruments.  Like in the finale its used to double the horn melody.  There is a lot of synth in this score guys.  It's all over the place.  Maybe not as prominently the original trilogy when synths were state of the art but lots of tension chords you hear have synth backing them up not as a celesta or acoustic instrument but for an added element of weirdness like in the Ren vs Rey final confrontation during clusters.  

 

 

The point isn't the intrinsic presence of an electronic element, it's the effect they're used for and achieve. In both the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy, synths were given at times a place of prominence to produce a sound very unique--particularly in the later, as technology could more easily produce the timbres and harmonies an advanced composer such as Williams is wont to use. Looking at Williams' oeuvre, most of his output of the last several decades feature electronics in the coloring capacity you describe, but again, this is not the point that has been made in this thread.

 

The only example I can think of from immediate memory in the sequels where electronics were given something of a prominent, conspicuous role, is the harp/pad moment in the cue when Rey eats her instant Pilsbury.

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2 minutes ago, Nick Parker said:

Are these samples not present in the standalone score?

 

I haven't checked the sheets, but the one heard a few times in Yoda Strikes Back is not in the unaltered cue; as for Dooku vs Obi-Wan I'm not sure, since the whole thing is percussive anyway. That would of course indicate that they were added in post.

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1 minute ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

 

I haven't checked the sheets, but the one heard a few times in Yoda Strikes Back is not in the unaltered cue; as for Dooku vs Obi-Wan I'm not sure, since the whole thing is percussive anyway. That would of course indicate that they were added in post.

 

Right, that does seem likely in the scenario you described. I'm not too familiar with those cues, or how(/if) they've been taken out of the film.

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Regardless of the subtle synth layers throughout the ST, it never draws attention to itself like in the PT or OT. I understand the sentiment that @Falstaft is making; Star Wars scores have traditionally sounded a bit otherworldly and alien, with unconventional orchestration and musical colours.

 

His approach to the ST seems deliberately traditional and less experimental. And as @Smeltington mentioned, he's been moving away from synth since KOCS (although synth elements appear prominently in The Post).

 

His experimentation seems more focused on finding new textures through mixes of instruments. For all we know he finds those older synth cues a bit dated? I always found The Magic Tree a bit... much.

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4 minutes ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

I think the Magic Tree is the only cue is which the synth is incredibly obvious. Usually it's very subtle, but not in that case.

Luke's Escape (Wampa)

is the low wavering in "This No Cave" a synth?

Yoda Raises the Ship

Losing a Hand

 

 

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18 minutes ago, Fal J. M. Skywalker said:

is the low wavering in "This No Cave" a synth?

 

If it's what I'm thinking, then no, it's strings.

 

Return of the Jedi has some prominent synth uses, most notably in the Jabba stuff.

 

It makes sense as digital synths with more polyphony and "cleaner" timbres developed that Williams used them more and more as time progressed.

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21 hours ago, Manakin Skywalker said:

Yeah I noticed an absence of synthesizers in the sequels in general; even the OT had quite a bit (minus ANH for the most part). The prequels were jampacked with them.

There is "We've got what we need."

Just now, Nick Parker said:

 

If it's what I'm thinking, then no, it's strings.

strings go Wooo?

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19 minutes ago, Fal J. M. Skywalker said:

Luke's Escape (Wampa)

is the low wavering in "This No Cave" a synth?

Yoda Raises the Ship

Losing a Hand

 

True, but I meant like "blatantly" obvious, where even a non-musical person can tell right off the bat it's a synthesizer. The other cues are a bit more subtle in comparison.

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On 4/26/2020 at 3:42 AM, Falstaft said:

Coloristic touches like this are something I sorely miss in the Sequel Trilogy, which, as well-orchestrated as the scores are, are for the most part lacking in these weird ambiances.

 

I guess Daisy opposed of it.

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Speaking of the bowed metal sample from Spectrasonics I was talking about, I just happened to be going through the AOTC sheet music and it appears that it was indeed present ("synth rub gong" as he calls it), so a lot of those types of samples weren't just added in post, but were specifically requested by John. Interesting.

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