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What is a guillotine drum which is used in the Star Wars. music score?


philw
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Hi,

 

I'm putting together the percussion section for a concert performance of Star Wars VI and John Williams specifies use of a 'guillotine drum'. Are there any experts out there who know what this is?  I cannot find any reference to this sort of drum on the Internet.

 

Thanks!

 

Phil

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6 hours ago, philw said:

Hi,

 

I'm putting together the percussion section for a concert performance of Star Wars VI and John Williams specifies use of a 'guillotine drum'. Are there any experts out there who know what this is?  I cannot find any reference to this sort of drum on the Internet.

 

Thanks!

 

Phil

I suspect that it's a piece of a 40-year old L.A. jargon... if you could tell us which track of a recording does it play in, or at least which cue is it in, maybe someone could recognize it by ear.

 

Otherwise, @BrotherSound@karelm have you guys ever heard of a "guillotine drum"?

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5 minutes ago, Jay said:

That guy he's sitting next to has strange facial hair.  Too dark, or too much cheek showing, or something

Might look better if he had a mustache along with it. 

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17 minutes ago, Jay said:

That guy he's sitting next to has strange facial hair.  Too dark, or too much cheek showing, or something

That's Gary Kurtz, producer of ANH and TESB

 

 

 

8 hours ago, philw said:

Hi,

 

I'm putting together the percussion section for a concert performance of Star Wars VI and John Williams specifies use of a 'guillotine drum'. Are there any experts out there who know what this is?  I cannot find any reference to this sort of drum on the Internet.

 

Thanks!

 

Phil

I'd say he's not referring to a special instrument but to a specific sound/mood/expression. In both cases (Star Wars VI and PoA).

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3 hours ago, Not Mr. Big said:

The last time a guillotine was used for an execution was in 1977, the year Star Wars was released.  Now I'm not going to jump to any conclusions but...

 

It was used on Gary Kurtz, but his beard stopped the knife.

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1 hour ago, BrotherSound said:

I suspect this may be a reference to Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique.

This was my initial thought when I saw this thread, and I even checked that score, but it seemed too obvious :lol: Not to mention in other places of ROTJ Williams marked the bass drum simply as a bass drum.

 

The performing practice you mention changes the picture for sure. Nice to have professionals around :thumbup:

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I get it, so it's that "sounds like I'm about to go to the guillotine" low field drum sound. 

 

The usage in Count Dooku's Entrance really foreshadows what's about to happen with Dooku!

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On 8/2/2021 at 5:33 AM, philw said:

Hi,


I'm putting together the percussion section for a concert performance of Star Wars VI

Are you talking about excerpts from the score or the entire score? Are you putting on a 'film-with-live-orchestra' concert?

 

When you have recovered from this forum's royal welcome, can you tell us about the event?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 8/2/2021 at 8:50 AM, Fabulin said:

I suspect that it's a piece of a 40-year old L.A. jargon... if you could tell us which track of a recording does it play in, or at least which cue is it in, maybe someone could recognize it by ear.

 

Otherwise, @BrotherSound@karelm have you guys ever heard of a "guillotine drum"?

 

Sorry for the slow response, I didn't read the rest of the thread so not sure if this has been answered but I have it on very good authority that...

 

"It’s a rather large field drum.  I have an old field drum that has rope to keep the tension on the head. Back in the day that drum was basically a marching drum for parades or funerals, etc.  Tune the drum as loose as you can stand it."
 
Cheers
 
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I find the descriptions of percussion instruments in film scores to be so interesting. Synth sounds, too. So often there seems to be this approach of communicating the emotive intent more than the specifics of how to get it. And I suppose when you're working with world-class musicians, it certainly makes sense to entrust them with getting the right sound.

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Let’s be realistic - if JW still uses piano, pencil and paper in the 21st century, how much is he likely to know in detail about synth programming? That’s what you hire Hans Zimmer for… though there might be a trade-off of sorts involved!

 

Mark

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I don't know if we can make this the "what does JW mean by this creatively-named percussion instrument" thread, but I'm trying to figure out what Low Snake Snarl is...Is he referring to a vibraslap?image.png

 

Heard here:

 

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On 8/12/2021 at 1:33 AM, karelm said:

You don't need to go overboard (Mahler where he might say "as a flower hearing what the twilight has to say") but a single word or indication when something specific is desired could help.

 

How about Rued Langgaard? (See movement descriptions in the comment below the video):

 

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