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Instruments you don't like hearing in Orchestral Scores.


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Not a classical instrument either, but I don't like ukuleles. I don't even think it's the instrument so much as the culture that has popped up around it (Hawaiian people are cool, I just get sick of YouTubers learning to strum a C chord and thinking they're the shit)

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On 27/05/2022 at 8:57 PM, LSH said:

Theremin?

I was about to mention that as well. I really like Rózsa's score for Spellbound. But hey, I guess, without the theremin I would love it. But I understand why he used it, and it works in the movie. But still...

 

On 27/05/2022 at 9:06 PM, Jurassic Shark said:

I like non-Zimmer scores.

You know, that "Zimmer" is a German word for room?

"Non-Zimmer" sounds a little like a term for "open air". :)

 

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3 minutes ago, GerateWohl said:

You know, that "Zimmer" is a German word for room?

"Non-Zimmer" sounds a little like a term for "open air". :)

 

Well, chamber music tends to be a bit boring.

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2 hours ago, JTWfan77 said:

The only thing I'm averse to is electronic processing of acoustic instruments to the point that they sound like electronics or become distorted. What's the point of doing that?

Agreed. In many of these recent action scores you simply can't hear the instruments at all because it was all so processed. Just look a Tenet, for example.

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An interesting thread! My immediate thought was saxophones in Prokofiev. I don't really know what it is but they seem oddly out of place when I hear them in Prokofiev (I think he was a fairly early adopter). Not a fatal issue (I love Prokofiev... I mean, I love John Williams and James Horner, you can't really love them and not love Prokofiev!) but they always stick out against his more traditional orchestral setup. Otherwise, a talented, skilled composer should be able to make any instrument work even if it's something a bit offbeat. Let's face it, John Powell and HGW made kazoos work in Chicken Run, but just enough for it to be fun, without being over every single track where it would be annoying.

 

Interesting what people do and don't like by way of orchestral texture, I enjoy the spikiness of the harpsichord, the way they produce sound is effectively opposite to most orchestral instruments which can produce sustained notes, even piano notes can ring out but a harpsichord note comes and goes in an instant. Randomly, as I write this, I happen to be listening to John Barry's classic score for The Ipcress File which famously uses the cimbalom which functions in a very similar way to the harpsichord in something like The Eiger Sanction but its richer tone gives it much more presence than a harpsichord. 

 

On 29/05/2022 at 8:21 PM, Marian Schedenig said:

Why is epicness so often considered a measure of quality these days? As in "epic" equals "good music"? I like good epic music where it makes sense, and I like good non-epic music where it makes sense, but music that's written to be just epic, because epic is cool, and therefore it must be good if it's epic, is one of the most annoying properties of (mostly) modern blockbuster scoring, and one of the reasons why I dislike a lot of Zimmer's "big" scores.

 

Music that tries to be epic just because usually ends up pretending to be epic and also not even trying to be good music.

For me, the main issue is that epicness isn't earned in a lot of modern scores, it's dialled up to 11 from the outset and there's nowhere to go. There's little or no nuance so it's loud and tiring, rather than epic. Plus all those trailers that use slowed down versions of classic themes trying to signify just how damn epic it all is, but don't forget, someone also wrote a good tune for some old film we're leveraging off which we're reminding you of too, but if we play it slowly and loudly single finger on a keyboard with power chords you'll think this is the most epic thing. In the world. Ever.

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1 hour ago, Tom Guernsey said:

My immediate thought was saxophones in Prokofiev.

 

When somebody said sax, my first reaction was Taxi Driver and so I had to disagree, sax and orchestra do mix very well, that is, if it's in a jazzy context.

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1 hour ago, AC1 said:

 

When sombody said sax, my first reaction was Taxi Driver and so I had to disagree, sax and orchestra do mix very well, that is, if it's in a jazzy context.

Oh I don’t mind it in that context at all, I guess it would have worked on trumpet but the sax is ideal for Taxi Driver. It just sounds a bit oddly out of place in Prokofiev somehow, but definitely not enough for me to be put off his music!

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On 31/05/2022 at 8:58 AM, Anthony said:

The generic "modern action music" drums.

 

Why does timpani seem to be forbidden these days?

 

Yeah, this is mine.  I remember the media promotion making a big deal out of Bear McCreary using them for Battlestar Galactica.  

 

Do not want.

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56 minutes ago, Andy said:

 

Yeah, this is mine.  I remember the media promotion making a big deal out of Bear McCreary using them for Battlestar Galactica.  

 

Do not want.

These tribal drums themselves are not the issue. They can be quite effective. The problem is, how they are used in modern scores.

Not many modern composers have the skills to really use the rhytmic power of a symphony orchestra. If you use percussion like Williams just to accentuate the last bits of an action piece with percussion you can also use Taiko drums.

But in modern scores it is arranged the other way around. The foundation is a generic flowing drum pattern filled with numerous ostinati of many instruments, mostly strings. They are arranging a filmscore basically like you would do with a techno piece. Switch on the beat and loop in any sequencing sounds. That has nothing to do with writing orchestral music or using the orchestra in a reasonable appropriate way. But that's how it is done. And that's not the Taiko drum's fault.

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