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John Williams executes Order 66 on sheet music


Drew
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32 minutes ago, Score said:

 

Define "accurate transcriptions". I only see two possibilities:

 

1) The arranger transcribes the piece "by ear" from the recording. In this case, I'm sorry, but whatever the skill of the transcriber, JW cannot allow this stuff to go around. Even if the transcription sounds good (and by the way, who decides what sounds good?), it is not going to be a faithful representation of a full score carefully written in all its details by a major composer. Markings, dynamics and many aspects of notation are essential elements of the composer's thought, and JW is right in prohibiting the diffusion of written music that does not convey those elements as he has intended them. 

 

2) The arranger transcribes the piece from a copy of the original score. In this case, it is obvious that the arranger must be officially authorized to have a copy of the score, and authorized to do something with it that can be sold for money. 

 

I agree with those above who have said that the title of this thread is completely misleading. JW is not declaring war to sheet music, only to unauthorized arrangements.  

 

 

You're saying JW has authorized arrangers get access to the original score just for them to make major transcription mistakes? https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/buckbeaks-flight-from-harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban-digital-sheet-music/19747857

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I'd bet many of the unofficial arrangements being sold on these sites are created using leaked scores (ie, illegally gotten) as reference which surely complicates matters.

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42 minutes ago, Drew said:

 

You're saying JW has authorized arrangers get access to the original score just for them to make major transcription mistakes? https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/buckbeaks-flight-from-harry-potter-and-the-prisoner-of-azkaban-digital-sheet-music/19747857

 

I've told you what I think in a previous post, but I see that I did not convince you :lol:  I try again. Personally, I don't care for piano arrangements, but I understand your dissatisfaction with them if you care about them; I also go slightly mad when I buy a Signature Edition score and I find blatant mistakes that could be found and corrected after a single glance of a competent proofreader. But this is just the problem of the accuracy of sheet music copying, and it is as old as sheet music itself. The solution is not to let some random people do arbitrary transcriptions and publish them without control, hoping that they will be more accurate than the authorized ones; it is to supervise more accurately what gets officially published, and release corrected editions when mistakes are spotted. But I don't expect JW to check the Signature Editions before they are published, although I think he definitely should. Or at least, he should hire a trusted collaborator to do it.

 

(Note that there are also several examples of formidable composers who are not as good as one would expect at the task of proofreading, e.g., Beethoven. For what we know, it's even possible that JW did check those scores, and just didn't notice the mistakes). 

 

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Very unfortunate to see some of the most accomplished independent transcribers be reduced to the title of "random people".

 

 

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1 hour ago, Score said:

I agree with those above who have said that the title of this thread is completely misleading. JW is not declaring war to sheet music, only to unauthorized arrangements.  

At least they could turn the double "e" into an "I".

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19 minutes ago, Drew said:

Very unfortunate to see some of the most accomplished independent transcribers be reduced to the title of "random people".

 

 

 

Judging just from the first cue (there's no way I'm going through all that), this is definitely *not* a good transcription, for a variety of reasons. For example, when he hits the high B flat in the theme exposition, and he plays the A flat chord along with it (notes in the right hand: C Eb Ab Bb). This has nothing to do with the original score, it sounds awful and it's just wrong. Things like this are exactly among of the reasons why unauthorized arrangements shouldn't be allowed to be published; it actually proves JW's point. There are many other issues with this transcription, but I'm not going into this, as I'm sure that I will not convince you. I give up. 

 

 

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So you’d rather stick with official transcriptions with melody errors? Never seen SMB make a melody error.

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10 minutes ago, Drew said:

So you’d rather stick with official transcriptions with melody errors? Never seen SMB make a melody error.

That's the issue. You don't see the whole picture. It is not Williams intervening against one guy who makes flawless unlicensed transcriptions to protect the official melody errors. It is also about those hundreds of bad unlicensed transcriptions with probably even more mistakes. How to get that under control without having to review each and every transcription?

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No one should care about the bad transcriptions made by 13 year olds. Having those is a consequence of being a famous composer.

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1 hour ago, Score said:

 

Judging just from the first cue (there's no way I'm going through all that), this is definitely *not* a good transcription, for a variety of reasons. For example, when he hits the high B flat in the theme exposition, and he plays the A flat chord along with it (notes in the right hand: C Eb Ab Bb). This has nothing to do with the original score, it sounds awful and it's just wrong. 

 

Uhh... Seems perfectly fine to me. In, fact some of these arrangements are quite impressive, even if they're not note-for-note conversions of the orchestral score to piano music.

 

Sure, blatantly wrong pitches do bother me as both a piano player and--like most of us--a walking encyclopedia of JW music. But I don't think errors are nearly as prevalent as some of you are making them out to be, either in official or unsanctioned arrangements. In fact, some of the piano folios are remarkably good: TROS, for example, is phenomenal.

 

With this particular video, even hearing those chord tones being played in tandem with the main SW theme, you still get the syncopated feeling of the whole w/ the correctly rhythmically offset bass notes. The effect is correct, and it's more pianistically idiomatic this way anyway. Certainly, it has more than "nothing to do the original score." 

 

Frankly, there's a weird amount of hyperbole going on in this thread, on both sides.

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I suppose we can say that JW (or whoever) were perfectly in their right to do this. Similar to how there are pieces of music which you must obtain permission to perform - it's perfectly "legal".

 

But I do wonder why now. It's not like musicnotes is a new site (was founded in 1998). Who gains from this exactly? That's the interesting question for me.

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The weirdest part is how Disney, etc. is bowing down to Williams' request. Does Williams actually own his music? I thought he just had contracts that let him perform it. Cause I'm pretty sure film composers do not own their music. The studios do.

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13 hours ago, GerateWohl said:

And if a performer discovers an error in an official sheet, then I don't understand, why, like some wrote here, why he would then be "forced" to perform that error. Argument above was, an obvious mistake in the sheet would not let the players perform the piece in the way they want to perform it. Why is that? Perform it however you want.

 

This, exactly. As a classical musician, I've had plenty of occasions where I've noticed that my part had an error on it. In cases like that, you simply ignore the page and instead play what you know is the right note... I don't really understand the problem. If people don't care enough/don't have good enough ears to notice that it's an error, well, that's on them. It's very common to find errors on sheet music, though, and experienced musicians/people who know how the music is supposed to go, will fix those errors in their performances.

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42 minutes ago, Drew said:

The weirdest part is how Disney, etc. is bowing down to Williams' request. Does Williams actually own his music? I thought he just had contracts that let him perform it. Cause I'm pretty sure film composers do not own their music. The studios do.

 

Likely the same reason the labels and MM work with him. They don't have to, but there's respect all round for him and his muslc.

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1 hour ago, Drew said:

No one should care about the bad transcriptions made by 13 year olds. Having those is a consequence of being a famous composer.

Haha, easy for you to say when orchestras actually go with them. I completely understand that this is upsetting for good transcribers, but most of the arrangements for orchestra that I've heard all suck. They all do because they shouldn't be played. Piano arrangements, absolutely fine.

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I'm not talking about orchestral transcriptions. I never was. I'm talking about piano and small ensemble stuff. Remember, piano arrangements are the thing JW is "declaring war" over.

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13 hours ago, Poor_Man_S_HirschFeld said:

Wasn't one of the biggest motivators for John Williams to start releasing official sheet music exactly the plethora of bad arrangements that started circulating after the success of Star Wars?

I believe musicians call these 'take downs' and I remember reading somewhere that Williams is not very happy with the practice.

 

This was mentioned by a member of the LSO in one of the "Legacy of John Williams" episodes. "John has a horror of takedowns, so he prepares the Signature Editions to make sure the real music is available" or something like that ;)

 

 

19 hours ago, Drew said:

Like I was saying earlier, several sheet music publishers now have self-publishing. There is no way the copyright holders can approve each arrangement. It's legal because the music is licensed beforehand. Like, the copyright holders send them cue lists that can be arranged. It's not stealing.

 

JW was surely getting royalties from licensed third party arrangements before the takedown.

 

21 hours ago, Drew said:

There are two ways to get copyright clearance. One is to pay a fee and get a license. The second is to ask the copyright holders. You can get a license, legally sell something, but then the copyright holders send takedown notices anyway. That's what happened here.

 

This is how distributing cover songs works. You pay a distributor to get the license. But at any time, the copyright holders can take down your music.

 

13 hours ago, Poor_Man_S_HirschFeld said:

I can understand the frustration in seeing a lot of 'crowd-sourced' sheet music disappearing (either when it's shared for free or for money), but I think it's a prerogative of the publishers and authors to keep a good degree of control. The ease of access that digital technology allowed kind of spoiled us into thinking we are owed to find anything we desire.

 

2 hours ago, Drew said:

No one should care about the bad transcriptions made by 13 year olds. Having those is a consequence of being a famous composer.

 

I have the impression that a lot of different things get thrown together here (quotes as examples).

  • No one (usually) *does* care about *performed* transcriptions (as audio) on youtube.
  • Releasing (paid) "covers" (as audio) of officially released tracks is (afaik) covered (:P) by a "compulsory" license (-> the copyright holder can't prevent it, but gets a mandatory royalty).
  • For live performance you need to pay the composer's performance rights organization, in addition to buying or renting (often for a hefty fee) the official materials (I'm unsure if they can prevent a performance based on an "accurate" transcription? This may fall in a similar case as aforementioned straight *covers* are generally allowed, but "derivative works" like medleys, mashups, lyrics changes etc. need an explicit individual license).
  • Sharing (for free) self-made arrangements informally seems to be some kind of a gray area (as long as it's not on a large scale) (?)
  • *Selling* unauthorized arrangements (as sheet music) is the crucial case here - and I was generally under the impression that, at least until a few years ago, this was not allowed at all without individually requesting and getting a license (like Marc P. back in the day describing unsuccessfully trying to get his awesome JW horn medleys published). But on that point I do agree that the composer/publisher are fully in their rights to control/allow/disallow others from profiting off their work (without compensation) as they see fit.
    Regarding the recent "blanket license" some online sheet retailers seem to have for publishing arrangements - when I looked into the conditions for sheetmusicplus's service (something like 2 years ago), they indeed had a long list/database of tracks from all kinds of composers that they have an automatic royalty sharing deal with (and note, the deal is: you get 10%, the authors get the rest!). Bear McCreary, for example, was in there, among many others I searched - John Williams, though, was not.

 

(disclaimer: I have read a lot about these topics, but am not in any way certain any of this is actually correct :P)

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1 hour ago, Muad'Dib said:

The new title made me think I was gonna see Williams performing the march from Order 66/The Arena

I have made a transcription of the piece.  If you would like your local orchestra to perform it, just let me know.  

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In general, this is part of a worrying and ongoing privatization of musical gems and their legacy - this copyright and licence shit misses the mark of the natural process of music getting rearranged, adopted and evolved completely - regardless of whether there is acceptable official sheet music out there in this case or not.

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3 hours ago, Drew said:

The weirdest part is how Disney, etc. is bowing down to Williams' request. Does Williams actually own his music? I thought he just had contracts that let him perform it. Cause I'm pretty sure film composers do not own their music. The studios do.

My opinion:

1. JW cares very much about the music he has written and its quality.  

2. Some of his music, he refines and tweaks frequently where adjustments are made many of which noticeable only to him.  He might cringe at earlier versions that are out there and has the right to say the newest version is the "official" one that gets performed.

3. JW is very busy handling music activities therefore has delegated to...

4. ...someone else to manage and oversee his extensive music library from a legal and business perspective and it's not the same person.  One might be a lawyer, perhaps Disney lawyers, the other is most likely JAKMS (Mark Graham).

5. These people represent JW and the Copyright Owner's interest and have authority to execute on behalf of JW and there are general guidelines they have such as "No unauthorized duplication or arrangements permitted" as a broad stroke approach to addressing the volume and general quality.

6. There are incredibly talented and capable arrangers out there and some very respectful to the source material that would probably delight JW but due to #5, might not get heard unless JW knows them personally or there is some other "in" to get an audience with him otherwise, it's less important to him than #3.  

7. He has every right to this.

 

Copyright is a fundamental right of artists and here in America was so important it was a law almost as long as the Constitution (US Constitution was ratified in 1788 and the very first congress made Copyright a law just two years later in 1790 to support and encourage creative artists like authors, poets, inventors, map makers, composers too).  I don't get exactly what the point of your thread is, a complaint that unauthorized arrangers are being treated unfairly by JW because of unlicensed use of his IP?

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I'm stunned by how many comments in this thread are against copyright laws! These laws are not perfect, but I wasn't expecting such blatant disrespect for the rights of your favorite composer (who is, as a reminder, still alive and well), and of the many hardworking people involved in the creation of this music! If you respect JW's decision not to release some early scores, well then respect his valid decision (or most likely that of his publishers) to control this music in any way, shape or form they want. It's theirs, not yours!

 

P.s. This thread is a discussion of what, exactly? Some person wrote their discontent about a message they received that no one else has seen. We don't even have the basic facts about any of this!

On 14/09/2022 at 2:23 PM, Drew said:

Here is a YouTuber explaining the email they received about it.

 

 

Screen Shot 2022-09-14 at 2.22.21 PM.png

 

All this because some youtuber dja28 received an email... Anyone else received it? What's dja28 involvement with musicnotes?

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Sheet Music Boss’s JW sheets were all taken off the platform for the same reason.

 

When did I say I oppose copyright laws? There should just be changes to laws to create a stronger industry for independent music arrangers and cover artists. The opportunities are exploding but the laws lag behind.

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4 minutes ago, Drew said:

for the same reason.

 

Ok. I feel nothing will make you reconsider your position even just a little. But would you have the kindness of providing us the publisher's email so we can at least discuss the facts? What you say does have repercussions on people, on musicians, on you and I, so I'm sure we would all appreciate to see the sources and the original statements. 

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Why do I have to reconsider my position? Is what I say going to change a law tomorrow? No. Let’s tone it down and let me be a dissenter.

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11 hours ago, Falstaft said:

Sure, blatantly wrong pitches do bother me as both a piano player and--like most of us--a walking encyclopedia of JW music. But I don't think errors are nearly as prevalent as some of you are making them out to be, either in official or unsanctioned arrangements. In fact, some of the piano folios are remarkably good: TROS, for example, is phenomenal.

 

I don't know much about piano folios, but it is a fact that the Signature Editions used to have some evident mistakes. So evident, actually, that it is quite easy to figure out what the right notes should be; still, it's something that they should have put more care to proofread. Even Conrad Pope complained about this, years ago. And I think they did something about that, because the most recent ones that I've seen do not seem to have that problem. However, this was just to say that I understand Drew's frustration with some of the officially published scores; I just don't agree with the solution he proposes.

 

11 hours ago, Falstaft said:

 

With this particular video, even hearing those chord tones being played in tandem with the main SW theme, you still get the syncopated feeling of the whole w/ the correctly rhythmically offset bass notes. The effect is correct, and it's more pianistically idiomatic this way anyway. Certainly, it has more than "nothing to do the original score." 

 

We may disagree on how we like it or not, but the chord (C Eb Ab Bb) is just wrong, this is a fact. Just look at the Signature Edition score, bar 6. In the high register, the harmony (played by violin tremolos, piano, harp, clarinets, flutes and piccolo) involves the notes Eb, F, Bb. The C appears only in bar 7, so it is wrong to have it appear together with the Bb in the second half of bar 6. The Ab is simply not there, and it clashes badly with the Bb in the melody. An actual Ab appears two octaves below, in the syncopated bass line, and it should stay there; transposing it up two octaves and moving it to the melody beat generates a wrong chord and an unintended clash. It is perfectly possible to realize a piano arrangement that respects the original score (for example, playing the chord Eb - F- Bb in the right hand, which is equally pianistic and, well, right). There are also similar or worse solutions in the rest of the piece that do not agree with the original. 

 

My point in discussing this was just to show that it is not true at all, in general, that the unofficial arrangements are more accurate than the official ones.

 

  

 

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9 hours ago, Nick Parker said:

I immediately wonder if there's something coming down the pipeline as far as some kind of score/sheet music release. Over the last decade, Williams has increasingly entered legacy mode, such as doing a retrospective project like Across the Stars, but more immediately relevant to this conversation, acquiescing to a person he trusts--Mike Mattesino--to handle archival releases of his recorded music...we also know that this happened in part 'cause Mattesino used Williams' disdain for bootlegs/unofficial representations of his work to drive the wedge in for an official, professional curation of his work.

 

Could the same thing have happened with his written music?  ......

 

If you are referring to something like an "urtext" edition of some of his complete scores... it would be about time, and it would make the joy of many, many music lovers. But I wouldn't hold my breath for that. He has not given signs, in the past, of wanting his full scores published in other formats than the Signature Edition scores, meant for concert use. But who knows if he has changed his mind... the advent of the live-to-projection concerts required a huge amount of score preparation, including the complete typesetting of important scores, such as the SW OT, the HP, ET, CEO3K, Jaws, and others (albeit with slightly reduced orchestrations). It would not be a daunting task to modify those scores into real urtext editions. Who knows if someone among his collaborators has managed to convince him... 

 

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17 hours ago, Score said:

(Note that there are also several examples of formidable composers who are not as good as one would expect at the task of proofreading, e.g., Beethoven. For what we know, it's even possible that JW did check those scores, and just didn't notice the mistakes). 

 

And let's keep in mind (speaking from personal experience with choir repertoire here) that sheet music for any composers, old and new, in both old and new editions by the big publishing houses, is frequently (I exaggerate (slightly)) littered with mistakes.

 

16 hours ago, Drew said:

The weirdest part is how Disney, etc. is bowing down to Williams' request. Does Williams actually own his music? I thought he just had contracts that let him perform it. Cause I'm pretty sure film composers do not own their music. The studios do.

 

We don't know if it was Williams himself, or somebody from his team, or one of his publishers, who initiated this. But regardless of that, you don't have to pressure Disney into protecting their copyright. You simply have to vaguely point them in the direction of somebody possibly having done a slight copyright violation and they'll jump on the case. More than that, you can point them to anybody doing something with their copyrighted material that does *not* violate the copyright, and they'll do anything in their power to get the law changed so that it does.

 

13 hours ago, Brundlefly said:

In general, this is part of a worrying and ongoing privatization of musical gems and their legacy - this copyright and licence shit misses the mark of the natural process of music getting rearranged, adopted and evolved completely - regardless of whether there is acceptable official sheet music out there in this case or not.

 

Welcome to capitalism.

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Just listening to Jurassic Park arranged for two pianos.

 

Really enjoying it.

 

Wondering whether the intellectual property of the orchestrators is protected.

 

Or are they simply paid off.

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12 minutes ago, BB-8 said:

Just listening to Jurassic Park arranged for two pianos.

 

Really enjoying it.

 

Wondering whether the intellectual property of the orchestrators is protected.

 

Or are they simply paid off.

Whenever a copyrighted song is arranged, transcribed or adapted for orchestra, the right to create the arrangement, transcription or adaptation rests solely with the copyright owner.  Under the US Copyright Act [section 106(2)], the copyright owner is granted the exclusive right “to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work.”  The arranger would own the copyright of the arrangement if they have the right to create a derivative work or if it is public domain and the composer would have the ownership of the original creation.  It's sort of similar to publishing and composing that these are split.  These things get very complex - a recording is different ownership as well.  So a Beethoven arrangement you just arranged, the work is in public domain so permission isn't needed, you would own the copyright of the arrangement, if recorded, someone else would own the recording, and if published, someone else could own the published arrangement.  

 

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