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 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 3:42 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

Anyway, while you can't really break down what is good,

Loving this thread - some great points in it...but I disagree with this sentence - absolutely you can break down what is good - it's fundamental to the nature of music...you can break down what is good by asking yourself...."Does it make me feel?".

It's one of the reasons - as a working musician for 30 years (ish), as well as conductor, arranger (occasionally) and composer (rarely) - I abhor the whole nature of musical snobbery...it completely misses the point about what music is at a very basic level. I don't give a toss if Mozart's Symphony number 40 "possesses Grecian lightness and grace", or is "a work of passion, violence, and grief" (thanks, Wikipedia) for example - what I care about is whether or not it actually communicates to me (which in this case it does).

I don't love Williams' "Superman" Main Title because "The opening march provides the title character with a noble persona of galactic proportions, its simplistic octave-loving major key progressions serving the dose of superhero elixir that has, to some degree, worn badly with audiences through the years due to the brightness of its own light." (Filmtracks - a good review I think, btw)...that's not why it's "Good".....it's "Good" because it makes my spine tingle and makes me want to shout "F*CK YEAH!!!!!!!!" every single damn time I hear it...


I agree 100% with what you said here.

Everybody can say what is good for her or him based on the feeling.
That's easy and subjective.

What you say about Mozarts number 40 is one of those wordings I can't stand either.
That's maybe true, but it is not saying much about why this piece of music makes us feel great.
But you can try to verbalize about why it makes us feel great talking about what's in the notes, I am very sure about that.

BUT:
the question is, why are a lot of different people agreeing upon a lot of good music being good?
There is a reason for the masterworks being the masterworks nowadays.
And from my career as a musician, there are hints in you can find in the sheets absolutely!

Setting 1000 years of european music history in place against the ManofSteel track called DNA, it is easy to evaluate: this is not good concerning the musical substance.
But a lot of guys here feel good when they listen to it.
Reception of music has changed so much.
That's why I say it is not really possible to say which music is good, but it is easier to at least come close to find out how much musical substance is in it in traditional compositorical terms.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 4:23 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I rather think it's a matter of MODE than criteria. Melody, rhythm and harmony are basic in a certain MODE of music, but not necessarily that important in another (rhythm and harmony are, incidentally, often important in more textural pieces too).

It's like with film. In mainstream Hollywood films, a story or narrative is the most important aspects around which most tools are centered. However, film as a medium is able to do so much more than just storytelling. The combination of audio and visuals is a powerful mechanism that can create more independent, 'arty' fare that relies more on the power of combination than to organize the visuals and sound to create storylines.


no, I slightly edited my post, maybe it is more solid now?
However, I am afraid you can't get that point when you are not able to read and make music.
Of course someone who is able to understand a certain language by ear without being able to speak it and to read it can have opinions about that language, but to really analyse the structures behind it and try to evaluate it in certain ways I'd say you need also to be able to read it and to speak it by yourself. Again a poor comparison.


I'm not quite sure what you mean in that paragraph, but I think the comparison to films is very appropriate. What you are talking about are certain components of musical form and content, right? However, you seem to be drawing the conclusion that these particular parts are more important than other parts and if they're not present, it can't qualify as (good) music. I take issue with that. Music -- like film -- is such a flexible and versatile artform that can be structured in so many different ways.

Again -- if someone composes a piece of music that relies almost exclusively on texture with crucial details in ornamention, but not so much melody, it's very unfair to boil that down to a piano reduction and make value judgement on that. That is not what the piece is about. The texture IS the substance.

As I mentioned in that other thread above, I think the criteria (criteria means VALUE JUDGEMENT, i.e. it has to QUALIFY for something) we use to evaluate music has to be much wider than that. I think the separation into moral/political, cognitive, genetic and aesthetic criteria is more useful.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 4:42 AM   
 By:   Adam S   (Member)

I obviously haven't seen or even really heard Man of Steel. But, in general, my impression is that Zimmer puts a lot of thought and craft into the score relative to the film. And I like that he admits that he's inferior in purely musical terms. There's a command of the technology and a lot of creativity within his particular approach. And it could be argued that in the context of a lot of modern films, there is less need to have the "substance" of a more polished musician. A lot of movies tend to be more visceral, with very little emotional range, and the music, which isn't being consciously listened to anyway, can kind of just push the right buttons and still be effective.

As far as Williams is concerned, I'm the same way. I love hearing his compositions reduced to piano form. Somehow this can be more impressive often. Partly it is because I play the piano and I immediately see the difference between what he does and my pathetic attempts to create music. But it is also that sense of hearing the music, as said, reduced to its essential structure and I can put my mind around it. Don Davis, when having to follow Williams on Jurassic Park, talked about being able to randomly pick any line of music and how there was such "integrity" in the musical writing. That's the same reaction I have.

It can be the difference between something maybe being immediately pleasing but wearing off and something having a kind of staying power because the musical composition has a depth to it. On the other hand, though I think it is possible to intellectualize musical quality to some extent, there is also probably something that goes beyond our ability to explain. Not only the subjectivity of it but also the objectivity of our human nature and our shared capacity for aesthetic appreciation/creation, though we don't know exactly what that is. Kind of mind-blowing really to think about.

- Adam

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:02 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)



I'm not quite sure what you mean in that paragraph, but I think the comparison to films is very appropriate. What you are talking about are certain components of musical form and content, right? However, you seem to be drawing the conclusion that these particular parts are more important than other parts and if they're not present, it can't qualify as (good) music. I take issue with that. Music -- like film -- is such a flexible and versatile artform that can be structured in so many different ways.



that's how it is, in history of music for the traditional european music some components are more important on a primary level. As I said, slowly did components like colour or orchestration or sound emancipate from those primary parameters, but since filmmusic most of the time is in the vocabular in which those primary parameters are still more important than the more medium-like ones this still applies.

That's hard to understand without musical background, but that's also my point. To apply a certain sound design is the easiest thing to do, you just need time and equipment. But if you have that, you just make aesthetic or more or less creative decision. And everybody can do that according to her or his taste. But to try out a sound design, you need something on a primary level before trying out, some harmony, some pitches. There is no sounddesign without pitches.
But there are pitches without sound design.

Maybe I can explain in different planes or levels.
On the basic level there are just pitches ordered in a certain way horizontally (which results in rhythms and melody) and vertically (which results in harmony). Or you could say there are events (= structured sounds, in filmscores basically chords) ordered in the passing of time (rhythm).

On the next level there is a certain colour or sound which can be applied to the pitches or the events.

Of course composers said, at first I think of an oboe or an clarinet, but that still means they have to set the note first to actually get that sound performed by an oboist, so at first the is a certain pitch organized in the passing of time.
You can take away the oboe sound and the pitch is still there, it is much more universal.
But if you take the pitch away, you have a pretty redundant information, since it could be any note.
And composers can of course at first try out their sound design by taking any pitch, of course.
And there are exceptions. Like Zimmer's Joker glissando - that is very avantgarde because here the sound or even the noise has emancipated itself completely from the primary level.
But there are only a few such exceptions.

And I'd say it is similar in film. You need a picture before you increase the part of blue colours to have a cold atmosphere. You can't add blue colours to a black screen, it would not make sense.
This is probably a very poor comparison, I am not an expert in film as you probably are, but I am an expert in music.

I think it is hard for people without musical background to understand this, but virtually every filmmusic can be broken down to that primary level and this shows quite revealing if you have a sophisticated composer or just a sound designer who is trying out and finding some sounds.
That's my point basically and in another thread we discussed how the tools influence the result.
In my opinion this is a reason why film music is not as sophisticated any more as it has been 30 years ago. Due to the hard deadlines and moving targets (constantly edited scenes) as someone pointed out composers are actually forced to no longer compose, they are forced to quickly try out with their technical equpiment and getting quick results anybody without a lot of artistic experience as composers could find. That's why Giacchino for example is not unfolding his full potential in my opinion.

In my opinion there is a huge bubble of sound design on top of a huge lack of versatility, skill and experience with primary musical material in the mainstream Hollywood scoring landscape today.
With a few exceptions of skilled composers who are not allowed to unfold their musical instincts and instead are forced to find their skills constantly unchallenged on a elementary level.

Of course I enjoy a good sound design, but I am not blinded by it. You don't need skills or brains for it, just time and equipment. So I don't appreciate that the same as I appreciate a composition with substance.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:10 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

I obviously haven't seen or even really heard Man of Steel. But, in general, my impression is that Zimmer puts a lot of thought and craft into the score relative to the film. And I like that he admits that he's inferior in purely musical terms. There's a command of the technology and a lot of creativity within his particular approach. And it could be argued that in the context of a lot of modern films, there is less need to have the "substance" of a more polished musician. A lot of movies tend to be more visceral, with very little emotional range, and the music, which isn't being consciously listened to anyway, can kind of just push the right buttons and still be effective.

As far as Williams is concerned, I'm the same way. I love hearing his compositions reduced to piano form. Somehow this can be more impressive often. Partly it is because I play the piano and I immediately see the difference between what he does and my pathetic attempts to create music. But it is also that sense of hearing the music, as said, reduced to its essential structure and I can put my mind around it. Don Davis, when having to follow Williams on Jurassic Park, talked about being able to randomly pick any line of music and how there was such "integrity" in the musical writing. That's the same reaction I have.

It can be the difference between something maybe being immediately pleasing but wearing off and something having a kind of staying power because the musical composition has a depth to it. On the other hand, though I think it is possible to intellectualize musical quality to some extent, there is also probably something that goes beyond our ability to explain. Not only the subjectivity of it but also the objectivity of our human nature and our shared capacity for aesthetic appreciation/creation, though we don't know exactly what that is. Kind of mind-blowing really to think about.

- Adam


Adam, I wholeheartedly agree to this, yes, I especially like to play Williams piano reduction, they are full of deep musical detail and everything is integrated in everything.
When you play the Suite from Superman Returns commercially available for example, there is literally nothing on the page.
The orchestration can blow up poor music and blind listeners, producers and directors.
But after all, it is about how effective the music sells, not about how good it is - to come back to that question again.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:12 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

While I'm not a musician or as into musical terminology as you are, I think it's possible to comment on this as a "layman", especially since it has to do with basic aesthetic (and musical) philosophy.

that's how it is, in history of music for the traditional european music some components are more important on a primary level. As I said, slowly did components like colour or orchestration or sound emancipate from those primary parameters, but since filmmusic most of the time is in the vocabular in which those primary parameters are still more important than the more medium-like ones this still applies.

I would argue that if there is ONE area where 'no rules apply' and you can employ all kinds of musical approaches, it's film music. Because it's not a genre, it's 'Gebrauchsmusik' that only has to be appropriate to its visual counterpart. So I would argue that film music -- unlike many other types of music -- doesn't have to rely on parameters on any level to the same degree. It depends on the film.

That's hard to understand without musical background, but that's also my point. To apply a certain sound design is the easiest thing to do, you just need time and equipment.

Perhaps anyone can create a sound design of some kind, but not everyone can create GOOD sound design. There's as much music and art in that as it is in more traditional composition, IMO.

Karlheinz Stockhausen's GESANG DER J√úNGLINGE, for example, does not follow what you label 'primary parameters' (if I understood that correctly), but it is no less a piece of musical artwork. Same applies for most of musique concrete and similar stuff. Good luck breaking that down to a piano reduction and then drawing your value judgements from that!

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:29 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

While I'm not a musician or as into musical terminology as you are, I think it's possible to comment on this as a "layman", especially since it has to do with basic aesthetic (and musical) philosophy.

that's how it is, in history of music for the traditional european music some components are more important on a primary level. As I said, slowly did components like colour or orchestration or sound emancipate from those primary parameters, but since filmmusic most of the time is in the vocabular in which those primary parameters are still more important than the more medium-like ones this still applies.

I would argue that if there is ONE area where 'no rules apply' and you can employ all kinds of musical approaches, it's film music. Because it's not a genre, it's 'Gebrauchsmusik' that only has to be appropriate to its visual counterpart. So I would argue that film music -- unlike many other types of music -- doesn't have to rely on parameters on any level to the same degree. It depends on the film.

That's hard to understand without musical background, but that's also my point. To apply a certain sound design is the easiest thing to do, you just need time and equipment.

Perhaps anyone can create a sound design of some kind, but not everyone can create GOOD sound design. There's as much music and art in that as it is in more traditional composition, IMO.

Karlheinz Stockhausen's GESANG DER J√úNGLINGE, for example, does not follow what you label 'primary parameters' (if I understood that correctly), but it is no less a piece of musical artwork. Same applies for most of musique concrete and similar stuff. Good luck breaking that down to a piano reduction and then drawing your value judgements from that!


I agree. Hence I said the other parameters emancipated themselves from the primary plane in roughly the late romatic era...
But usually hollywood filmmusic uses musical vocabular which features orchestrations and sounds being dependent on the elementary plane. With few exception like joker's music in the dark knight which are close to avantgarde music of the 20th century featuring sound and colour as independent musical parameters.

So on an abstract level I agree, but the reality is different.

Stockhausen and co did btw really compose with that extented palette of material, they organized the former-dependent components in sophisticated ways. In hollywood scoring the sound design is used put around redundant primary material like a glove. It is just a stunt blinding over generic musical structures.

It is possible that there is as much artistic accomplishment in the sound design as in the elementary plane, Helmut Lachenmann being a good example. But this does usually not happen in hollywood scoring.
With the equipment and time everyone can achieve the usual results in those scores, really.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:34 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Well, I've always found it difficult to generalize that much in relation to something as heterogenous as film music, even if you limit it to Hollywood. A sound design is not a sound design! There's a difference between the sound design that Johnny Greenwood did in THERE WILL BE BLOOD, for example (closer to contemporary concert music) and what Zimmer did in the BATMAN films (closer to experimental, electronic music).

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:38 AM   
 By:   Bill Finn   (Member)

... what's on the page when you do a piano reduction. This means, you just have every note there without the colour, without the sound of the instruments. Just the DNA of the music, melody, harmony, rhythm.
If you are trained in sight reading on the piano or reading music from sheets this really is very enlightening.


I do a piano reduction from time to time, or sometimes play through one done by others and I find this to be very true. There is much to learn by looking at a good transcription of some music by a Bernard Herrmann, David Raksin or John Williams. The little connections.

On the other hand, say, a transcription of perhaps a Herrmann piece (which wouldn't include his wonderful orchestrations) might not have everything. Herrmann was after a master at orchestration, but not so much on really great themes (OK, maybe sometimes). Williams, on the other hand, seems to be able to do both, although his strength as a writer of solid themes is maybe his best aspect.

I have been really enjoying the transcriptions that were published by Hal Leonard from the score to WARHORSE. 54 pages of really excellent Williamsisms. Of course, minus the orchestra. There is a lot to be learned by being able to play through this material, and yes, some composers do not put as many notes on the page as perhaps a Williams.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:39 AM   
 By:   Adam S   (Member)

I obviously haven't seen or even really heard Man of Steel. But, in general, my impression is that Zimmer puts a lot of thought and craft into the score relative to the film. And I like that he admits that he's inferior in purely musical terms. There's a command of the technology and a lot of creativity within his particular approach. And it could be argued that in the context of a lot of modern films, there is less need to have the "substance" of a more polished musician. A lot of movies tend to be more visceral, with very little emotional range, and the music, which isn't being consciously listened to anyway, can kind of just push the right buttons and still be effective.

As far as Williams is concerned, I'm the same way. I love hearing his compositions reduced to piano form. Somehow this can be more impressive often. Partly it is because I play the piano and I immediately see the difference between what he does and my pathetic attempts to create music. But it is also that sense of hearing the music, as said, reduced to its essential structure and I can put my mind around it. Don Davis, when having to follow Williams on Jurassic Park, talked about being able to randomly pick any line of music and how there was such "integrity" in the musical writing. That's the same reaction I have.

It can be the difference between something maybe being immediately pleasing but wearing off and something having a kind of staying power because the musical composition has a depth to it. On the other hand, though I think it is possible to intellectualize musical quality to some extent, there is also probably something that goes beyond our ability to explain. Not only the subjectivity of it but also the objectivity of our human nature and our shared capacity for aesthetic appreciation/creation, though we don't know exactly what that is. Kind of mind-blowing really to think about.

- Adam


Adam, I wholeheartedly agree to this, yes, I especially like to play Williams piano reduction, they are full of deep musical detail and everything is integrated in everything.
When you play the Suite from Superman Returns commercially available for example, there is literally nothing on the page.
The orchestration can blow up poor music and blind listeners, producers and directors.
But after all, it is about how effective the music sells, not about how good it is - to come back to that question again.


Yeah, Superman Returns was a disappointment for me. Just look at the way Williams' love theme was used with the chord progression dumbed down inexplicably. In a way, it is an argument for Man of Steel. Better to just completely redo it with somebody like Zimmer than expect somebody else to measure up with an approach that invites direct comparisons and won't live up to the original.

I think there's room for different approaches, to Thor's point, with different ways of evaluating and so forth. But I think in the pure musical sense of what Mike West is talking about, it would be hard to pick a more advanced cultural and creative achievement than the best orchestral writing. That's just really hard to do well - there's no way to fake that. And that's one reason why so little of it exists anymore, in addition to cultural changes in sensibilities, the nature of movies, etc.

- Adam

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:44 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

Well, I've always found it difficult to generalize that much in relation to something as heterogenous as film music, even if you limit it to Hollywood. A sound design is not a sound design! There's a difference between the sound design that Johnny Greenwood did in THERE WILL BE BLOOD, for example (closer to contemporary concert music) and what Zimmer did in the BATMAN films (closer to experimental, electronic music).

You are right, I meant rather hollywood mainstream scoring. Compared to what happened in music history in the 20th and 21th century it is still a very narrow corridor film scoring moves in.
Trust me, if you want to accomplish such designs, you can buy the equipment and take the time off and you'll quickly find it.
If you want to really compose a sophistocated piece of music with a pencil on a paper, you need some really profound skills and training. J Goldsmith said somethings referring to the same idea in a way talking about the main title of alien, film vs album version

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 5:45 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

Also textural music can be reduced to a piano score and reveal its substance.
Usually textural music is good to get a lot of music quite quick, it is copy and paste after plannig out and also an easy route often blinding over inferior formal development.
100 minutes in a week.... possible with a team and equipmemt and textures smile

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 6:57 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Well, I've always found it difficult to generalize that much in relation to something as heterogenous as film music, even if you limit it to Hollywood. A sound design is not a sound design! There's a difference between the sound design that Johnny Greenwood did in THERE WILL BE BLOOD, for example (closer to contemporary concert music) and what Zimmer did in the BATMAN films (closer to experimental, electronic music).

You are right, I meant rather hollywood mainstream scoring. Compared to what happened in music history in the 20th and 21th century it is still a very narrow corridor film scoring moves in.
Trust me, if you want to accomplish such designs, you can buy the equipment and take the time off and you'll quickly find it.
If you want to really compose a sophistocated piece of music with a pencil on a paper, you need some really profound skills and training. J Goldsmith said somethings referring to the same idea in a way talking about the main title of alien, film vs album version


Sure, I would agree with that.

What makes me react (and I'm not necessarily talking about you, in particular) is when I see a kind of prejudice and 'narrow-mindedness' in film music forums -- especially here at FSM -- where orchestral writing is seen as oh, so superior and high and mighty compared to anything else in music. This annoys me.

I've always said that the 'proof is in the pudding'. There's bad and good music in every imaginable idiom, including orchestral music. To me, there's no difference in the skill between a good Vangelis composition and a good Ralph Vaughan Williams composition, for example. Both are masters in their respective idioms, and it's always a marvel to see how they use their skills to create musical artworks in their chosen musical styles.

When judging the 'quality' of music, I tend to use the criteria I mentioned in the other thread (many of which have a subjective element, obviously). Sometimes, I find 'substance' in melody and structure, other times in textures and instrumental choices. When it comes to film music, the evaluation becomes even more complex, as you then also -- and most importantly -- have to consider its effect in context with visuals.

That's the way to go, IMO, not necessarily (or at least not strictly) evaluate based on detailed mechanisms within the music itself.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 9:35 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

I see Thor - but my argument was not about electronic vs orchestral music, it was about a piano reduction of any kind of music, textural or not, electronic or performed acousticly. This is a very different point of view.

I entirely agree with what you wrote in the previous post.
Also textural music follows parameters like harmony, melody and rhythm, maybe more organized in layers. The substance of electronic or textural music can be revealed in a piano reduction as well.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 9:51 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

True. Thanks for the clarification.

The type of textural music I have in mind, however, isn't very reliant on melody. There might BE a melody in there somewhere, but other concerns are more central in this aesthetic.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 10:07 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I'm going to be a pain in the nether regions and point out the obvious: 'criterion' is the singular word, 'criteria' is plural. So you can't have 'a single criteria'. There, that's got that out of the way. Someone would do it eventually.



You need to remember that in ye olde Hollywood days, because of time contraints (they were always there) composers of the golden age nearly always started at the piano. The produced a two-line, then a five-line, then a detailed sketch (with orchestrations noted in) and from these a copyist (who might or might not be an orchestrator too) made a conductor's shortscore and many beavers cobbled together the parts for orchestra.

So in many cases it really wasn't too hard for a composer to 'condense' back to two lines, because that's how he started! That was before synthesizers and software programs. It's therefore not so strange that those compositions should seem very apt for piano, since that was their embryo.

I have used the OP's criterion before when thinking about modern 'synth/wail/drone/ostinato' scores. If you transcribe down Miklos Rozsa's 'Pursuit' from 'The Naked City' to pf, you'll have a job on your hands ... as many hands as you have that is ... but many long passages in modern films, well, you'd just be pressing the reverb pedal and holding down a single note (or two an octave apart!) for ages, and it wouldn't come out like 'music' at all, certainly not performable or publishable music. It relies on sound textures.

Obviously it isn't going to work with something like Ligeti's 'Atmospheres', but generally, it's a test that separates the men from the yoghurts in terms of composing skills.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 10:21 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

you are right about the criterion, of course, I changed it smile

in terms of the point, you just missed it scratching on the surface of the thinking in the previous posts.

They used a piano, but they also used their imagination more because there was no device playing them everything immediately in every speed with every sound as often as you want to.
So they needed to really think the music and also play it by themselves, there was no possibility for a quick trial & error approach.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 10:21 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

To me, there's no difference in the skill between a good Vangelis composition and a good Ralph Vaughan Williams composition, for example. Both are masters in their respective idioms, and it's always a marvel to see how they use their skills to create musical artworks in their chosen musical styles.





That's never going to be true, your example above. Vaughan-Williams understood development, progressions, Vangelis doesn't, unless he hits upon it intuitively. One might think they can EVOKE equally well, but you need a lot of stretching the goal-line to imply they are equals.


I do think that you're falling into a trap we all do from time to time, i.e. that of just a little self-flattery, in that you're sort of reassuring yourself and your own image that you represent a more open-minded approach against a tide of old fogies and Ludditism. But in fact, orchestral music is not only good melodically, it has an infinitely more varied set of textures with which to create imagery ... look at Goldsmith's EARLY work, where every score, usually in the quieter chamber passages, has something unique to hear.

You may say that a more 'infinite' range of textures is possible with synths, but, frankly, except where people use synths to APE orchestral instruments, it never turns out that way. You occasionally get a 'violin' register sound at a pitch no violin could ever play, but that's about it. The sense of BLANDNESS is always there.

Things change and pendulums swing. There's nothing so out of date as last month, and nothing so passe as the synth of the '70s, '80s and '90s.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 10:30 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)


They used a piano, but they also used their imagination more because there was no device playing them everything immediately in every speed with every sound as often as you want to.
So they needed to really think the music and also play it by themselves, there was no possibility for a quick trial & error approach.



I don't doubt it, but often great orchestral moments are the result of serendipity. When they heard the playback, they said, 'Wow, that was great, I didn't know I did that!'

I'm in agreement with your overall stance. A good orchestral score, is like a landscape with mountains (tutti), valleys, complicated woodwind 'towns' and 'forests', flowing rivers, you name it, and it's a coloured journey through a landscape just as surely as along the staves. And the composer, though he had an overall feel for the landscape, had to make the journey first and his audience later followed him.

Instead of today's ready-made almost template landscape that can be tweaked for different scenes, 'Hey, let's just pitchbend that love scene an octave higher for that second scene ... nobody'll notice...'

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 10:34 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

That's never going to be true, your example above. Vaughan-Williams understood development, progressions, Vangelis doesn't, unless he hits upon it intuitively. One might think they can EVOKE equally well, but you need a lot of stretching the goal-line to imply they are equals.

They're both masters in their different idioms (and yes, Vangelis most definitely understands development and progressions....you have to be pretty out-of-the-loop to even suggest he doesn't). Beyond that, I've always found it pointless to compare the specifics from one type of music to the other. It's far more interesting to look at the idiosyncracies of a single one while having an open mind towards all kinds of music -- also in film music.

I do think that you're falling into a trap we all do from time to time, i.e. that of just a little self-flattery, in that you're sort of reassuring yourself and your own image that you represent a more open-minded approach against a tide of old fogies and Ludditism. But in fact, orchestral music is not only good melodically, it has an infinitely more varied set of textures with which to create imagery ...

That is your opinion. That does not make it true. I have a very different opinion. Yours is exactly the type of prejudice and narrow-mindedness I was talking about earlier, and which I find more than a little annoying.

 
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