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 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 10:48 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

They're both masters in their different idioms (and yes, Vangelis most definitely understands development and progressions). 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.


Can you give an example where Vangelis has used more than the most basic chordal progressions? Can you cite a score where a theme he wrote has lots of development variation, as opposed to mere repetition? If Max Steiner had written 'Over the Mountains' from 'Alexander' he'd have ... well, no actually he wouldn't ever have written it down, because he'd realise he was rehashing 'Amazing Grace' subliminally.

Vangeli's best pieces, like the sax stuff on 'Blade Runner' are harmonised intuitively. We can all do that, and it's fine, and the great composers did it often too, but because they'd assimilated the techniques so they could do it in their sleep, so saving TIME. In fact, when you really get right doon 't'it (as Rab. C. Nesbitt would say), the man in the street can compose, BUT IT WOULD TAKE HIM YEARS to arrive at what the trained composer would do in a week. We hire professionals because they save TIME, that's as true for a plumber as for a composer.


That is your opinion. That does not make it true. I have a very different opinion.


Of course Thor, that is why we know you're so progressive and enlightened, a bastion against a sea of narrow-mindedness and mediocrity. Could we expect you to say otherwise?

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 11:04 AM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

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.


No Thor. Ask those who know me.

My musical tastes include, 20th Century orchestral music, chamber, mediaeval and Renaissance music, progressive jazz, Baroque, well-conceived rock-music (we're talking Sting, Roxy Music, Pink Floyd, Amy Winehouse, The Who, the Stones, Bob Dylan ...), Chinese, Arabic, Spanish, Flamenco, Hungarian, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Holst, Vaughan-Williams, symphonic film-scoring like Rozsa's and Moross's and Herrmann's and Golsmith's and Korngold's, Ivor Cutler .... hell, I've even been asked to storyboard rock videos.


You NEED to believe I and others are Luddites, for your thesis to work. The image, you see.


Yes, I'm deliberately pushing your buttons in a provocative way on this, because I feel that this is more about stances than music. That composers often rely more on textures than on melody is self-evident. It needs no defending. But what does that prove?


I think people here forget that this community is only a communiry because it COLLECTS and listens to film-music as a stand-alone experience, and when anyone here defends a style of film-music, it's because it works as music PER SE. You can record a cow breaking wind with a microphone, put it through various reshapings and place it as film music behind a scene of a tarantula crawling up a lady's arm, and it will work perfectly. That isn't a good stand-alone experience as music, which is what this place is all about really.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 11:18 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (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.



I already did, in my very early post on this topic - for those with careful reading skills - but maybe in too subtle a way. Much like the themes in some recent "sound design" scores smile

TG

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 11:54 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Can you give an example where Vangelis has used more than the most basic chordal progressions? Can you cite a score where a theme he wrote has lots of development variation, as opposed to mere repetition?

Yes, I can. Plenty (I'm listening to ALBEDO 0.39 right now, for example, which has some cool experimental passages that evolve throughout the concept idea of the album. In fact, that goes for most of his albums). But I have no intention of turning this into a Vangelis discussion.

I just don't get your point. Why compare two composers who work in such widely different idioms? Why not just embrace the fact that they may be equal masters of what they do, within their chosen craft? I will never understand the desire to use the criteria of one style of music to assess a different style of music. It would be like criticizing Bob Dylan for not living up to the orchestral standards of Anton Webern. Or criticizing John Williams for not adhering to the principles of trance music.

It's also why I've never understood the need to use the criteria of traditional orchestral writing to assess the quality of Zimmer's music (which seems to form the premise of this thread). Zimmer has never written any music based on traditional orchestral writing. That's not what he's about. His qualities as a musician and composer lie elsewhere. So it should be assessed according to that.

You NEED to believe I and others are Luddites, for your thesis to work. The image, you see.

I don't need anything (least of which a psychoanalysis from you). You're doing a pretty good job of upholding that description yourself.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 12:10 PM   
 By:   Mike West   (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.



I already did, in my very early post on this topic - for those with careful reading skills - but maybe in too subtle a way. Much like the themes in some recent "sound design" scores smile

TG


I have to admit that I read over it without noticing... smile sorry.

But if you are referring to the theme performed by piano in the samples for Man of Steel.
This is surely a great theme and there is musical substance, and it takes time to come with
that kind of melodic architecture.
But in the rest of the samples or the track called DNA there is not a lot of substance there -
that was not so much about sound design.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 12:37 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

I don't need anything (least of which a psychoanalysis from you). You're doing a pretty good job of upholding that description yourself.




That's interesting. You added a little there, from last time I looked.

Since you're listening to that album, you'll know what 'Albedo 0.39' really means Thor? I don't mean the obvious, about the light reflected from the earth etc.. Albedo is also an alchemical term, 'Albedo', it means 'the whitening' ...

THAT's the real art of Vangelis, the CONCEPT.

Now, funny enough, since you mentioned it, the alchemical concept of the 'albedo' turns up quite a lot in dream analysis. It can, under certain circumstances, represent a 'resurrection' a 'transformation, a 'coming out of the dark night of the soul' ... part of the transformative process. Very useful in dream analysis.

So Vangelis ends his album on that hopeful note. He means 'the journey of transformation is now complete'.

And that's why people like Olivier used snow-scenes in their 'out of the darkness' colour schemes in Henry V. Used a lot in films, like 'Cold Mountain' when it all resolves.

But why am I telling you all this? You already know that of course. I'd hate to think I understood Vangelis' albums better than you, and I'm sure I don't.


Mind you, it has nothing to do with which of the two composers was more skilled. Developing an album, and developing themes are different.



ACTUALLY, what this is REALLY about, is where Film-music is GOING. There is no great eventual good Hegelian synthesis that necessarily must be arrived at. Investments can go down as well as up. Things can degenerate and decay as well as evolve. And mainstream filmmusic, many of us think, is doing just that. And composers out there are unemployed. Good ones.

For myself, I think that rock-progression music, even when scaled up has a tendency to create either 'elegaic' music, or 'cock out on the table' macho bad-boy styles. That's the only two moods evoked by SOME composers. And I think there are many, many other more subtle moods that can be evoked. Narrow bands of musical appreciation might some day create narrow people who listen to it daily. I want MORE breadth, not less. How many young people even ever want to hear an orchestra today? Yet the young serious musicians are graduating every year, and can't get assignments.


Ask me what I'm smoking, go on.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 1:08 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

He, he....no, I thank you for the extra info about 'albedo'. Always useful at parties.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

He, he....no, I thank you for the extra info about 'albedo'. Always useful at parties.


For a fella that resists 'psychoanalysis' as you call it, you've a helluva fascination with dreams.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 1:13 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Dreams are awesome! I think I have a few more to share in that 'dream' thread of mine (and THERE you have my permission to psycho-analyze all you want!)

Now, what were we talking about? Something about musical substance?

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 1:16 PM   
 By:   Grecchus   (Member)

Jim Lovelock and GAIA. That's real COOL, man!

Sorry to break away from generalisation. Wouldn't a 100+ orchestra be out of place in the movies right now? I mean, I just don't see it.

Reading posts earlier on I kept on thinking about JG's Illustrated Man. There's a pleasant melody played thoughout. The female vocal and the orchestra and the electronic tones all take their turn. That's a good example of a full tapestry being used and what's more, it always aks to be revisited. That is quality stuff, to be sure. The cello and strings are used to marvelous effect. But that style (was that baroque) was then, not now.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 1:44 PM   
 By:   yonythemoony   (Member)

Reading this thread makes me wonder what happened to the time when people used to enjoy something no matter if it was complex or simple. That same time where a couple of notes was enough to scare everybody (Jaws).

And it's funny that people are using as example as non-substance music Superman Returns and Man Of Steel, both scores for Superman movies, after that John Williams scored one of these film. And saying that DNA doesn't have nothing, without watching the film it's ridiculous. Film music is supposed to transmite something when you're watching the film, not when you're listening to it.

About Zimmer, he writes long suites of themes for the film he scores, that's dedication.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 3:41 PM   
 By:   Loren   (Member)

a criterion for quality of musical substance is what's on the page when you do a piano reduction.

a very limited criterion I might say.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 3:48 PM   
 By:   MMM   (Member)

A number of (quality) film composers from the Golden Age told me that a good day for them was writing 3 minutes of music a day, with detailed orchestration notes. Depending upon the complexity, tempo, etc. of the music, of course. That's 12 hours of music a year, taking into account weekends and vacations. That's a lot of music.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 6:32 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO MR GREG- I agree it is all what you feel, that is why it is so hard to really understand someone else's likings or dislikes. Two examples, 99and nine tenths of the time I like or can love a very pretty melodic ballad, it is my favorite type of music. Yet for the life of me, I just could never really like MARVIN HAMLISCH'S THE WAY WE WERE, many indeed did. Then there is the opening theme credit music from a film called DINOSAURUS-60- BY RONALD STEIN, the theme always chills my bones and is so touching to my senses. One can talk with intelligence and wisdom about music till the end of time. But it will always come down to what one person finds to their liking in a piece of music, just like food and our taste buds.

 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 6:40 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO YONY THE MOONY- I don't think it has change, it still and always will only take a few right notes to cause the right emotions from the viewers. But in the past and forever more as long as music is important to us, there will be people who will study everything about it and those who will just go with the flow. Both are admirable traits, peace, enjoy and if you like study, study , study. Like filmmaking, in which I did first hand , some people I know, like to know how I did it, others couldn't give a c---.to each one's own.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 8:04 PM   
 By:   JJH   (Member)

One thing I have learned over time is that the simplicity or complexity in a score is hogwash as regards to musical quality.

I don't know whether Zimmer's Man of Steel looks complex or not on paper...I could care less.
If it resonates, that's all I need. Maybe it's not some lofty theme like Williams wrote. Well...ok.
But what I heard in that trailer sure did make an impact.



 
 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 8:15 PM   
 By:   McMillan & Husband   (Member)

A criterion for quality of musical substance is...

...whether I like it or not..

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 8:29 PM   
 By:   WILLIAMDMCCRUM   (Member)

A criterion for musical substance in terms of the FUTURE is more complex.

If there's to be NO complicated music in mainstream scoring, then that's a serious matter. It's not about, 'only complex music can be good'. It's about direction.


A poster above said that a 100-plus orchestra in movies today would seem out of place. Firstly, there are PLENTY of big scores still being written and the likes of Williams still uses those orchestras: it depends on the movie genre.

And secondly, what does 'out of place' mean except in terms of fashion and expectation? If we were as truly 'postmodern' as we all pretend to be, then we'd expect a different style, and a different 'fashion' for each individual film assignment. That's why they give out art direction Oscars. That so many scores sound the same is a testament to the fact that people in Hollywood play follow-the-leader and play safe. There should actually be NO 'fashions' in scoring if we were all open-minded, and certainly no predominance of what's predominating now.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 8:47 PM   
 By:   JJH   (Member)

A criterion for musical substance in terms of the FUTURE is more complex.

If there's to be NO complicated music in mainstream scoring, then that's a serious matter. It's not about, 'only complex music can be good'. It's about direction.





I don't get this. Does everything in film scoring have to be a double fugue or something?


This, from the classical world, is not complicated AT ALL:




YET it is quality and makes an impact.

 
 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 9:28 PM   
 By:   gone   (Member)

I have never liked the idea of 'weighing music by the pound' with respect to judging its merit based on various conditions of complexity.

Some contemporary films, such as those directed by Christopher Nolan, basically demand a Hans Zimmer soundscape type treatment due to the dark brooding flow of the story and visuals. What the movie needs is what Hans delivers. It works well for me as a combined/viewing experience and therefore its quality in that context is on the money.

I do regret the increasingly limited production of what I would consider 'epic' films (large sweeping stories in large sweeping landscapes), which tend to lend themselves to significant orchestrated scores. But even in cases where the canvas is large (Blood Diamond for example) there can be a somewhat minimalist approach. JNH's London theme from the film is rather simple, yet moving... and works wonderfully well in context.

 
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