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This is a comments thread about Blog Post: Film Music Is Dead by Kjell Neckebroeck
 
 Posted:   Dec 10, 2013 - 11:57 PM   
 By:   ArjanOudekerk   (Member)

That's why nowadays I stick mainly to european composers (and their work for european movies) like Kaczmarek, Marianelli, Desplat, Martichelli, Korzeniowski, Einaudi etc. The americans just don't do it for me anymore. Outside of the occasional John Williams and James Newton Howard.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 12:03 AM   
 By:   Jon Broxton   (Member)

You're not listening to the right scores, clearly. I can list 10-20 scores from this year alone which fulfill your criteria for being "good scores".

You're like the film music equivalent of chicken little.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 12:38 AM   
 By:   CindyLover   (Member)

That's why nowadays I stick mainly to european composers (and their work for european movies) like Kaczmarek, Marianelli, Desplat, Martichelli, Korzeniowski, Einaudi etc. The americans just don't do it for me anymore. Outside of the occasional John Williams and James Newton Howard.

Ironically, the composers listed in the piece who get the biggest kicking are European (Hans Zimmer and Clint Mansell).

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 1:31 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

You're not listening to the right scores, clearly. I can list 10-20 scores from this year alone which fulfill your criteria for being "good scores".

You're like the film music equivalent of chicken little.


Yeah, that.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 1:52 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

I can list 10-20 scores from this year alone which fulfill your criteria for being "good scores".


Out of how many scores "composed" this year?

The article addresses the right issues and its description of the malaise of today's film music fits about 80-90% of all scores "composed" in the recent past.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 1:58 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Most of what is composed of the thousands of scores in any given year is more or less forgettable, whether it's 1936, 1972 or 2013, and quickly lost in the sands of time. It's only the good stuff that stands tall, and I would guess that an average of about 10-20 pr. year is a good estimate.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 2:04 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

There are still good scores coming out, for sure. Desplat alone keeps a nice supply coming.

And there were probably always bad ones too, it's just that they get forgotten in the march of time.

However, I share the general idea that the recent era of film music is less inspiring overall than past eras and the post makes some good points about style.

My pet peeve is the ubiquity of two-hour films with three-hours of music scored for the beefed-up crash-bang-wallop orchestra and great grand choir of the apocalypse — and yet for all the crashing and bashing and Carmina Burana-ing, almost nothing of distinction to remember.

Put it this way. If you put the film score decade of the 00s head-to-head with the 50s, or the 60s, or the 70s, or the 80s, I think the 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s, whichever one it's head-to-head with, beats it.

But, still, let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are good scores, always. And maybe our perceptions are distorted by our biases.

Cheers

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 2:06 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

My pet peeve is the ubiquity of two-hour films with three-hours of music scored for the beefed-up crash-bang-wallop orchestra and great grand choir of the apocalypse — and yet for all the crashing and bashing and Carmina Burana-ing, almost nothing to remember.

This is one of MY 'pet peeves' in these discussions -- that people draw conclusions on the general state of things by only taking their point of departure in mainstream Hollywood ACTION films. As if that was the only genre around.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 2:28 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I don't believe film music is dead, the film music some people grew up with maybe, but along with the movies they were written for, it evolved and continues to evolve. And film music is such a diverse genre as it encompasses so much genres and styles, I find such generalizations utter bullshit. I had to laugh at another one I read recent saying it isn't film music when it can't be performed by actual players. roll eyes

And I was discussing Under Fire with a friend recently, it too is open for debate and having seen the movie, it's not a flawless Goldsmith score. But I will entertain the notion that had Under Fire been brought out today, I doubt it would be so IMO over scored in the moments it does feature music.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 2:54 AM   
 By:   Stephen Woolston   (Member)

My pet peeve is the ubiquity of two-hour films with three-hours of music scored for the beefed-up crash-bang-wallop orchestra and great grand choir of the apocalypse — and yet for all the crashing and bashing and Carmina Burana-ing, almost nothing to remember.

This is one of MY 'pet peeves' in these discussions -- that people draw conclusions on the general state of things by only taking their point of departure in mainstream Hollywood ACTION films. As if that was the only genre around.


Okay, if I'd have added the words "in blockbuster action films" after "ubiquity", which is what I meant (didn't mean to imply ALL films are scored like that), would we be okay?

Y'know, if we actually met in real life Thor, I bet we'd actually get on quite well.

Cheers

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 2:59 AM   
 By:   Entr'acte   (Member)

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP was scored by Cliff Martinez.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 3:10 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Okay, if I'd have added the words "in blockbuster action films" after "ubiquity", which is what I meant (didn't mean to imply ALL films are scored like that), would we be okay?

Much better, yes. Although we could have another discussion after that, discussing the pros and cons of the particular style you have in mind, and also about the existing or non-existing diversity within the genre.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 3:13 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

THE COMPANY YOU KEEP was scored by Cliff Martinez.

It was indeed, and a beautiful score it is too -- like most of Martinez' efforts.

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 4:55 AM   
 By:   Bob Bryden   (Member)


My pet peeve is the ubiquity of two-hour films with three-hours of music scored for the beefed-up crash-bang-wallop orchestra and great grand choir of the apocalypse — and yet for all the crashing and bashing and Carmina Burana-ing, almost nothing of distinction to remember.




Love that Stephen. I'll be using it. Two hour films with three hours of music - hilarious!

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 5:04 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

My pet peeve is the ubiquity of two-hour films with three-hours of music scored for the beefed-up crash-bang-wallop orchestra and great grand choir of the apocalypse — and yet for all the crashing and bashing and Carmina Burana-ing, almost nothing of distinction to remember.

Of course you can't score an action picture using a string quartet only, but the constant audio (and visual!) overkill, the "Wall", is truly annoying. But it's a development that has spilled across to film scores from pop music, the "hit charts" kind, which is equally overwrought these days (try Rhianna).

The use of choirs, especially, should be outlawed.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 5:26 AM   
 By:   Scott M (Oldsmith)   (Member)

I found it amsuing that being a kid in the 80's makes one "that old." I was a kid in the 70's and I'm not "that old."

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 5:32 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

Kjell's article is well-written and heartfelt, but I fear that he's taking one fairly narrow aspect of what he loves about film music and applying it to the whole sector. What betrays this is the frequent repetition of one telling word: Goldsmith.

To be sure, other contemporary composers are mentioned (albeit in passing!) but the author is clearly a keen JG fan and is determined to measure today's trends and mores against his favourite. Nothing wrong with that, but it can sometimes lead to a slightly misleading agenda. Kjell proposes that "film music is dead", when he really wants to say "Jerry Goldsmith is dead" and lead another little period of mourning for times past.

As demonstrated elsewhere in this thread, there are still composers who introduce melodies and themes, and who will spot the film sparsely, where it suits the director, and you can find such scores in modern films without having to cast the net too wide. Sure, the current demand appears to be for Zimmerish/Inceptionish scores; fortunately I like them too, where they fit the film (like in Gravity and, um, Inception). A change is as good as a rest!

And (while I'm about it) don't give any truck to the preposterous idea that all the tunes that can be made up HAVE been made up. There are many people working within and beyond film music who can craft a melody as well as ever, and for a musician to suggest otherwise is perhaps to cover one's own lack of motivation. Also, people actually LIKE the score from Inception, the Dark Knight Trilogy, The Social Network and Gravity. They may be harder to assimilate on disc than in the films, but a lot of music from the last 100 years is equally hard, and with a similar potential for reward if the effort is made. In any event, the number one requirement for a score has been fulfilled even if not a single CD is subsequently sold.

I have no real issue with anyone bemoaning the loss of a favourite composer. What wouldn't I give for another Shostakovich symphony, or the discovery of a lost John Barry score for The Spy Who Loved Me?! I like to think that I'd try to resist the temptation to use my personal regret to draw conclusions about a whole branch or era of music, but of course these things can be done completely unwittingly. I'm not suggesting any attempt to be disingenuous, by the way - I just think that a particular has simply been applied too generously.

Kjell - if you're still reading, kudos for a thought-provoking article, and I hope you find some music, film scores or otherwise, that can help alleviate your sense of loss.

TG

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 5:36 AM   
 By:   OnlyGoodMusic   (Member)

Kjell's article is well-written and heartfelt, but I fear that he's taking one fairly narrow aspect of what he loves about film music and applying it to the whole sector.


No, he isn't. He's taking Goldsmith as an example for the kind of film music that has themes, and more importantly, DEVELOPMENT, which is what's sadly missing from many of today's action/blockbuster/teeny appeal scores. Also, these scores "of yore" - and we're talking about not much more than 15, 20 years here - were "wedded" much more closely to the picture than so many are now, there was more care being taken with synchronising music and actions on-screen - as opposed to mere acoustic wallpapers that just "lie there, doing nothing", which the author aptly writes.

Of course, some of the changes have been brought about by the generally "breathless" pace of today's action/suspense-oriented films, loaded to the hilt with cheap (well, maybe be not so cheap) thrills - so slow, simplistic music with pedal points ("the drone") functions as a counterpoint to the apparent chaos on screen. Film music "slowing down" a picture is a practice that goes back years, too. The lack of development doesn't.

 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 6:13 AM   
 By:   Other Tallguy   (Member)

Unreleased flags?

Nice article but I think it fails to compare like to like. He picks a very specific film and then compares it (mostly) to films in completely different genres and styles. The Redford comparison is probably a good one. If you’re going to compare wall to wall action movies of the present, then compare it to wall to wall action of days gone by. The problems are similar, but comparing Under Fire with Inception is a little disingenuous.

I agree that films are WAY over scored these days. But that’s not really new either. Compare Star Wars to Empire. And then Empire to Jedi. I loves me my movie music, but I also love seeing a great scene with no score at all. A rare bird these days. (Hmmm. Now I’m wondering how much of North by Northwest was unscored…)

Spider-Man 2: That’s the joke, isn’t it? It’s NOT an action scene. It’s a flippin’ pizza. But it’s SPIDER-MAN delivering a pizza. You don’t score with “hey this is ridiculous” music. The audience (who is supposedly sharp as a sack of wet mice) KNOWS it’s ridiculous. Scoring with SPIDER-MAN music is all part of the show. (And isn’t this the big scene that Raimi and Elfman fought over?)

 
 
 Posted:   Dec 11, 2013 - 7:12 AM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

I agree with Tall Guy more then anyone on this thread, too much generalization, too much personal emotions of our own little worlds interfering with a reality. It is fascinating how with our likings we can create such a limited world and a limited reality to things. That is why I like the small gem thread. Every year there is so many more scores we can enjoy if we let ourselves be more open minded. Be it 1935 or 2013.

 
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