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 Posted:   May 11, 2013 - 7:42 PM   
 By:   jsmiley108   (Member)

I was listening to the Terminator theme (from The Great Fantasy Adventure Album - did Cincinnati/Kunzel every put out a more fun disk? - even the CD cover is a great start) and was trying to work out the time signature. It seems to be in 6/8 but I did a google search and found a number of suggestions. I couldn't find any mention of it here so I am now posting the question. Does anyone know (from seeing the score or talking with Mr Fiedel) what the exact time signature of the theme is?

 
 Posted:   May 11, 2013 - 7:55 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

It's a cracking album - "The Rocketeer" being my favourite track...tremendous fun.

As for "Terminator", I' don't know the answer to your question...but if I were transcribing it for an arrangement of something I would start in a quick 3/4 (one in a bar) and see where is takes me...

 
 
 Posted:   May 11, 2013 - 8:47 PM   
 By:   Matt S.   (Member)

I don't have the CD with me at the moment, but playing the theme "in my head," my guess would be a combined/alternating time signature of 6/8 plus 3/4. One bar of two beats subdivided into three, plus a bar of three beats subdivided into twos. That's how the pounding ostinato sounds to me:

6/8 bar: eighth + quarter, quarter + eighth 3/4 bar: quarter + quarter + quarter.

But, as I said, that's just how I'm remebering it at the moment. I could easily be incorrect.

 
 Posted:   May 11, 2013 - 11:59 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

I would still keep the first bar in 3/4 personally....it would let the syncopation bounce, and would be far easier to conduct! wink

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 3:01 AM   
 By:   KonstantinosZ   (Member)

If you look at this dissertation on page 113, the theme is notated in 6/8. (on the previous page you can see the rhythmic figure)
http://repositories.lib.utexas.edu/bitstream/handle/2152/3839/eatonr88741.pdf

Now, I assume this is not a personal transcription but comes from the official piano book, for which there is a preview page here, but unfortunately doesn't contain the theme which would be on page 2.
http://www.musicnotes.com/images/productimages/large/mtd/MN0113389.gif

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 7:29 AM   
 By:   Marcato   (Member)

i don't think at Brad Fiedel even used sheet, i just think that he created music from scratch. but i really don't know for sure

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 9:17 AM   
 By:   KonstantinosZ   (Member)

i don't think at Brad Fiedel even used sheet, i just think that he created music from scratch. but i really don't know for sure

oh, yes, that could even be more likely..

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 9:21 AM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

i don't think at Brad Fiedel even used sheet, i just think that he created music from scratch. but i really don't know for sure

I think Marcato's right. There probably wasn't any need for a written score, so one might not have ever existed.

However, the last bar of the piano sheet Konstantinos refers to may not have the "theme" per se, but it does have the ostinato rhythm that plays under the theme (bottom note in the top staff). Notice that it's in 13/8. I've also seen a transcription in 13/16. No matter how you slice it, the bar is always going to contain 13 of the fastest note. For that reason, a time signature of 6/8 or 3/4 simply won't work - it will be one sixteenth too short. In the dissertation Konstanintos refers to, the author has to tie the last note over to the next bar to complete the ostinato. So even there, the ostinato has 13 beats and doesn't fit in the 6/8 bar.

So my two cents are: the theme probably wasn't ever notated, but if you want to transcribe it, you would have to use bars of 13 of the fastest note value you choose.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   Matt S.   (Member)

i don't think at Brad Fiedel even used sheet, i just think that he created music from scratch. but i really don't know for sure

I think Marcato's right. There probably wasn't any need for a written score, so one might not have ever existed.

However, the last bar of the piano sheet Konstantinos refers to may not have the "theme" per se, but it does have the ostinato rhythm that plays under the theme (bottom note in the top staff). Notice that it's in 13/8. I've also seen a transcription in 13/16. No matter how you slice it, the bar is always going to contain 13 of the fastest note. For that reason, a time signature of 6/8 or 3/4 simply won't work - it will be one sixteenth too short. In the dissertation Konstanintos refers to, the author has to tie the last note over to the next bar to complete the ostinato. So even there, the ostinato has 13 beats and doesn't fit in the 6/8 bar.

So my two cents are: the theme probably wasn't ever notated, but if you want to transcribe it, you would have to use bars of 13 of the fastest note value you choose.


13 beats is correct...after listening to it I realize I was one note short in the "first" bar...so if I were to write it out for performance, I would use alternating measures of 7/8 (2+2+3) and 3/4.

The OP was referring to the performance by the Cincinnati Pops, so the music must have been notated for them, whether Fiedel originally wrote it out or not.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 12:32 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

13 beats is correct...after listening to it I realize I was one note short in the "first" bar...so if I were to write it out for performance, I would use alternating measures of 7/8 (2+2+3) and 3/4.

I like your breakdown, Matt. The extra note seems to be in the third "big" beat, so the whole pattern is almost a bar of 6 beats of 2 pulses, but with an extra long third beat, which is essentially what you're saying. That is, 2+2+3, 2+2+2. I think it works quite well to beat to it that way.

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 12:58 PM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

Yes, appears 13/8 is correct, but the CPO recording is pushed rhythmically so much that it's almost 12/8 (try clapping the crotchet beat along with it, it rarely breaks an even 6 in a bar)...never realised that before!!

 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 5:40 PM   
 By:   tgreiving   (Member)

Here's a little anecdote from a career retrospective interview with Fiedel that will be in the May issue of FSMO:

Fiedel: One day I’m working in my studio, this was probably sometime in the ’90s. I get this call and there’s a woman on the phone saying, “I have Henry Mancini for you. Is this Mr. Fiedel?” I really thought it was a friend of mine joking or something. So there’s Hank Mancini, and he says, “RCA’s asked me to do a big band album of film themes, and I think your Terminator theme cooks. I have this idea and I want to do it with a big band.” I was like, “Woah—that’s fine!” He asked me for the music...Now, none of the Terminator scores were written anywhere. They were all done in my studio, top to bottom, and very free finding stuff, and I didn’t take the time to write anything down. That would have slowed me up.

So I’m sitting there, and I have to bring in this friend of mine who was a musicologist. We’re listening—this is the original Terminator, because on Terminator 2 there was different technology, so it fell more into a musical pocket that was easier to define because we thought we might go to orchestra on that score...it ended up we didn’t have time, and ultimately I’m not sorry, but I was preparing to have to have beats that could be translated. But the original Terminator was so hurky jerky—I mean, you’d have to see me in the studio trying to get a take: taking two or three different things and saying, “Oh shit, that one’s getting behind, and that’s not the tempo on this…”

So we’re listening to it and saying, “What tempo is this in?” (talking about the main theme). I don’t even know what we came up with, but if you really get scientific about it it’s a very bizarre time signature, because the loop that was driving it is so irregular. (I could see Hank was hearing it as like a conga line.) But when I hit the off button on the Prophet 10 when I was recording that sequence that creates the loop, I was a little off...so it was a little short. It was constantly undulating. So I think we came into the fact that it was 13/8 or literally like 17/32…it was this crazy time signature. In the end we just wrote it as 6/8, and said it sounds a little different than on the tape.

 
 
 Posted:   May 12, 2013 - 6:19 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

That is a fascinating story, Tim, thanks for sharing.

The only thing I'm wondering now is what change they made to squeeze it into a 6/8 meter, because I don't have this recording. As Mr Greg says, it sounds pushed, so something is made faster. My guess is that they probably did something to the last three notes in the bar. But it would seem odd to me to do that because then you've got a different rhythm. Funny how the original sounds so smooth yet is so bizarre to write down.

 
 Posted:   May 13, 2013 - 5:12 AM   
 By:   Mr Greg   (Member)

That is a fascinating story, Tim, thanks for sharing.

The only thing I'm wondering now is what change they made to squeeze it into a 6/8 meter, because I don't have this recording. As Mr Greg says, it sounds pushed, so something is made faster. My guess is that they probably did something to the last three notes in the bar. But it would seem odd to me to do that because then you've got a different rhythm. Funny how the original sounds so smooth yet is so bizarre to write down.


On the CPO recording, I think it's the first half of the bar...almost a septuplet...then the three straight crotchets...strange! But fascinating..

 
 
 Posted:   May 13, 2013 - 6:00 AM   
 By:   jsmiley108   (Member)

I would like to thank everyone for their very interesting contributions so far. A very satifactory result...

 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2014 - 2:21 PM   
 By:   Lukas Kendall   (Member)


This thread just made Slate.com! see pg 2:

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2014/02/the_time_signature_of_the_terminator_score_is_a_mystery_for_the_ages.html


Lukas

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 26, 2014 - 2:30 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Of all the things....

 
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