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 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 11:48 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

It has come to my attention, from listening to John Scott's scores recently, that he has been fond of using that famous JAWS motif (by Stravinsky?) that John Williams appropriated for his classic JAWS score.
It has popped up so far in A Study In Terror, The Long Duel (I think), Antony & Cleopatra, People That Time Forgot and Final Countdown.
I suppose it just takes one lucky association to own it forever.

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 12:23 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

A Study in Terror, The Long Duel and Anthony and Cleopatra were all composed prior to Jaws.
And Waxman (among others) used that motif long before Scott or Williams.
Does it even qualify as anyone's "motif"? A couple of notes repeated over and over. I've heard similar in early opera from the 1600s.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 1:33 PM   
 By:   Kari Tuhkanen   (Member)

You can hear sort of variations of the Jaws motif in Scott´s Orcas and Penguins from The Warm Blooded Sea (1981-2) and in Shark Attack from Parc Oceanique Cousteau (1989). Certainly a tribute to Williams. But there are no traces of it in the savagely primal Set upon by Sharks from 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1996).

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 1:40 PM   
 By:   judy the hutt   (Member)

It has come to my attention, from listening to John Scott's scores recently, that he has been fond of using that famous JAWS motif (by Stravinsky?) that John Williams appropriated for his classic JAWS score.
It has popped up so far in A Study In Terror, The Long Duel (I think), Antony & Cleopatra, People That Time Forgot and Final Countdown.
I suppose it just takes one lucky association to own it forever.


to hell with Stravinsky

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 1:40 PM   
 By:   judy the hutt   (Member)

It has come to my attention, from listening to John Scott's scores recently, that he has been fond of using that famous JAWS motif (by Stravinsky?) that John Williams appropriated for his classic JAWS score.
It has popped up so far in A Study In Terror, The Long Duel (I think), Antony & Cleopatra, People That Time Forgot and Final Countdown.
I suppose it just takes one lucky association to own it forever.


to hell with Stravinsky

 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 1:44 PM   
 By:   SchiffyM   (Member)

Does it even qualify as anyone's "motif"? A couple of notes repeated over and over.

Agreed. It's a technique, really. I don't think Williams really appropriated anything, just (very effectively) utilized a tool in a composer's toolbox.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 1:56 PM   
 By:   Kari Tuhkanen   (Member)

It would be very interesting to know, if composers working then would have written anything as effective as Williams´s stroke of genius. Goldsmith for example (scary it woud have been undoubtedly) or Herrmann (same thing), who showed interest in it.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 2:01 PM   
 By:   bobbengan   (Member)

It would be very interesting to know, if composers working then would have written anything as effective as Williams´s stroke of genius. Goldsmith for example (scary it woud have been undoubtedly) or Herrmann (same thing), who showed interest in it.

I remember reading that Spielberg had temped JAWS with Williams' own super-dissonant score from IMAGES. Now a score like *that* for Jaws might have been an interesting listen!

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 2:45 PM   
 By:   Kari Tuhkanen   (Member)

I jumped to conclusions about Herrmann´s interest in Jaws. But in Steven C. Smith´s biography about the composer there was this amusing little reminiscence. Jaws had just been a major hit in box offices, when Spielberg met Herrmann and told about his admiration for his music. Herrmann snarled in mock anger: "Yeah? Well, if ya admire my music so much, why do ya always use Johnny Williams for your pictures?"

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 2:50 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

It's a two-note motif. Hard to avoid in any kind of musical expression, especially in action/thriller cues and/or for something primal. I'm sure there are similar motifs prior to Stravinsky too.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 27, 2013 - 3:28 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

Don't forget that the JAWS motif can't be reduced to a pair of pitches. It also incorporates the musical features of rhythm, articulation, register, instrumentation, tempo, and is fashioned into a larger composition that has a dramatic shape to it, beginning with actually just the one note, then two, then it becomes an ostinato. Once that happens, there are dissonant chords with the two notes and a melody overtop.

If the motif was simply two notes, then we would be able to recognize it with changes to all of the above mentioned features. But I think we would have a hard time recognizing it if it were sounded, say, in a high clarinet in a very slow rhythm, played legato (smoothly) with a decrescendo, it didn't become an ostinato, and to top it off, it was harmonized with simple major chords. That would be a different motif altogether.

All I'm saying is that motifs are more than just an interval of two notes. And the JAWS motif is another great example of Williams coordinating so many musical features toward the same expressive end, in this case the constant rhythm, staccato articulation, low string instrumentation, moderate tempo, and the larger composition into an orchestrated crescendo with a motif that becomes an ostinato, harmonized with dissonant chords and an eerie melody overtop all create the terror of a mindless, menacing creature that emerges from the watery depths.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 28, 2013 - 11:55 AM   
 By:   Alfachrger   (Member)

It's a two-note motif. Hard to avoid in any kind of musical expression, especially in action/thriller cues and/or for something primal. I'm sure there are similar motifs prior to Stravinsky too.

I always found the opening to C.P.E. Bach's 1st wq183 Symphony had that "Jaws" feel and with only a one note motif.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUprn5MM0WI

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 4:46 PM   
 By:   Gunnar   (Member)

Ludwig van, thank you so much for lending some perspective to these kinds of discussions. I am so tired of comments like "Star Wars is Kings Row/The Planet/Rite of Spring" or "E.T. is Hanson's 2nd symphony", or call one a rip-off of the other.
There's more to a film score than the melody line, but either this is willfully forgotten for the sake of an argument, or there is really a great deficit in understanding what makes film music an art form.

 
 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 5:58 PM   
 By:   pp312   (Member)

to hell with Stravinsky

to hell with Stravinsky


Yes, it's worth saying it twice, Judy. smile

 
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2013 - 10:05 PM   
 By:   Matt B   (Member)

It is a common misconception that the JAWS theme is only two notes. It's actually three... the first two cycle five times, then the first note drops a whole tone, then back to the first pattern, then back to the second, and the whole cycle repeats. Listen to the piano, you'll hear it.

 
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