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 Posted:   Nov 8, 2013 - 11:24 AM   
 By:   Bond1965   (Member)

I just got a catalog of Pop Culture books here at work and I see there's a new book on Film Composing by Ennio Morricone and Sergio Miceli.

Here's a link with some page samples for anyone interested. It's probably more a more scholarly book than something you'd read for leisure:



http://www.amazon.com/Composing-Cinema-Theory-Praxis-Music-ebook/dp/B00G1LKWIC

James

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 8, 2013 - 1:06 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

I just flipped through this today at a musicology conference. Looks very, very good. Morricone himself says so much about what he was thinking with so many of his best-known scores. An absolute gold mine. I'm ordering one for sure.

 
 
 Posted:   Nov 9, 2013 - 4:14 PM   
 By:   BillCarson   (Member)

So much of this stuff gets reprinted from other publications, most of whch has only been available in italian and is so heavy translators have difficulty putting it into english.
not so long ago there was a coffee table book with quite a few quotes from morricone about different films and directors. its possible one is taken from the other. There is a book in italian with the same title as this - whether it is the same one, first time in english, is not known to me.
Be warned, as some of you will know, usually anything by miceli is as heavy as concrete and can only be interpreted by other composers and experienced musicologists. But buried among the reams of complexity, are often some choice morricone stories.

 
 Posted:   Nov 11, 2013 - 1:29 PM   
 By:   Loren   (Member)

I own the 2001 edition and it is a fantastic volume, incredibly full of music sheet examples from a lot of Morricone soundtracks.

Besides there's more Morricone's writing than Miceli's so the book is pretty enjoyable (at least for a film music die-hard fan).

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 19, 2017 - 8:29 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

I was re-reading a passage from this book and marveling at Morricone's attitude towards melody in his film scores. On pp. 171-172, he says that:

"I know perfectly well that melody is an obligatory presence. It is the only element with which one can reach an understanding with the director, even though it is up to the composer to find the way to drown that melody in other solutions. But melody is not so important. . . . If you take away the melody from all my pieces of this or other types, the piece still will remain . . . on its own feet. But the theme helps the director and serves the public. Perhaps I am deceiving myself by thinking that while following the theme, people also assimilate and appreciate the instrumental solutions."

He later refers to "the low vulgarity of the theme".

Striking comments from a composer whose melodies often make an indelible impression on viewers and listeners. If there was any reluctance in writing his themes for those scores of his that I know (mainly the big, famous ones), I can't hear it. And what do you make of his claim that the melody is not so important?

Any thoughts from Morricone fans?

 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2017 - 8:47 AM   
 By:   johnbijl   (Member)

I think Morricone rather refers to the interchangeability of certain themes than the removability of them.

It is well known that Morricone has drawers full of themes he adapts for a certain film rather than coming up with new one everytime. Goldsmith did the same -- his theme for The Russia House showed up before in the rejected scores for both Gladiator (the boxing movie) and Alien Nation. I sure these weren't incidents.

Even you would exchange, say, the themes of Secrets of the Sarah and Casualties of war (and keeping the arrangements an certain chord progressions in place) the scores wouldn't change much in effectiveness.

That said, I do not think Morricone is 100% right; this isn't true for every composer. Williams' themes are so very cut out for a film of a character, it is hard to imagine them with a note changed. I think the infamous 'Mutt's theme' from Crystal Skull did prove that enough.

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 20, 2017 - 11:39 AM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

Yes, it does sound like he is citing interchangeability. But then there's the remainder of what he says on these pages in response to Miceli, whose comments follow directly on what I wrote above:

Miceli: I hope to interpret correctly what you have just said. As a composer, you tend to minimize the importance of the melodic material, ensuring that your structures can live independently from that material. As a composer for film, however, you recognize that melody has a function that cannot be discarded and therefore is important.

Morricone: Certainly the theme is extremely important, even if I personally have always considered it of little significance. For this reason, especially in the first films of Leone but also . . . on many other occasions afterward, I have attempted to distinguish it, to subtract it from its conventional function. In some cases I have augmented the result with timbre, in others with the pursuit of a theme made of intervals. I have had to concentrate on something that could redeem the low vulgarity of the theme . . .

**************
Here, he does seem to be lamenting the fact that he has to have a melody at all. So many of his melodies are to die for that it seems odd for him to say it's not important. For him, it seems that the real expression in the music lies in the musical structure and the instrumentation and that melody has little, if anything, to do with emotional expression. Unless I'm missing the mark here, which is entirely possible, that's what really strikes me as odd.

 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2017 - 4:57 AM   
 By:   johnbijl   (Member)

It's indeed quite odd if he meant it literally. One might wonder what the maestro thinks of all those theme collections of his work big grin

That said, I gather he wants to emphasise that film music shouldn't be *dependent* on themes. Considering the number of scores (even his) that use leitmotivs as a structure, it still is a odd and not to mention bold statement.

But also know that Morricone has also stated that only perhaps 5% of his work represents the music he *want's* to compose. (I had to do some research for my interview on Morricone the other day). Rather he would compose more avant-gardist music that the more romantic or melodic he is primarily known for.


To add: just a couple of threads below this one, there a discussion on how Goldsmith recycled an unused theme for Psycho II in The Twilight Zone: http://filmscoremonthly.com/board/posts.cfm?threadID=121431&forumID=1&archive=0

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2017 - 7:59 AM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

But also know that Morricone has also stated that only perhaps 5% of his work represents the music he *want's* to compose. (I had to do some research for my interview on Morricone the other day). Rather he would compose more avant-gardist music that the more romantic or melodic he is primarily known for.

Thanks, John! Wow, only 5%? Sounds like that explains his comments. I know there are and have been plenty of film composers who also write for the concert hall, but it would be interesting to know how they have felt about their film music vis-a-vis their compositional interests. I don't know a lot about this, but if anyone else does, it would be great to hear!

And thanks for the link to the Goldsmith thread. Fascinating how a recycled theme can actually sound MORE appropriate than its original intention!

 
 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2017 - 10:30 AM   
 By:   Morricone   (Member)

But also know that Morricone has also stated that only perhaps 5% of his work represents the music he *want's* to compose. (I had to do some research for my interview on Morricone the other day). Rather he would compose more avant-gardist music that the more romantic or melodic he is primarily known for.

Thanks, John! Wow, only 5%? Sounds like that explains his comments. I know there are and have been plenty of film composers who also write for the concert hall, but it would be interesting to know how they have felt about their film music vis-a-vis their compositional interests. I don't know a lot about this, but if anyone else does, it would be great to hear!



Understand major composers evolve so the composer they are in later life is not the one they were when they began. In 1964 when he helped create and was a part of Gruppo di Improvvisazione di Nuova Consonanza, an avante garde improve group, Morricone was hardcore experimental. The best indication of how he evolved was the amount of melodic work in his non-commercial compositions where he had freedom to do what he wants. He started with none at all in the 60s and now crossed over to beyond 50%. Just like he found he could add colors to his serial music to make it more interesting he also could play with the more melodic pieces to make THEM more experimental. his impulse to do something different than everybody else has remained.

 
 Posted:   Sep 21, 2017 - 12:44 PM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

Yeah but...

AM I in the bibliography (or, any FSMers?)

 
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