Additional and Alternate Cues
Disc 13 of this box set features additional and alternate cues from Ron Jones’s Star Trek: The Next Generation scores. A perusal of the track list reveals that the composer only recorded a few alternates during the show’s first year (when Robert Justman supervised the music) and a handful during the second season (after Justman left and the music supervision fell to other hands). By the third and fourth season, however, it became a matter of course to record many cues in dual (or multiple) versions.
In general, FSM has included the version of each cue used for the finished episode in the main program on discs 1–12, relegating any unused version(s) to disc 13, whether or not the broadcast cue represented Jones’s original approach or an alternate (slated “AltA” or “AltB,” etc.).
There are a handful of exceptions. If the cues are identical except for length, the longer cue appears on the main disc (regardless of whether or not it was used), with the shorter version typically not included at all. (For example: if a cue was 20 bars long, one take might use all 20 bars, with another take beginning at bar 4; there is little point in releasing the take that starts at bar 4.)
In the case of “Imperfect Solution” (the action climax from “The High Ground”), the version in the episode uses a pick-up take at the end (the only one recorded) with a “clam” in the strings. This appears here as disc 13, track 29, while the main program uses the original version without the pickup (disc 9, track 16).
On rare occasions, Jones would spot, write and record different versions of a cue. These were never for the full length of the scene—in television, time did not permit that kind of experimentation—but rather represented different approaches to the cue’s duration. For example, in “The Offspring,” the finished episode uses the short cue “Power Trip” (M25, 0:05), but Jones also wrote and recorded the longer “Admiral’s Warning” (M25AltA, 0:15)—the latter included in the main body of the program, as it is more substantial musically. In general, when cue titles differ between the original and the alternate, Jones planned the different choices while composing the score; when the takes have the same title, they represent improvisations on the scoring stage due to producers’ feedback or Jones’s own anticipation of the same.
In some cases, listeners may find it challenging to tell the difference between the original version of a cue and the alternate. Sometimes, the beginning or ending is different (a fade-out vs. a “button” at the end); oftentimes an instrument is removed (or added); and in some cases, the difference is merely a note or two within a two- or three-minute piece. If they sound the same, rest assured there is a subtle difference somewhere.
A handful of tracks feature “wild” takes of electronics or unusual instruments on hand that Jones recorded at the end of sessions—for example, the Alpine horn from “Heart of Glory,” and the choir at the end of “Night Terrors.” These represented opportunities for Jones to create a library of sounds for possible use in the episode or a future installment.
For one episode, “Brothers,” the alternates can be found at the end of the score itself (disc 10, tracks 29–35), due to space limitations on the corresponding CDs. Jones recorded a greater-than-usual number of alternates for this episode, due to the rare second recording session resulting from technical problems with the Synclavier. The final cue, “Reconciled,” features a quiet ending in the finished episode that was not found on the master tapes and may have been remixed on the dubbing stage. The revised quiet ending (just a few seconds’ worth) has been taken from the finished episode itself. —
The following table displays data about the recording sessions for each Ron Jones-scored episode of The Next Generation: episode number, title, recording date, airdate, recording location (Paramount or 20th Century Fox) and the total number of musicians employed. The musician counts reflect all musicians who played on each session, even though many cues from those episodes may have utilized a much smaller ensemble.
|Ep. No.||Title||Airdate||Rec. Date||Loc.||Mus.|
|103||The Naked Now||10/3/1987||8/20/1987||Par||31|
|106||Where No One Has Gone Before||10/24/1987||9/25/1987||Par||40|
|108||Lonely Among Us||10/31/1987||10/15/1987||Par||35|
|118||When The Bough Breaks||2/13/1988||2/5/1988||Par||42|
|120||Heart of Glory||3/19/1988||3/11/1988||Par||43|
|122||Skin of Evil||4/23/1988||4/5/1988||Par||47|
|124||We’ll Always Have Paris||4/30/1988||4/19/1988||Par||15|
|126||The Neutral Zone||5/14/1988||5/6/1988||Par||48|
|128||Where Silence Has Lease||11/26/1988||11/17/1988||Par||51|
|130||The Outrageous Okona||12/10/1988||12/5/1988||Par||51|
|132||Loud As A Whisper||1/7/1989||12/28/1988||Par||49|
|134||A Matter of Honor||2/4/1989||1/26/1989||Par||48|
|140||The Icarus Factor||4/22/1989||4/6/1989||Par||50|
|144||Up The Long Ladder||5/20/1989||5/11/1989||Fox||52|
|148||Shades of Gray||7/15/1989||6/9/1989||Par||52|
|152||Who Watches the Watchers||10/14/1989||10/6/1989||Fox||40|
|160||The High Ground||1/27/1990||1/11/1990||Fox||51|
|162||A Matter of Perspective||2/10/1990||2/1/1990||Fox||45|
|172||Ménage à Troi||5/26/1990||5/18/1990||Fox||24|
|174||The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 1||6/16/1990||6/1/1990||Fox||49|
|175||The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 2||9/22/1990||9/6/1990||Fox||49|
|193||The Nth Degree||3/30/1991||3/22/1991||Fox||37|
Also available in both HTML format and as a PDF file is a complete list of all musicians who played on each episode. (These more detailed listings typically include the conductor, music contractor and booth reader among the musician totals, which explains why the summary counts above do not match those in these other files.) The above information also does not reflect the second session held for “Brothers” due to technical snafus at the first session (see the notes for that episode as well as the Season Four introduction for further information).
The graph below displays the number of musicians employed by season:
As the graphical display indicates, the typical orchestra size increased for the second season (compared with the first), then declined through seasons three and four.
The following scatterplot:
displays the number of musicians vs. the episode number. The same general pattern is apparent, with the “budget-saving” epsiode “We’ll Always Have Paris” an obvious outlier near the end of the first season.