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. — 

Data and Statistics

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.TitleAirdateRec. DateLoc.Mus.
103The Naked Now10/3/19878/20/1987Par31
106Where No One Has Gone Before10/24/19879/25/1987Par40
108Lonely Among Us10/31/198710/15/1987Par35
110The Battle11/14/198711/5/1987Par36
118When The Bough Breaks2/13/19882/5/1988Par42
120Heart of Glory3/19/19883/11/1988Par43
122Skin of Evil4/23/19884/5/1988Par47
124We’ll Always Have Paris4/30/19884/19/1988Par15
126The Neutral Zone5/14/19885/6/1988Par48
128Where Silence Has Lease11/26/198811/17/1988Par51
130The Outrageous Okona12/10/198812/5/1988Par51
132Loud As A Whisper1/7/198912/28/1988Par49
134A Matter of Honor2/4/19891/26/1989Par48
138The Royale3/25/19893/16/1989Par35
140The Icarus Factor4/22/19894/6/1989Par50
142Q Who5/6/19894/27/1989Par59
144Up The Long Ladder5/20/19895/11/1989Fox52
146The Emissary6/24/19896/1/1989Par56
148Shades of Gray7/15/19896/9/1989Par52
152Who Watches the Watchers10/14/198910/6/1989Fox40
154Booby Trap10/28/198910/20/1989Fox40
156The Price11/11/198911/3/1989Fox42
158The Defector12/30/198912/14/1989Fox51
160The High Ground1/27/19901/11/1990Fox51
162A Matter of Perspective2/10/19902/1/1990Fox45
164The Offspring3/10/19902/23/1990Fox50
172Ménage à Troi5/26/19905/18/1990Fox24
174The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 16/16/19906/1/1990Fox49
175The Best of Both Worlds Pt. 29/22/19909/6/1990Fox49
183Final Mission11/17/199011/12/1990Fox37
185Data’s Day1/5/199112/14/1990Fox39
187Devil’s Due2/2/19911/17/1991Fox36
189First Contact2/16/19912/7/1991Fox36
191Night Terrors3/16/19913/1/1991Fox35
193The Nth Degree3/30/19913/22/1991Fox37
195The Drumhead4/27/19914/12/1991Fox36

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:

dotplot of musicians 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:

scatterplot of musicians vs. episode number

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.

Disc Fourteen »