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 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 10:10 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Quote from a former line producer of mine- It's good in a way many films are mediocre, it only makes us appreciate a good film when it comes along more.

 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 11:24 PM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

Ok, a few guys don't get the difference between musical substance and degree of complexity giving examples like the shark theme from Jaws, Pärts Alina and talking of double fugue.
This is all missing my point(s).

It is not about complexity, it is about substance, which is another point of view.

The Jaws Ostinato is actually a very popular misnomed figure. First, it is not the theme, in the overall fabric it is one element among others, an ostinato figure Williams called often idee fixe, an obsessive, driving component. Secondly, the original version features three notes: There are the cells with e-f changing notes all the time, yes, but there is a cell with d-e mixed in.
And above it there is a horn call melody which is the theme. That idee fixe idea is often used like this by him, as in Battle of the Heroes. Giacchino uses the same principle in Ode to Harrison, a short not-altered motif running thro
ugh all the music.
As you see, it is not just two notes, how they are set in place is in the way a mastermind composer is able to elaborate on them.
Most music designer would only use that as a stunt not working with it, not being able to elaborate it or to integrate it in non-blatant ways into an entire score.

Pärt uses actually a very complex organization hidden in simplicity. This is hard to see.

But it is not about compexity.
Double fugue has nothing to do with it.

A pure melody can have a lot of substance even if it's simple.

Before giving uninformed statements please read the other posts trying to understand them.
If you don't, maybe just read and don't write. In real life it is often a good idea not to talk when you have no idea
what is talked about.

 Posted:   May 14, 2013 - 11:40 PM   
 By:   Mike_H   (Member)

Quick question Mike. You said you are a composer. Have you worked in the film or theatre industry as a professional composer? Or any commercial music endeavor? Just curious...not being snarky.

 Posted:   May 15, 2013 - 12:31 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)


 Posted:   May 15, 2013 - 1:34 AM   
 By:   Philip Colston   (Member)

To invoke a comment from just above, no, everything in film scoring need not be a double fugue. But the composer who has the ability and training to compose a double fugue, as almost all once did, can craft any kind of music to a far higher standard than is typical of film scoring to-day.

For example, the “pop” songs supplied by an actual composer like Henry Mancini, as incidental music for a score, are often far more interesting and memorable than the real thing. It’s true even when the genre is spoofed, as by Ernest Gold in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, or Richard Rodney Bennett in Billy Liar.

The reading of a short score or piano reduction (or even a full score) is admittedly not always a fair way to judge a composition for overall merit, though it will disclose technical shortcomings. It favours interesting, more complex music. The scores I have found most rewarding to simply read are those of J.S. Bach. But it is arguable that one of the chief faults of modern film scores is that they are uninteresting, resulting from a lack of craft, inspiration, or—more commonly—both. Consider Bach’s two-part Inventions. There are only two lines in these pieces: essentially a bass line and a melody, though since most Inventions are contrapuntal, the two lines share and trade motivic material. This is simple but eminently interesting and memorable music, and it shows how much can be accomplished by creating a bass line and melody that work together in a sophisticated and beautiful manner—a basic tool of composition that seems all too often absent to-day.

Film music from the golden and silver eras is often more complex than it seems on the surface. Consider Elmer Bernstein’s The Magnificent Seven. In the title theme, there are a bass line, melody, harmonic/rhythmic accompaniment with melodic upper line, and a counter-melody. It takes a master composer to produce good music like this.

Another aspect of The Magnificent Seven—and most other great film scores—is that the melodic ideas are to some degree grand and showy, regardless of style. Not only is there less pure inspiration in current film scoring, but there is also a preference amongst producers and directors to-day for music that does not stand out, and instead forms a mere wash of sound.

Music has substance when it is interesting and masterfully crafted; and it becomes sublime when the composer is able, by means of a profound musical sensibility, to invest it with transcendent beauty—that indefinable quality that so moves the spirit because it extends beyond physical reality.

Great music, whether reserved or brash in nature, is inherently dramatic. Film is a dramatic medium, and it is best served by dramatic music.

Post Script:

........Sometimes, a proper fugue is wanted (Michel Legrand):

........Listen to what a master of composition can do, in craft alone (Karl-Ernst Sasse):

 Posted:   May 15, 2013 - 3:00 AM   
 By:   Mike West   (Member)

Philip, thanks for your thoughts. I fairly agree and don't see really a contradiction to the initial idea.

One criterion is or can be the piano reduction, and for some music this applies very reasonable and for other music it does not.

You broke it down very much by counterpoint, but I think that's just one possible way, also richer harmonic language is very fruitful when performed on piano for example, you don't need more lines.

The discussion was more about "SOUND" or also "ORCHESTRATION" vs "PRIMARY MATERIAL" if you wish, which is revealed by a piano score separated from the parameter sound.

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