Does anyone else love film scores (not soundtracks)?

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Bighuey
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Re: Does anyone else love film scores (not soundtracks)?

Post by Bighuey » 27 Mar 2018, 23:56

One of my favorite scores is Joseph Carl Briel's Birth Of A Nation score. When the movie first came out in 1915 some major theaters had a full orchestra playing along with the movie. I would have liked to have experienced it, I bet movie goers back then were awestruck by it.
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Post by Kathryn Price » 29 Mar 2018, 15:34

Thanks guys for all your opinions! I've listened to quite a few of the scores you've suggested, but there are plenty of others I haven't heard yet. There used to be a crazy idea that film music is only effective when it's not noticed (I mean, what? I researched it and couldn't find out where the idea originally came from), but I tend to agree with modern composers that it should be able to stand as its own piece of music.

I totally agree with what Patrick Doyle (Henry V, Thor, Eragon, Cinderella) said when asked about this: "It should sound like a piece of music; it should always have a structure to it. But basically it should be musical and listenable. And it should be able to, away from the picture, conjure up the same feelings and images it was meant to on screen."
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Post by Russell Burke » 29 Mar 2018, 15:47

Kathryn Price wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 15:34
There used to be a crazy idea that film music is only effective when it's not noticed (I mean, what? I researched it and couldn't find out where the idea originally came from)
I would understand this to mean that film music is ineffective when it is so conspicuous that it distracts from the film itself. Of course, that's not to say that it shouldn't be noticeable at all, but I think the idea is that if you are consciously thinking about the music during the film, rather than subconsciously appreciating it as you watch, something is wrong. That's how I take it, at least. I can think of at least one anime I watched where the music was actively distracting me from the story, so it happens. In any case, I also agree that it's best when such music can stand on its own.

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Post by ValBookReviews » 29 Mar 2018, 19:11

I too enjoy film scores. Nothing else to add. Thank you!
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Post by Bighuey » 30 Mar 2018, 08:53

Ive found that some of the earlier movies without soundtracks do quite well without them. The original 1931 Dracula has that eerie feeling of dread with no music at all. I saw a version of it where they added a soundtrack and for me it ruined the whole movie. Another newer film was 12 O Clock High from around 1949. Its been a while since Ive seen it, but I dont remember any music in it except for the opening and closing credits. It was a very effective film without music. Soundtracks can be over done, too loud for instance and ruin the film. On the other hand, some films need a soundtrack to be effective. This may sound odd, but you think about it some of the best soundtracks in the world are from Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons. They were done by extremely talented musicians and arrangers and that type of music has so many fast changes and tempos that many musicians couldnt keep up with it.
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Post by Kathryn Price » 30 Mar 2018, 16:00

Russell Burke wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 15:47
Kathryn Price wrote:
29 Mar 2018, 15:34
There used to be a crazy idea that film music is only effective when it's not noticed (I mean, what? I researched it and couldn't find out where the idea originally came from)
I would understand this to mean that film music is ineffective when it is so conspicuous that it distracts from the film itself. Of course, that's not to say that it shouldn't be noticeable at all, but I think the idea is that if you are consciously thinking about the music during the film, rather than subconsciously appreciating it as you watch, something is wrong. That's how I take it, at least. I can think of at least one anime I watched where the music was actively distracting me from the story, so it happens. In any case, I also agree that it's best when such music can stand on its own.
That's an interesting idea I'd never thought of before. I don't think that's what it was meant though. I originally heard a quote attributed to Aaron Copeland (that I haven't been able to find) essentially stating that film music should be background music only, and if the audience consciously noticed it at all (i.e. humming the main theme walking out of the theater) then it had failed to do its job. Like I said, I've searched and searched for that quote and haven't been able to find it, and based on a lot of other Aaron Copeland quotes, I can be fairly sure that he believed precisely the opposite.

I agree that it is possible for the music to distract from a movie, especially if it gives the impression that it is the show in and of itself. But in general, I think the more the audience notices the music, the better.
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Post by Kathryn Price » 30 Mar 2018, 16:10

Bighuey wrote:
30 Mar 2018, 08:53
Ive found that some of the earlier movies without soundtracks do quite well without them. The original 1931 Dracula has that eerie feeling of dread with no music at all. I saw a version of it where they added a soundtrack and for me it ruined the whole movie. Another newer film was 12 O Clock High from around 1949. Its been a while since Ive seen it, but I dont remember any music in it except for the opening and closing credits. It was a very effective film without music. Soundtracks can be over done, too loud for instance and ruin the film. On the other hand, some films need a soundtrack to be effective. This may sound odd, but you think about it some of the best soundtracks in the world are from Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons. They were done by extremely talented musicians and arrangers and that type of music has so many fast changes and tempos that many musicians couldnt keep up with it.
You're absolutely right. I keep hearing that I should watch No Country for Old Men, which apparently has no score whatsoever. Some movies actually do well with little or no music, especially when it comes to making the audience feel tense or on edge. I always tend to notice and get nervous when a scene goes without music for too long, because it usually means a startle is coming.

I had listened to James Newton Howard's score for I Am Legend for months before actually seeing the movie, and I was surprised and a little disappointed at how little of the music from the score actually made it into the movie. I counted three times total (all emotional scenes) that the music was used, but other than that it was dead quiet. And it worked. I mean, I was bummed that more of Howard's music wasn't used, but the silence definitely did what it was meant to do - psych the audience out and make them feel the loneliness and fear that the character was feeling. So I can see the merits of not using music for some movies.

And you're definitely right about the Warner Bros cartoon music. I read a book on the evolution of film music and cartoons played an incredible role in that period. It really opened composers' eyes to the versatility and importance that music can play in a film, especially with "mickey-mousing", or illustrating musically the events on the screen - like a bang for the slamming of a door, or cascading arpeggios in the strings for rain. It only really works in cartoons and comedies, but it's a fascinating approach to matching music and visual. Not to mention the variety of musical styles that the composers worked with, switching rapidly from style to style faster than anyone had ever done it before.
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Post by KRay93 » 01 Apr 2018, 12:39

ViziVoir wrote:
22 Mar 2018, 20:17
Since I played in an orchestra for the better part of a decade, I absolutely cannot listen to orchestral film scores alone. So often, they focus entirely on a single theme and give a really awful part to the violas, cellos, basses, et cetera. I had to play the theme song to Jurassic Park, and I don't think I've ever hated a single piece of music more by the end of it! That's just personal preference, though.
John Williams' "soft" themes are usually led by violins, the other strings accompanying or, in occasions, the cellos providing an additional melody. Besides, there is no rule that indicates that all the instruments of the orchestra must have their "spotlight moment" in a particular piece of music of a soundtrack. In Jurassic Park's main theme, the are some segments in which the woodwinds are highlighted, especially flutes. Also, the metal mallets (I don't remember which in particular) serve to complement, the brass section (particularly trumpets) gaining strength towards the end.

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Post by KRay93 » 01 Apr 2018, 16:56

Kathryn Price wrote:
08 Mar 2018, 23:27
I actually like John Williams less than other composers, though I'm not sure why. Nothing against his music, that's for sure, though a lot of his scores are so similar that I can sing Star Wars while listening to Superman. But it's most likely because everyone likes John Williams, even people who don't regularly listen to scores. I tend to look for the less conventional options when picking a favorite.

Have you seen Hans Zimmer's Masterclass on film composing? My parents bought it for my for my birthday and I love it! It's super inspiring and I watch the videos whenever I start getting discouraged with my own composing.
It is true that most of Williams' best-known themes sound quite similar. After all, they play a succession of related notes, and the instruments that lead the melody are generally the trumpets. I think part of the beauty of them lies in the secondary melodies and their instruments, not to mention that the other segments sound different. As for the case of Star Wars and Superman, I think it's worth noting that they were made in consecutive years, and surely Donner asked Williams to do something similar to his Star Wars theme.

As for Hans Zimmer, I read something on the Internet, but I think this was meant for aspiring composers.

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Post by ViziVoir » 01 Apr 2018, 18:46

KRay93 wrote:
01 Apr 2018, 12:39
John Williams' "soft" themes are usually led by violins, the other strings accompanying or, in occasions, the cellos providing an additional melody. Besides, there is no rule that indicates that all the instruments of the orchestra must have their "spotlight moment" in a particular piece of music of a soundtrack. In Jurassic Park's main theme, the are some segments in which the woodwinds are highlighted, especially flutes. Also, the metal mallets (I don't remember which in particular) serve to complement, the brass section (particularly trumpets) gaining strength towards the end.
You're right! I think it's more personal preference - I enjoy songs that rely more on developing multiple motifs. For example, most people can't even tell you what comes after the first eight bars or so of the Harry Potter theme. While you're right that there's no formal rule, allow me my indignance as a violist. :wink:

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Post by DATo » 01 Apr 2018, 20:26

Film Score Samples:

Troy - Remember
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yy6SIzq8Mc

Cinema Paradiso - Se
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQQ4t9xtIdk

The Deer Hunnter - Cavatina
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwvDon1_iKs

Lord Of The Rings - Return of the King - Into The West
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shdiTRxTJb4

The Red Violin - Anna's Theme
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8ITW72y_6s
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Post by sbcollins » 05 Apr 2018, 07:59

When I was in college, I wrote papers to film and video game scores often. Loved writing to the American Beauty score!

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Post by Bighuey » 05 Apr 2018, 08:40

A highly unusual film score was Louis and Bebe Barron's score for the 1955 film Forbidden Planet. Electronic music that was very effective. Ive seen many films with electronic scores but none as good as Forbidden Planet, Im not sure how to say it, but each piece fit the scenes quite well.
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Post by btlyn » 06 Apr 2018, 21:24

I personally, really do enjoy and appreciate film scores. I feel as if any soundtrack in films, if they end up suiting a specific scene well, overall makes the film a much more enjoyable experience. As said in the first comment, an absolute favorite of mine as well is Harry Gregson-Williams' Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I'd choose 'The Battle' and 'To Aslan's Camp' as my most favorite among the rest, definitely goose-bump inducing.

In another comment mentioning Joe Hisaishi, another favorite of mine. Not only in film scores but also overall favorite composer. To even pick a favorite of his is it possible? Many of his film scores just make the film even more lively. Simply a breath of fresh air. If I had to pick a film score of his, I'd probably say 'Princess Mononoke'. I believe great film scores leave you remembering the film and its entirety.

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Post by thaservices1 » 29 Apr 2018, 10:42

Oh yes, there are some great ones. Star Wars comes first to mind. The Lord of the Rings series, Marvel's recent Incredible Hulk, the Harry Potter series. Though not movies, the music from the tv shows Quantum Leap and Babylon 5 come to mind as well.
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