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Last post Thu, Jun 23 2011 by Errikos, 51 replies.
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Posted on Fri, Apr 15 2011 20:40
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065

http://www.filmmusicmag.com/?p=7746

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Tue, Apr 19 2011 18:24
by jasensmith
Joined on Tue, Jan 15 2008, Arizona, Posts 1582

 From the article:

"I think that those who prefer orchestral film music to classical music very often reduce music (or, to put it more accurately: all that music can be) to a comfortable, easily accessible and predictable trigger of emotions. In other words, they confuse musical appreciation with emotional response. It’s not necessarily a fully conscious decision and there’s more to it than just that of course, but this confusion does play a large part nonetheless: people are absolutely convinced that they are enjoying the music, when in fact they’re overwhelmed by something entirely different: some memory, association, emotion, fantasy or other. Nothing wrong with that, certainly not, but it is not an experience driven by music alone, despite what many may believe."

Perhaps, but I think the reason Classical music is so unapproachable by most is because academia has made it unapproachable.  I had a college professor who once said this about modern Classical music: "If the general public likes the music, then it must be garbage."  This kind of arrogance is so prevalent in modern Classical music, no wonder "the general public" stays away from it.  I've expended all of my ammunition on this battlefront in the forum and I don't wish to dig up hatchets I've buried with other forumites.

"If you’re listening to the ‘Raiders March’ for example, and you feel that familiar and pleasant rush of excitement going through your body, you’re not really listening to the music itself (and I mean: the naked musical content, the dots on the paper), but you are carried away into the realm of imagination, memories, feelings, projection and/or fantasy."

I'm not so sure.  If Lucas and Spielberg decided to replace Williams' music with Prokofiev's Third would the effect have been the same?  I think Williams best march is the '1941 March.'  I heard the music before I saw the movie but I knew it was a Williams theme but whenever I hear it I'm not "carried away into the realm of imagination, memories, feelings, projection and/or fantasy."  Or maybe I am but it's not because of a mediocre movie like 1941.

" It is quite easy for most people to distinguish between powerful, inspired work and bland mediocrity in film music." 

Apparently Mr. Ridder hasn't heard any recent film music as this statement doesn't explain the current state of affairs.

"And while we’re here, let’s maybe also have a quick look at ‘modern’ classical music: a vast majority of the audience (and their number must be much larger than just those who are prepared to admit it) simply doesn’t have a clue if they are listening to a complete hack or a genuinely talented composer."

LOL amen to that!!!

"Many listeners find this music very hard to enjoy, not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because it makes them feel limited, small, unsophisticated or culturally under-prepared."

The writer forgot to include insulted, degraded, and apathetic. 

I may sound like I'm mocking Mr. Ridder but I do agree with his overall premis that there is "More to Music Than Music" but I think how much more depends on the listener.  I know friends who are hard core Heavy Metal listeners who rattle off the names of obscure artists most have never heard of and intensely listen to swaths of loud distorted power chords, and high pitched overdriven arpeggio patterns bobbing their heads up and down (called 'head banging').  I just don't hear what it is my friends are hearing.  Is there art or aesthetic nourishment in what they are listening to?  They can't hear what I'm hearing in Prokofiev's Third.  Why is Classical and/or Film music considered high brow while everything else is not? 


"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no point in being a damn fool about it."
- W.C. Fields
Posted on Tue, Apr 19 2011 19:34
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065
jasensmith wrote:

Apparently Mr. Ridder hasn't heard any recent film music as this statement doesn't explain the current state of affairs.

I may sound like I'm mocking Mr. Ridder but I do agree with his overall premis that there is "More to Music Than Music" but I think how much more depends on the listener.  I know friends who are hard core Heavy Metal listeners who rattle off the names of obscure artists most have never heard of and intensely listen to swaths of loud distorted power chords, and high pitched overdriven arpeggio patterns bobbing their heads up and down (called 'head banging').  I just don't hear what it is my friends are hearing.  Is there art or aesthetic nourishment in what they are listening to?  They can't hear what I'm hearing in Prokofiev's Third.  Why is Classical and/or Film music considered high brow while everything else is not? 

I'm sure Mr. Ridder has unfortunately (like the rest of us) heard a lot of recent film-music, but I posted this reference in order to put in 'Perspective' the differences and "distances" in artistic quality that separates the best of soundtracks from the great "classical" (ca. 1700-1970) musical tradition, as he did, let alone the incalculable void between that and the Reznors and Zimmers of this world. I'm sick and tired of hearing and reading the 'wow's and 'aaah's in YouTube or VSL commentaries about the absolute basest, ineptest, and inconsequentialest of musical drivel, and how John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, and Bernard Herrmann are the gods of music in general! - I am glad that a couple of threads appeared addressing Mussorgsky, Mahler, etc.

Yes, the main theme to 'Out of Africa' is great, sensuous, whatever, but it does not belong in the same sentence with Prokofiev's 3rd piano concerto. And even if the example is unfair - 3 minutes compared to 30 - the same could be said about the whole of the Star Wars saga soundtrack - 250 minutes (or whatever) compared to Prokofiev's 30. Nor should it be, and this is not derogatory to Williams' incredible score. What the article points out is the discrepancy in sensibility and artistic quality between one genre and the other. Even Herrmann's best offerings (or Steiner's, Korngold's, etc.), excerpts of which could easily have formed parts of concert works, do not come within intergalactic distance to Prokofiev's 3rd as a whole. Nor should they; it was not their function. 

However, it is the limited sensibilities of today's audiences that have mostly come to appreciate film-like symphonic music that was addressed in the article and I found interesting to share. As far as Jasen's head-banging friends, I am sure they are appreciating far more original music than a lot of directors/producers who pay good money for slightly disguised Anemato-inSpiritoso-Hollywoodsteals-Cinescamples tempo/harmonic flexible tin-cannned scores. 

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Wed, Apr 20 2011 00:37
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1749

comparing John Williams to eg., Trent Reznor is a clear case of apples v. oranges. Williams won't be used to score a David Lynch film because it isn't appropriate aesthetically. Reznor won't be picked to emulate Bruckner or somebody in a film where that's thought to work the best, same problem. It's a truly stupid argument.

Classical composers are arrogant and delusional to continue to foster this belief that they are by definition superior musicians just owing to that lifestyle choice. Classical musicians are too often seriously deficient as per any participation in any music outside a really narrow box, too many cannot improvise, couldn't swing if their life depended on it, have rhythmic deficiencies... paltry understanding of vocabulary owing to, their lifestyle choice, which is to remain in some gloried past. For a composer that likes some contribution in a work, and a synergy, a strictly-from-classical player isn't bringing so much to the table to be able to wear that chip on her shoulder and not look like a martinet.

The whole idea of western european concert music being so reified as it is, is deficient in understanding and self-deluding, & the arguments disrespecting electronic orchestrations as per se inferior to the grand symphonic approach belong in a past age anyway. Wake up and smell the coffee, people are exposed to a wide world of music now, and the vehement proponents of this extremely narrow aesthetic point of view are hanging onto these precious ideas desperately, and so often it's nothing more than reactionary behavior. These ideas have had their day in the annals of hegemony.

John Williams is an arranger, and not a lot more than IMO. You might as well use the composers he's aping and hire a music editor in many cases, in my estimation. Furthermore, can he do any sound design at all? I've heard some H Zimmer I found didn't work for me at all, in terms of my own musical values in an orchestration, but I also noticed his work in that Batman picture, and he did some things that Williams will have been HOPELESSLY insufficient for. Horses for courses. You can't diss some chops you lack an understanding of just owing to your own personal tastes, it isn't really better than a culinary preference owing to your particular cultural upbringing.

MacBook Pro 16,1: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9
64GB 2667MHz DDR4
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Posted on Wed, Apr 20 2011 01:23
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065
civilization 3 wrote:

comparing John Williams to eg., Trent Reznor is a clear case of apples v. oranges. Williams won't be used to score a David Lynch film because it isn't appropriate aesthetically. Reznor won't be picked to emulate Bruckner or somebody in a film where that's thought to work the best, same problem. It's a truly stupid argument. Williams by the way would do the Lynch film beautifully, he's not limited to Potter music you know, he just gets hired for this kind of thing for the most part.

Classical composers are arrogant and delusional to continue to foster this belief that they are by definition superior musicians just owing to that lifestyle choice. Classical musicians are too often seriously deficient as per any participation in any music outside a really narrow box, too many cannot improvise, couldn't swing if their life depended on it, have rhythmic deficiencies... paltry understanding of vocabulary owing to, their lifestyle choice, which is to remain in some gloried past. For a composer that likes some contribution in a work, and a synergy, a strictly-from-classical player isn't bringing so much to the table to be able to wear that chip on her shoulder and not look like a martinet.

The whole idea of western european concert music being so reified as it is, is deficient in understanding and self-deluding, & the arguments disrespecting electronic orchestrations as per se inferior to the grand symphonic approach belong in a past age anyway. Wake up and smell the coffee, people are exposed to a wide world of music now, and the vehement proponents of this extremely narrow aesthetic point of view are hanging onto these precious ideas desperately, and so often it's nothing more than reactionary behavior. These ideas have had their day in the annals of hegemony.

John Williams is an arranger, and not a lot more than IMO. You might as well use the composers he's aping and hire a music editor in many cases, in my estimation. Furthermore, can he do any sound design at all? I've heard some H Zimmer I found didn't work for me at all, in terms of my own musical values in an orchestration, but I also noticed his work in that Batman picture, and he did some things that Williams will have been HOPELESSLY insufficient for. Horses for courses. You can't diss some chops you lack an understanding of just owing to your own personal tastes, it isn't really better than a culinary preference owing to your particular cultural upbringing.

Big Smile Hahahahahaha haaaaaaaaaaa haaaaaaaaa Big Smile

But seriously:

a) There was never a comparison between Reznor and Williams. Who cares whether Reznor would be asked to emulate Bruckner, that has nothing to do with the article or what I said.

b) The 2nd paragraph starts out by talking about composers and ends up talking about musicians. Don't confuse the two... And that paragraph is sorrier than orchestral renditions of rock bands. In short, yeah! Brahms and Wagner would be weeping a deluge of tears because they can't compose a convincing trip-hop number.... (You really think it would be beyond them if they wanted to do it? After a short familiarization period with the genre and technology they'd do it in their sleep. They could do it while shitting! The opposite would be impossible!). It's all a matter of chronology yes? That means that Britannica and the New Grove will dedicate a few hundred pages to Reznor and Zimmer one day, because they are as important as Brahms and Wagner, just simply in a different musical genre............. And you are also talking about crap classical musicians. Rhythmic deficiencies?!?! By people who can play Scriabin, Xenakis, Ferneyhough?!?! You think the puerile, petty rhythmic requirements of any jazz work, or any complicated underground dance sub-genre drum-kit programming (humanly playable) holds a candle to the rhythmic intricacies of difficult classical music?

c) "People are exposed to a wide world of music now" - Does that statement have anything to do with the article or what I said? "These ideas have had their day in the annals of hegemony" - Sorry, did I miss it when Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson (let alone lady Kaka or ANY hip-hop, grunge/rave/jungle/urban/sewer/whatever composer superseded Beethoven and Mozart in hegemony? Or do you mean that hegemony is determined by pop-culture and teenage/college preferences?

d) "Can Williams do any sound design at all?" - What kind of question is that? Can Domingo sing a Willie Nelson or Vanilla Ice song convincingly? That means what? That he is not by far the superior singer/artist overall? Have you ever heard of the words "Breadth"? "Depth"? You are labouring under the very poor assumption that this discussion is analogous to comparing a 200m. runner to a Marathon runner. Noooo.... "Particular cultural upbringing"?? Seriously... In this day and age?... Are you so limited in your choices by yours?... 

And for the record, H.Z.'s sound design is child-like compared to real sound design taking place at I.R.C.A.M. and like establishments, and I hate coffee!

Read the article, you may learn something.

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Wed, Apr 20 2011 01:50
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1749

hahahaha indeed.

I am addressing the topic in general. It appears my views are upsetting enough to you anyway that you took it personally. If it's my take on Williams that upset you this badly, you and he should just get a room. These arguments that take John Williams as some grand exemplar of anything are just tiresome. He's a pro, a musician and orchestrator/arranger par excellence, and if one enjoys his cornball themes they're valid for that person, for whomever finds satisfaction on whatever level, no biggie to me. I mean if it's true that the theme to Star Wars makes Star Wars what it is, it is what it is. I don't find his work underscoring a picture anything to particularly salute, that's my opinion and if it upsets you so, I might suggest the heat's too hot in the kitchen for you right now, if you have to become so animated as to be this condescending to me on a personal level.

My personal estimation of a composer in this century has him/her as a sound designer and someone versed in production, a part of the toolkit just as orchestration is. It's an extension of orchestration chops, really. If Williams gets an automatic out here, that's suspicious.

I don't get how you figure I'm addressing *you* and not the whole thread: eg., 'let alone the incalculable void between that and the Reznors and Zimmers of this world.' is the Apples v. Oranges I addressed at the top of my particular rant. You would hire horses for courses. :shrug: I find that kind of comparison laughable on its own merits...
(You guys posit your own opinions like it's pronouncement of religious doctrine in these threads. It's effing dramatic!) 'For the record', the issue of 'Reznor/Zimmer' is posed v. 'WIlliams!' all over the place in these threads, it isn't mine (that's some hilarious hyperbole though, 'incalculable void' and I am grateful for that bit of amusement).

The problem of classical attitudes I mention is endemic to both composers and instrumentalists. I'm so sorry I wasn't as anal retentive in my presentation as you will have preferred, but for me it is two manifestations of the same problem. Your zeal in reacting sure tends to make my point on 'reactionary', though, innit.

Do I think a Bruckner could handle the complexities of African rhythm, such as my African friend busking downtown Berkeley with his donated kit, handling four independent parts of the drum choir in different times with each limb, all with absolute independence? I most assuredly do not (your rather pathetic and anachronistic straw men notwithstanding). i find western european concert music in so many cases anemic, deficient in rhythm compared to cultures that are actively interested in it. I think nothing much happened in western music until Stravinsky in this regard. I find the equal tempered intonation system *seriously* compromised as per melodic expression, and I know the piano to be extremely problematic in terms of resonance. Too many harmonies are ruined on the instrument (If this all weren't true btw, would VI Pro include just intonation and
tutorials on how to use it in an orchestration, to get a better harmony?).

I don't buy the hegemony.  I find the tunes in classical music kind of paltry too much of the time. I did not receive the same wisdom about musical value you did. That's the world changing around you - it's upsetting, isn't it. I'm opposed to the hegemony that's been imposed on me throughout my life as a musician, how did you arrive at me being pro-'teenage hegemony' out of that position? Would you like to make a syllogism out of that? It's ridiculous, and you appear unhinged to come up with it. Try decaf.

All you've managed is to try and fit me into a straw man you devised long before I entered the picture. Weak. And predictable. Your need to diss my writing style in lieu of addressing any points is weak also. (I am not having a good time in this frames-based forum structure, it's a real problem to even navigate on a MacBook. OTOH, you may be such a serious critic you're using a serious word processor! Big Smile)

Since you're acting as literary critic here as well, I would venture to say that your taking 'wake up/smell the coffee' literally as if that's the sting at the end of your rant kind of shows your "I'm a serious critic!" stylee in a somewhat less than impressive light. As does the hilarious 'for the record', ie., 'my opinion is the fact of the matter' bit. Do you take yourself as an expert in sound design? I'm skeptical, having seen you opine in these threads; what you have is 'the academy rules ok!' there and not more (Which IRCAM work vs which of Zimmer's work? The IRCAM work was done towards what end? Is 'IRCAM' ever involved in scoring pictures? Which composer/designer there? This is serious discourse?); Received Authority, from On High (which isn't real consistent with your other opinion calling out academia as problematic, which is interesting as well). You and I likely agree on more than we disagree on, but you seem to need to take my variance with you, per certain precious views you hold, and fit me into your straw men. All you know of my views is exactly what I put before you, and you don't appear particularly able to address them directly, so you have to dismiss me. This is a rank tactic and a known issue in argumentation, it would ruin your score in a moderated debate, as often as it occurred here.

Good luck.

MacBook Pro 16,1: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9
64GB 2667MHz DDR4
OSX 10.15.6
VE Pro 7, Cubase Pro 11.0.10
Posted on Wed, Apr 20 2011 08:03
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1749

for the record, whatever people think is great about Reznor is lost on me, and Zimmer I've heard good and bad from in equal measure. I just don't agree with your aesthetics, you shouldn't be too shocked it's anathema to somebody; the same old [_] reiterated one_more_time, and today I failed to bite my tongue on it,

MacBook Pro 16,1: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9
64GB 2667MHz DDR4
OSX 10.15.6
VE Pro 7, Cubase Pro 11.0.10
Posted on Wed, Apr 20 2011 13:04
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065

Sorry I didn't make my link into a hyper-link; I suppose it was too much asking everybody to copy-paste it on their browser's address bar...

Don't confuse style and passion with crude emotion. I'm not angry; why on earth would I be angry just because you don't share my views on anything? I don't even know you. Conversely, you didn't even get the coffee related jocular attitude, I don't expect you to get classical music either. I addressed most of your points directly and counter-argued disarmingly, if aphoristically. You're the one offering generalities and dismissals (like you said, 'Rank' tactics). Just because you have no idea what I'm talking about doesn't mean you are being attacked personally or that I am unaware of other kinds of music around me. You are right in that we share different aesthetics. Mine involve what is generally (i.e. globally) regarded as high and timeless art, yours remain to take their proper place in history in time, and you are quick (and tired really) to dismiss mine, without offering any names of people you admire more than the classical musicians so that I'm actually afforded a direct comparison with Bach, Beethoven and the like. Your pathetic example of your street-musician friend "handling four independent [mostly periodic I would assume] parts with his limbs" should not be compared to Bruckner my ignorant debater, but to Geoffrey Douglas Madge playing Xenakis' piano concerto 'Synaphai', which presents the pianist with TEN independent staves - one for each of his fingers, don't forget the two feet for pedalling, don't forget the large-scale structuring/interpreting in the performance while listening to the orchestra at the same time, and have a look at the score if you ever wish to see something that is really complex. Your notion about African rhythms (or Indian) being more complex than Western ones is 100 years-old. And could your friend handle Bruckner's 10-voice counterpoint or huge developmental structures - as opposed to just banging away incessantly, creating a momentary mood instead of a monu-mental timeless work? You seem to think that because I revere this kind of masterpiece I am unable to enjoy a street improvised, skilful performance. I just don't confuse or mis-weigh the artistic merits of one and the other. Hypothetically, The king of Botswana and the king of France are both kings; however...

I agree about the compromises of the equal-tempered system and the even more problematic tuning and resonance of the piano. Isn't it ironic how the compromised well-tempered system and badly tuned and resounding piano have been the platforms for so much incredibly beautiful music? You have to take the good with the bad. As far as the classical melodies being paltry most of the time for you, please link me to some melodies you admire so that I can scratch the Mozartian, Chopinian, Wagnerian, Tchaikovskyan, Puccinian, Scriabinian, Prokofievian, etc. glue off my ears. Please enlighten me!

Did I deify Williams here? I believe I actually said that he can't even begin to compare with Prokofiev and that group. Unless you were bothered by my placing him about a zillion places above Zimmer and the beat-mongers. However, you are wrong about him as well. He is not just an arranger. Just an arranger could not have composed The Raiders, Star Wars, or Superman. He is very inventive in his mannerism and he has made the 'Fanfare' genre his own, even when compared with the classics!

But you're right; the article isn't for you. Perhaps one day.... I.R.C.A.M. scoring pictures? I don't know for sure but I doubt it. If you're interested in electronic music and sound design and never heard of I.R.C.A.M., I regret to inform you that you know 'effing'-all about that genre as well... Also, I am not inconsistent in my view that modern-day academia is problematic; its main problem is that it has eschewed proper elitism for a mutant substitute, which tries to accommodate pop-cultural aesthetics (really!...) by dressing them and infusing them with pseudo-academic methodologies and jargon (effectively stripping away their vitality and spontaneity), while trying in vein to hold on to the view that the Modernist and Post-Modernist aesthetics have any relevance whatsoever in the serious world anymore, both being very dated products of 'reactionary' mentalities and ill-interpreted Marxist tenets. Academia has forgotten that they should be the fosters, scrutinizers and cataloguers of creative work; not the instigators and regulators of it.

As far as what in your estimation constitutes a 'Composer' this century... Perhaps you need to inform all current publishers of dictionaries as well as university faculties. They seem to be unaware of your definition.

P.S.: As far as I know Civilization is currently in its 5th incarnation. You seem to be a little behind the times there old boy - compared to your views on music I mean... I also hate decaf! Would there be cognac in the house by any chance?

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Mon, Apr 25 2011 02:04
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5608

 I dislike this "trash John Williams" stuff by civilization3. 

John Williams is a truly great musician whose work will last as long as other great composers because - though he sometimes goes into other composer's areas (becuase he is doing tonal right now in a time long after tonality)  he has his own unique and very beautiful style.  Nowadays, you cannot do that same thing  and have no one notice  "it sounds like John Williams."  That is what we want to do - to sound like ______  (whoever we are).  He has done it.  

Posted on Mon, Apr 25 2011 03:13
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1749

I reiterate, I think Williams is an excellent musician. He's a consummate professional and a great mimic of the styles he understands. I will also reiterate, if it's valid for you, that's that. His talent for mimicry has also made him especially derivative and for me truly boring. Chances are a picture scored by Williams is a picture I will not attend, his music is distracting to me and it's music i don't particularly want to hear.

Is it shocking really that someone grew tired of the same old Zimmer vs Williams stuff? One of my main points is that one does one kind of gig, the other does his kind of gig and it's horses for courses. What's so challenging about this idea?

It's de riguer to bash someone you don't like, but oh so upsetting to have a go at Williams? Is this a religious issue or something?

It's 2011. Don't be too shocked that someone finds your insular 19th century western european 'art music' aesthetics wanting. You may imagine Mr Errikos that every person that isn't as enthralled as you by these objects is adhering to some vague notion you have about music outside your sphere, 'must be a hip hop loops monger' etc, but that shows your ignorance, not mine. You're welcome to believe that your insular, narrow, smug POV is obtained from the loftiest peak, but I find it's laughable. There is music happening all over the globe that people operating out of western europe's paradigms can't touch (and it's been demonstrated by cases that when it does it's oftimes laughable); and you shouldn't be too shocked that the exponents of these musics find your music paltry and lacking as per the things they are interested in.

Now, I understand that you found this particular forum insular enough so far and feathers were ruffled, and since it's no skin off my nose, I'll leave you gentlemen to enjoy the fact that you all think just alike. Cheers.

MacBook Pro 16,1: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9
64GB 2667MHz DDR4
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Posted on Mon, Apr 25 2011 13:53
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065

It's a pity that this post has been reduced to this after such an interesting article reference, so be it...

civilization 3 wrote:

I reiterate, I think Williams is an excellent musician. He's a consummate professional and a great mimic of the styles he understands. I will also reiterate, if it's valid for you, that's that. His talent for mimicry has also made him especially derivative and for me truly boring. Chances are a picture scored by Williams is a picture I will not attend, his music is distracting to me and it's music i don't particularly want to hear.

When we discuss Williams we discuss him as a pioneer of film music, not of the classical tradition. However, as you understand so little of the latter you may be confusing them. As far as not going to films where the music is distracting because of its 'mimicry' and 'derivation', favour us with a thorough list of mainstream films from the last 20 years that you enjoyed, that were scored by such original, non-distracting composers.

civilization 3 wrote:

Is it shocking really that someone grew tired of the same old Zimmer vs Williams stuff? One of my main points is that one does one kind of gig, the other does his kind of gig and it's horses for courses. What's so challenging about this idea?

It's de riguer to bash someone you don't like, but oh so upsetting to have a go at Williams? Is this a religious issue or something?

First of all, it's not Zimmer vs. Williams, it's never been (it would be ludicrous). It is Zimmer vs. Williams, Goldsmith, Morricone, Barry, Bernstein, Rota, Delerue, Herrmann, Mancini, Rose, Steiner, Tiomkin, Korngold, and the whole tradition of great, inspired film-scoring that this man almost single-handedly debunked, to replace it with his own brand of awful symphonic minimalism (through ineptitude, not choice - great difference!), which can score no scene successfully, other than some footage of a train ride, industry, anything mechanical and repetitive; certainly not movies dealing with any human drama, emotion, character development etc.

That's where your point - not argument, for you never argue, you just make points - about 'horses for courses' falls flat on its face, as Zimmer gets called to run courses for which he is unfit.

Not at all a religious issue to attack Williams (especially when you find Chopin's melodies paltry), but you don't put anything in context. You just point out that Williams is annoying to you because he is "especially derivative", without referring to others in film music who are not, and are better composers and thus people should be looking to them...

civilization 3 wrote:

By 'Ridiculous Straw Men' I assume you are referring to non-entities such as Wagner Mozart, Beethoven, etc. yes? Then there's the cryptic sentence "You know from my views what I give you and not more" (????) Deficient argumentation? How about trying arguing for a change? You just brush off any attempt on my part to discuss these matters, not thoroughly, but even a little. "Demonstrates an impoverished quality of thought"? I think impoverished doesn't even approximate it.

"It's 2011. Don't be too shocked that someone finds your insular 19th century western european 'art music' aesthetics wanting." Where have I demonstrated shock?

"You may imagine Mr Errikos that every person that isn't as enthralled as you by these objects is adhering to some vague notion you have about music outside your sphere, 'must be a hip hop loops monger' etc, but that shows your ignorance, not mine." Well, you still haven't provided any examples of great aesthetics for my edification, have you? Thus, you leave me to guess about 'beat-mongerism', especially when you bring up that hilarious example regarding your African rhythm machine, which you put in the same sentence as Bruckner - shows your ignorance, not mine...

"You're welcome to believe that your insular, narrow, smug POV is obtained from the loftiest peak, but I find it's laughable." Insular? Narrow? Only you and that other "special" forumite who said a few months ago that Wagner's contribution to music was the invention of some horns, feel that Mozart, Bach, Brahms, Prokofiev, are 'Straw Men', and she also never dared to suggest examples of music she thought were superior, more interesting, whatever... Like you, she just denounced the musical gods, but she - like you - never allowed us a glimpse of the 'peak', the vantage point from which she was looking down upon them. You believe that the notion of the classical tradition with its "paltry" melodies (and I assume harmonies, counterpoint, structural development, orchestration, etc.) being a view 'from the loftiest peak' is 'laughable'? Since most cultured, educated people from civilizations all around the globe - even when maintaining and respecting their own musical traditions - beg to differ, have you ever suspected that maybe your ideas are laughable? Or is it that all these people are wrong?... Are they all, like me, imprisoned by their ignorance of some fantastic turtle-shell percussionist somewhere in the Galapagos, whose improvisations defecate on the entire western musical output?

"There is music happening all over the globe that people operating out of western europe's paradigms can't touch (and it's been demonstrated by cases that when it does it's oftimes laughable); and you shouldn't be too shocked that the exponents of these musics find your music paltry and lacking as per the things they are interested in." Is sophistication of rhythm your one primary requirement for high musical artistic merit? In that case, show us some of those 'paradigms' that Europeans can't touch! I want to see notation or hear examples! And then at least you will have opened new vistas to my blinkered eyes, and we'll be able to discuss how much more difficult your ethno-pieces are for European percussionists to perform, than it would be for your great musos to just breeze through 'Le Marteau sans Maitre', 'Bone Alphabet', and a myriad other ensemble/percussion pieces for beginners from our "laughable" continental composers.

And I'm still passionately waiting for those references to those celestial, carriers-of-universal-truth melodies that Mozart and Tchaikovsky were just too giftless to conceive.

Cheers.

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Mon, Apr 25 2011 18:56
by PaulR
Joined on Mon, Dec 22 2003, England, Posts 2370

Civilization 3 is getting into the same old trap that so many make over the years when discussing art on a lowest common denominator basis. I can understand though - but the intellectual basis has no grounding in that type of appraisal because it's reduced to what someone "likes" versus what they "dislike".

That's subjective and understandable because one could argue that's what really counts on an individual basis in the end and why should anyone care what anyone else likes?  But the danger in that is an idiot argument then ensues that is not using, in this case, musical talent at a certain level and any further attainment, but rather personal preferences.

Posted on Mon, Apr 25 2011 19:00
by mike connelly
Joined on Wed, Apr 28 2004, Posts 260
Errikos wrote:
You think the puerile, petty rhythmic requirements of any jazz work, or any complicated underground dance sub-genre drum-kit programming (humanly playable) holds a candle to the rhythmic intricacies of difficult classical music?

Wow, someone has a pretty profound ignorance of the entire genre of jazz.  And if jazz is so easy, then when classical players attempt it, why are the results so horrible the vast majority of the time?

I do agree with you about the irrelevance of bringing up sound design in regards to Williams.

Posted on Mon, Apr 25 2011 19:32
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5608

civilization 3 wrote:
Williams won't be used to score a David Lynch film because it isn't appropriate aesthetically.
 

Why is that?  did you ever hear the Fury?  That score is a masterpiece and totally unlike his more bright-hued works.  Williams is so huge in his range he could probably do the greatest Lynch score of any (though Badalamenti did  fantastic stuff also).  

This general concept put out by civilization3 that Williams is a "mimic" is false.  As I stated his music cannot help going into familiar territory at times, but his own style is unmistakable and original.  Star Wars main theme - what is that mimicking?  The Jaws bass motif - what is that aping?  Etc. Etc.   You can find sections that sometimes sound like this or that, but any composer writing today in a tonal idiom CAN HAVE THE SAME THING DONE TO HIM out of context.  There is no way NOT to sound like someone else at times, but the question is how unique are your main works, your themes and development and counterpoint and harmony?  Those are what distinguish Williams as a master, and his Tchaikovsky-like fertility of melodic invention.  Not to mention the absolute perfection as functional film music.  I have never heard a scene that Williams scored that made me think - that was too much, or not enough.  He is as unerring in what a film needs as Herrmann. 

Posted on Mon, Apr 25 2011 19:42
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065
mike connelly wrote:
Errikos wrote:
You think the puerile, petty rhythmic requirements of any jazz work, or any complicated underground dance sub-genre drum-kit programming (humanly playable) holds a candle to the rhythmic intricacies of difficult classical music?

Wow, someone has a pretty profound ignorance of the entire genre of jazz.  And if jazz is so easy, then when classical players attempt it, why are the results so horrible the vast majority of the time?

I do agree with you about the irrelevance of bringing up sound design in regards to Williams.

Personally, I have no love for almost the entire genre of jazz; pure jazz I hate as an idea. This doesn't mean I am ignorant of it (quite the opposite!), except if you're saying "if you know it, you gotta like it..." However, I know that I am in a minority and perhaps the loss is mine. That also doesn't mean I can't tell a bad performance from a good one, or a good one from a great one. As far as your question goes:

1) A great lot of classical musicians suck at jazz because they also suck at classical music, it's just that most jazz-people can't pick that up because their knowledge of classical music with its so many complex layers of sensibilities is only cursory. And by the way, a great lot of jazz-people suck in playing jazz as well, YouTube is replete with them (most play worse than the bad classical players playing jazz). It takes a great musician to play great music.

2) Nobody said jazz was a piece of cake! - see point n.4 - If a great musician plays classical music beautifully, this has come not only from natural talent, but also from extreme, endless amount of study (not just technical) and rituals of different levels of initiation with the material, the list is endless. The same is true on a different scale of jazz players. Talent aside, in their own fashion they study the appropriate repertoire, the different sub-genres, the recordings of the greats, etc., etc., and of course improvise and play in jazz ensembles ceaselessly throughout their lives. It must be a musical ignoramus that will expect a practitioner from a separate style of music to instantly have the skills to mix it with the great - let alone best - practitioners from a different style to his own. If they really wanted to do it though, the classical musician has a much better chance and will adapt to jazz a lot faster (and will enrich it too), than the other way around, because technically he is the superior by a universe apart. He will therefore only have to study the "feel" for a couple or more years, and then only the top jazz people will be his betters (through talent), and not at every level. For a great jazz musician - say pianist - to go from 'swinging', and playing some periodic rhythms, to play 6-voice counterpoint clearly and 'Le Gaspard de la Nuit', it will take a few re-incarnations, but some will eventually be able to do it.

3) I left the aspect of improvisation out of comparing the practitioners of the two styles, because as far as I'm concerned that's composition. And if you wish to compare the - otherwise great - compositions and free-style improvisations of Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, you name them, with Bach's B minor mass, the Pastoral, the 9th, The Marriage of Figaro, the Meistersingers, Adagio for Strings, the entire piano oeuvres of Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and Prokofiev, Liszt's paraphrases (Improvisations with capital 'I') etc. that is always your prerogative.

4) The snippet from my own post that was quoted is actually absolutely correct whether one prefers one genre to the other. It is not an opinion, it is a fact. When I hyperbolize by saying "puerile" and "petty", it is always in context of comparison of course (say with Michael Finnissy pieces for example), and not indicative of the genre per se.

5) Please don't let 'civilization 3' think that you also agree that Mozart and Tchaikovsky wrote puerile melodies, for I didn't see you criticize any of his positions...

6) Again, this is not the kind of hopeless, futile discussion I was hoping for this time, I just hope a few of you found the article of some use.

P.S.: Paul, do you think 'civ.3' could be Trevor's alias here?

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Tue, Apr 26 2011 02:39
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5608

 It needs to be stated that  civilization3 is doing a "Dead-White-European-Male-Anti-European-Western tradition" bullshit session here.  

This has become fashionable these days.  You can display total bigotry and fathomless stupidity while pretending to be enlarging the pathetically limited vision of Western artists to include ethnic groups previously  ignored and disparaged.  This "enlightened" attiude has also become quite commonplace and instantly recognizable.

Posted on Tue, Apr 26 2011 12:24
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065

You said it William, I seem to have missed that part, but now that you mention it, he constantly goes on about this day and age, 19th century aesthetics, it's 2011 etc., as if I'm advocating travelling by steam-train and writing with a fountain pen (both quite quaint actually), as if Beethoven and Brahms are not great precisely because they transcend their time; precisely because people like us - with quite different living circumstances, habits, environ, stimuli, and very different technology - relate in almost exactly the same way to those musical works, we transcend our own time and materials and meet them in this communion of timelessness in the world of ideas. You know this attitude you're talking about is not just endemic in this thread, but in most musical academies in their musicology departments. For decades now, with that hatred of the 'Dead-White-Male', and taking a lot of their cues from recent trends in sociology and philosophy (those disciplines have long been powerless to escape their Marxist black holes), and with their second-hand and diluted dicta they try to wall those geniuses exclusively inside their own time and place, reduce their stature by passionately focusing on some real or imaginary human frailties of theirs (like we care...), and insisting that our perception of their masterpieces changes every couple of decades or so. T w a d d l e . . .

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Fri, Apr 29 2011 12:29
by weslldeckers
Joined on Tue, Feb 03 2004, The Netherlands, Posts 294

It is nice, however, when the composer for film is technically proficient. We may not like what Hans Zimmer and his whole lot of former trainees are doing (putting texture or wallpaper behind a film), but if it can work for the film, that's OK!
Now, when we take that music onto another medium, say CD, and it is presented like music that could or should 'stand on its own' rather than some audible way of reliving the film (many casual listeners of film music do just that), then we can review it on its musical merits.

Then it will be noticable that most Hans Zimmer music isn't all that great from a compositional perspective. A few of the more skilled film composers like Rósza, Goldsmith, Bernstein and Herrmann were mentioned; at least they knew what they were doing and knew how to make interesting music, even when you listened to it on its own. (Did enyone ever listen to Goldsmith's "Planet of The Apes" on CD?)
Modern day film composers need to give the producer or director or whoever's in charge, exactly what they want, or they'll get sidetracked and rejected.

Classical composers and film composers have to be reviewed differently, because of the medium they were writing for. Their music can only be reviewed as equals when we get to compositional skills. 

Posted on Fri, Apr 29 2011 16:08
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1065

This is what the referenced article was addressing among other things - that a great lot of people have been "reduced" to listen and decide what great classical music is, according to how much 'film-music' value that music contains, i.e. anything that contains material that's more or less easily classifiable and pigeon-holeable to one or more of mainstream soundtrack categories: action, drama, comedy, horror/suspense, fantasy, western(!), etc., but this is too superficial (or severely limited) when it comes to listening to superlative classical works, and that is where the example of the 'Out of Africa' main title vs. Prokofiev's 3rd Piano Concerto comes in. John Barry's sensuous beautiful moment is something that instantly captivates a contemporary educated urban (not the genre) audience, and some may actually think it is a superior work to Prokofiev's masterpiece, which in all aspects (inspiration, originality, scope, sophistication, melody, harmony, orchestration, polyphony, form, etc.) drowns the otherwise - like you say, fits the film perfectly, stands on its own as music - great soundtrack.

The problem is, that people today may say exactly what you started your post with: "Music, to me, is emotion". It would be more appropriate to say that most - if not all - music provokes an emotional response. The problem is that the increasingly unsophisticated audiences of today fail to understand that although music provokes an emotional response in them, it also carries stimuli that also provoke a lot of mental calculation, scrutiny, and analysis, which are the result of the composer's self-imposed challenges in a work. The harder and more complex the challenges are, the harder it is for the composer to satisfactorily meet those challenges (the determination of which depends on the musical materials exposed), the higher the expectations and "anxiety" (emotions) on the educated audience. As they monitor in real time the composer's journey and the creative tools he uses to respond to these challenges, the audience's emotions fluctuate in general (ups and downs during the work). If the composer is gifted both in the setting of the materials, but especially in the way he deals with those materials and "makes sense of them", i.e. the way he articulates his journey and solutions, and the more satisfying the mental closure, the greater the emotion and fulfilment the audience will feel in return. And all that is on top of a great tune that might be contained in the work; I mean of course it is part of the whole, but most times it won't be the raison d' etre of a work, as many times it is in film-music.

This failure to notice all this on the part of the modern audience, is due to the - correct for its purposes - superficiality of most film-music, which usually requires digestion and enjoyment on one - maybe two levels (as opposed to Prokofiev's masterpiece, which actually yields infinitely greater fruit when one digs a little deeper, for there actually exists depth there to be dug).

Of course composers should only be reviewed according to the genre to which they contribute, but genres themselves can also be weighed against one another. As far as compositional skills are concerned, if you mean technical skills, they can be reviewed regardless of genre (ex. Williams I would venture is more competent in orchestration - regardless of Spencer's and others' services - than Cage and a host of other classical composers. Hans Zippo on the other hand....)

P.S.: What is an audiovisual editor doing in this forum? Do yo also write, or are you scouting for talent? Wink

If you can't notate/MIDI it yourself, it's NOT your music!

In these modern days to be vulgar, illiterate, common and vicious, seems to give a man a marvelous infinity of rights that his honest fathers never dreamed of. - Oscar Wilde
Posted on Fri, Apr 29 2011 16:59
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5608

 Those are very interesting ideas Errikos and weslldeckers -  what I often think about the quality (or lack of it)  of film music is that it seems to be "optional."  In other words, a musician can provide a score that is a great piece of music, or a lousy piece of garbage and - amazingly enough - either one of them may work for the film.  This principle is what the Zimmerites are using to get away with semi-musical sludge as opposed to actual music scores.    But on the other hand, a good composer can write something beautiful  musically that is irritating and distracting from the film.  And all this is why it is remarkable how Herrmann and a few others did both - writing good (sometimes great) music that was also absolutely perfect for what the film needed.   

I must say I somewhat disagree with the principle behind this original article however.  Essentially the author is stating that film music is not as good as Beethoven.  In a way, that is a stupid thing to say.  Because it is mixing up many different contexts into an aesthetic mishmash.  One should ask the question - is ANY film music as good as the concert music written at the same time.  If that question is asked, I would answer - some film music is BETTER than much of the concert music written in the 20th century.   EVerybody compares Joe Blow film composer to Stravinsky.  What about  Bernard Herrmann or Jerry Goldsmith to any of the thousands of music professors imitating Berg, Webern, Ligeti, Schoenberg, etc. ad infinitum to the boredom and ear-splitting nausea of their enslaved audiences who gradually decided - over the course of about 20 years - they HATE concert music.  WHY do they hate it?  Did you ever ask that question?  Is it because it is all peerless masterpieces? Or could it be as mediocre in general as the favorite whipping boy of the musical snobs - film music?

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