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Studios of John Williams Vs Hans Zimmer
Last post Sat, Nov 26 2022 by FedericoAsc, 48 replies.
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Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 03:45
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 441

Okay, I am not intending to start another thread that eventually leads to a lockdown. I hope this thread brings some humor to the forum.

I feel that I have sufficiently voiced my disapproval of Hans Zimmer's (HZ) music on this forum, and do not intend to start another debate which could lead to a nasty fight. BTW, even though I am not a HZ fan by any stretch, I do like some of his scores, such as Gladiator and Dark Knight, mainly because I enjoy the quality of the production. 

What I wanted to share is my fascination and amusement with how different the studios of John Williams (JW) and HZ look like, based on whatever pics I find on the web. The reason why I think this is very interesting to compare, is because I feel that the profound difference in the makeup of their studios reflects a seismic shift in the way music is made over the last 50 years or so, with the advent of computers. In short, I would like to posit that music making shifted from the brain to the computer (i.e., less creative work for the brain and more for the computer). And this resulted in a fundamental difference in the way the music sounds as well.

Please note: I am not saying one is better than the other....at least for the sake of avoiding a fight, I can accept that what music is considered better depends on perspective, From my point of view, JWs music is better as I feel it has way more content. But I am willing to accept someone else's point of view that content is not the only thing for film music and quite often low content can have a great impact. HZ has had a huge impact on films (whether I like that or not, that's a reality)...

So lets set all that aside and simply compare their studios.

In William' case, we see his piano all the way in the back of the room, an artists creative table standing right next to it, where he presumably write his scores on pencil and paper. On his coffee table there are some random bits of things, including, what seems like a good ole tape voice recorder, and a "Book of American Negro Poetry", stacks of (probably) sheet music, and water bottle (from which I gather he doesn't like tap water!)

Hans's studio couldn't be more different. He is surrounded by massive monitors displaying DAW software controls, racks of computers, all kinds of keyboards and controllers. There is also massive TV screen...not visible in the picture below. 

(Funnily, the only thing common to both their studios seems to be a lone water bottle, probably even the same brand. So they both do not like tap water and THERE is something in common between the two!)

What is remarkable to me when I see that picture of JW, and in my mind I hear the gigantic and beautifully complex orchestral sounds of Star wars, E.T., Close encounters, Jurassic Park Harry Potter and so on and so on...it all came from the brain of that man sitting on the chair, with only a pencil and paper and a piano as tools. Living in our age, JW HAD that choice to use computers, but he doesn't need them to make an incredible range of sounds. Some of the moments of climax in E.T. and Close encounters are unmatched in orchestral power in cinematic history, in my opinion (except perhaps scores of early Hollywood films like Metropolis, scored by Gottfried Huppertz )

HZ found an effective way to use the computers without racking his brain, I guess his brain works in other ways (that was to calm you down HZ fans), and I agree the sounds of 50 cellos and 20 Brass instruments up in a cathedral (Dark Knight?)+ taikos can be powerful. But it is not the same kind of power as JW's music.

When I see JW in that pic I see a craft that is probably dying, something that has been handed down via conservatories from days of Vivaldi, the craft of inner hearing, which makes your brain the synthesizer, the greatest synths of them all, leading to limitless possibilities.

Or perhaps that water bottle on HZs and JWs table holds a clue as to what could be common between their music? 

That was my Sunday night spiel (berg? LOL). Good night all

Cheers

Anand

Anand Kumar
Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 13:56
by Errikos
Joined on Tue, Jun 12 2007, Posts 1114
Brilliant juxtaposition!

The discrepancy is of course due to only one of them being a musician.

I didn't say who.
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, May 02 2022 14:40
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5726

Agitato that is a great post and as usual - a picture is worth a thousand words! 

I would add I often think of Mahler's "composing hut." Here he would retire from conducting in the summer, going to his rather nicely appointed little hut which was furnished with a piano, table, chair and score paper.  Here he created such vastly complex orchestral works as the 8th Symphony - a composition of huge length as well as  extreme mastery of orchestration, choral writing, and beauty of melodic, contrapuntal and harmonic invention.  These are works that defined and created modern orchestration and allowed the symphony to reach its greatest heights of expressiveness.  And all he had was a piano, his mind and hands. That's the ultimate in composing.   

    

Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 17:03
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 441

Originally Posted by: William Go to Quoted Post

Agitato that is a great post and as usual - a picture is worth a thousand words! 

I would add I often think of Mahler's "composing hut." Here he would retire from conducting in the summer, going to his rather nicely appointed little hut which was furnished with a piano, table, chair and score paper.  Here he created such vastly complex orchestral works as the 8th Symphony - a composition of huge length as well as  extreme mastery of orchestration, choral writing, and beauty of melodic, contrapuntal and harmonic invention.  These are works that defined and created modern orchestration and allowed the symphony to reach its greatest heights of expressiveness.  And all he had was a piano, his mind and hands. That's the ultimate in composing.   

   

Yes absolutely... Thanks for pointing that out William. Mahler the God was another order of magnitude above JW! To imagine such complex contrapuntal orchestral textures and that too in long form, all with just a piano and sounds of nature, awe inspiring!

But to me JW is so special a gift for us, being a representative of that same craft, alive today, as Dudamel of the LA Phil once put it. There are many other great composers of that craft today of course, but JW is just a representative.

For completeness sake, and to Williams' point, here I include Mahler's composing hut and room, taken from this link:https://www.therestisnoise.com/2005/08/mahler_on_the_b.html

Anand Kumar
Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 17:06
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 441

Originally Posted by: Errikos Go to Quoted Post
Brilliant juxtaposition! The discrepancy is of course due to only one of them being a musician. I didn't say who.

:)

Anand Kumar
Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 17:08
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

I too think the difference today is more than adoption of "electric manuscript and pencil" technology.

I'll go so far as to say this: the sine qua non for any would-be composer of orchestral music is to possess very well stocked auditory experience of orchestras playing live.

The clock cannot be turned back now. My dream is for electric manuscript and pencil technology to include Orchestral Intonation. I firmly believe that will, in its own good time, dramatically increase the chances of an abundance of great works of composition.

Even on the popular music side, what was the impact of the disappearance of orchestral-instrument combos in the post-war decades of the 20th century? I believe musical sophistication and art took a terrible turn for the worse in western popular music following that disappearance. And I speak as one who doted on his LP collection of popular works back in the day - from Santana to Hendrix, Zeppelin and Floyd and so many others.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 17:41
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 441

Originally Posted by: Macker Go to Quoted Post

I think the difference today is more than adoption of "electric manuscript and pencil" technology.

I'll go so far as to say this: the sine qua non for any would-be composer of orchestral music is to possess very well stocked auditory experience of orchestras playing live.

The clock cannot be turned back now. My dream is for electric manuscript and pencil technology to include Orchestral Intonation. I firmly believe that will, in its own good time, dramatically increase the chances of an abundance of great works of composition.

Even on the popular music side, what was the impact of the disappearance of orchestral instrument combos in the post-war decades of the 20th century? I believe musical sophistication and art took a terrible turn for the worse in western popular music following that disappearance. And I speak as one who doted on his LP collection of popular works back in the day - from Santana to Hendrix, Zeppelin and Floyd and so many others.

Yes I agree about the need for auditory experience. And this is is a fundamental training requirement in classical conservatories, and is honed to an exceptionally precise level in JW/Mahler/ etc., ..and surely some composers on this forum too. Thats what fascinates me, the ability to do that as a craft.

Btw, you are putting a lot of emphasis on orchestral music. But what I am referring is more about the craft of "inner hearing". With this, one could write a jazz piece, rock piece, with a solo instrument, a quartet or 100 instruments, be it electronic or acoustic, or even virtual samples like VSL!. After all, a huge repertoire of western classical music is for small ensembles. 

In my thinking, the question is not about the tools used, but rather, what level of musical (tonal/harmonic/textural/rhythmic) imagination is done by the brain vs left to the computer. The craft needed for "brain" composing (including solfege, inner hearing, etc.,) is the same irrespective of the tools or the style of music , and is dying. As historical evidence points to, the more work done by the brian, the more complex and rich the music is. This might hold true, until maybe if and when we get true AI, probably in a 1000 years.

Cheers

Anand

Anand Kumar
Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 17:54
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

Agreed Anand, and my "sine qua non" proposition of course includes the assumption - indeed it goes without saying - that adept composers can in myriad ways. consciously and unconsciously, draw upon their internal stock of auditory experience.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Mon, May 02 2022 20:36
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5726

It's so interesting to see that little humble place Mahler worked in (though in a beautiful area) and think of the mind-blowing, vast music forming there.

Mahler is an extreme example of a composer being able to hear and study in the most precise detail orchestral scoring, because he spent most of the year conducting the greatest orchestras in Europe. Then, using that intimately detailed knowledge of the music he conducted, he was able to put what he learned from it into his own scores. In doing this he went beyond almost all the other composers he conducted in his mastery of writing for every instrument of the orchestra., In his conducting he had the ultimate score-study and audition opportunities available to him full time.     

Posted on Mon, Jun 27 2022 02:08
by winknotes_282
Joined on Mon, Dec 23 2002, Posts 223

Maybe a picture of Korngold's "studio" would be applicable as an apples to apples comparison (to Williams of course).  

Steve
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Finale 26
VSL SE/Synchron
Posted on Wed, Jun 29 2022 22:30
by agitato
Joined on Mon, Jun 22 2015, Posts 441

Originally Posted by: winknotes_282 Go to Quoted Post

Maybe a picture of Korngold's "studio" would be applicable as an apples to apples comparison (to Williams of course).  

Well, Korngold's "studio" wouldn't look very different from JWs :)

I get a kick out of the wider contrast with Zimmer's.

Anand Kumar
Posted on Sun, Sep 04 2022 19:53
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 25

Interesting discussion, although I don't agree with most of what have been said. The reason why conservatoires value so much ear training is because: 1. they are really tailored to musicians' needs, rather than for composers; 2. they're very rigid and tend to live in the past. Yes, at Mahler's time, one had to train his ear, since there was no technology to aid composers. But let's not make the logical fallacy to think that if something was once necessary, then it's now necessary, or that if it's necessary for, say, horn players, it's necessary for composers.

Indeed, with other sciences, like mathematics, the opposite happened. With the invention of symbolic algebras, mathematicians didn't need anymore to make all calculations in their head, and this fostered the progress, rather than impede it. They could solve more complex problems on paper, because the human mind is limited.

And how precisely can a brain hear a counterpoint in four voices? Above a certain complexity, the human mind just fails. Pianos help, but still the human hand cannot exceed a certain complexity. The reason is that the human brain is bad at multitasking, and it's reasonable to assume that with the aid of the computer one can write better counterpoints, rather than worse. Probably Mahler's counterpoint would result naive, to someone with the same composition skills, but that can use computers.

Moreover, the composer relies on the stock of past auditory experience, but it's easy to create textures at the computer, that nobody could replicate in his head just looking at the score, if had he never heard them. 

So Williams is not great because he can hear precisely orchestras in his head. Hedwig's theme is not great because of that. It's a masterclass in theme creation, harmony, development of the material, texture, but that's not something you can't come up with if you use Sibelius or a DAW, and can't do that only with piano and paper.

The real problem is that now people don't study enough music theory and don't make in-depth score analysis, because now it's so easy to get started and to learn orchestration and harmony by trial-and-error. Of course, trying to reinvent the wheel, as they do, is not very efficient.

Posted on Mon, Sep 05 2022 15:23
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

FredericoAsc, I'd say treating mathematicians as analogous to composers is slanted way too far over to the cognitive (i.e. intellectual) part of human mentation. Are you not neglecting the crucial importance that the - largely unconscious - intuitive, experiential part has in the mentation of composers? (In the interests of brevity I deliberately omit here the matter of feelings, affect and emotion, which of course bears huge and essential relevance to this topic but must wait for another time.)

If we're talking exclusively of the intellect in typical humans, I've long considered the limit of complexity it can tackle at any one moment to be pretty much commensurate with thinking - unaided - about the design and functionality of a steam engine. No amount of theory or methodological techniques can alter that substantially; it's just how we're built. The intellect is a relatively small and quite starkly bounded part of the human central nervous system, notwithstanding the huge degrees of aggrandizement - sometimes to absurd and even pathological extents - bestowed on the intellect during the modern era in some western cultures.

Or, to get more up to date, consider the fact that software programmers have long been encouraged to structure their code as "modules" such that each module contains only "a headfull of code"; which is still a sound, wise and valid methodological policy, despite the many development techniques and tools available now.

Sure, with long practice, some people manage to enlarge the scope of their intellect; but never to the extent that it alone can enable one to tackle the formidably broad and deep kinds of complexities that our intuitive and experiential faculties, working closely together with the intellect, enable us to tackle.

I speak as a systems engineer, now retired. A friend and colleage of mine, a highly adept mathematician and manager of the mathematical modelling group in the systems & software division where we worked together, used to say often, "systems engineering is a state of mind". And I would add, "systems engineers don't pop up overnight - it takes years." I believe something very similar applies to composers.

Nowadays, alas, It seems that not everyone can become a systems engineer, or a composer, or an architect, etc.. I believe it's partly of course a matter of being endowed with intellectual and intuitive faculties that have learned to cooperate fully and intimately with each other. But moreover, in our various cultures and subcultures today, achieving this state of mind seems to be somewhat elusive, given the marked sociocultural polarisations we now have between "Confucian" and Taoist", or "Protestant and Catholic", or "left and right", habits of mentation. Composers cannot be either-or; they espouse both "sides".

I've watched online and wholly enjoyed recent concerts given by Berliner Phil. and Wiener Phil. in which Williams was guest conductor for some of his works. Watching the musicians in the world's two finest orchestras play his "Imperial March", I could see they were unreservedly "into" the music, treating it as seriously and wholeheartedly as they do with any other great piece in today's orchestral repertoires.

I believe it's safe to say that Williams, who currently has works listed in 23 of Berliner Phil's archive of recorded concerts, is now counted by the leading musical coteries in Europe as one of the world's great composers. Zimmer, on the other hand, despite all his modern technological acumen and equipment (not to mention his abundant skills in self-promotion), has not been accorded that honour.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Tue, Sep 06 2022 11:44
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 25

Macker: I had the privilege of being one member of the audience during Williams’ last concert in Vienna. And indeed I don’t need to be convinced that he’s great. He is on par with the great classical composers (although hearing the music live shows as well that he does from time to time suboptimal orchestration).

 

I also know very well the intuitive and emotional aspects of composing music. They’re a result of the complex shape that our neural network dedicated to music acquires through years and years of music listening. Our brain even knows music theory, but we are not conscious about it, so we have to study it explicitly.

 

However, I know also very well that Williams compose according to the standard, rational procedure developed by the classical masters.  And Williams himself has several times explained that melodies do not always come up to him suddenly, as a daydream, rather by tinkering a lot with the piano, altering an initial idea note by note until something special is found. If I don’t remember badly, this was case with the Indian Jones theme.

 

And once one has the melody, the standard classical procedure guides him/her in finding melody, harmony, accompaniment, material development. Therefore all the other pieces of the puzzle can be found again just trying patterns, variations, ostinatos at the piano, nothing magical. I’m not claiming that having mastery of the classical composition process is easy, rather that it doesn’t require exceptional internal hearing to be carried out, *now* that we have technological tools to hear instantly a good approximation of the music we write.

 

So no, Williams is not Williams because he composed without modern technology, but because he masters composition, other than having that intuitive “good taste” and communication ability that makes the great composer. By the way, one could claim as well, that only the deaf Beethoven was the ultimate composer, since piano is a technology that facilitates composition as well.

 

I’d say instead that the way Zimmer composes is recently more intuitive and less rational (or just I don’t understand it, which is likely).

Posted on Tue, Sep 06 2022 11:51
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 25

Macker: I had the privilege of being one member of the audience during Williams’ last concert in Vienna. And indeed I don’t need to be convinced that he’s great. He is on par with the great classical composers (although hearing the music live shows as well that he does from time to time suboptimal orchestration).

 

I also know very well the intuitive and emotional aspects of composing music. They’re a result of the complex shape that our neural network dedicated to music acquires through years and years of music listening. Our brain even knows music theory, but we are not conscious about it, so we have to study it explicitly.

 

However, I know also very well that Williams compose according to the standard, rational procedure developed by the classical masters.  And Williams himself has several times explained that melodies do not always come up to him suddenly, as a daydream, rather by tinkering a lot with the piano, altering an initial idea note by note until something special is found. If I don’t remember badly, this was case with the Indian Jones theme.

 

And once one has the melody, the standard classical procedure guides him/her in finding melody, harmony, accompaniment, material development. Therefore all the other pieces of the puzzle can be found again just trying patterns, variations, ostinatos at the piano, nothing magical. I’m not claiming that having mastery of the classical composition process is easy, rather that it doesn’t require exceptional internal hearing to be carried out, *now* that we have technological tools to hear instantly a good approximation of the music we write.

 

So no, Williams is not Williams because he composed without modern technology, but because he masters composition, other than having that intuitive “good taste” and communication ability that makes the great composer. By the way, one could claim as well, that only the deaf Beethoven was the ultimate composer, since piano is a technology that facilitates composition as well.

 

I’d say instead that the way Zimmer composes is recently more intuitive and less rational (or just I don’t understand it, which is likely).

Posted on Wed, Sep 07 2022 13:10
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

Frederico, acquiring a profound and proficient grasp of music theory is one thing, but becoming adept at innovation in music composition is something quite beyond music theory. Even so, and quite rightly, we do expect innovative composers to know music theory.

Perhaps we can regard music 'theory' as, albeit imperfectly, a collection of 'methodological and syntactical norms' used prior to and including this moment in history. Isn't it somewhat like studying a spoken language? As such, rarely if ever does such formal study afford the student any clues about where or how innovation is now possible, permissible or acceptable. Usage of the mother tongue of a culture is, I believe, the archetypal model of democracy, in that everyone participates and may - here and there, perhaps suddenly or over time, accidentally or deliberately, collectively or individually - bring about changes in usage of the language. That is to say, linguistic norms are not set in concrete.

And yet it appears there are many subtle but quite powerful 'anti-innovation measures' embodied in our participation of the culture, most especially in our usage of the mother tongue. After all, we don't want our understandings of each other via language to be seriously degraded or impaired by egregious departures from, or unwholesome perversions or corruptions of, our shared linguistic norms.

But by contrast to usage of our mother tongue, in the language of music there is considerable scope for not only novelties but also innovations. I distinguish novelty and innovation by considering that one's 'normality' is essentially altered by the latter, whereas the former may only perhaps 'colour' or otherwise alter our perspective of our normality in various non-essential ways. From even a cursory look through the list of composers in history deemed now to be "greats", it's hard to avoid the conclusion that innovatory prowess matters a great deal in our appraisals of composers; although of course several other factors, such as taste and style, also weigh hugely.

Innovation is an act of perfidy, whereas to abide by and support normality is fidelity. Innovators must of course be very careful to contain and limit their will to commit perfidious acts. There are some notorious examples of highly innovative composers and other artists who have allowed their will-to-perfidy to spill out into their social and moral life, with scandalous consequences (e.g. R.W.). Generally speaking, perfidy is potentially harmful to social and moral order and may, especially in certain ideologically rigid polities, in some cases be treated as criminally culpable. Little wonder that the art of innovation is not taught in academia - not that any art as such can be taught!

So where might this bring us vis-à-vis the contention here that composers with a background as orchestral musicians and/or conductors tend to be more adept and/or successful at composing? Given that innovation is a potent factor, I think it comes down to the norms of musical reality being far more real, alive, meaningful and powerful in the real presence of an orchestra, as compared to, for example, the case of an individual who has only ever tinkered with musical ideas on his DAW at home. To innovate necessarily includes, it seems to me, a profound appreciation of the power of current norms and normality, which is best acquired in real social situations.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Wed, Sep 07 2022 17:11
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 25

Maker, you speak about music theory, but I didn’t use that word in my last post. People design with the term “music theory” something far more narrow that what I’m talking about, for example harmony, counterpoint, orchestration, which indeed it's useless alone. Studying music also means reading, reading and reading what previous composers did. As a novel writer that needs not only to know the grammar of the language, but also the patterns and forms of previous novels, which is acquired through reading, so the composer needs to know music theory as well as to *read* previous literature. That is not acquired through live listening, but with lots of off-line reading. 

 

Then one can see and understand the technical innovations of Williams with respect to classical composers, and by the way with respect to all 20th century music, Beatles, jazz and whatever included. But as it is the case with other composers, the innovations are relatively few. Nothing radically new makes Williams with respect to Holst and other previous music, who does nothing radically new with respect to Wagner and late romantic composers etc. Or going forward, look at what Elfman did after Williams and so on. As in science, small innovation after small innovation one gets huge and radical changes in the course of history (e.g. film music sounds quite different from Mozart’s music), with occasional, very rare revolutions. I don’t think Williams has revolutionized anything, as any other great composer he has built his own, coherent voice with the most advanced tools that were available, with very few technical inventions. There were indeed really few revolutions in the history music, I think. Everything was quite gradual and continuous, indeed, like in science.

 

To answer your question why “composers with a background as orchestral musicians and/or conductors tend to be more adept and successful composers”, I’d say that the question is itself a false assumption. It lacks the word *in the past*. Elfman is for example already a counterexample, and now in the digital age there will be more and more counterexamples, as my argument predicts. Of course, to have a counterexample to what you’re saying, it’s necessary a great composer to start with. I personally dislike the music that nowadays is written, so yeah, I guess I’ll have to wait to see the next Williams.

Posted on Wed, Sep 07 2022 17:27
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 612

Frederico, you sure? What about:-

"Our brain even knows music theory, but we are not conscious about it, so we have to study it explicitly."

and in you previous post:-

"The real problem is that now people don't study enough music theory ...."

OveralI, I think we'll have to agree to differ. You seem now to be coming out, as I surmised earlier, as firmly in favour of intellectually-focused study, explicit knowledge, and literal-minded understanding; whereas as I've tried to point out, I firmly believe it's much more than just that. Sorry, far too lopsided for me to consider further.

Ah well, thanks anyway for your contribution.

P.S. if you read Tom Kuhn, you'll understand that revolutionary science - i.e. a "paradigm shift" - is in no way analogous to the innovations in music I'm talking about. Please don't try to draw such baseless parallels between science and music - you'll likely offend musicians and composers here, as well as mislead others.

"Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words."
~ Franz Liszt
Posted on Wed, Sep 07 2022 18:53
by FedericoAsc
Joined on Fri, Jul 17 2020, Vienna, Posts 25

Macker, your quotations don't make any sense. I did talk about music theory, but not in the sense you claimed to, and I already did clarify what I meant.

Well, I know very well Kuhn theory and I'm free to apply it to whatever context I like. Should other composers get offended, it's the last of my concerns, honestly. If they're afraid of rational thought, it's their problem, not mine. And of course you're free to restate your theory, I respect your opinion, although I still think is wrong.

Posted on Thu, Sep 08 2022 00:33
by William
Joined on Sun, Nov 24 2002, USA, Posts 5726

Interesting statements by both Federico and Macker.  I think that the intuitive aspect of composition can go beyond any theory, though with study of theory one can get ideas.  I remember when studying music theory in high school parallel fifths were frowned upon. I immediately went home and wrote several melodies with all parallel fifths.  Just to be contrary.  With Williams, Federico is correct in that he didn't particularly "innovate" but his music is so perfect it doesn't matter.  I completely agree he is on a par with many great classical composers, and will be known for his great work in the future.   Bernard Herrmann definitely innovated, with his refusal to use the popular (among film composers such as Max Steiner)  Wagnerian leitmotif style, and instead wrote purely symphonic scores with extremely detailed orchestration.  But in general the knowledge of orchestral performance gained from the real world - like playing or conducting - is of huge value for a composer. It gives specific ideas about what exactly each instrument really does best, and that can inspire more ideas for composition.

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