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Movie scores


Dan O

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Speaking of movies .....

Has anyone done a Movie Score on this Forum ?

How about something you heard in a movie that you always remember .

I am sure that JAWS is something to remember . I also love Samuel Barbers "Adagio for Strings" because of how it was used in the movie PLATOON . Anyone else ? dano

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I was very influenced at an early age by the soundtrack to the James Bond movie "On Her Majesties Secret Service". I think it was a John Barry score. It was the first orchestral recording that made me realize the power and richness of an orchestra.

 

The movie "Nighthawks" starring Sly Stallone and Billy Dee Williams had a soundtrack done by Keith Emerson, and it definitely had his personality on it. It had one song that was done on a Fairlight and that was probably the first time I became aware of what that was.

 

I'm a big Trevor Rabin(Yes) fan but I have been very disappointed by his film scores and I think they are boring and cliched. He might be making a great living, but he is squandering a real talent for playing and arranging rock guitar.

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I remember thinking that the score to American Beauty added a beautiful and strange dimension to the film. I forget the composer's name. I like the immediate recognizability of Elfman and Randy Newman. And that brings up an interesting related question: if you're vying for work in this field, it is better to have a distinct sound and sensibility--a brand, if you will--or to demonstrate extreme versatility and plasticity. For better or worse, I am fairly stuck with the "distinct sound" approach.

 

I like it when Directors/producers make unorthodox decisions for scores, like some of the stuff Ry Cooder has done for film. I've never scored a film, but I've done enough background music for videos and multimedia to know that one of the principle challenges is to make effective music that complements and does not compete with the foreground. The trickiest element, I would say, is use of melody. It's always safe to be ambient, to use texture and rhythm. Melody seems by nature to clamor for attention. I remember reading an interview with the guy who did the musis for the X-files and other Chris Carter productions. He talked about his frustration at Carter's aversion to melody.

 

 

John

 

 

This message has been edited by Magpel on 09-10-2001 at 12:45 PM

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Originally posted by dano:

Speaking of movies .....I am sure that JAWS is something to remember .

 

John Williams RULE !

Jaws, StarWars, Indiana Jones...

 

 

Also memorable... "THE MISSION", "THE FIRM" (Grusin), "THE PIANO" (M. Nymann)...

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James Newton Howard's stuff is pretty great, too...

 

Y'know whose scores don't work for me? Danny Elfman. Is it just me, or does he always go for that same emotional place - a little whimsical, yet a little demented? It kinda gets on my nerves a bit - same with his buddy Tim Burton - always right to the same place visually.

 

Okay, maybe I'm generalizing a bit, but hopefully you get the idea.

 

dB

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Gosh, studying soundtracks has captivated me ever since Carl W. Stalling.

 

In the synthesizer soundtrack arena, Vangelis, Hans Zimmer and Tangerine Dream would be my three top picks. How do they do what they do?

 

Vangelis' score for "Blade Runner" remains one you can listen to on it's own, or in the context of the film. And true to form, the best of the best you are not even aware of ~ unless you think about the soundtrack score.

 

Tangerine Dream of course has done zillions of films. Their best music-to-movie match came in "Thief" I think.

 

And Hans Zimmer. What can one say about this wunderkind?

 

John Williams. Well, I guess. If you're really into those big theme kind of movies http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif We have Williams to thank for those themes that will never leave our brains. Jaws. Star Wars. CE3K. Raiders of the Lost Ark. Genius.

 

I always read the credits ~ usually the first thing I look for. Who did the score. And getting more and more surprised these days. James Newton Howard. Elfman. Newman. Great talents all.

 

So how do these composers get so good at what they do? Is it pure training?

Oh yeah? That's fine for you, you're an accepted member of the entertainment community. What about me? What about Igor? Marginalized by Hollywood yet again. I want my Mummy . . .
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Originally posted by Dave Bryce:

Y'know whose scores don't work for me? Danny Elfman. Is it just me, or does he always go for that same emotional place - a little whimsical, yet a little demented? It kinda gets on my nerves a bit - same with his buddy Tim Burton - always right to the same place visually.

dB

 

I agree with one exception. Batman. I thought the frenetic style of the movie and Elfman's score worked perfect together, especially the waltz in the bell tower.

 

Other than that, it's a little TOO frenetic for me...

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The Dr. reminded of a big one I left off my list: Old Carl Stallings there. Talk about your demented genius. What's so crazy about it is how well this music stands on its own. It was so tightly synched to the visual that you'd think it wouldn't have any structural integrity on its own, but to my ears it does.

 

I admit that Elfman is something of a one trick pony. I think Randy Newman is also, to a lesser degree, and in both cases, I like the trick. Speaking of the Simpsons, Alf Clausen is a brilliant musical parodist. On par with Peter Schikele? Not sure. On par with Neil Innes (Monty Python, Bonzo Dog Band) definitely.

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Hey, how come nobody from the American club mentioned my favorite American film composer... Jerry Goldsmith. I find his orchestration a bit subtler than Williams', and he was a pioneer in the use of synths. He can make an orchestra sound totally electronic, and viceversa. Check his scores for Alien, Poltergeist, Twilight Zone, Gremlins...

 

Elfman is a bit rough at times, maybe it depends on his relying on an external orchestrator... I don't know. But unlike most people, I like his score for Mars Attacks! I watched it again yesterday, and I found the mixing of the theremin with the big orchestra remarkable.

 

Hans Zimmer has really perfected the art of building an orchestra of samples. It started with Terminator, I think, then on T2 it was just an orgy of sampled percussion and noises. I find his use of the "real" orchestra a bit less developed.

 

Then my favorite of the last year... I don't usually buy soundtracks CDs, but after watching "Himalaya - the rearing of a chief" last winter, I bought the soundtrack immediately. It's by Bruno Coulais. What can I say, it's simple music, but so inspired... The movie is also unique and great. I hope it has an American distribution.

 

marino

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Ehi, almost forgot the original question of this thread!

I've scored a few 'arty' things, and quite a few things for TV, not to mention installations, galleries etc., but never a full-lenght movie.

A short film with a jazz score of mine (only music and images, no dialog), titled "Always Now", has won the Award of Italian Movie and TV Critcs a few years ago.

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Psycho (Herrmann)

Hard Days Night (some British group)

The Graduate (Simon and Garfunkel)

Easy Rider (various artists)

Risky Business (Tangerine Dream)

Thief (Tangerine Dream)

Quadrophenia (Townshend, et al.)

Apollo 13 (Horner)

Galipoli (?? - sounds like Vangelis)

Chariots of Fire (Vangelis)

Romeo Is Bleeding (my personal favorite, composed by Isham)

Terminator 2

Last Temptation (Gabriel)

The Mummy Returns (Silvestri)

From The Earth To The Moon

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Anything by John Williams. He's one whose soundtrack CDs I'll buy on blind faith, whether I see the movie or not.

John Berry- Dances With Wolves

James Newton Howard- didn't he do the original Halloween score? Creepy stuff. Especially that recurring 5/4 theme. Fit the movie perfectly.

Danny Elfman- a little of him goes a long way for me, too. It works for quirky, gothic stuff, though.

James Horner- I actually liked the Titanic soundtrack. Too bad the title song got played to death on top 40, though. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/eek.gif

 

Peace all,

Steve

><>

Steve

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Whenever I think about what career I'd like to pursue other than my present one, film scoring is my first choice in music (first choice outside music is chef). There's something very powerful about crafting music specifically to fulfill the emotional potential of a visual image. Doing jingle work is a close as I'm likely to get.

 

Years ago, American Movie Classics did a great documentary on the golden age of scoring: Dmitri Tiomkin, Bernard Herrmam, Elmer Bernstein, etc. and more recently, Jerry Goldsmith and John Williams. The golden age of film scoring = the time and style before Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson killed it with the "rock soundtrack" (think "Top Gun").

 

Alf Clausen, Snuffy Walden (thirtysomething, Providence, Once and Again) and Mark Snow (X-Files) produce great TV music, and they do it week after week. As for TV soundtracks, I used to LOVE Angelo Badalamenti's work on Twin Peaks. The lushest strings, tremolo guitar, Julie Cruise's haunting voice. Daring show, equally memorable music, damn good coffee and cherry pie.

 

This message has been edited by mzeger on 09-14-2001 at 01:11 AM

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Randy Newman - Many of his scores

 

Vic Mizzy - "The Reluctant Astronaut" (He also did the music for The Addams Family and Green Acres

 

I thought Keith did a great job on "Nighthawks" and kept his signature sound.

 

Most recently...whoever did the score for "Traffic"

 

Tim Burton - "Pee Wee's Big Adventure", "Back to School" "Beetlejuice"

 

 

steadyb

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Originally posted by Magpel:

How could I have forgotten the great Ennio Morricone??

 

I was beginning to worry about no Italians being mentioned! I like some of Morricone's 70's work even more than the "spaghetti westerns" for which he's known ... all the proper "cliche" elements in those: funky wah-wah rhythm guitar, bursts of big fat dissonant Hammond chords, cheesy synthesizer leads and sound fx, etc.

 

I also love the horror film soundtracks ('Suspiria', 'Dawn of the Dead' aka 'Zombi', etc.) by the Italian progrock band, Goblin. Those and the classic 70's soul/funk soundtracks (from 'Shaft' and 'Superfly' on down) are probably my personal faves ...

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I like a lot of the ones mentioned above...

 

Y'know whose scores don't work for me? Danny Elfman. Is it just me, or does he always go for that same emotional place - a little whimsical, yet a little demented? It kinda gets on my nerves a bit - same with his buddy Tim Burton - always right to the same place visually.

 

I couldn't agree more...I don't like any of his soundtracks but I mostly keep quiet when his fans rave about him because they seem to REALLY love his music........I guess it's subjective.

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Funny you should mention Danny Elfman. I and almost everyone I know don't like his soundtracks, which all seem to sound the same and are, I think, very distracting, taking you away and out of getting lost in the movie because you keep thinking about how annoying and Elfman like the soundtrack is. It's like watching a movie with Madonna as the star and thinking the whole time, "That's Madonna".

 

Great scores for me were Tangerine Dream for Theif, Vangellis for Chariots of Fire, Baz Luhrman for Moulin Rouge, Hans Zimmer for most of the fils he's done, and Wendy Carlos for Clockwork Orange.

 

Roland

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Jerry Goldsmith's soundtrack for the original Planet of the Apes is wonderful music- found the CD on the internet, it's on the short list to buy (well it's a long long short list). David Munrow's soundtrack for Zardoz (great movie) is another winner, haven't heard it for years, looking for a CD.

 

The soundtrack to the Max von Sydow/Yul Brynner film The Ultimate Warrior is good, too, but I haven't found who wrote it.

 

In general, I find the soundtracks to late '60s/early '70s "B" movies to be a primary source of great 20th century music. Some of the Columbo TV movies from that era have good music, too- the one with Roddy McDowell as the villian has a nice intro piece, for example. The original Mission Impossible series had good incidental music as well as the famous Shifrin theme, by Richard Markowitz, a fine composer. There is similar but even better music in the old Yugoslavian TV show "Odpisani", also by a Markovic-transliterated differently but I wonder if they are related or if it's coincidence. "Odpisani" has one of the all-time great theme songs, and some really sweet analog synth sounds in the incidental music.

 

I've been very disappointed in film music of the last 10-20 years. Bloated, bland and plastic, to my ears. In the last year, only the music from Traffic, which I found fit the colors of the film perfectly, and the music of Tiger and Dragon, turned me on. Surprisingly, I didn't notice Elfman's music for POTA MkII at all, except for the title music, which was fun and appropriate. I like Elfman's "cartoon" music for "cartoon" movies.

 

-CB

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I'm a big fan of Marc Shaiman, his score of The American President is just about perfect...

 

I agree about Randy Newman and Danny Elfman being niche players, but I do like the niche...

 

James Newton Howard's score of The Sixth Sense was magnificent...

 

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Smooth Jazz

Cheers!

 

Phil "Llarion: The Jazzinator" Traynor

www.llarion.com

Smooth Jazz

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Lots of greats already mentioned especially John Williams. Strange as it

may seem his scores influenced my appreciation of all things orchestral. An honorable mention might go to Lalo Schifrin. He did all of the Dirty Harry movies and a lot of other Clint Eastwood movies. I know I've seen his

name elsewhere but can't remember. He did some great jazzy scores.

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