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Topic: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

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  1. #1

    Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    A very nice eastern sounding violin is used in the score 'Way Of Life'. Are there any good sample libraries featuring this type of violin?

  2. #2

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFLMLHPVhaw

    The violin I'm thinking about starts at 3:54. Also, what is the name of this type of violin?

    Any help is appreciated!

  3. #3

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    Isn't that just a solo cello? Maybe an electric one?

  4. #4

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    I'm listening on laptop speakers, but I'd also go with a cello. The 'Easternness' of it comes from the fact that the player is emphasising the slides between notes, which makes it sound much more like an Erhu. I think it's a technique that Tan Dun first brought to mainstream films (see Crouching Tiger for instance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0gPBb14Rh8 ) which has since been used by just about everyone.
    David

  5. #5

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    Are you sure? It's actually not a er-hu or gao-hu? Hm, that's quite cool! Thanks to both of you!

    A follow-up; what is the violin instrument in the middle/end of this track? Is this a western violin? And if so, what library would you suggest if I want this exact sound? (I'm a little confused because I only use western instruments.)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IPbMVLZX6g

  6. #6

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by aavns2010 View Post
    Are you sure? It's actually not a er-hu or gao-hu? Hm, that's quite cool! Thanks to both of you!
    100% sure.

    A follow-up; what is the violin instrument in the middle/end of this track? Is this a western violin? And if so, what library would you suggest if I want this exact sound? (I'm a little confused because I only use western instruments.)
    It's just a normal violin.

    The violin IS a western instrument. The violin family includes violin, viola and cello. The erhu is a 2-stringed instrument and it sounds quite differently from the violin (family) because the sound box is totally different.

    I suggest you go listen to some string quartet concerts to get yourself familiar with the violin instruments. All western instruments can "imitate" oriental style by playing specific modes or articulations. Although the effects are generally considered cliches.

  7. #7

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by Rach3 View Post
    100% sure.


    It's just a normal violin.

    The violin IS a western instrument. The violin family includes violin, viola and cello. The erhu is a 2-stringed instrument and it sounds quite differently from the violin (family) because the sound box is totally different.

    I suggest you go listen to some string quartet concerts to get yourself familiar with the violin instruments. All western instruments can "imitate" oriental style by playing specific modes or articulations. Although the effects are generally considered cliches.
    Great answer! Thank you! I know how "traditional" use of the violin sounds like, but wasn't aware that this instrument could sound like this. Consequently, I thought it was another string instrument.

    Is it easy to create this slided effect using for instance Play (what kind of articulation would I need)?

    Have a good evening!

  8. #8

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    In your clips, both the cello and the violin sounded "normal (or traditional)" to me. Regular portamentos here and there, nothing special. Unlike Tan Dun, who uses slides in an exaggerated form, both in his film music and serious composition.

    In the first clip, the "eastern effect" was in the whole composition. You are hearing the "eastern violin" only because of the psychological impact the whole piece has given you. For the second clip, the pentatonic modes suggest a bit eastern vibe, but to me, it is far from being eastern.

    To sum up, the strings in your examples do not articulate in a specific eastern manner as you described. It's the way of composition that makes the eastern impression. Hope that helps.

  9. #9

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    Quote Originally Posted by Rach3 View Post
    In your clips, both the cello and the violin sounded "normal (or traditional)" to me. Regular portamentos here and there, nothing special. Unlike Tan Dun, who uses slides in an exaggerated form, both in his film music and serious composition.

    In the first clip, the "eastern effect" was in the whole composition. You are hearing the "eastern violin" only because of the psychological impact the whole piece has given you. For the second clip, the pentatonic modes suggest a bit eastern vibe, but to me, it is far from being eastern.

    To sum up, the strings in your examples do not articulate in a specific eastern manner as you described. It's the way of composition that makes the eastern impression. Hope that helps.
    Thanks for your input! It might be that the context affects the perception of a solo instrument for sure. You referred to 'pentatonic modes'. I know what a pentatonic scale is. However, the violin in the last track plays in a heptatonic scale as far as I know. What exactly do you mean?

  10. #10

    Re: Hans Zimmer - The Last Samurai

    I didn't mean the whole violin solo was played in pentatonic mode. What I meant to say was the pentatonic notes (or portions) in the solo might have tricked you to have the "eastern" feel, if you insisted that it sounds eastern. Other than that, I honestly don't think it sounds "eastern".

    Further info: the "pure" pentatonic mode is not excessively used in the western to invoke an oriental mood, because western composers usually find that it is too inadequate to express complex emotions or too Chinese (there are exceptional cases though). However, a suggestion (or emphasis) of the pentatonic notes is usually good enough to trick the audience. I myself come from the East, and I know very well that a western impression of the East is always different from the authentic East.

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