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Topic: Composing Trends In Movies

  1. #1

    Composing Trends In Movies

    I\'m basically an outsider to movie scoring and picking up new things all the time. This morning I was watching American Movie Classics and listening to the orchestral music used for the opening and closing credits. I guess I never thought of Orchestral music as something that\'s always evolving in terms of style and trend, but listening to the music in those old movies and trying to imagine them being used in today\'s new releases was impossible for me. They sound so much cheesier and peppy-er than anything you would hear today. Maybe it\'s just that modern orchstral music is more serious and melancholy. I don\'t know, but it was like imagining Looney Toons music as the score for a dramatic film.
    Maybe I\'m on crack though.

  2. #2

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    I think that\'s a bit of a generalization. Off the top of my head I reckon the score for \'Ben Hur\' would have worked pretty well for \'Gladiator\', and vice versa. I don\'t think film music is any different to \'classical music\'. The best of it will always survive and \'be good music\' no matter what style it\'s written in. Just a thought.


  3. #3

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    I think Travis is right. The general style that composers use for film has changed a lot over the decades. But some film scores done in the 30s/40s could be transplated to a film done today, and would sound fine (maybe after just a little bit of touching up). For example, Korngold\'s work in Captain Blood. Doesn\'t sound too bad if you have a good recording of it.

  4. #4

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    I recently watched a silent film called He Who Gets Slapped (which was apparently really popular back in the day). The score seemed inappropriately upbeat, and also seemed alienated from the action onscreen. Maybe that\'s a large difference in today\'s film music (more scored to film action). I also would say that \"looney-tunes\" is a good way to describe my impression of the music in that film. That could be specific to the silent film era though.


  5. #5

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    You\'re right, it is a trend.
    May I remind the members of this board that 99% of the filmscores today are less daring and less provoking then they were in the 60\'s and 70\'s.
    Haven\'t you noticed that everything sounds almost exactly the same? That all BIG composers are dictated to sound like all the other big composers?
    Sure, there were times that the music was overly sweet when things needed to be romantic and over the top theatrical when things needed to be dramatic. The movie audience was used to this and was expecting it too. But this was in an earlier stage of motion picture making. After that we had a few experimental decades regarding the seventh art, namely the Sixties and the Seventies which enabled it to flourish. During the Eighties a new \"in desperately need for a good roller coaster trip popcorn eating videoclip raised audience that would easily leave the theater upon hearing one or two dissonant chords\" quickly took shape. Now, today, there is only one train and that\'s the money train. You don\'t have to ask for another destination ticket because there isn\'t any. It\'s a train filled with kids and teenagers, the target audience, who are willingly paying for this weeks movie ride only hoping for some superficial entertainment. Get on board and know that next week there\'s another one...and then, again another one...the fun never stops here in Hollywood.

    Sorry for being on crack. But a subject like this one makes me shift in defence mode. Yes, I\'m defending the American classics.

    Alex Cremers

  6. #6

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    \"May I remind the members of this board that 99% of the filmscores today are less daring and less provoking then they were in the 60\'s and 70\'s.\"

    A great example of this is a comparison of the two Planet of the Apes movies. The original really pushed the boundaries. Very progressive. The recent one was scored by Danny Elfman. The title music is wonderfully percusssive and wild. It really sets the mood. But the music underlying the drama, while well done, isn\'t unlike the music in other modern, big films. In fact, some of the music near the end battle scene didn\'t borrow from Holst. It was Holst! There were more than a few bars lifted straight from Mars, the Bringer of War. Oh well, it\'s not like Elfman tried to hide it. He probably met his deadline, made the producer/director happy and gave audiences exactly what they expected.

    Anyway, both films are worth a listen. The new one for the percussive parts, and the older one for Jerry Goldsmith\'s bold, groundbreaking 1967 audacity.

    So, styles do change. And yes, many of the older films come across much too sugary sweet and bouncy for today\'s market.

  7. #7

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    It\'s an interesting topic....although many of the soundtracks for the movies I\'ve seen lately haven\'t given me that feeling of,\"wow, that\'s totally inappropriate for this movie\", I do sense that many of the orchestrations sound similar.

    That says to me that we are in for a radical transformation or revolutionary shift in styles again. Could be one of us...who knows.


  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2003
    South Ken, London

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    I\'m all the way with Alex on this one. I\'ve become increasingly bored with the way so much of the music for the \"big\" movies has ended up sounding the same. Sure, a few of the big guys were there first and some have been talented enough to find their voice in the industry, but over the past decade new name after new name has appeared up but there\'s increasingly very little individuality in the music of so many of the big movies. The same old \"timp cresc - harp gliss - bash - fanfare\" crap appears time and again and has become incredibly hackneyed. I despair when I hear able younger composers churning out the same old crap, or producers insisting that there\'s only one way it can be done.

    (I just wonder how one of the latest in-crowd bunch would have scored the old Clint Eastwood westerns. Probably a 100 piece orchestra and a \"Percussive Adventures\" type loop chugging away till Clint wastes the next bad boy?).

    I say more media composers should dig out those old films and hear just how many different ways film (and TV) composers from the past managed to express the same basic things.

    And maybe take some time away from thinking film music is the be-all-and-end-all of music. Compose some other music and put your soul, energy and individuality into personal stuff.

  9. #9

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    As Travis mentioned , there are examples of orchestration not really matching the story line as far as mood goes in older movies, but there are many examples of this in more recent years ,as in the example of the recent X files or the 80\'s Miami Vice tv show.
    The mood music during the shows seemed to be very emotionally monotone ,like the composers were stuck in one mental groove , to the point were it was draining to listen to this redundancy.
    I think there are examples in past and present of composers just throwing some music at a video project for a paycheck versus contributing with there heart and soul to music that they can be proud of and possibly moving music forward through inovation in the process.

    As for your point that newer scores are somehow better or more accurate to the story line .
    I would like you to go back and listen to the example of The Wizard of OZ or West Side Story.
    Everytime I see those movies the music just blows me a way.
    And Im a Guitar player with alot of my roots in Heavy Metal.
    So if I can get through to me,I think great music breaks down all barriers and will appeal to people of all backgrounds and diversities.

    One criticism I do have of some newer music , this even includes music in general not just movie scores is that People in power positions in the music industry say follow the money trail, meaning if a song or a movie came out that made money, replocate it , dont try to break new ground or do anything inovative it, just repeat the same formula until people are so sick of it and can\'t stand it ,then will jump on to the next money maker and milk that as long as we can because its a proven formula that made money once.
    And we will just keep doing it.
    This additute stagnates creativity.
    Thats why the peoples music,music like on mps.com, were anyone can post ,or independent non corporate radio stations[college stations] sound so different to what is heard on main stream radio.
    There is alot of musical creativity out there, but alot of it isn\'t reaching the masses.

  10. #10

    Re: Composing Trends In Movies

    You may be giving too much credit to modern films themselves. Many of them are all the same as well and are completely uninspirational to the composers who have to score them.

    Speeking of inapropriate music, what does everyone think of the score to \"Mission to Mars?\" I haven\'t seen it myself, but a friend said that the music played a hand in ruining the movie.

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