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Full Film Scores

Discussion in 'Score Study Resources' started by Aaron Venture, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. Thats a great tip, actually didn´t thought about that. Thank you.
    T.j. Prinssen likes this.
  2. What a great resource. I just got the Indy's first Adventure cue. I've been searching for this for years. Can't wait to print it out and study it.
    Aaron Venture likes this.
  3. If you look at any of the cues before trying to transcribe them, you have completely wasted an invaluable opportunity. You can only see a cue for the first time one time!
  4. you're not my real dad *throws tantrum*

    I mean if some of these scores are truly long beyond someone's ability, this would be like looking at leaked celebrity nudes of someone they have a 99.9% chance of never meeting in real life, let alone getting in bed with.

    sure if it did happen it would probably steal some of the thrill, but depending on the piece they might legitimately never reach the skill required to do it right. In my case I'm more or less interested in finding a simple piece that doesn't excite me but would be useful for balancing a template.

    transcribing in correctly(let's say oboes tucked behind a trumpet line) could drastically throw off your template.

    for everyone good enough to transcribe should use it to check their work, even if it's a matter of transcribing 8 bars at a time and peeking to see if you got it right
  5. I strongly believe that trying and failing with very difficult pieces is the way to go; I would go straight to the Williams' cues with no safety net, otherwise I will never ever get there ("it's way beyond my ability and it would be very frustrating, let me do this simple piece instead" is kind of a pointless activity). I've never really learned anything valuable from "reading score", but on the other hand trying to transcribe pieces that were way beyond my abilities helped me immensely. After you try to wrap your head around a difficult orchestral cue, transcribing a rock song will seem like a walk in the park.

    So my philosophy is: just transcribe everything without any excuse. Spending 1 hour on 2 bars of a very complex cue will teach you so much more than looking at it period. And moreover, choosing which pieces are in or out of your expertise will set a bar; the higher you set the bar, the faster you will meet the expectations of reaching that bar. And it's not like overworking yourself at the gym, your brain will not be injured as a result.

    This is a different beast altogether, and I think they don't have anything to do with each other (i.e. transcription and template balancing). And in this context I totally agree, it doesn't matter because the goal is different.

    Sorry if my message sounded mean (or if it feels like I'm only addressing you in particular, I'm not), but it's so easy to make excuses in order to avoid transcribing, and there shouldn't be really any filter on which pieces can be transcribed or not. Be a sponge and absorb everything.
  6. ohh it's not mean at all.

    I'm more or less trying to play devil's advocate.

    I wanted to wish terrible things onto my teacher when he forced us to do dictation. And when I hit AP theory and had to do harmonic dictation it seemed like a cruel joke.

    it wasn't until I stopped studying and started writing music that the benefit became immediately clear. No more guessing... if I have something in my head I can put it directly on paper.

    And that is frustration saved in the long run
  7. Yeah I totally get what you mean, I agree. If someone is serious about pursuing music as a career, the struggle is just part of the job and the benefits outweigh the frustration SOoo much. I'm doing this music thingy as a hobby, and developing my aural skills gave me an considerable edge compared to a lot of full time composers I've met, which made me think about what is really important and what isn't.

    Unfortunately, I never seem to convince anyone (ever) to actually sit down and transcribe, and the answers are always similar to these:
    - oh yeah of course that sounds very useful - [*continues to perpetually avoid doing it]
    - I would love to spend time on it, but I have no time to do it because I have to practice [some unimportant task]
    - I would never be able to transcribe orchestral music/complex genres - [*never tries to do it]
    - I wouldn't be able to do it, I don't even have perfect pitch - [*to be fair, I was also saying this years ago]

    And yet some of them are still incredibly impressed when you transcribe some simple piano piece for them (even "big league" virtuosos). It's so frustrating sometimes, I just want to help these people. If only they knew how happy they would be as a result.
    Matthias Calis likes this.
  8. I get what you're saying and I believe it's partly true (your brain will try to figure it out) but there is something to be said for taking the simple approach

    See, here we disagree.. It might not be physically hurt but doing stuff that's way above (beyond?) you does put a lot of strain on you.
    It can also lead to all kinds of feeling inadequate ('I can never do that, i can't even figure out what it is on piano cause my technique sucks, i can't even tell the time signature let alone the orchestration' etc.etc).
    There is something to be said for doing the thing that's just past the level you're at, building gradually.. because it IS attainable and you get the all positive feelings that come with reaching your goal.

    And transcribing your Williams pieces later will then be easier because you've done a bunch of transcriptions so there are more things (devices/rhythms/orchestrations) you might instantly recognize
    (meaning you don't have to spend extra resources 'thinking' about them.

    Just my 2c from personal experience, it might work differently for you...

    edit; That's also how you learn to read books, or learn piano.
    You don't start with a billion complex pages, and you don't start with Rachmaninoff either
  9. jokes on you, I started with prelude in C#.

    DISCLAIMER: I'm not able to play it, nor piano still.

    different approaches work better for different people, and it might not be useful/worth the time for a hobbyist to dive too deep into it. I've never felt like I needed to practice transcribing because it interferes with my personal goals of minimizing outside influence. I also think the most powerful skill developed is simply understanding how to "speak the musical language" i.e. transfer what you hear in your head to the page/daw.

    If you have that down then the other benefits of what works well and learning things like different orchestral textures can still be learned simply by listening for then rather than transcribing the actual piece.

    What I have taken the time to transcribe gave immediate and obvious benefits - so if you're planning on being a full time composer it should be mandatory. If youre a hobbyist you should atleast develop it on a basic level - but past that your time and energy are a currency, spend it wisely.

    if you have the basic foundation covered and just want to make music, then do it. Transcribing like most things has diminishing returns. You stand to gain an immense benefit from developing the basic skill, and every step forward cost you more and more time. Just like understanding the basic tools for mixing/eqing/compression/ect. You can benefit a lot from developing a good foundation, but diving deep into advanced techniques and plugins ect will only improve the end product so much, and you'll hit a point where you're better off improving your writing skills and vice versa.
  10. Although, they're not exactly the same thing, because here we're talking about a language, not a physically demanding activity. It's not more physically demanding to articulate more complicated thoughts, it takes the same amount of effort once you know what they mean. If you convince yourself that some words are inherently more complicated than others, then of course the learning process would be much different. If you take how children learn a language, they will (mostly) grow as smart and articulate as you teach them to be; they absorb words with no filter and no preconceptions.

    Now, music is not different than the English language, and I would argue that it's way easier on a technical level. If you understand simple chords (major, minor, augmented, diminished) and you have an idea about dissonances and "seventh chords" (some of the basic jazzy chords), everything can be brought back to these building blocks. Every thought or idea can be boiled down to melody and harmony.

    That's how most people learn to do stuff, and it seems like it's a good method until someone like Laszlo Polgar (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/László_Polgár) shows up and demonstrates what people are capable of. Things are as simple as you want them to be.

    Except the "extra resources" are what are gonna make you better in the end. 2 hours a day of headache-inducing transcriptions are gonna make you THAT MUCH better. Nothing better than drowning in the real stuff, without training wheels.

    I might appear like I'm some kind of monster, but I don't really care about these kinds of issues. If this is for a career, there is no room for lack of self-confidence or thoughts of inadequacy.
  11. #31 T.j. Prinssen, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    Interesting food for thought Francesco, though I'm not sure I buy all of it.
    I agree music is a language 100%, chords/rhythms are the building blocks, etc.. I get all of that.

    I think this is a great concept but I'm just not sure I buy it. I have to think about it some more.
    Let's say you learn 2 chords, simple right? Now play them simultaneously and try to transcribe that.. much, much harder.
    Whether it's actually complex or not is irrelevant, it is however more complex than the chords by themselves, so yes.. I'd say some words are more complicated than others, as are certain subjects in school
    (which is why you don't learn them till a certain grade: you don't have the experience/reference to place them yet).
    Yet if i say 'fortuitous', you might not 'know' what it means, but at least you can go.. 'that sounds kinda like fortune .. Maybe that has something to do with luck??
    Well.. you can only think of it that way if you learned 'fortune' first...

    Interesting, It doesn't state 'how' exactly he was teaching, but that's fascinating. I'll look into it.. but for sure we are capable of much more.

    Again, I dig the concept. Except I tried it and found it didn't work as expected (for me).
    All that's left after a couple of days is a vague impression of the thing I was learning, Like a silhouette, too blurry to see the actual notes.
    I can however remember how to play the thing I was working on last / transcribing week that was challenging (but not a billion years away kinda challenging).

    I'm not saying don't transcribe, in fact.. do it all day, everyday!
    But if you want to get people into doing this, start them out by leaning something that's fun (ask them to transcribe Billie Jean, not Hedwig's theme).
    Ultimately none of this ''career'' stuff means anything if you're not enjoying what you're doing, the music will stay behind but it's what you experience during your life that counts.

    No, not at all. I'm envious if anything but I've never been like that, at least not in my teens or 20's (more so these days).
    I also have a lot of experience with the devastating results your mind can have on your body if it wants to (don't particularly care to go into detail about that here, let's just say I've learned to be more careful.. there's not gonna be any career if I'm dead.)
  12. I think there's a certain level you need to be before you throw yourself to the Wolves though... when I decided to quit art and pick up music I didn't know anything at all, and barely played an instrument

    I was frustrated and almost failed out of the class because I had absolutely no Foundation to work from so learning Core Concepts was exceptionally difficult because a lot of it was assumed. It took me about 80% of the class to get through the first half of the book which was a beginner level music theory book, and the remaining 50% I finished in about 2 weeks once I caught my groove

    I bought the college textbook two weeks before the start of the next school year, read the entire textbook somewhere between 15 and 20 hours during a vacation while my father was driving. My teacher not only upgraded me to a p but had me teach the other AP kids while he focused on year one and year two students.

    When I was able to understand the language and had a solid foundation it was as easy as reading a chapter on augmented 6th chords listening to a few examples and I immediately was able to add that concept to my Arsenal. Which was a dramatic departure from being half taught water down Concepts.

    In fact the first three chapters of the college textbook completely erased nearly everything I learned and struggled with and the previous book by giving me a firmer more concise definition of Concepts and that alone made reading the textbook that was at least 10 times the size of the previous book infinitely easier to read and understand.

    I've even helped a few of my friends with that struggled with music theory completely u-turn by sitting them down and just pounding the foundation into the ground.

    If you don't have that it's like building a house on sand. The entire concept of the various forms of modulation will be extremely difficult to wrap your brain around if you can barely read a key signature, let alone understand why those accidentals are chosen.

    I know college students who memorize the circle of fifths but have no idea how or why did exist that way, they merely just memorize it. And it's not a surprise that they struggle with harder Concepts.

    However once you have your basic Foundation you're totally right, it's probably good idea to just absolutely obliterate yourself on difficult things that you're actually interested in.
  13. Yeah thank you for discussing it, I don't claim to know the truth (regardless of the tone of my replies) and I like debating this kind of stuff.

    I kind of agree, but I don't believe that 'fortuitous' is inherently harder than 'fortune', and it's just a social construct in a sense. They're just words, only the fact that one is way more common makes it "easier" to remember.
    Now this is kind of a hypothesis, but the transcription part is not always a 'direct tool' that you will automatically use in your pieces. Rather, it would be used to build an internal sense of how the instruments sound and how to hear inner voices/lines/etc.. In fact I think that the most direct benefit of transcribing harder pieces is that I can hear stuff in "simpler pieces" waaaay more easily, in the following few days. So it would increase my vocabulary in a "long term" way and it would raise my aural awareness (?) in the short period. That's also why I think they're very important (even though I kind of glossed over this concept earlier). And if you experienced the same thing, it would confirm what I believe. But in general, that's how it works for me.

    I agree, but nobody likes studying, and there needs to be a healthy amount of discipline whenever someone wants to improve. It's always a duality of pure fun and struggle. Otherwise, always fun doesn't mean "as much fun" (if you know what I mean).

    That sounds very dark :( sure, it takes courage to do a lot of stuff, I guess I'm very practical and I have thick skin (and some other ego problems I won't go over). But for the sake of the conversation, I don't think it's super relevant to pull out the "feelings" argument, because it can be used to support any idea without providing any additional merit to it.

    I hope my reply makes sense, I had to rush to write it, tomorrow I'll have more time to clarify my points if necessary.

    Good discussion! Cheers

    EDIT: also, the "baseline" of my comments are the users in this forum. Everyone here is capable to a certain extent, so my comments make sense when someone has a minimum of a music education (academic or not)
    T.j. Prinssen likes this.
  14. Oh come on !! You learned Beethoven would repeat large sections literally.

    In all seriousness this is not accurate at all. No one is transcribing any orchestral piece without a foundation of score reading.

    In my own experience "Cross-training" has been very, very useful. The reason (my hypothesis) is that one can heighten all of ones senses
    to deeper engage in music. The old saying "see with your ears, hear with your eyes"

    Score reading can help immensely with transcribing. If nothing else put "in context". So if you hear some sonority that sounds like some Debussy piano piece you were reading through, often a visual image will come to my mind of what that was.

    Also rhythms .... to connect with another thread. Sight reading ---and this does not get talked about nearly enough - is wonderful for developing improvisation.

    If I had an hour I would divide between those three categories (Transcribing, Improvising, Sight reading,)
    Depending on the mood one can divide however one wishes. So 30 min transcribing, 20 min improv. 10 sight reading or 20/20/20 etc.

    None of this has anything to do with the original topic of the thread, but one last comment on the value of sight reading.

    It's one of the most useful skills to allow you to make a living at music. (as a instrumentalist)
    Sadly the gigs, when I was doing such a thing, that paid the most were Weddings, or Resorts/corporate gigs.

    I used to play with a group that had Steel drums.... those annoying as hell oil cans.. at places like Hyatt resorts.
    Often would get about 500 a night, and this was almost 20 years ago. So nice to not have to practice, or spend time learning the material before hand.
    The band leader would just call a tune, we flip to the page......easy..

    What hell it would have been to transcribe the 100+ songs in the book. "Rock lobster", "hot,hot,hot" etc......
  15. #35 T.j. Prinssen, Feb 6, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2018
    You're right, I regretted that example almost immediately. It's a more 'expensive' word, but not necessarily more difficult.
    The point I was trying to make was 'context'.. I think 99% of people will have heard 'fortune' or 'fortunate' first ('made a fortune, cost a fortune' etc.).
    If that's in your vocabulary you can sort of deduce the meaning of a similar word, to the point where you don't really have to stop reading anymore.
    Equally you can just skip words and your brain will fill them in as you get really good at reading.

    Music shouldn't be that different, we just haven't had nearly as much practice..

    My point exactly, challenging but attainable... maybe you know 3 of the 4 chords, but that new one is sexy!!

    That's funny.. I think of it the exact opposite way.

    Actually I think it was relevant; you said you brain won't be injured and while it may not be directly as would a torn muscle, I was saying constant negative feedback can have physical consequences (in extreme cases and over long periods of time).
    Perhaps I should have been clearer, definitely didn't mean to do that..

    Yes of course that changes things a bit, but even on this forum the degree of skills varies wildly.

    Good talk, will think about it some more!
  16. :D

    Fair enough, in my little world I considered reading sheet music infinitely easier than hearing music. Perhaps mistakenly, given that in the past I could sight-read extremely easily but couldn't really play by ear at all.
    And this is also on point, can't believe I forgot about improvising. Sometimes my hands are faster than my brain at picking notes (little poetic license), and that definitely stems from improvisation. Although, one could argue that hearing something is completely devoid from playing it, and that's definitely true to a certain extent. It's much more useful (and difficult) to hear inner voices and being able to sing them (or hum them, or sing them in your head) than being able to play something by ear on the fly, which is only a nice bonus.

    All in all, I agree with what you're saying and I shouldn't have disregarded reading music so fast, I just assumed that the demographic I was taking into consideration already did it somewhat proficiently. It is definitely way more common to read music than to have great ears, hence why my arguments. But thank you for chiming in :)

    Then I feel like we view it very differently on a fundamental level. That's a methodology I saw effective in a lot of different parts of my life: whenever I wanna do something I just delve in as deep as possible in the complexity of the topic I wanna study, and then I try to draw patterns and gain knowledge in a "natural (?) way" (i.e. situations where if I don't swim, I'll drown). I always feel the need to jump in, go all in; if I try to tackle a lot of things starting from simple rules etc., I never feel like I'm improving as fast. It feels like when you're learning a card game/board game starting from the rules, instead of jumping in the game and seeing how it works from the inside.
    Sure I understand now. I guess I just don't find it useful in a conversation because I'm more interested in the direct implications of the method I'm trying to argue, i.e. the musical ones. Every method can have negative psychological side effects, but at that point it becomes so subjective that I wouldn't find it relevant. I know for a fact that in a learning environment, some people experience euphoria, while others experience frustration. It's better served, and more productive, to leave it neutral and argue the practical implications. Your experience is in stark contrast to mine, and I don't know if one is more valid than the other, so I believe we have to look only at the practical results.

    Thanks for the discussion guys, I'll reread it later and think about it more to see if my views are still consistent with my beliefs.
  17. We're on opposite ends of the spectrum here as well, but I wouldn't consider myself normal in that regard

    No, I don't think one is better than the other. You should absolutely try both approaches and see what works for you..
    Personally, I found one to be mostly frustrating and the other to be more rewarding both short- and long term,
    but if I'm taking anything away from this conversation, it's that the whole thing is mental.. it's only as frustrating (or complicated) as you make it:
    I took it upon myself to just dig in and transcribe some Williams last night, I didn't get very close but I took it for what it was: a learning experience.
    And just to be sure I got it this time, I just input the few bars from memory this morning and pretty much nailed it (99%)

    As a last little thing I remembered what caused me to change my approach (because I was doing the exact thing you're describing);
    it was actually John Williams himself from this masterclass with Steven Spielberg

    The segment I'm talking about starts around 46.15 but the whole thing is worth watching
    (edit; in fact I'll just post it in a new thread for those who haven't seen)
  18. As always mother fucker, as always ! :);)

    Provided this disclaimer "Deliberate/Conscience Practice" then training your fingers trains your mind. You are literally making the connections in your brain.
    This was also the foundation for Solfegge. Remember the pictures on the hand? By increasing your "senses" you build a stronger association and link to recall in your memory.

    One thing I have noticed about myself, and feel is pretty common amongst my composition students: Those of us that went through conservatory can graduate in 100 different pieces. Meaning we think of ear training as one subject, or orchestration as a layer to add to a composition etc.

    Worse is you might have to write a fuge for theory class, so you bring it to your composition teacher who says we no longer write like that, and you think..... well why is the other class teaching me this.

    Lastly.... remember you can, and it's very useful to do both of what you suggest. (sing and play) Just watch a video of Glenn Gould. Yes, there is a whole subject in and of itself on avoiding mindless finger movement and mental practice of music. But you simply can't remove your body, unless your name is Casper the Ghost.

    Even then....... conducting patterns will be very, very helpful.

    To sum up........ Don't be a lazy ass. Transcribe music learn to read notation

    Mike is 100% right on this point.

    One theory I have is that the "gaps" are actually very powerful "vacuums" for learning. The instant gratification destroys that.

    This is not a "who has the biggest cock" contest. (me)

    Learning two measures of a piece of music can leave a lasting and profound imprint. Mile wide - two inches deep, or two inches wide - mile deep ?
  19. I feel like I've been straw-manned a little bit.
    I don't really disagree with anything that you say, but I feel like we're arguing the same side of the argument (sort of). I don't disagree that making the ear-finger connection is important, and that notation is important etc.; but the initial point that I wanted to argue was that it's important to try and transcribe pieces that are frustrating/complex to figure out. And I added that in my case (only*, apparently) transcribing very complex pieces helps me progress way faster than doing it with simple pieces.

    In a way, I was backing up what Mike said, which is "you shouldn't look at scores"; and I just added the "... ever", trying to have no filters whatsoever for the type of piece that you want to transcribe. So ANY piece of music is fair game, even the very impossible ones (which, again, in my opinion are the ones that help you the most).
    I suggested this as a form of "deliberate practice" funnily enough. It's easier to find the notes on the piano if you can reallyreally hear them (and as a consequence, sing them), so ideally a musician with crazy good ears can do that. The patterns that are gonna be formed on the piano have kind of a different purpose, which is tied to improvisation, composition, and performance; not a more or less important purpose, but a different one. Aural skills is something that a lot of people lack of. Hence why I wasn't really arguing in favour of (but not really against) notation and playing, as I think they're skills that people develop more easily (but maybe I'm wrong).

    Maybe I misspoke a couple of times, I got a little bit ranty, so I apologize :)

    But thank you very much for the replies, I think you're my favourite person to have "debates" with, in the forum :D no idea is a good idea if I don't try to have it challenged by others!

    I'll watch it as soon as I have some time :)
  20. I was not debating you, and I do not disagree with any thing you said at all. I was just taking some point and pivoting to a general rant.

    Of course we are on the same side, no one is an opposition. In my mind I was never debating, or arguing any points. Perhaps adding "fine print", but really
    in my mind I was just being one of those looney dudes you see in Hyde Park just standing on a box yelling

    I think the only two things I tried to clarify for the forum was A.) You seem to come from a classical piano background (great !) so score reading is second nature to you. B) That it's all mental training.

    Everything else you mentioned seems cool to me, and as you said there was no argument between us. Think of it more like a counter-point.
    I agree about the challenges to stretch, and said so above.

    I mean if I was really going to make you into a straw-man and challenge you I would do something like this

    1.) take a quote
    2.) refer back to my garden of grudges

    and voilà! it's got your name all over it

    All the best to you !
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.

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