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General Musing

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks & Talk' started by Doug Gibson, Jul 7, 2018.

  1. #21 Rohann van Rensburg, Jul 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

    Your classes have completely changed the way I look at composition, as well as the direction I was headed. You provide hours of material and consistently break things down into repetitious, digestible principles. The more I study, transcribe and take classes, the more I'm convinced by your ideas (not that I have any better ones, mind you) and the more these principles become innate. I'm also far less concerned about "making it" than about being a decent composer.

    That said, something I've personally struggled with is the lack of in-between "damn-near-impossible" and "painfully-simple". I haven't taken all your classes (no composer-specific ones, for instance), but I do have most of the core classes. You understandably put Williams on a well-deserved pedestal in terms of film music composers (no secret here), and you regularly provide examples of really simple pop tune structure, folk melodies/lullabies/etc. I think what I'd learn a great deal from are also more frequently mentioned "in-between" pieces. I understand your taste in film music tends to be set the bar rather high, but what about examples of composers that achieve this developmental structure on a less sophisticated level than Williams, but still lead us in the right direction? I.e. chamber music examples. Perhaps Williams is the pinnacle, and maybe I'm still ignorant of what's contained, but there must be other composers that achieve this basic developmental skill on a smaller scale, or with a smaller ensemble, i.e. perhaps Joe Hisaishi, Bernard Herrmann, etc. Even if the point is to keep it sophisticated, some more broad stylistic examples would likely be of help. I would happily pay for a few pages worth of pieces you'd recommend transcribing, in whatever difficulty order you think appropriate, that delves into the classical repetoire and what the great composers would have learned and studied.

    I apologize if you already do this and I've missed it, but I've noticed many people posting are trying to shoot for the stars (Williams, specifically), but are obviously not there yet as you've illustrated numerous times. To have Williams be the generally-cited example of musical validity can make this feel discouraging. I think it would feel less disheartening if, at least for me personally, I had more orchestral-based examples of what to shoot for without having extremes as the main examples of validity. As a linguistic example, reading/writing levels between Homer's "The Odyssey" and "Little Miss Muffet".

    This is in no way a criticism of your classes; it's simply something I think I may benefit from.
  2. We've done classes on Horner, Silvestri, Goldsmith... plenty of work there (Silvestri especially) which is awfully simple in nature and structure - if that helps!
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  3. I've been meaning to buy this book:*

    which is essentially a collection of critical reviews given to (classical) pieces we now revere.
    Supposedly it's quite funny. It'd make a good gift for your musician friends.

    (*In case adblockers are keeping you from seeing the link, it's called ''Lexicon of musical invective'')
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  4. Haha, figures it's in there (I'll probably recant that last post after watching them). Thanks Mike. Are the pieces covered fairly simple orchestrationally too? That seems to be something that throws a lot of new composers off (myself included).

    If this isn't covered more extensively, I'd love to see a masterclass on more classical composers that most of the "modern" greats learned from, if that's something you'd be interested in. There's plenty of university material on this kind of thing but your teaching format would likely provide a more interesting perspective.
  5. Goldsmith's orchestration is about as pure and simple as it gets, generally. He is probably the first composer I would recommend analyzing in depth because for the most part, he focuses on clear ideas, pure colors with little decoration, and common modulations.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  6. Glad to hear that. Goldsmith class next then!
  7. Mike, I think that maybe we should return to study pop music before going into soundtracks. I mean, I don't know about Williams and other composers, but Morricone wrote also pop italian songs, like "Se telefonando" for singer MINA in 1966...
    Instead in our days I notice that young composers go directly into soundtracks and that for me is bad, because this way they lost all the part about structure etc.

    For me for example, all that (when you speak about structure, development, etc.) it's obvious, because as musician I come from pop music at first, and only after several years I began to study music for films. If you know pop music then you have the basics and you can write what you want.

    I've bought only 2 of your classes and saw your free youtube videos and I can say honestly: you are a very great teacher and also a good person, but if your students understand or not what you teach not depends from you... think about Miklos Rozsa for example, he taught many students but, if I'm not wrong, only one of them became famous and had a good career: Jerry Goldsmith. (And Rozsa was a huge composer, so don't be too hard with yourself)

    :) ;)

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