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Discussion in 'Film & Film Production' started by Luigi Pati, Apr 3, 2021.

  1. #1 Luigi Pati, Apr 3, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2021
    (sorry about the stupid title....I was writing: "a......."single-line" composer?" but I inadvertently hit the Enter button while I was still writing the title.).

    Hi Mike, hope this message finds you well. I bought a couple of your products a few years ago, learned a lot from them. Actually, because of them, I understood stuff that made me change musical direction....at the time I was learning about scoring for videogames, etc, then I became more interested in focusing on playing instruments. Anyways, sorry about the waffling. The reason why I am saying all this is that learning about film scoring has been a bit of an unfinished business for me, and I have always been plagued by this question:

    In this day and age, how much of the soundtrack has actually been written by the composer? I have studied music history and it has been a very humbling experience.....until 150 years ago, it would be unthinkable for ANY real composer to have their music "arranged" or "orchestrated" by someone else. The only exception I know of, is Mussorgsky....this great but unfortunate composer wasn't very good with orchestration, so Rimsky-Korsakov handled that part. Masterfully, of course.

    But as the years went by for me, I became more and more shocked when realizing that even the composers I thought were God-like, for me, (musicians I will always deeply respect, such as Jerry Goldsmith and others), would let an "orchestrator", duh, orchestrate their music. But I cannot imagine Beethoven or Brahms would ever let anyone do that. So these immense differences between great musicians 200 years ago, and great musicians now, really confuse me.

    For example, I was watching a bit of movie I saved from Avengers Infinity War, where there is that epic orchestral music when Thor is coming back on Earth with a vengeance, after he almost died (and yes the soundtrack of a movie to me has always been more important than even the movie itself). But when I read about Alan Silvestri, well, he started out as a rock drummer and he studied, wow, two whole years at Berklee! Incredible :) I mean, I think most of us know that Berklee now is trash (judging from the newest books I got from Berklee Press a few years ago, which I deemed too light and bland on theory), so no doubt in 1972 it was much better. But still, Berklee isn't one of these musical conservatory in some parts of Europe where students have to practice in a freezing room in the middle of the winter because there's no heating. However, these students, after they get out of there, will be able to play their ass off, because they learned the hard way, which is the way the legendary classical musicians learned. Of course, I am not saying they learned because they played in their shorts in the middle of the winter....I just mean that they learned in one of these crazy musical conservatories where hard practice is not an option.

    On wikipedia, in the article "film score", under the section "orchestration" there's written something like: " at its basic level, the orchestrator will take the SINGLE LINE music from the composer, and arrange it full-scale for instruments" (or something similar...I am just quoting from memory.). Well.....what's this "single line" composer thing?

    How much of the soundtrack the "composer" really COMPOSES in this day and age, for a "commercial" movie like the Marvel ones? I cannot understand how someone can write orchestral music, and have someone else orchestrate it. I just can't conceive it, because when I hear a soundtrack, in my mind I am hearing the music of the composer. But I am not, and people who don't know much about music, will attribute the soundtrack to the "composer" even more. Is it a marketing strategy? for example, I imagine that having a well known " composer" works out better for marketing the movie, even though much credit really should be to these other mysterious "orchestrators" without which, I suspect, I would hear mostly half developed lines playing on a single instrument? I have no problem at all with a marketing strategy: I just am trying to make sense of it all.

    A few years ago I took private lessons from an excellent film composer (not super famous, but fame and skill often have jack to do with each other, as you surely know too), and after I showed him an idea I was working on, he basically did his own thing on the piece to show me some theoretical points. He then said, "well, you can use it as it is now, if you want.". I was shocked. I said: "But it's no longer my music!". He just said, "So what? No big deal.". Ironically, he composes, orchestrates and conducts everything he writes. Strange world.

    I am still shaking my head. I actually didn't even think that what he did on my piece was better than the original, just different and possibly more polished. But I'd rather write a pop song and say I really wrote it, rather than writing a symphony for which I wrote "single lines".

    I remember hearing the album The Wall by Pink Floyd when I was a teenager and listening with my mouth open at all the great orchestral bits and operatic singers. About 3 years ago, I learned that for these orchestral pieces, Pink Floyd gave a piece of paper or something, with a few chords, to the classical composer who really composed and orchestrated the, surprise surprise, orchestral bit.

    How disappointing. Until not too long ago, I believed Pink Floyd actually wrote that stuff.

    Sorry about the super long message and the rambling thoughts. I would be very interested in your reply. I know you are a no BS person. These are basically the reasons I registered. :)
    Thanks, and be well.
     
  2. Welcome to the forum here.

    Why are you so worried about it? Let it go. You're not living and working in Hollywood. (and they don't need your approval)

    Just focus on doing your thing, and don't let what others do or do not, distract you from focusing on your own craft.

    Be well.
     
  3. What you'll quickly find if you follow Mike's videos and livestreams is a healthy disdain for how Hollywood currently operates. He hasn't worked in Hollywood in a long time, choosing instead to focus on the craft of composition and finding directors who allow him to score films as scoring was meant to work.

    So like Doug mentioned (he's a fantastic orchestrator by the way): who cares how Hollywood works? The greatest composers in Hollywood are not scoring in the classical fashion, so it's a dead medium as far as that's concerned.
     

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