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About the "transportability" of musical experiences

Discussion in 'The RedBanned Bar & Grill' started by Martin Hoffmann, Jan 23, 2019.

  1. I enjoy @Mike Verta's classic rants on "epic" music as much as the next guy here, and I totally see how we're losing important things in the average forgettable Marvel movie soundtrack, but the more I think about the "epic music isn't transportable, but melodic music is" argument, the more I disagree (or maybe I just didn't really get the point of it - again).
    @Rohann van Rensburg reminded me of a video that I saw a while ago when he said this:
    I thought that's a pretty reasonable comparison. Here is Bill Burr describing one of Meshuggahs songs, the way that Mike says is impossible to do with epic music because it doesn't have singable melodies:

    I've not heard much from Meshuggah in recent years, and I never knew their song names well enough that I knew which one sounds like which one. I knew "bleed" is one of their songs, but him beatboxing the two rythms that are going on at the same time ("abrrrrta abrrrrta abrrrrta abrrrrta abrrrrta") was the thing that made me go "yeah, I remember that song - that was cool". And isn't that roughly the same degree of transportability that you have if you hum one of the Star Wars melodies?
    I bet if you hum the Star Wars melody to someone who never watched one of the films or heard the music, you'll get roughly the same blank and puzzled stare that you'd get if you go "abrrrrta abrrrrta abrrrrta abrrrrta abrrrrta" to describe to someone who doesn't listen to Metal how cool Meshuggah is. I think you just can't "transport" over 90% of the emotion that people get from hearing the Star Wars soundtrack referenced, without having that shared experience of having heard the original in context first.

    I haven't managed to watch the entire last unleashed session yet (only the first 11 hours), but from what I watched the only two tracks that I didn't already forget about again were the Goldsmith track from Total Recall, and that one "project chaos 2" epic track that goes "DADADADAMMMDADADADAMMMDADADADADADADADADADAMMM" and has like 5 bass drops...
    And one of the examples Mike gives for a track that is transportable is the Jaws theme, but isn't that also "da da da da da da da da DA DA DA DA DA DA DA DA" if you sing it to someone (I haven't actually seen the movie)? Doesn't that also transport close to none of the emotions associated with the piece in the context of the movie or what you gain by hearing the full orchestral version without ever having seen the movie? What can you really transport of those melodic pieces without the mindshare of the original experience in context with another piece of media? Or "Happy Birthday", I think that totally only works because you usually hear it in a context of friends and family celebrating together. Sing that to someone who has never in their life heard it, I don't think it'll stir much emotion in them. Or the example with singing TV melodies for a whole night and bathing in the nostalgia - sure that totally works, but only if you've all actually seen those shows and commercials back then. MacGyver was one of my biggest heroes as a kid and hearing that title theme again brings a tiny tear of joy to my eyes, but that only happens because I have those fond memories to go along with it, you can't transport that into another person who never saw the show by humming or even playing the melody to them. And for the less melodic and harder to transport stuff I don't see how it's supposed to be so huuugely different. If I had spent my childhood days playing Quake 1 with friends, someone could probably trigger all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings by going "Remember the quake 1 main theme? Duh duh duh . duh duh duh duh - Duh duh duh . duh duh duh duh - Duh duh duh . duh duh duh duh - Duh duh duh - duuuh duuuh duuuh".

    I totally get how it's a serious flaw for any composer if the only tool in your belt is the vertical-layering hammer. And I think it's fascinating to learn about modulation/development, and all the stuff Mike does on the piano is like friggin magic to me. But I'm having trouble following the line of reasoning for why all the epic music is automatically supposed to be garbage. When I hear what Mike says in Comp 1 that makes me think "How could I apply those same principles in a purely sounddesign driven piece? What are the universal truths to draw from here, that will still work when I make a track from nothing but 10 different taikos? How would this apply to djent, or black metal? What about Neurofunk?". Just outright dismissing everything that isn't melody based seems like a wasted opportunity to me. I think it's a chance to focus on some aspects that may yield experience that then again would carry back over to working with melodic orchestral content and having better control of making the "colors" work and doing a good job at mastering the track.

    Is this "epic bashing" just a meme around here that I'm taking way too serious, or can really no one see where I'm coming from with this?

    This is not on Mike, because he always clarifies that you should be able to do these kinds of things if you're working as a composer today (just like you should be able to write a simple pop tune), but I've seen so much hostility towards "epic" music, both here and in the unleashed youtube chat, that I'm feeling slightly "out of place" here, even though I don't even write any of the "classic epic" stuff. You know what I mean? No offense intended.
  2. #2 Aaron Venture, Jan 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
    Yeah, but it's in context. It's in the movie. It's the shark. Kids swimming going "TAN TAN TAN TAN TAN TAN" at each other aren't doing it cuz they've listened to soundtrack on Spotify in a random playlist. They do it cuz they've seen the movie, and that simple motif reminds them of the shark and how they felt watching it. If Jaws was a standalone concert piece, I don't think the kids would be doing it. But it's still transportable. And the Batman ostinato is equally simple too. But have you listened to Jaws? Do you think the whole thing goes somewhere compared to Batman? Especially in the context of the movie?

    I think you're missing the idea of transportability, but correct me if I'm wrong. I think the idea is that you have a transportable motif/melody that you can recall and/or sing that can put you in the mood and bring back all the emotions that the piece originally caused. That's what you're transporting. If music is a language, that's your "keyword" for that journey, for that story. Same as "last summer" brings all kinds of different memories and emotions in people. Or "last Christmas" (besides the song), or "last saturday night out". Will you recall how loud the music was or the people you spent it with? If you recall having sex, will you be recalling the fact that you had sex, or how you felt during? I hope you see where I'm going. The melody or the motif is a trigger for the emotions/memories. Like when someone tells you a story and later on tells you "Hey, remember than Paris story I told you?", and you start flooding with (if they've told it well and managed to pass over the emotions to you) the excitement, sadness, whatever the story made you feel.

    Well, that's just depends on what you define as "garbage". Is it something popular now, or is it something still making money 50 years later? You can apply some basic composition, and if your production skills are decent, you can have your epic tune out on Pandora Journey two weeks from now, and within a few months it'll be sitting at 300k views. Do it a couple more times and who knows, you might land a few gigs. That's 15 times the views The Race got in the last 5 years. It's the same amount of views the most recent good piece of film music that I can remember has (Johnny's "The Adventures of Han"). But let's say 10 years from now, will you remember that random epic piece that feels like every other? What about The Race? If you listened to them now a couple of times and never again in the next 10 years, will you remember them?

    Maybe if you didn't directly recall the melody from The Race, just a whisper of it should bring it all back. Not the piece or the devices, the feels. Today I've listened to Ernest Gold's Exodus theme after, I swear to God, not having heard it since 2003. I absolutely LOVED it when I was a kid, it was on some random CD compilation my dad got from the flea market, along with Victory Celebration and some other stuff. If you asked me yesterday: "How does Exodus go?", I wouldn't be able to tell you even if my life depended on it, even though I remembered absolutely loving it as a kid. But I remembered the name of piece and found it on YouTube today. From the very first line, it all came flooding back.

    I think that's what transportability is about. A piece should be an event. A story. You don't really forget a good story. The music that survived the decades survived for the exact same reason the stories that survived the centuries did. And epic music will be forgotten for the same reason that bad films/stories will be forgotten. Because it never made you feel anything other than a cheap, simple thrill in that drop, which is the same syntax, the same device 99/100 epic or electronic pieces use, and if that's what you're after, you'll be able to get it just about anyplace 50 years from now just like you can get it today. Pandora Journey puts out these million-view mixes every month or two and all of them sound the same. It's new, but it's the same, you get me? They're a new Ubisoft game. They're a new Marvel movie. If your local burger joint suddenly shut down, will you be fondly remembering that burger 30 years from now (not the memories of friendships or whatever that included the joint, the burger, but the ACTUAL food)? I know I wouldn't. It's a fucking burger, a new one will open two weeks later on the next corner and I'll forget all about the old one by the time I'm done digesting the one I just ate from the new joint. :D
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  3. #3 Andrew Christie, Jan 23, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
    I wouldn't take it too seriously. I'm unashamedly a fan of some of the 'epic' music, but that's because I know the guys I listen to are good (Bergersen mainly - in case you hadn't noticed I'm a fan lol) and not cheap knock offs that don't have control of what they do. You don't have to be genius to recognize 8 or 9 times out of 10 they write killer melodies and kick ass arrangements which you can hum along to 'til the cows come home. And if you're also into the production side of things to it's way more appealing because of the sheer sonic landscape that's created with the genre. I get that it's frustrating though because I do think there is a tendency from the community to lump it in to all one bag and not discern the good from the bad - which there clearly is!

    Will leave you with this!

    and a personal favorite with a killer 7/4 drive:

  4. #4 Mike Verta, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
    I've never said epic music isn't transportable. Epic "noises" aren't transportable. I've said it usually isn't epic because it has nothing to say and features no dramatic contrast, merely contrast for contrast's sake. I've also said it is usually the expression of people with a limited set of skills such that they don't have a choice or any other way to express themselves - which is probably just as well, because they usually don't have any philosophy to espouse beyond making thundering noises anyway. The concept of transportability is easy enough to satisfy by having a tonal pattern, in contrast to say most dubstep music, or sound design and aleatoric music. It is one small factor of many factors which comprise music.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  5. #5 Rohann van Rensburg, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
    Non-melodic/rhythmic transportability made me think of this:

    Like many things, I don't think transportability is an "either or". There are famous rock songs that have amazing riffs most people don't sing, but you'd recognize it immediately if you heard it. It just happens that the most transferable music happens to be that which is singable, evidenced by the longevity of folk music.

    Will reply when I have more time, but re: epic music and bashing. I think when the term "epic" is used around here (for me at least), it refers to the farce that the label of "epic" has taken on, basically meaning loud, with no real content, development, or anything musical, and like Mike mentioned, nothing to say and no fundamental underlying philosophy -- the ironic antithesis of what epic actually means, and used to refer to. It encompasses an awful lot in the "trailer" genre, a genre defined largely by the carbon-copy nature of one track to the next, each with its eventual bass drop and Inception "bwaaaah". This forum, as far as I understand from my time here, is in place for the purpose of focusing on the craft of composition, rather than what randomly churned out "epic" library sounds the most "epic". If you strip away the thundering drums and string ostinatos, you're left with a handful of chords that repeat ad infinitum, and possibly a bland, undeveloping melody. I used to like music like this. I used to make music like this, until I figured out that my ability to do so without musical skill was highly suspicious.

    Not all "epic" music is like this, but a lot of it is. But does anyone who has studied classics think that something even from TSFH deserves the same label and to be in the same category as Beethoven's 9th, or Stravinksy's Firebird? As one studies and becomes familiar with music that has truly stood the test of time, and improves one's taste overall through the process of listening to and understanding more music (thereby grasping what is fundamental to good music of any genre), the chaff blows away and it becomes easier to sort out what contains the fundamentals and what doesn't. Like what you like, but a lot of young people think the classical repertoire is "boring" because they simply don't understand it. If all you eat is McDonald's, you probably won't like French cuisine. That doesn't mean you can't like burgers, but with an experienced and refined palette, you'll have a way better understanding of what makes a good burger.

    Now there is decent music under the "epic" label, but the music contained underneath the loudness is what separates it from the rest. Most of the bad "epic" music wouldn't exist if the inexperienced and untrained didn't have access to VI's, because it's a grasp at a particular aesthetic without the fundamental skills to understand it and pull it off (not that access is a bad thing, it's simply a side effect). It's undeniable that the ease of making and putting music online these days means that there is an unending stream of terrible music available -- yes, we all start somewhere, and it's a fantastic opportunity, but many people have settled there. It's a farce because it's become self-parodying -- good composition entails contrast, flow, inter-connectivity, climax. "Epic" music, used in the derogatory way as I do when I wrap quotes around it, is like a bad action movie. At this point, they self-satirize, just like when "epic" music is used to highlight the irrelevant melodrama in a cooking show.
  6. #6 Alexander Schiborr, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2019
    Long post. Trying now to answer and give thoughts:

    Defining what music is can be a long long research and I m not here to give answers in complete to that terminus, but one thing: Music grew other centuries or lets say since in the very earlier stages e.g. look at the 10th century where choral music (Hildegard von Bingen) laid the foundation for later. And it was vocal and working with the basics of establishing very simple patterns. Now, not going here through all the history but the concept of a motif should be talked at that point a bit, and what it makes memorable, and there are a few things which is a combination of a few parts you know:

    1. Pitch
    2. Contour
    3. Rhythm

    4. (Intervalls)

    Intervalls are in brackets. While I think intervalls are important too when it comes for the composer to create a motive intervalls are not that important to the audience as they perceive and process a motive as a unit. The contour and rhythmic is an important identifier for memorability. Why I say that: Because it is important to understand the fundamentals here. A motive needs to have at least one of those aspects to be memorable, I mean, there are many cases in music history which works with sometimes only 1 note very distinctive repeating patterns and they are memorable, so can you sing it? Yes but can another person then understand what you are trying to transport to them? Well, probably not always.

    The more concerning aspect for me is: When you have a very limited choice to express yourself then there is the question how far you can bring your own story or music. Because of your limitations you are stuck with a few "words" and therefore you are not able to bring your music to different places. You are more or less repeating the same or similiar over and over again which is not wrong to do but it is a very limited in drama. You know there is the point: Lets say rock and pop songs: They repeat a lot and they have a chorus and refrain and a bridge, but most of them are very repetitive and they are not going outer places for most of the time? So are they bad songs because they can´t? No, but there is a reason why they are like 3 or 4 minutes long because most of them wouldn´t sustain and keep interest like a 90 minutes symphony.
    Now I think the point is: Are you able to go and develop a motive rather then just repeating it? What I say often is that people in order to let their material survive over a longer period of time is either they make louder and louder by stacking elements or they add all sorts of new ideas to the piece but then it becomes a collage of different ideas and it doesn´t sound like a unit anymore. And don´t get me wrong: Thats not bad to do as well, but when this is your only fucking choice in order to maintain interest then this is very limited. And so we face the problem of these days skillset of composers: The very vast majority beeing not able to stick to their leitfotiv and work a cohesive long symphonic piece with it because simply they don´t know how to do it and they don´t learn it anymore. And I tell you: I think the vat majority even is not interested into that because their idols are not doing it anyways.

    And the "idols" (like Zimmer and Junkie XL) in filmmusic can´t do it either of course because they went not through a classic education where they learned leitmotive development, instead of they exactly do what all other young kids do as well: They repeat their material over and over again. And I am not talking about the few left contenders we still have like John Williams and an Alan Silvestri, but about the composers who are dominating and working as A-listers in Hollywood. And many aspiring young composers looking up to them, because they think that this is how filmmusic has to sound like. And don´t get me wrong here: Its not bad to have idols, but you always should ask yourself questions and learn to understand fundamentals and where origins are coming from.
    And I think the problem is not always transportability but the problem what I see nowadays is that the music lacks also of individuality and so called "inherent identifier". Lets take the example of Jaws: 2 notes and you know its jaws, 1 bar of star wars main title..you know its star wars, 1 bar or maybe even less of back to the future and you think of Marty Mcfly. 2 seconds of star trek and you know its that. or an example from 19th century repertoire: The valkyrien Ride, I gurantee you..the first 6 notes which last 3 seconds and you know its that piece. So Why is that? And why at least from my point of view its not anymore? I would say the following: You could replace and switch of 95 percent of music in Hollywood blockbuster movies and nobody would care and thats my guess even maybe recognize it. And that is for me personally the biggest issue that music these days has. (talking about the last 15 years or more) It is getting more and more homogenized and too similiar in order that we identiy it and put it into a very specific place in our minds and last but not least create a specific feeling to it.

    So while I think a theme has not to be hummable to create a memorable effect I think the homogenisation and lack of identifier is by far the bigger issue I have with filmmusic these days. And that is for me personally the biggest problem that I have with that music, that it all sounds very"replaceable".
    In fact the problem in this case are not always the composers, in fact I think and you know probably that I am working as well a composer for the entertainment industry and what I can tell you is that producers often want from me to create impressions of temptracks and while I think that this not new (look at starwars there is obviously a lot of impressions from Korngold, Holst and many others,)but the problem is that while you can make out the style of a composer back then still, its becoming fatgique these days because producers don´t value anymore the expertise of a composers, in fact they have their things they stick to and everything else is forbidden. The reality is that they don´t want that you make your own thing out of it instead copying the temps so closely that it becomes to hard even to identify your own handwriting. Now you can say: Maybe I am not skilled enough to give them an impression which is close but different, actually I experienced very different things. Especially when they tell me even to stick to the same orchestration and instrumentation.

    And when you think of epic music then there is a limited choice in many fields there, because the trendsetters are dismissing a lot of the great stuff from the classic times. You know like orchestration also, epic music works with 3-4 basic elements: Strings, brass, choirs, percussion and their roles in that music is always the same. So orchestrationally they are not used to create diversity but they take all the day long their same role. Strings doing ostinatos, brass is doing that walls of sounds or melody, percussions are for drive / pulse, and choirs are just on top of that to create a feel a dramatic purpose. Which is not bad but if that is the only way to create drama then your toolset is very limited and then it becomes fatigue to listen to and sustain interest over a longer period of time. You know it is a simplication at cost of individuality and inherent identifier. Diverse orchestration can create so many different sides in music when you study classic repertoire you will explore these nuances but if you don´t, you are stuck with the few things and thats it. So if that is fine for you..thats great and have fun.And millions of people enjoy that kind of sound which is no problem. But the problem starts for me when I see that they say and dismiss classic repertoire as boring, I often read youtube comments and I am baffled by the idiotic comments from people there. I want to say and please don´t think this is elitist: But I think they are not able to develope taste anymore and I don´t blame them because how they can when nobody tells them? But its very obvious for that it is dumbing down in quality and disrespect to the foundations of music history. And I think these days we are facing a significant peak in that regards which is very unfortunate to see such a developement.

    You know I have an analogy for that: It all reminds me often with kids who are not able to develope taste anymore because they go everyday to Burger King and their gustative nerves are conditioned to flavor enhancers which results in that a natural cooked food from scratch will end up beeing dismissed by them as BAD. They are not able to make out the nuances anymore. How can they when they indulge themselves everyday with such food? Its like kids liking processed yoghurts with tons of sugar in it but when you serve them a natural yoghurt with some real fruits they probably won´t like it that much. And thats a dumbing down in taste at a globarized level. You know...there is nothing wrong to go once in a blue moon and eat a burger at McDonalds (I didn´t btw) and I don´t see a problem with that, but when this becomes your daily and main food supply then your senses become what that food is unfortunately like: Total Garbage.

    A little afterhought: My intention is not here to speak bad about epic music, in fact there is epic which I find cool by myself. So that is not the point of my message here, so to everyone who enjoys that music there is nothing wrong with that. Do what you like to do, thats important. With my post I am just trying to give different perspectives to that subject.
  7. So when we say "transportable" we really mean two different but connected things - inherent identifyability & the ability to easily trigger the memory of the piece in another person?

    I think whether music is still making money 50 years later has 99% to do with what it was attached to at its time, and not with the music itself. Star Wars, Super Mario, Zelda... I think their music will still be around in 50 years, but that has more to do with how much impact the movie and the games at their time had and how fondly they are still remembered and revered today.

    Thanks for the recommendation, I didn't know that channel. I'm not super knowledgable in the realm of "epic music". Outside of game soundtracks and TSFH I don't really listen to it. Maybe that's the reason why I was having a hard time understanding all the hate for it, since that already is a higher quality subset of the genre?

    Regarding The Race, I had to dig in my memory for a few moments like "I know it's gotta be around here somewhere, race... race... maybe here? No... that wasn't it... race... race... Aha, that one!" And I had it again and remembered how I had that melody stuck in my head for a day. But the thing is, I'm not sure that would work on just anyone, that works on me because I know and like Mike and can be amazed by his dedication to music on all levels, that is my unique emotional connection to that work. Some rando on youtube doesn't have that, I doubt they'll imprint the melody into their memory the same way that we all do here.

    When I studied a professor once told us "Memories are more deeply anchored when they are connected to an emotion, now look..." and he held up a red book and grabbed two parts of it as he said "This is called the wrapper or jacket, and this is called the body of the book or inner book." And then he ripped the two pieces apart and said "And now you're NEVER gonna forget this." (lesson was in German so I had to look the terms up in the dictionary, hope I got it right).
    I don't think music alone can achieve that anymore. Maybe it could back when it wasn't omnipresent and hearing (new) music at all was an event in and of itself.

    It's great that you touch on games, because I know more about them than about movies and music.

    I guarantuee, this track is going to be forgotten by history because the game is a forgettable cashgrab and "game as a service" that will cease to exist when they pull the plug on the servers in a couple of years. It will be forgotten, almost by design:

    But this following track of aleatoric noise was part of a game that set a new standard in its genre. It was very successful and had an impact on the gaming landscape. I don't remember any game soundtrack before it doing anything similar, it makes me recall fond memories of the game and the time I played it in, and there are patterns in this track that I remember. I'm sure I could easily pick it out of a lineup of 10 aleatoric tracks, after not having heard it for 10 years. It has been ingrained into my memory by the very visceral emotional experience of having heard it in one of the scariest horror games of its time. And also the composer carefully outlines patterns by "doing it twice":

    And here is some (almost) dubstep, that I'm not sure about. I will most likely be able to "pick it out of a crowd" of similar music in 10 or 20 years, but I'm not sure that "history will remember it", because the game had a mixed reception. I liked it, mainly because of how well the soundtrack fit and how the music added to the experience. But I was new to the series and could enjoy it for what it is, without being distracted by it being very different than previous titles, and apparently many fans weren't able to:

    I'm relieved to hear that! Thanks for the track recommendations, I like both, didn't know them yet. TSFH is some of the only "epic" music that I listened to, that wasn't specifically a soundtrack to something.
  8. If I knew that song I think it would totally work for reminding me of it.

    I highly recommend "Food Wars", it's an anime about high-stakes cooking duels at an elite cooking academy, and it totally has proper dramatic tension arcs on multiple levels, and is imho structurally more satisfying than the Marvel-esque "and-then-and-then-and-then"-plots.

    Honest answer: no. And that is one of the reasons I came here in the first place.

    Oh I totally get it! It gets explained in a great youtube video called "The Marvel Symphonic Universe" and I bet everyone here knows it already, so I'm not gonna link it.

    Those are all great examples! I see how much of the lower quality "epic" music doesn't satisfy that test. I once chuckled because I stumbled over a blackmetal album where 3 or 4 tracks literally started with "AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" over blastbeats and a single tremolo picked note on guitar. But I think this "inherent identifiability" can totally be reached without melody, and you also can write melodies that are easily forgotten.
    And I agree that it is a good goal to write music that has it's own identity and can quickly and easily be recognized/identified, and it will go a long way in making sure it's capable of being remembered by history, but that alone isn't enough imho.

    While the perceived elitism that rubbed me the wrong way is part of the reason I made the thread, I think you actually have a good point there. Like a wise man once said "If everything is 'epic', nothing is".
    But with the systemic issues being so grave, what is the way out? Is there even one? Is there a chance people actually would take it? Or are we all just helplessly hurtling towards a dystopian "idiocracy" where dumb instant gratification rules over everything?

    I fully support the idea to fight the entropy field, to reclaim what has been lost in the craft of composing, to make things with the goal of them being fondly remembered even 50 years later! That's all great - noble even! I'm just not sold on the idea that "music alone" even has the power to reach that anymore. Have Williams or Goldsmith never released standalone Symphonies or have they just never reached the popularity that I as a "normie" would have heard of them? It kind of supports my point either way, right? If Williams wrote a Symphony under a Pseudonym, do you think it would still be performed in 50 years? Do you think it would stand even the smallest of chances to enter the history of music like the Star Wars soundtrack did? I don't know, I'm not a composer and don't know shit about any of this, but I sure would be surprised if that's how things turned out...
    You can see this in the field of illustration/painting too. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of skill-wise absolutely top notch artists out there, that the general public doesn't give two shits about, unless they do a unique interpretation of Pokemon, Disney Princesses or other dominating intellectual properties that can go viral on facebook and be seen and shared by a couple million people. The things that gain traction on their own and have a chance of longterm survival in that world are super simple but relatable comics, sometimes literal stickfigures. How long has Dilbert been going? 29 years?
  9. Alex I think you hit the nail on the head! Great post
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  10. Holy fuck, guys. Go transcribe something!
  11. #11 Rohann van Rensburg, Jan 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
    "Epic" music (the non-storytelling, non-contrasting, loud, poorly orchestrated, not-saying-anything kind) is simply the main example of the lack of craft present in fields where orchestral music now lives, and it sort of stands as the prime example of what we want to avoid in craft. Not because there's something wrong with huge and bombastic, but because huge and bombastic without fundamentals, contrast and sophistication is a smokescreen, and most importantly, devalues what is actually epic. I think the main reason for ripping on it in the Unleashed chat was because in past Unleashed years it was literally a handful of hours of Mike repeating himself because every track was the same "Epic" track (meaning "I've spent a lot of time on production and tweaking my $15k in sound libraries but I can't write an interesting melody or modulate a chord progression"). There's nothing wrong with liking it, but the idea here is to develop one's palette enough to understand what makes good music good music. The Lord of the Rings score is about as close as one can get to the modern epic sound (having influenced it greatly) while still maintaining the integrity of a long-form work with excellent melodies and good development.
    Indeed, classical works, at first, can sound "boring", because it can be difficult to understand and swallow when all one consumes are tunes simpler than pop tunes dressed in "loud". But gradually, through familiarity and guidance, one begins to realize how not only incredibly sophisticated they are in their arrangement, but how absolutely brilliant they are in the simplicity and delivery of their ideas, just as classical stories are classics for a reason. The best stories ever told have a timeless amount of depth and universal relevance, but have basic, relatable, ideas at their forefront. It doesn't mean simple stories can't be fantastic, but good simple stories tend to know they're simple, and not try to be anything other than they are (then again, good simple stories aren't different fundamentally from Epic scale works). There are also fantastic action movies around, but again, basics: John Wick is a movie that knows precisely what it is, and doesn't try to be anything more. It just tries to do what it needs to do effectively, and succeeds.

    What I've discovered in my journey and through the generous and experienced guidance of people like Mike, Doug, and other "vets" on this forum is that I still like some "epic" music, but it tends to have either some nostalgic value, or it fulfills those basic fundamentals. The frills don't do anything for me anymore absent that. I love the Skyrim soundtrack, for instance -- it's simple, but the fundamentals are absolutely there and it creates an evocative, unique mood that's highly identifiable and stands out instantly. I also like Woodkid. His music generally relies more on pop structure, but he's got catchy melodies, fun arrangements and a unique voice, and it sounds heroic in five-minutes-or-less:

    I'm not really sure, but I think it has more to do with how music is consumed. Does the average person go to new orchestral music concerts unconnected to a film? If people actually went to orchestral concerts, I don't think this would be a problem, and this music would survive. I'd also bet that if a symphony worthy of remembering was created, people still dedicated to this craft 50 years from now would revere it. Bach's music was discarded and disregarded for decades after his death, and he was never a popular composer outside of his job as an organist.

    Again with painting -- is the issue with painting, or is it with the impoverished manner in which people consume art? Do people go to galleries, buy prints, support artists on various platforms, etc, or do they double-tap a picture they look at for 3 seconds on instagram and immediately forget it? People, most especially younger people (under 50) in general, have lost their sense of the value of beauty. People also value convenience over quality of experience.
    What I have noticed is that while popular consumption of art is indeed impoverished, artists most certainly do have dedicated, passionate audience bases, and I think this is the compromise of the internet age. I've never seen artwork like this before, and she's not as popular as she deserves, but I've bought numerous prints and she has a very passionate fanbase:

    You mean posting on the internet isn't making me a better composer?
  12. Word. Truth. Or compose.

    You know.... the thing is..... I can totally hear the theme in my head. I know the video.

    I mean if you have watched two or three of them, how could you not know it ?

    There used to be this silly line I would hear "When film music is really doing it's purpose the audience doesn't even know it's there"

    Something like that. Total bullshit. Do you know how loud say the dark knight was. How the fuck do you not know it's there ?
    Or Star Wars: There is nothing but scrolling text and music for the first few minutes. (like Laurence of Arabia)
    Is this a movie review by Hellen Keller ?

    Also didn't Brian Tyler write some of it ? So ...... you know...... it must be great. Mighty Thor has nothing on him.
  13. Yeah I never got that line either. Good music has always stood at the forefront of a film. Williams' name used to be on movie posters, for goodness sake. I watched a part of some tribute to Star Wars and the crowd went absolutely berserk when they saw Williams was composing. It's rather the opposite if the music is doing its job.

    I didn't realize you were such a fan;)
    Martin Hoffmann likes this.

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