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They messed up Goldsmith's Star Trek theme

Discussion in 'Tips, Tricks & Talk' started by Sean Gould, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Has anyone else noticed this in the new Star Trek: Picard trailer? I don't know how they got this wrong, but it should be an Ab - not an A natural for the Goldsmith theme during the title card at the end of the trailer. I mean, that Ab is where the magic is.

  2. But the A natural is so much cuter.
    George Streicher and Sean Gould like this.
  3. Saw Mike Patti from Cinesamples post about this. How the heck did it go out like this?
  4. I hate this almost as much as I hate the "trailer remix" composers who beef the shit out of Williams cues for the SW trailers. Can't have enough stacked perc slams.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  5. Why on earth is it acceptable to mess with a superior composer's work? Only in Hollywood will you find that kind of audacity (nevermind non-musicians screwing with cues).
    George Streicher likes this.
  6. I think the producers/editors/music supervisors really just don't know and don't care
  7. It seems so arrogant. Do any other departments put up with nonsense like that? I can understand a director wanting alterations to i.e. VFX, but is there some "VFX supervisor" who will go and screw with VFX work once it's done?

    The obvious and respectful thing to do would be to get Williams to compose a cue for the trailer.

    This is an annoying trend that has permeated games now too, whereby you submit stems and the music director fits them together, or a program dictates which stems play based on what's happening. Interesting idea if implemented well, but there are plenty of composers that don't want their work messed with and refuse to compose this way.
    George Streicher likes this.
  8. The Star Trek, Star Wars, and Ghostbusters franchises are just a few examples of people screwing with superior artists' work. They're just properties to be exploited by multinational consumer product and media conglomerates. They're all still trading on equity established in the 1980s by legitimately talented people. Today it's just a lot of corpsefucking for cash.
  9. Am I missing something here?

    The trailer doesn't sound like anything mind-blowing, but doesn't sound horrible either. It's a 1-minute teaser, I don't really expect much out of it anyway. However, I don't really get why everyone is getting worked up over this. That "A" natural sounds like something I would do in a development. It's the classic: we heard the melody a thousand times, "how about we change one note to give it a different flavour". Sure, theoretically it's less daring/dramatic, since the A is one of the notes in the major scale. But given how we know the melody with the Ab, it's a legit slight development, and it's something that I would totally see myself doing if I'm writing down a thousand possible developments for a given motif.

    This reads very sarcastic, but I would somehow agree with it: it does sound a bit cute.

    It's obviously not genius, but it's not sacrilegious either.

    Do we really wanna put this 1-note developmental choice under in this bucket?
    Maybe I missed the memo and I should be mad about this, but for now I'm just a bit confused.
  10. #11 Mike Verta, Jun 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2019
    I promise I give less a shit than you do, though you're sort of making true my assertion that the primary human superpower is rationalization. By your reasoning, it could've been literally any note in the scale and then explained away as, "a possible development," which I suppose brings one back to the choice itself. Of course, this is the only statement in the piece, so it's not a development - it's the statement. And it's very specifically a statement of Goldsmith's theme, albeit an incorrect one. Can't have a development without a statement. I think the idea that the Goldsmith theme might sort of perpetually be with us such that all statements are now developments is both romantic and tortured, but if we grant that for argument's sake, then I guess we're back to the choice itself being cutesy and not committed enough to read as intentional, hence the reaction. So it's a fail on at least two counts. As for being mad, believe me, if the transparent attempts to continually monetize the desiccated husks of once-great franchises doesn't make you mad, this lame little button on a lame little trailer sure won't.

    And incidentally, if you just had to insist on fucking with the Goldsmith theme to show how original you are, either one of these options would've sufficed as obviously intentional without setting as many people's teeth on edge:

  11. I naively took this as a true statement, but maybe my view is way too optimistic this time. There are a few motifs which you can do this with, in my opinion, with the likes of Harry Potter, Star Wars, ...; they're so ingrained in our brain that you almost don't need a full statement anymore.

    If we want to be as uncharitable as we can, then I guess you're right. My assumption is that the composer is probably not tone-deaf, and that changing this one note was deliberate; I think it's a reasonable assumption to make.
    If your argument is that there would have been better ways to do it, I can accept it and we could have a musical discussion about it. Maybe it was not the best call musically speaking, and we can argue the compositional merit of it, but it's a bit exaggerated to go overboard with "They messed up Goldsmith's Star Trek theme".

    This does indeed make me mad, but if that means that this negative judgement of the industry trumps any kind of discussion about little decisions made by individuals, then I guess I'm not mad enough. This random composer was hired to score this little teaser, and he made a number of choices. I'd happy to discussing the musical details here, but I don't feel comfortable shitting all over it for the sake of it. I found this thread a bit unfruitful, and I feel like I can defend this "developmental choice" up to a certain degree. This is also why I like this forum, we're here to improve as composers, and I wouldn't use it as an outlet to vent about "how much better things were 40 years ago" and be mad at society.

    As I already said, I can see myself maybe making the same choice if I was hired to do it. Maybe that says something about me as a composer, and maybe everyone here is seeing something that is really obivous that I'm not; and if that is the case, my bad: I guess I still have a long way to go.
  12. Honestly, while I can understand many points here from both sides, I think (but its of course just an assumption) that he simply missed Ab note. Probably this was done in a rush, as this is so often in that trailer business and when you are not super familiar with the theme, you probably just miss that. I have my doubts that this was done on purpose here. You know I also believe that because there is no underpinning related harmony to it because in that case it would (my guess) be very obvious that the composer would notice that the A would clash with the flattened Ab major 7th thing.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  13. I'm sorry, I didn't see this edit when I posted my last message. Whenever I get home on the piano, I'll check this out, and I'll play around with this for some time.
  14. I will put it squarely in the category of: an objectively bad choice which some people subjectively don't mind.

    The reaction itself, being primarily in the category of: mistake, or just lame? is your best takeaway, if you're looking to mine the thread for something useful. You never want to lose touch. Objectively, there are a several ways to both pre-announce or signal that A-natural as intentional, and confirm it afterward, if that's what you want to do; none of them were done. Objectively, you'd want to do that if you're literally going to change one, and arguably most significant, note in the phrase. But the what is always secondary to the why, and the why hasn't justified itself. If you're going to fuck with the familiar, you better have a reason and give it context. This is an objectively wise way to handle ANY arrangement.

    Here's a mini podcast on this idea and how to handle it:

  15. Thank you very much for the mini-lesson!
    I wasn't necessarily attacking the criticism, I was attacking the lack of motivation behind this criticism. I was personally defending the will of the composer to modify the theme to set a different tone, and I'm happy that you gave me a detailed answer on the actual musical content. This is exactly the kind of conversation I was looking for, and I'm grateful you took the time to address it!

    I can see now how this choice can sound lame. It might be easier for you to see such things quicker than most people, and my 3-4 years of experience in composing music only gets me so far :D
    I guess my comment about how I "could have done it myself" wasn't to shield any ideas from criticism, it was to explain that I didn't find any apparent fault in it and I found necessary to talk about it.
  16. "Video unavailable: The uploader has not made this video available in your country." Oh, look! It's 1998 and I appear to be surfing the internet through dial-up. JFC. So after looking *elsewhere* for the trailer...

    Full disclosure: This happens to be one of my favourite themes ever. It reminds me of watching this series with my dad when I was a kid and I love it to death.

    I can't speak of the motive behind this. And I see the argument of thinking of this as development. It could be. But I think doing that it is missing the mark.

    If the point of this teaser trailer is to elicit nostalgia (and I think it is) then I guess the theme as it was would accomplish that much better. Not that most people would notice in a single statement, though. I think they wouldn't, not consciously anyway. But I think that if you were to play it a few more times the non-musical folk would sense something is off. It would be like the uncanny valley in CGI; you know something's not right, you just can't put your finger on it. And I think this happens particularly if you are a fan of the original show. I have a good example of this:

    When it came out I went to see Rogue One with the girlfriend. Grand Moff Tarkin appeared onscreen and I was immediately weirded out. My girlfriend is not so well versed in Star Wars so she didn't notice anything strange... Until young Leia appeared. When we got out of the cinema we were talking about Leia. I told her about Tarkin and she was surprised. She's familiar with Leia, of course, and also knew that Carrie Fisher was much older than the character that was on-screen. But she was not familiar with Tarkin, nor did she know the actor passed several years ago. If you know something's not right, you begin to look for flaws, I think it's just the way the mind works.

    So on the premise that this is aimed at the nostalgia of folks who loved TNG (since those are the ones that are going to be tuning in, at least at first) I think this is not a great choice. People are already going to be looking for bullshit, as old fans do with most of the reboot/remake/reimaginings Hollywood does. If you want to change it, fine! Change it when the character develops. Or at some point during the season for a specific light-hearted moment. Changing the theme for it's first statement in this new series on a teaser whose sole purpose is to get that feeling of excitement out of fans of the old stuff gets you... *drumroll*... a thread with this title.

    My "old man yells at cloud" moment: Of course, I am talking about the people who love the old series. Everyone else is going to be just fine with it, so it is understandble that trailer composers don't give a shit about these details. Most people do not care, it just has to sound "cool", quality and details like these are no longer a significant part of the equation. Here in Argentina the highest grossing film during opening weekend before Avengers Endgame came out was Fast & Furious 7. The second highest grossing film was Fast & Furious 8. That's EIGHT movies of car chases, chessy one-liners and Hans Zimmer Percussion Junkie XL mix, folks. Maybe an actual development would be Hollywood creating something new that has no relation to anything that's ever been done in the past. A significant development would be for it to have a musical theme that you can whistle. And a breakthrough at that would be a theme that is not full of taikos and sinewave pitchdives.
    David Healey likes this.
  17. Love this audio.

    If they somehow altered a note in the Star Wars melody; I feel like there'd be a much bigger uproar. This Star Trek melody alteration feels more like a mistake than an intentional development. But that's just how I see it. Either way, it's pretty damn clunky.
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.
  18. Yeah. I think it might've been forgivable if they'd given us the correct theme once or twice before the ending. You can't just throw out something like that at the end and expect everyone to go along. Maybe the composer was stuck on I-V for some reason, and didn't bother to double check the reference?

    I was also disappointed that they didn't incorporate the "Ressikan flute song" somehow -- what music is more personal to Picard than that?
  19. I think that's totally it. Just plugged it in from memory and didn't bother to check
    Rohann van Rensburg likes this.

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