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 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 6:54 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I have been around this issue before, but as I said before, I think it is nonsense when people say it is narrow minded or something when a poster says Beethoven is superior to gangsta rap. Having subjective opinions, and strong ones about a kind of art, be it painting or music, is not stupid or narrow minded.

Don't misinterpret me, I do want to make it clear that my use of 'narrow minded' was directed at the statement that says people who like today's film music wont branch out to classical music or what came before. I think that is an extremely narrow view!

Also I used it in relationship to people who attack what they don't consider as valid, worthy, excellent music. The haters. I wouldn't mind seeing a shrink who prefers rap music over classical music, as long as he does the job, I couldn't care less. I can live with that. Seems a lot of folks on this board can't live with the notion of someone thinking Zimmer is better than Williams and there lies the problem.

I am perfectly content with people having a subjective opinion and stating that classical music is better than rap or vice versa. I do have a problem with people who aren't tolerant towards others because they think otherwise.

And to tie it back to the OP and zimmer haters, they not just hate Zimmer, they hate his fans, the industry and everyone who champions Zimmer. Why do you think so many Zimmer threads get trolled? Because people want to state their opinion on his score they haven't heard yet? Or because he's an easy target and scapegoat for their petty frustrations?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 7:02 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

I have been around this issue before, but as I said before, I think it is nonsense when people say it is narrow minded or something when a poster says Beethoven is superior to gangsta rap. Having subjective opinions, and strong ones about a kind of art, be it painting or music, is not stupid or narrow minded.

Don't misinterpret me, I do want to make it clear that my use of 'narrow minded' was directed at the statement that says people who like today's film music wont branch out to classical music or what came before. I think that is an extremely narrow view!

Also I used it in relationship to people who attack what they don't consider as valid, worthy, excellent music. The haters. I wouldn't mind seeing a shrink who prefers rap music over classical music, as long as he does the job, I couldn't care less. I can live with that. Seems a lot of folks on this board can't live with the notion of someone thinking Zimmer is better than Williams and there lies the problem.

I am perfectly content with people having a subjective opinion and stating that classical music is better than rap. I do have a problem with people who aren't tolerant towards others because they think otherwise.

And to tie it back to the OP and zimmer haters, they not just hate Zimmer, they hate his fans, the industry and everyone who champions Zimmer. Why do you think so many Zimmer threads get trolled? Because people want to state their opinion on his score they haven't heard yet? Or because he's an easy target and scapegoat for their petty frustrations?


Oh, I do not have all those answers Francis, like I said back there to Thor, I think Hans is a very nice guy, he presents himself very well in interviews and he is very charming and sounds pretty down to earth. There is nothing to hate about this man personally.

Maybe our terms should change, like you said 'Zimmer is better than Williams', well if we said 'i prefer Zimmer to Williams'. Not sure. For the Williams and Goldsmith crowd, of which I am one, there are reasonable and credible foundations to say that these guys, and others, were COMPOSERS, in the classic sense, whereas Zimmer is really doing something different in many cases, it comes closer to assemblage or painting a sound palette. I mean there are apparently some number of the modern crowd that do not conduct, orchestrate nor do any notation, and these are basic composition skills.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 7:05 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

You would have better success with that if these guys were not in the same field of music, genre, line of work, whatever you want to say. The reason that the Bob Dylan versus Penderecki comparison is not valid is one was a orchestral composer and the other a rock folk singer. So it makes very little sense. On the other hand Hans Zimmer and John Williams are both film composers. Admittedly that have covered different eras of film with some years of overlap. I think you will find the effort to encourage people not compare one film composer to another is a really fruitless effort.

But your argument rests on an assumption that film music is ONE genre. It really isn't. In fact, it's not really a genre at all. It's an umbrella category of all imaginable musical genres; the only thing they have in common is that they're being used in a film.

The parallell is valid, I think, because Williams and Zimmer operate in two different worlds, musically. One is a composer steeped in traditional orchestral writing (and some jazz!) while the other comes from electropop and utilizes these sentiments in his music. For Zimmer, orchestra is about COLOUR in an otherwise prog rock/electronic-oriented soundscape, it's not an end in itself. You can compare approach to the film, maybe, but not really the intrinsic musical values. At least not beyond mere preference.

It's probably a difficult request to ask people to stop comparing apples and oranges, but at least it's a wish of mine to some day have a discussion about the specifics of a sound or approach that does just that -- goes into detail about it without pulling in what I perceive are incompatible comparisons.



Well sorry Thor, but yes, to me film scoring is one genre. So we disagree there. Yes there are a lot of approaches to scoring, but it is totally valid to compare a composer to a composer. Maybe it is not valid to compare rock band songs used in the soundtrack to a composer.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 7:07 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Just out of curiousity, ado: Why would you say that -- if I understood you correctly -- 'compositon' is a term reserved only for the orchestral idiom or those creating music in a more traditional fashion?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 7:11 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Just out of curiousity, ado: Why would you say that -- if I understood you correctly -- 'compositon' is a term reserved only for the orchestral idiom or those creating music in a more traditional fashion?

I do not think he is a composer in the classic sense, he makes music with sounds, but so does Lady Gaga, I would not call her a composer.

Okay, that sounds harsh, he does compose music. He is not a composer in the classic sense though.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 7:18 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

If by 'classic' you mean 'classical orchestral composition', we definitely agree. He has composed a few scores that are largely orchestral, but even those are not based on traditional orchestral 'composition rules'. The chord changes, instrumentation etc. are more "pop", which is his thing. At most pastiche, maybe. These are not his best works, IMO, since they don't play to his strengths.

However, to me he is most definitely a composer who just happens to work in a different idiom. A brilliant one at that (although I obviously have some issues with certain parts of his output too).

There are some rare cases, however, where the line between 'composer' and 'sound designer' gets blurred. Brad Fiedel's TERMINATOR scores come to mind -- beyond the theme, are these musical compositions or sound design "compositions"? Guess you could say that same thing about some of Karl-Heinz Stockhausen works or the Japanese "noise music" scene.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 7:55 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

If by 'classic' you mean 'classical orchestral composition', we definitely agree. He has composed a few scores that are largely orchestral, but even those are not based on traditional orchestral 'composition rules'. The chord changes, instrumentation etc. are more "pop", which is his thing. At most pastiche, maybe. These are not his best works, IMO, since they don't play to his strengths.

However, to me he is most definitely a composer who just happens to work in a different idiom. A brilliant one at that (although I obviously have some issues with certain parts of his output too).

There are some rare cases, however, where the line between 'composer' and 'sound designer' gets blurred. Brad Fiedel's TERMINATOR scores come to mind -- beyond the theme, are these musical compositions or sound design "compositions"? Guess you could say that same thing about some of Karl-Heinz Stockhausen works or the Japanese "noise music" scene.


This is a great discussion Thor, and Francis too.

Yeah, these are interesting points about sound design versus composition, and I agree that Brad Fiedel is another good example of an interesting musician synthesis guy that is not really a composer by traditional measures. On his stuff, I think his Terminator 2 was interesting in terms of sound, but really it did not serve the picture that well. A lot of John Carpenter stuff is the same way, synthesis effects and sound effects that are not really compositional in the traditional sense.

When I was walking to get my coffee now, I thought there is something missing in these ideas we are talking about, then I came around to this;

What does it do?

The difference between the classical form film composers and a guy like Hans might very well be, what does it do? And what do we, the audience, want it to do. These are different questions than;

Do i like the music?

I think that there might be a nugget of understanding here. The followers of classical styled composers want that score to DO something pragmatically in relation to the narrative and the characters that they do not see Hans DO. This is not a statement on the pleasurable-ness of the music itself, but an evaluation of it's pragmatic effect in the movie. With this breakdown it is possible that someone that enjoys the sound of Hans music can look at the follower of Williams and think 'what is your problem, it SOUNDS great' whereas the Williams follower is simply thinking ' it does not DO what I like the score to DO.

?

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 8:29 AM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Ha, ha....nothing is like getting new ideas while you're walking for coffee, ado! smile

It's an interesting point, and it relates perhaps more to APPROACH than SOUND. In the case of Zimmer, his music works more on a visceral level than a purely narrative, IMO. Of course, any film composer in Hollywood works in a narrative fashion, but the degree differs in terms of architecture.

Zimmer seems to go directly to the emotional core of a scene, while Williams' excels at overall architecture (with some strong, scene-specific moments growing out of that). Both are valid approaches, for different reasons. It's not an either/or question either, of course.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 8:59 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

Ha, ha....nothing is like getting new ideas while you're walking for coffee, ado! smile

It's an interesting point, and it relates perhaps more to APPROACH than SOUND. In the case of Zimmer, his music works more on a visceral level than a purely narrative, IMO. Of course, any film composer in Hollywood works in a narrative fashion, but the degree differs in terms of architecture.

Zimmer seems to go directly to the emotional core of a scene, while Williams' excels at overall architecture (with some strong, scene-specific moments growing out of that). Both are valid approaches, for different reasons. It's not an either/or question either, of course.


Well, this was not my first cup of coffee today, but yes, I usually get more ideas after caffeine. I think perhaps we are on to something here. Although it also might be true that some are not willing or able to distill down what it is they prefer about these different models of film scoring.

I think for myself I enjoy the more structured narrative and thematic approach. My tastes are probably more mature than I am, I am not sure why. I somewhat need, desire for the structure of intricate and small motifs and large motifs, relating certain sections of the orchestra to certain characters / moods / emotions, certain themes repeating with some meaning, less important is one overarching grand theme.

Zimmer does well at the overarching grand theme, well I guess he and JNH built that up for Batman with the Nolan pictures. The more intricate compositional architectures are pretty much not there, whereas the overarching theme reasserts itself. There are these qualities in POTC and others, grand sounds and immersion, lacking in smaller scale character driven musical motifs. But I do not think his mind works in that traditional orchestral scale, and / or his contracts have driven him more and more to broad impression of sound.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 9:11 AM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

This thread was started as both a provocative shot across the bow of those that would disagree with his opinion, and a swipe at a member who isn't even around anymore. The OP employed the same tactics with which YOR was frequently accused. Very bad form (unless one believes that imitation is, in fact, the highest form of flattery).

However, I quite appreciate the fact that Ado, Thor and a few others elevated the discourse in this thread to that approaching a reasonable level and that it didn't stay in the tone with which GOLDSMITHDAKING intended. A very welcome form of threadjacking.

Good on ya folks.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 9:42 AM   
 By:   Ado   (Member)

I agree Octoberman, (thanks for the remarks)

This was my deliberate effort to have a real civil discussion today, I am sure it was the effort of Thor and a couple others here too. I enjoy these real discussions, not the tirades back and forth so much. I have to say that I really enjoyed this discussion. We cannot come away with all the answers, certainly there will be some who do want to express anger with Hans scores every time it comes up.

We are a pretty small group of people on this planet, score-nuts or whatever we are called. So even when we differ in tastes we should be kind to one another. It is a really interesting thing talking about scores and composers these days, even if we do not agree.

If we carried out some of these ideas about approach and method that Thor and I discussed I am sure we could have a better community here, better dialogue. And a large part of it is just being realistic, if I am looking for Hans Zimmer to make a score DO what Jerry Goldsmith or John Williams did - well that is pretty much a waste of time.

Also, part of this issue is an industry that perpetuates ways of doing things, they fall into ruts until they burn it out. We can hope there is some return to allow some space for traditional scoring can be done. My concern too is that the young composers out of film school that might be like a Jerry or John Williams are going to hit a brick fence that tells them that kind of scoring is not welcome anymore.

Beyond that, speaking as humans, Hans Zimmer is a human being, so we have to give this guy some basic decent respect and human regard. It is just not spiritually 'cool' to hate another person for no reason.

 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 11:01 AM   
 By:   Mr. Marshall   (Member)

One thing is quite clear from reading all the criticism of Zimmer:
most of you have only the flimsiest knowledge of his body of work.
DOn't ask for examples , there are too many of them
brm

 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 12:02 PM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)


I think for myself I enjoy the more structured narrative and thematic approach. My tastes are probably more mature than I am, I am not sure why. I somewhat need, desire for the structure of intricate and small motifs and large motifs, relating certain sections of the orchestra to certain characters / moods / emotions, certain themes repeating with some meaning, less important is one overarching grand theme.


My first exposure to movies was mostly during the 90s when this style seemed to be the formula for blockbusters and movies that could afford an orchestra. I do want to stress that money seems to be a factor as well for the current film music climate but I'll come back to that later. Back to the 90s, movies often had one big recognizable theme and the rest was mostly motifs, they even had synth patches and sounds but they were secondary to the orchestra and supported it. The orchestral writing was often minimal and underscored but you'd still have big cues for big moments and sequences. It seems as the years went by there was more and more music in movies! around 2000 you heard a lot of composers complaining that instead of the 60 minutes of music they had to write before, they now had to track the entire movie and score it from start to beginning. I think what this brought forth was also a familiarity factor with the audience who grew tired with them; they got used to lots of score. One of my favorites from the late 90s, Dark City, has rarely a moment sans score.

A genre that I think today still suffers from overscoring are those PG disney family comedies that have wall to wall cliché orchestral scoring. But anyway, it seemed for a while that movies had too much score in them! At the same time you had the Pulp Fiction movies that relied on songs and used zero score! If you went to see an independent, hip movie it would have minimal score; The orchestral score became synonymous to big budget hollywood formula and that seemed to get outdated at the end of the 90s start of the 00s. Where scores used to have one central theme and lots of motifs and percussion writing surrounding it (I need to mention percussion because scores got more percussion driven during the 90s), during the 00s, the orchestral score with big theme and motif became a choice instead of the norm. Some movies would still have it, others would go more the ambient, minimal route because they wanted to distance themselves from the same old hollywood formula that wasn't doing the big business anymore at the box office.

Somehow that morphed into todays film scores, where those 90s synths are still there, but the orchestra has been mainly replaced by synth approximations of an orchestra. But instead of the more complex orchestral writing which became a sort of parody of itself, everything is more rhythmic and 'droning' based I suspect because of that movement of movies that used songs mainly for score, a lot of the droning seems to be the equivalent of using an instrumental in a movie.

This is all very simplistic and generalization of my part, but it's just to show you that scores evolve because movies evolve and the audience with them. Which is also why I believe the current film score climate is also temporary and prone to change.

So we are now at the point where a movie needs no theme because a theme will be intrusive and too obvious, so we resort to smaller motifs and pop elements from current popular music. Who is the best at that? Hans Zimmer. His themes are motifs drawn large and his scores are mainly droning driven instrumentals that capture the mood of the movie and they work. The orchestral part is still there, sort of like a remnant of the past but it's mainly there to accompany the instrumental. Inception is a great example of this.

Now the classically trained composer faced with this trend has two options; either he or she sticks to orchestral theme heavy scores and still finds work in lame PG disney comedies, animation and drama, OR educates him or herself to master the pro tools/mockup system and gear that allows for quick scores and basically instrumental basis to start working from and if he or she is lucky, will get to use an orchestra as well (if budget allows it). Don't forget that during the 80s, a lot of composers I'm sure were asked to use synths because they were the hip thing at the time, the vogue as Jeff Bond puts it in Day of the Dead liner notes; Ironically that score was called too musical by its critics back in the day, not bad for a majority electronic score wink but I digress.

You were discussing earlier composers who are classically skilled and can read notes, notation, ... There are so many great musicians who can't read a note of music and yet they master many instruments, lead many musicians. I can be moved by their music. I know with film music fans (and especially classical music fans) there is a bias against composers, artists who can't read notes and orchestrate, there is also a bias against software, pro tools, ... anything that takes away from composing traditionally. I think we all have a notion of the skills we attribute to a composer; my ideal composer would be classically trained but also aware of electronic and synth possibilities, no genre or sound should be off limits. That is also the key to many classical composers who are still scoring movies today, they adapted to trends and use the best of both worlds, not abandoning their training. And if you take for granted the other world, the electronics, don't underestimate it; You can have all the software and gear and effects at your disposal, if you are not skilled in it, no matter how great your classical training, you will come off as a novice. For me, I've yet to find one composer who masters both domains flawlessly, they always tend to gravitate towards one and experiment, 'dabble' in the other. Which is why collaborations with two experts in their respective fields can be marvelous as well.

During the 80s, movies either had an orchestral score or a synth score, I tend to believe that orchestral scores won that battle for most of the 90s. Nowadays the two have morphed into current film music and I'm not sure orchestral scores will get the upper hand again. But what I am sure of is that people/industry will grow tired of the current film music trend and it will change once more.

I also wanted to drag the current tv scoring into the discussion but this post has gone on for far too long. I'm tired big grin

 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 12:35 PM   
 By:   GOLDSMITHDAKING   (Member)

I agree Octoberman, (thanks for the remarks)

This was my deliberate effort to have a real civil discussion today, I am sure it was the effort of Thor and a couple others here too. I enjoy these real discussions, not the tirades back and forth so much. I have to say that I really enjoyed this discussion. We cannot come away with all the answers, certainly there will be some who do want to express anger with Hans scores every time it comes up.

We are a pretty small group of people on this planet, score-nuts or whatever we are called. So even when we differ in tastes we should be kind to one another. It is a really interesting thing talking about scores and composers these days, even if we do not agree.

If we carried out some of these ideas about approach and method that Thor and I discussed I am sure we could have a better community here, better dialogue. And a large part of it is just being realistic, if I am looking for Hans Zimmer to make a score DO what Jerry Goldsmith or John Williams did - well that is pretty much a waste of time.

Also, part of this issue is an industry that perpetuates ways of doing things, they fall into ruts until they burn it out. We can hope there is some return to allow some space for traditional scoring can be done. My concern too is that the young composers out of film school that might be like a Jerry or John Williams are going to hit a brick fence that tells them that kind of scoring is not welcome anymore.

Beyond that, speaking as humans, Hans Zimmer is a human being, so we have to give this guy some basic decent respect and human regard. It is just not spiritually 'cool' to hate another person for no reason.


This thread was inspired by the likes of YOR and his childish trolling on Zimmer.Im pleased that this thread has inspired proper debate instead of hating on Zimmer.This was a really good post and added to the discussion.Like i said before people, feel free to criticise Zimmer all you want but please refrain from making childish insults at the man.

For my part, despite being a Zimmer fan, i do think its a mistake for him to be scoring Amazing Spider Man 2.I think Zimmer is all superheroed out with Batman and Superman and wish for some continuity with what we got in the reboot ( despite the fact that i didnt think that much of the film itself ) by bringing back Horner to score the sequel.

Whatever one thinks of the Superman sequels during the 1980s, at least they had a proper musical continuity despite being worked on by different composers.Thats part of what makes them a joy to listen to.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 12:51 PM   
 By:   Octoberman   (Member)

This thread was inspired by the likes of YOR and his childish trolling on Zimmer.Im pleased that this thread has inspired proper debate instead of hating on Zimmer.This was a really good post and added to the discussion.Like i said before people, feel free to criticise Zimmer all you want but please refrain from making childish insults at the man.


Oh, the irony...
big grin

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 2:07 PM   
 By:   dashrr   (Member)

Nah...it has to do with the two generations of filmmusic...the Herrmann generation, and the Goldsmith generation. Zither, I mean Zimmer, comes from the Goldsmith generation...I have always thought the problem with Film Score Monthly is that it should change its name to GOLDSMITH GEEKS GALORE forum, because that is really who has remained loyal and regular to this site. When losing great contributors like Ed Nassour it was clear, as Lionel once told Bernard.."Sorry Benny, where running with the new kids now".

Thankfully, Herrmann got the last laugh.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 2:22 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Nah...it has to do with the two generations of filmmusic...the Herrmann generation, and the Goldsmith generation. Zither, I mean Zimmer, comes from the Goldsmith generation...

Except that Goldsmith was old enough to be Zimmer's grandfather. smile

So those would be THREE generations you're talking about.

 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 3:56 PM   
 By:   Cvalda   (Member)

One thing is quite clear from reading all the criticism of Zimmer:
most of you have only the flimsiest knowledge of his body of work.
DOn't ask for examples , there are too many of them
brm


Amazing logic.

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

delete

 
 
 Posted:   Oct 15, 2013 - 5:57 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

TO ONLY GOOD MUSIC- You said I am wrong , but let me clarify this. I agree with you there are indeed many good pieces of music still written for films and maybe a person of your open minded nature will not pick on all the music of an era. But let's be honest you know on this board and elsewhere there are people who are ignoring modern scores and don't want anything to do with it assuming that it'all diseased with ZIMMERISM and that is sad and a bit narrow minded.I side with guys like THOR[a wise open minded man ] and others like FRANCIS etc etc. Because when you really think about it many people first exposure to something [genre or interest] will be of the current and then they take it further to the past and the future. Two examples where there are I am sure many. Years ago I went to see the HAMMER FILMS in the theatres it is what got me interest in the supernatural horror genre. So then I started watching the old ones from Universal. My father when he was young, firstly enjoyed the UNIVERSAL FILMS and then wanted to check out the silent Lon Chaney ones. I think this is common, you often start with what is most popular at the time and take it from there. I would love to hear LUCAS offer his viewpoint on this.

 
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