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 Posted:   Jun 6, 2006 - 4:52 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

It seems that every episode I've watched of this long-running (fourteen seasons) series credits David Rose for the music, along with William Lava as musical director, or some such title. IMDB lists Rose as scoring a mere 15 episodes of "Bonanza" and gives him credit for "Effects music" for the series' run, along with that decidedly non-Bonanza theme that played over the opening credits beginning 1970-71.

So what exactly is "Effects Music"? Is it incidental music or stock cues used for a given scene (Comedy, surprise, etc.) It seems to me that if David Rose, along with the already prolific William Lava, may have scored this series by themselves for many episodes, or they just composed enough for 15 episodes and that music was re-used endlessly thereafter, with Lava "cutting and pasting" what Rose had composed, as he saw fit.

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2006 - 6:46 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

*BUMP* Anyone know?

 Posted:   Nov 27, 2006 - 6:51 PM   
 By:   Steve Johnson   (Member)

*BUMP* Anyone know?

I sure don't but it seems obviously certain that there is no way Rose scored every episode. So many of our old favorite shows have spotty and incomplete credits for the music.

 Posted:   Feb 19, 2009 - 5:22 PM   
 By:   Jim Phelps   (Member)

"In a highly unusual move, Rose not only wrote original scores for each individual "Bonanza" episode, he used an orchestra of over 30 pieces to record them. Needless to say, the overall effect was nothing short of cinematic, contributing to the show's reputation as a movie for television, before the concept even existed. Years later, Michael Landon called Rose "a genius" with an uncanny act for knowing how a scene needed to be scored.

David Rose was not always present when "Bonanza's" choral (effects) music was being scored. Sometimes he would take a few weeks off to do some other projects. He said "Bonanza" was the best he had ever worked on. His 34-piece orchestra was always present and got the job done. The same exact scoring room was crucial for the perfect theme song cues and other musical cues, and choral music. The theme song written by Livingston and Evans was simply all it was; two songwriters invented the lyrics and gave it to producer Dortort, who then gave it to composer-conductor David Rose. Neither one cared for it.

The Livingston-Evans written lyrics were musically transformed into the musical scale on sheet music by David Rose and the sessionists who would come in at the start of the season in June for a week, and score the theme cue and other musical cues. This is where Rose gets all the musical credit for composing it with his sessionists, since all musicians work with the musical scale, where songwriters just write down lyrical words.

In addition to David Rose, "Bonanza" benefitted from the musical skills of such talents as Harry Sukman (seasons eleven to fourteen), William Lava (seasons five and six), and Walter Scharf (seasons three and four). Sukman's talents were heard on "The High Chaparral", and a later Dortort series, "The Cowboys", and William Lava's talents were heard in numerous B Westerns, Disney's Zorro (Guy Williams), and the theme for the series "Cheyenne". Fred Steiner, "Star Trek's" main composer, also made contributions.

All fourteen seasons of the "Bonanza" theme song, both the beginning and ending themes were played live at the start of every season as per union regulations in the musician's contracts. That is for a few days even maybe a week, but no more. The studio session musicians record every possible music cue the show would need. Chase cues, tension, happy, sad, etc. Variations of the main theme song are recorded at various lengths too. Once finished with all of this, the musicians would seek other work on another show or movie.

No series could ever afford to score the theme music weekly for every individual show. Therefore an extensive library is maintained by the music editor who edits in accordingly on a weekly basis. But then again as per their union contract, everything has to be redone each season by bringing the musicians back into the studio. In other words, the show couldn't get away with saving money.

NBC had to pay the musicians for their efforts each time per season. That's why the main theme song doesn't sound exactly the same from season one onwards. Even with the same musicians, mixing equipment, sound engineers, acoustics, arrangement and conductor, it always sounds slightly different. David Rose and his orchestra would spend the first eleven years at the scoring stage at Paramount Studios and the last three years at the scoring stage at Warner Brothers Studios. Rose would score the 50-minute episode's effects music in five days, a weekly chore for 14 years in a row.

David Rose and his 34-piece orchestra would begin to score the choral music at the start of the production season in the late spring. They would score one episode every five days, Monday through Friday at the scoring stage at Paramount from 1959-1970 and later Warner Brothers from 1970-72, nine or ten months a year. Rose would score 25 minutes of choral music which would be recorded throughout all four acts of the episodes. The cue music would start off an establishing scene and then the choral music would follow, and the scene would conclude with another musical cue, fading out to a commercial intermission.

Rose would compose and conduct the theme cues with his sessionists at the start of the production season in late spring. In less then a week they would be recorded. The cues would range from 20 seconds to 3 minutes in length. A good several minutes of cue music is heard throughout every episode. His most famous music cues includes one he did for an NBC Peacock ad, the Bonanza theme song cues that accompany the beginning and end credits, and years later, the music cues used in "Little House On The Prairie" and "Highway To Heaven". The sound editor re-records the theme cues and choral music onto the master tape, which is then magnetically affixed on one side of the 35mm film print at the studio's optical house prior to airing.

In 1970, prior to the start of the twelfth season, Rose decided he was going to compose and conduct a new and powerful theme song cue, he called "The Big Bonanza". It captured the wistful nature of the series. Rose composed and scored it along with other cues for seasons twelve through fourteen of the series. This cue music was something Rose had been experimenting with back to 1967, during the ninth season. The cue's wide range and sweeping beauty would first be heard in nine's "The Gold Detector" and "The Late Ben Cartwright"."

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