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Comments about the soundtrack for Cutthroat Island (John Debney)
Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes

Blair
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(24-56-197-252.mdmmi.voyager.net)


  Responses to this Comment:
Harm Dommisse
Scorehound
Blair
Michael
Tomek
Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Wednesday, June 26, 2002 (10:11 p.m.) 

I would first like to say, this is what I used to keep me going in studying for my AP Chem test. I love this music. It's defiantly a hidden treasure in the world of film scores. They don't write them how they used to, and this is "how they used to"
In the battle music (#17) I found it incredible, however, even in the first time listening to it (not in the movie), I heard themes from other soundtracks. Here a just a few I think:
At about 2:00 mins I hear Danny Elfmans "Batman" them.
5:15 an ending to Alan Silvestri's "Back to the Future II"
5:40+ An old classical work "Pictures at an Exhibition"

#3- The Language of Romance- 1:34 Star Wars theme all the way.


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Harm Dommisse
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  In Response to:
Blair

  Responses to this Comment:
Randall Martin
Re: Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Monday, May 5, 2003 (3:45 p.m.) 

He's correct. There are some part that are from other score's.


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Randall Martin
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  In Response to:
Harm Dommisse

  Responses to this Comment:
M. Nightingale
Re: Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Monday, June 30, 2003 (3:04 p.m.) 

I chcecked this and yest some of the cues are correct.
But it doesn't mean that he was riping this off.

When you write music ( i know becouse i make music on my own ) it's sure you will rip of somebodys work becous your mind works like this, it's uncouncious. You just heard smthing earlier and during your composing smthing will blend.

But if you try to find smthing like this in new score you'll see that the're all riping of somebody. Even the greatest One.
It is unavitable.

> He's correct. There are some part that are from other score's.


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M. Nightingale
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  In Response to:
Randall Martin

  Responses to this Comment:
Romão Santos
Re: Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Saturday, September 6, 2003 (5:26 p.m.) 

> I chcecked this and yest some of the cues are correct.
But it doesn't
> mean that he was riping this off.

> When you write music ( i know becouse i make music on my own ) it's sure
> you will rip of somebodys work becous your mind works like this, it's
> uncouncious. You just heard smthing earlier and during your composing
> smthing will blend.

> But if you try to find smthing like this in new score you'll see that
> the're all riping of somebody. Even the greatest One.
It is
> unavitable.

Art, music, and writing are all just alternate forms of plagerism...

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Romão Santos
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(ce01pc03.netcabo.net)

  In Response to:
M. Nightingale
Re: Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Monday, April 26, 2004 (4:49 a.m.) 

Right in the end of trak 1, you can hear a snipet of Kamen's Robin Hood theme.

But I do love this score.

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Scorehound
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  In Response to:
Blair
Re: Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Tuesday, April 13, 2004 (11:54 a.m.) 

You must be joking. The "Star Wars Theme" heard in the CD is 3 notes. Yout make it sound like the theme is in there...I never noticed at all until your post. As for the "Batman" music, the drums are slightly similar but nothing more.

I think that to be a ripoff or a theft of previous themes it has to be an obvious, blatant ripoff. Like James Horner using his music from Star Trek II and then the same music in Cocoon...

3 notes or a couple seconds of similar sounding music does not qualify. Jeez, if that was considered a ripoff then there are thousands of scores that rip off other scores...

But I applaud your listening skills...

> I would first like to say, this is what I used to keep me going in
> studying for my AP Chem test. I love this music. It's defiantly a hidden
> treasure in the world of film scores. They don't write them how they used
> to, and this is "how they used to"
In the battle music (#17)
> I found it incredible, however, even in the first time listening to it
> (not in the movie), I heard themes from other soundtracks. Here a just a
> few I think:
At about 2:00 mins I hear Danny Elfmans
> "Batman" them.
5:15 an ending to Alan Silvestri's "Back
> to the Future II"
5:40+ An old classical work "Pictures at
> an Exhibition"

> #3- The Language of Romance- 1:34 Star Wars theme all the way.


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Blair
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(24-56-221-136.mdmmi.voyager.net)

  In Response to:
Blair
In Review-2 years later-You can't argue this time!   Sunday, April 25, 2004 (1:21 p.m.) 

Alright, so I’ve had this score in my position for some 4+ years, and have also spend 2 years of college study as a music major\recording engineering... after re-reading I think it's time to post a more intelligent follow-up.
This score is has been getting more attention with the recent Pirates of the Caribbean score failure (in agreement with Filmtracks) along with Sinbad (and no, excessive limiting and distortion does not make orchestra sound louder or better Abbey Road). Debney's Passion of the Christ score has also sparked interest in his work. After much time not only studying, but still being active in the movie score genre, I still think this is one of the most entertaining, energetic, and huge score Filmtracks and many others clam to be; a hidden treasure. As a percussion principle, I'm dumbfounded with everything involving the percussion section. Balance, playing, energy... There's more crash cymbles in this than a Nirvana song. I agree with the main review posted. You here that Clemmensen!!
With that aside, let’s look at this theme business. All the themes I mentioned I still stand behind, and have even gone to the extreme of lining them up in an audio editor and adjusting pitch to see how similar they are. As for the comment about 3 notes, do me a favor and sing the NBC theme and tell me if you heard that in a score on a vibraphone that there wouldn’t be a lawsuit (or at least controversy). In most college ear training classes or even high school choir, teachers use common known musical tunes to help identify scale degrees. Here Comes the Bride, Love Boat, Jaws are just a few but the most common is the Star Wars theme for a perfect 5th. In addition, in the Cutthroat score uses a solo horn traditionally sounding distant and reverberant at a slower tempo; exactly like Star Wars… same instrument, same sound, same musical idea. Same with the passages I mention and also including any others people find familiar. There’s no argument these themes are prevalent and if a reduction of the scores were made we would find many similarities.

Stolen? Absolutely not. From a realistic perspective Debney, or any ‘celebrity’ professional composer would not arbitrarily copy popular works, let alone out of the film score genre (compared to Bach or something). Although it is a fair assumption he has heard all of these scores and may have been inspired by them. I also realize the concept of “rubbing off” musical ideas from one piece of music to another and that is an OK excuse, although that’s the same as Debney claming his dog ate his score the day before recording. Another possibility I’ve seen written is the short amount of time these composers have to create entire works in a small fraction of time compared to classical (non-film) composers, and hampering the creative process for developing original musical themes.
All this considered why would this not be a John Williams score? Zimmer? Whitacre? Beethoven? Why isn’t this score as popular as If this truly is all plagiarism, then why are new artists coming up with new musical expressions? Mathematically there are a limited, though enormous, set of note combinations, limited even more by keys\modes, chord qualities, part writing combinations, instrumentation, and other theory guidelines. To call all forms of art, music and writing progressive plagiarism, even Without explanation, not only signifies a lack of appreciation for the spiritual value, but makes me want to say Du. This also brings up your misuses of the term against the legal definition, and if these forms were truly plagiarized then everything should be exactly alike (the irony being the 3 forms are our key forms of individual expression). Therefore it not about what someone writes, pants, types but the feeling and the meaning behind those rearranged set of notes, words or colors. Bottom line? No one argues they hear those themes in the score, and instead made up excuses for passing them off as a common trademark for musicians. It’s who, not what you know, right?
I think this is one of my most favorite pieces of music. I could go on and on about each track on the album and still not find the words justice. Highlights for this score include great mixing, use of all instruments/voices to their fullest, attention to tempo-especially the change (#2), and that bounce of a pirate score with the wash of the seas. Stolen themes, copied themes, a hundred edits in a single minuet… it’s still an album I put in the player when I want motivation to do calculus.


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Michael
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  In Response to:
Blair
Re: Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Saturday, December 18, 2004 (4:03 p.m.) 

I just got this CD, and wanted to see about those instances.

> #3- The Language of Romance- 1:34 Star Wars theme all the way.

True... the Ben Kenobi theme, to be exact. I haven't heard on my first listen the Batman theme yet in track 17, but I will keep listening.

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Tomek
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  In Response to:
Blair
Re: Battle Music-Some Stolen Themes   Friday, December 31, 2004 (5:01 a.m.) 

> I would first like to say, this is what I used to keep me going in
> studying for my AP Chem test. I love this music. It's defiantly a hidden
> treasure in the world of film scores. They don't write them how they used
> to, and this is "how they used to"
In the battle music (#17)
> I found it incredible, however, even in the first time listening to it
> (not in the movie), I heard themes from other soundtracks. Here a just a
> few I think:
At about 2:00 mins I hear Danny Elfmans
> "Batman" them.
5:15 an ending to Alan Silvestri's "Back
> to the Future II"
5:40+ An old classical work "Pictures at
> an Exhibition"

> #3- The Language of Romance- 1:34 Star Wars theme all the way.

I've checked "The Battle" track and the time-marks specified by You and couldn't heard any Batman theme or Silvestri's BTTF II... First of all at 2:00 mark there is some fantastic chorus singing and at 5:15 the main melody is maybe in some way similar to Silvestri's work, but hey it is played by solo "pirate" violin...

For me personally, this score is something incredible because it joins all the best what Williams, Goldsmith, Horner, Arnold or Silvestri have to offer. On contrary, listening to this Debney's masterpiece several times I found myself asking "where had I heard it??", but those were some single chords or particular orchestrations or scoring techniques that John Debney might have utilized in this score, knowing how fantastic they are - and we should be thankful for this. Debney himself admits how big influence was for him Williams or Goldsmith... But I never heard any themes or motifs that he could "borrowed" from other scores (so well known!)

Tomek

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