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Comments about the soundtrack for Inception (Hans Zimmer)
I get what Zimmer is trying to do.

Fraley
(c-67-167-146-52.hsd1.ar.comcast.n
et)


  Responses to this Comment:
JW
theFUZZ008
I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Thursday, July 15, 2010 (11:01 a.m.) 
• Now Playing: The Hunchback of Notre Dame  

Zimmer's more atmospheric/brooding scores I don't think are ever likely to appeal to more traditional score collectors, but I do believe I understand what he is attempting to accomplish with scores like The Dark Knight and Inception. Essentially, Zimmer is intentionally avoiding the traditional approach of obvious themes and intellectual concepts such as thematic development, and instead is attempting to develop sounds and chord progressions that elicit an intended emotional response subconsciously rather than consciously. If you attempt to sit down and listen to Inception and analyze it in the same fashion you would John Powell's outstanding "How To Train Your Dragon", you would like grow bored quickly, as Inception doesn't lend itself to intellectual dissection. On the other hand, if you wait till late at night, or are otherwise in that half asleep/half awake state where your conscious and subconscious can almost connect, and listen to Inception, the music makes total sense. Considering the context of the film, that seems very interesting. I think the trick to appreciating a score such as The Dark Knight or Inception is actually to not think about it at all -- don't listen for the themes, don't try to pick out compositional techniques, just let it wash over you feel what it wants you to feel. Now, whether or not Zimmer has been successful as this approach, or whether or not the film could have been better served by a different approach or score, is certainly debatable.

As a curiosity, I wonder if males and females would have a different response to this score. In other words, are women more likely to connect to the "emotional" approach? That would be interesting, as it would be the polar opposite of Zimmer's power-anthem style, which is generally described as being very masculine.

(Message edited on Thursday, July 15, 2010, at 11:06 a.m.)


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JW
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  In Response to:
Fraley

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Fraley
Mikal
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Thursday, July 15, 2010 (12:01 p.m.) 

> Zimmer's more atmospheric/brooding scores I don't think are ever likely to
> appeal to more traditional score collectors, but I do believe I understand
> what he is attempting to accomplish with scores like The Dark Knight and
> Inception. Essentially, Zimmer is intentionally avoiding the traditional
> approach of obvious themes and intellectual concepts such as thematic
> development, and instead is attempting to develop sounds and chord
> progressions that elicit an intended emotional response subconsciously
> rather than consciously. If you attempt to sit down and listen to
> Inception and analyze it in the same fashion you would John Powell's
> outstanding "How To Train Your Dragon", you would like grow
> bored quickly, as Inception doesn't lend itself to intellectual
> dissection. On the other hand, if you wait till late at night, or are
> otherwise in that half asleep/half awake state where your conscious and
> subconscious can almost connect, and listen to Inception, the music makes
> total sense. Considering the context of the film, that seems very
> interesting. I think the trick to appreciating a score such as The Dark
> Knight or Inception is actually to not think about it at all -- don't
> listen for the themes, don't try to pick out compositional techniques,
> just let it wash over you feel what it wants you to feel. Now, whether or
> not Zimmer has been successful as this approach, or whether or not the
> film could have been better served by a different approach or score, is
> certainly debatable.

> As a curiosity, I wonder if males and females would have a different
> response to this score. In other words, are women more likely to connect
> to the "emotional" approach? That would be interesting, as it
> would be the polar opposite of Zimmer's power-anthem style, which is
> generally described as being very masculine.

Yeah, I agree that Zimmer thinks that's what he's doing... The problem is what he has actually done is develop a score that is pretty much a flat line in regards to emotion... When I listen to HTTD my mind gets drawn into a creative mode where I can create my own store based on the music's incredible highs and lows... Inception all my mind wants to think about is nothing... It's objectively boring.

For example, take "Forbidden Friendship" a fairly simple track (complex enough) that builds slowly adding instrumentation and chorals as it goes... This is the kind of thing that Zimmer used to be good at (I'm looking at you Crimson Tide, and even Angel and Demons which Clemmensen mentions in is review), but now with Inception we get tracks that don't really build at all. They repeat the same few notes ad noseum, maybe changing octaves or speed and then fall flat with no emotional explosion and emotional response from the listener... Bottom line: if you sit down and listen to the two Batman scores, Transformers, and Inception things really start to run together forming a muddled, tired mess.

(Message edited on Thursday, July 15, 2010, at 12:03 p.m.)


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Fraley
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  In Response to:
JW

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Berlioz
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Thursday, July 15, 2010 (12:29 p.m.) 

> Yeah, I agree that Zimmer thinks that's what he's doing... The problem is
> what he has actually done is develop a score that is pretty much a flat
> line in regards to emotion... When I listen to HTTD my mind gets drawn
> into a creative mode where I can create my own store based on the music's
> incredible highs and lows... Inception all my mind wants to think about is
> nothing... It's objectively boring.

I agree that Inception isn't his strongest effort in this style. I would personally give it ***. I find it more interesting than most collectors seem to, but certainly wouldn't call it one of his better scores.

On the other hand, I am a big supporter of his score to The Dark Knight. I think the Joker music was inspired, and the score was exactly what the film needed. The Joker music make not have been a theme in the conventional sense (notice I did not refer to it as one), but it perfectly evoked the off-kilter sense of unease the viewer should feel when the Joker is on-screen. I think that would be an example of Zimmer's subconscious-effect (I think that is a better descriptor then "emotional") approach working.



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Berlioz
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  In Response to:
Fraley

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Fraley
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Thursday, July 15, 2010 (3:57 p.m.) 

> ...but it perfectly evoked the off-kilter sense of unease the viewer
> should feel when the Joker is on-screen. I think that would be an
> example of Zimmer's subconscious-effect (I think that is a better
> descriptor then "emotional") approach working.

I don't know. I still got more unnerved feelings of just watching Heath Ledger on screen while Zimmer's "subconscious effect" as you call it went completely undetected by me. I'm sure there are people who felt it added something to the film, but its effect was completely lost to me when stacked against what I was actually seeing, namely the cinematography and acting. I still feel the score added nothing to the The Dark Knight than what was already accomplished by other mediums.

But I am intrigued about Inception's in film experience since so many critics have mentioned it. Not that I'd want to own the score on CD I believe, but I still would like to check out the score's cumulative effect in context.


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Fraley
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  In Response to:
Berlioz

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Berlioz
Wallgate
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Thursday, July 15, 2010 (5:15 p.m.) 

> I don't know. I still got more unnerved feelings of just watching Heath
> Ledger on screen while Zimmer's "subconscious effect" as you
> call it went completely undetected by me.

I think that is the whole point of this approach -- not to consciously notice it's effect. I bet if you were to go back and watch some of those scenes with no score at all, it would suddenly feel like something was missing.


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Berlioz
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Fraley
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Thursday, July 15, 2010 (5:42 p.m.) 

> I think that is the whole point of this approach -- not to consciously
> notice it's effect. I bet if you were to go back and watch some of those
> scenes with no score at all, it would suddenly feel like something was
> missing.

Perhaps. Just not sure if I got it even on a subconscious level. But isn't that just the question since its hard to actually give a concrete answer whether you were effected or not without a point of comparison?


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Wallgate
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  In Response to:
Fraley
Missed oportunity   Saturday, July 17, 2010 (8:33 p.m.) 

> I think that is the whole point of this approach -- not to consciously
> notice it's effect. I bet if you were to go back and watch some of those
> scenes with no score at all, it would suddenly feel like something was
> missing.

What you say is another way of saying "this score is better than nothing". Well, the problem is we'll never know how it would sound if they'd hire a more creative (read: not so lazy) composer.



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Mikal
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JW

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JW
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Friday, July 16, 2010 (8:00 p.m.) 

> Yeah, I agree that Zimmer thinks that's what he's doing... The problem is
> what he has actually done is develop a score that is pretty much a flat
> line in regards to emotion... When I listen to HTTD my mind gets drawn
> into a creative mode where I can create my own store based on the music's
> incredible highs and lows... Inception all my mind wants to think about is
> nothing... It's objectively boring.

Prove that it's "objectively boring," i.e., back it up with factual information. People make statements like this all the time without really considering the ramifications of what they are saying.


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JW
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Mikal

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Mikal
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Saturday, July 17, 2010 (11:20 a.m.) 

> Prove that it's "objectively boring," i.e., back it up with
> factual information. People make statements like this all the time without
> really considering the ramifications of what they are saying.

Okay, Mikal... Here's a fact that can be broken down by looking at Zimmer's sheet music... Simple, consistent, and nearly constant repetition = boring. The score can be engaging in short bursts, but at its full length the phrase "objectively boring" applies.

Furthermore, don't lecture me, jackass... You don't know me, and the only thing I've seen out of you is a complete miss when you nearly guaranteed that Clemmensen wouldn't throw down 5 stars on HTTYD.

(Message edited on Saturday, July 17, 2010, at 11:22 a.m.)


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Mikal
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Jack
GK
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Saturday, July 17, 2010 (10:14 p.m.) 

> Okay, Mikal... Here's a fact that can be broken down by looking at
> Zimmer's sheet music... Simple, consistent, and nearly constant repetition
> = boring. The score can be engaging in short bursts, but at its full
> length the phrase "objectively boring" applies.

I don't think it can and I'll tell you why. Maybe Zimmer's score doesn't contain as many key shifts or brass tuplets or leitmotivs as a typical John Williams' score would (I'm using him as an example because, judging by your username, you're a fan), but those elements are quantifiable, i.e., measurable. You can't quantify, or even objectively qualify, boredom because it's inherently rooted in subjectivity. It's something that humans feel. What one person finds boring, another person may not. Does that mean one person is right and the other isn't? No. It can't given the nature of the word.

> Furthermore, don't lecture me, jackass... You don't know me, and the only
> thing I've seen out of you is a complete miss when you nearly guaranteed
> that Clemmensen wouldn't throw down 5 stars on HTTYD.

Er, I wasn't aware I was lecturing you...but okay, my apologies. I'd appreciate it if you didn't insult me, either. I didn't insult you, dude. Let's try to keep it civil.

If that's the only thing you've seen out of me, you must not frequent the Scoreboard. And wait, what does a wrong prediction have to do with anything? Nearly guaranteed? All I said was I didn't think he'd give it more than four stars. I even admitted I was incorrect and explained why I thought he'd give it four stars or less, in a humble way, I thought:

"I just don't understand how he could rate it two stars higher than Kung Fu Panda when, in my opinion, they're pretty similar in terms of development and cohesion (although, admittedly, the latter is a bit more frenetic, and it was co-composed by Zimmer). Tastes just differ I suppose and I respect that. I certainly don't assert that he is "wrong" or anything, and it's a definitely a solid score...it just doesn't pack that extra punch for me. However, I think I'll give the score one more sustained listen in which I really pay attention to what's going on in it before I come up with my final verdict."

But honestly, I wasn't even that far off the mark, given Christian's response:

"My first inclination was to give How to Train Your Dragon four stars. The Scottish stuff didn't bother me (after all, I'm rating the album experience, so the irrelevance is not as much an issue there), but I did feel as though the album presentation ran a little too long when the cluster of five action cues at the end started to slide back towards Powell's more anonymous tendencies. As I appreciated the first two thirds of the album several times more, though, I decided that his spread of the instrumentation and thematic expressions across the entire soundscape, especially after I had just heard Clash of the Titans, merited a higher rating. Everything that bothered me about Djawadi's stale music was washed away by Powell. If I gave half-star ratings, this one would have gotten a 4.5, and perhaps a really awesome song at the end (instead of what we got) would have elevated it to the full five in that scheme."

His first inclination was to give it four stars and he thought the album sounded especially fresh after hearing Clash of the Titans. So, I'd wager he would've actually given it four stars had it not been for Djawadi's score making an impression primarily. This is just speculation and can't be proven, but given what CC himself said, it's probable.

Please, respond. I love these kinds of debates. Just remain courteous and don't resort to ad hominid attacks if you don't agree with something I say.


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Jack
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Mikal

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cldesa
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Sunday, July 18, 2010 (10:59 a.m.) 

> I don't think it can and I'll tell you why. Maybe Zimmer's score doesn't
> contain as many key shifts or brass tuplets or leitmotivs as a typical
> John Williams' score would (I'm using him as an example because, judging
> by your username, you're a fan), but those elements are quantifiable,
> i.e., measurable. You can't quantify, or even objectively qualify, boredom
> because it's inherently rooted in subjectivity. It's something that humans
> feel. What one person finds boring, another person may not. Does that mean
> one person is right and the other isn't? No. It can't given the nature of
> the word.

That doesn't change the fact that on sheet music it is simple. You can harangue all you want about subjectivity but,on paper and in the score, it's simple. Listening to the score and hearing it is not subjective cause what you hear is judged on what is heard not the feeling of what is heard therefore making the "subjectivity" void. I'm not expressing my perspective when listening to the score I simply listen. You can say his stuff is boring because if you want to sit and listen to droning Vuvuzuela's all day and call it "subjective art" be my guest but don't give this straw man argument about how we can't understand the music because it's "subjective art." That's elitism and it's a BS statement.

When I listen to Inception I don't "feel" the score is boring. I hear that the score is boring because of it's droning and redundant Zimmer-isms heard in scores past compounded yet again into Hans Zimmer's "creativity." John William's creates elaborate scores with beautiful theme's and complex melodies and themes that are not only interesting but entertaining to listen to. Hans Zimmer over the past couple scores like The Burning Plain, The Dark Knight, and Inception has proven beyond a doubt that he is insane if he calls this complex. This is not one iota more complex that John Williams on sheet music. And I play his music on my piano. Hans Zimmer's scores, which I also play, are remarkably simple ,and while they are effective on screen, they are just forgettable. I give it about to the end of the year for people to get over the hangover of a Zimmer score.


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cldesa
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Jack

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Jack
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Sunday, July 18, 2010 (12:24 p.m.) 

> That doesn't change the fact that on sheet music it is simple. You can
> harangue all you want about subjectivity but,on paper and in the score,
> it's simple. Listening to the score and hearing it is not subjective cause
> what you hear is judged on what is heard not the feeling of what is heard
> therefore making the "subjectivity" void. I'm not expressing my
> perspective when listening to the score I simply listen. You can say his
> stuff is boring because if you want to sit and listen to droning
> Vuvuzuela's all day and call it "subjective art" be my guest but
> don't give this straw man argument about how we can't understand the music
> because it's "subjective art." That's elitism and it's a BS
> statement.

> When I listen to Inception I don't "feel" the score is boring. I
> hear that the score is boring because of it's droning and redundant
> Zimmer-isms heard in scores past compounded yet again into Hans Zimmer's
> "creativity." John William's creates elaborate scores with
> beautiful theme's and complex melodies and themes that are not only
> interesting but entertaining to listen to. Hans Zimmer over the past
> couple scores like The Burning Plain, The Dark Knight, and Inception has
> proven beyond a doubt that he is insane if he calls this complex. This is
> not one iota more complex that John Williams on sheet music. And I play
> his music on my piano. Hans Zimmer's scores, which I also play, are
> remarkably simple ,and while they are effective on screen, they are just
> forgettable. I give it about to the end of the year for people to get over
> the hangover of a Zimmer score.

I disagree. Music as a cohesive whole is entirely subjective. If your perceptions are not applied to it, it's simply an amalgamation of soundwaves; whether your brain interprets those soundwave masses as pleasurable is entirely subjective. "Droning" and "redundant" are subjective terms; for example, what classifies a redundant sound? Two repetitions? Ten? Five hundred? Even if you were able to quantify simplicity and complexity, it can not be used as evidence towards determining whether something is boring. You could compose a piece with thousands of instrumental layers, but it would not necessarily convey more emotion or be more interesting than a simple one-handed piano melody. Eventually, complexity just becomes noise. The entire world might conclude that a particular score is boring; unfortunately, 6.5 billion subjective opinions do not equal an objective one.


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Jack
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cldesa

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cldesa
GK
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Sunday, July 18, 2010 (3:24 p.m.) 

> I disagree. Music as a cohesive whole is entirely subjective. If your
> perceptions are not applied to it, it's simply an amalgamation of
> soundwaves; whether your brain interprets those soundwave masses as
> pleasurable is entirely subjective. "Droning" and
> "redundant" are subjective terms; for example, what classifies a
> redundant sound? Two repetitions? Ten? Five hundred? Even if you were able
> to quantify simplicity and complexity, it can not be used as evidence
> towards determining whether something is boring. You could compose a piece
> with thousands of instrumental layers, but it would not necessarily convey
> more emotion or be more interesting than a simple one-handed piano melody.
> Eventually, complexity just becomes noise. The entire world might conclude
> that a particular score is boring; unfortunately, 6.5 billion subjective
> opinions do not equal an objective one.

Music is not entirely subjective. Your opinions on the score may be "subjective" but the score is not. I don't need to hear this BS philosophy but what you're doing is saying it is art because we cannot understand it because it's subjective. But what you're really saying is it's so bad that you can't understand it therefore it must be art and subjective. Which is quite a funny statement itself. This argument takes away the fact that there are actual criticisms of the score that you may or may not have listened to. The fact that it is droning ,I.E. to pass, proceed, or act in a dull, drowsy, or indifferent manner, is not subjective because I am not feeling what is being heard in the score but rather describing what is transpiring by actually listening to the score. Ears help discern this.

The argument about how "6.5 billion subjective opinions do not equal an objective one" is also a straw man because my opinion that I express is not "subjective" but rather objective, from listening to many Hans Zimmer scores and knowing his music personally and that of other composers too, and makes you sound rather benign to me(There's those darn "subjective" opinions again). But the fact that you are mangling words to come up with these foe philosophical statements about "What is" is also a fallacy because if the evidence is actually being played on album then you can't say "well, it's so redundant that it's art."Plus, there are also things called "consensus" like rotten tomato's "Tomatometer" which is the quantifiable score of reviews. And again this BS argument about quantifying complexity. Have you actually taken a look at Hans Zimmer's sheet music or for that matter listened to any of his scores? To say that Zimmer is not being redundant in his scores is like saying that writing "poop" 1 thousand times would be a diverse representation of words. And the fact that you have interviews, sound bites, and the scores themselves that actually show how redundant and absurd Hans Zimmer's career has become also doesn't help your argument(When is gonna retire and tour the nation? He promised that but I guess that was subjective too). Also, you talk about it from an emotional stand point which is actual subjectivity but whereas I'm actually in the world of listening to scores impartially.

Also, The example of a thousand pieces orchestra to a one handed melody is also a straw man because there are actual one handed pieces that are a thousand times more complex and more wonderfully executed then the entirety of Hans Zimmer's score. Chopin did one. Liszt also. And to say that complexity becomes noise bothers me the most. So a cue like "Waiting for a Train" is not droning on and on but "Scherzo for motorcycle and orchestra" is just noise? The purpose of music is to transcend noise into beautiful sounds that make music and not actually become the sound because that would be just SFX.

Inception is an actual mess of sounds and if I took the sounds of Vuvuzelas and sang french over it you would probably call that "existential." The problem is that you are hiding a bad score behind the guise that if it cannot be good then it should be art but there are plenty of scores that are masterpieces technically and emotionally like Lawrence of Arabia and Once Upon A Time in the West which are actual masterpieces and art.

P.S. I hate people throwing around the word subjective like they know what they mean I am not listening to a score "existing only in the mind" or perceiving the score to be real. That is BS, so save it.


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cldesa
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Jack

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Jack
AntonioE1778
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Jack
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Sunday, July 18, 2010 (4:28 p.m.) 

> Music is not entirely subjective. Your opinions on the score may be
> "subjective" but the score is not. I don't need to hear this BS
> philosophy but what you're doing is saying it is art because we cannot
> understand it because it's subjective. But what you're really saying is
> it's so bad that you can't understand it therefore it must be art and
> subjective. Which is quite a funny statement itself. This argument takes
> away the fact that there are actual criticisms of the score that you may
> or may not have listened to. The fact that it is droning ,I.E. to pass,
> proceed, or act in a dull, drowsy, or indifferent manner, is not
> subjective because I am not feeling what is being heard in the score but
> rather describing what is transpiring by actually listening to the score.
> Ears help discern this.

> The argument about how "6.5 billion subjective opinions do not equal
> an objective one" is also a straw man because my opinion that I
> express is not "subjective" but rather objective, from listening
> to many Hans Zimmer scores and knowing his music personally and that of
> other composers too, and makes you sound rather benign to me(There's those
> darn "subjective" opinions again). But the fact that you are
> mangling words to come up with these foe philosophical statements about
> "What is" is also a fallacy because if the evidence is actually
> being played on album then you can't say "well, it's so redundant
> that it's art."Plus, there are also things called
> "consensus" like rotten tomato's "Tomatometer" which
> is the quantifiable score of reviews. And again this BS argument about
> quantifying complexity. Have you actually taken a look at Hans Zimmer's
> sheet music or for that matter listened to any of his scores? To say that
> Zimmer is not being redundant in his scores is like saying that writing
> "poop" 1 thousand times would be a diverse representation of
> words. And the fact that you have interviews, sound bites, and the scores
> themselves that actually show how redundant and absurd Hans Zimmer's
> career has become also doesn't help your argument(When is gonna retire and
> tour the nation? He promised that but I guess that was subjective too).
> Also, you talk about it from an emotional stand point which is actual
> subjectivity but whereas I'm actually in the world of listening to scores
> impartially.

> Also, The example of a thousand pieces orchestra to a one handed melody is
> also a straw man because there are actual one handed pieces that are a
> thousand times more complex and more wonderfully executed then the
> entirety of Hans Zimmer's score. Chopin did one. Liszt also. And to say
> that complexity becomes noise bothers me the most. So a cue like
> "Waiting for a Train" is not droning on and on but "Scherzo
> for motorcycle and orchestra" is just noise? The purpose of music is
> to transcend noise into beautiful sounds that make music and not actually
> become the sound because that would be just SFX.

> Inception is an actual mess of sounds and if I took the sounds of
> Vuvuzelas and sang french over it you would probably call that
> "existential." The problem is that you are hiding a bad score
> behind the guise that if it cannot be good then it should be art but there
> are plenty of scores that are masterpieces technically and emotionally
> like Lawrence of Arabia and Once Upon A Time in the West which are actual
> masterpieces and art.

> P.S. I hate people throwing around the word subjective like they know what
> they mean I am not listening to a score "existing only in the
> mind" or perceiving the score to be real. That is BS, so save it.

Hmm, Jack, do you realize what happens when you 'listen' to a piece? Your brain centers for memory and emotion are activated, not just the areas that control the mechanics of hearing. Everything you listen to is tainted with your own emotions and biases. Thus, it is no longer objective. What you like to call BS is what I like to call science. When you've finished antagonizing people on this board, it might be helpful to check out a neuroscience textbook to facilitate your future ramblings.



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Jack
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cldesa

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Jack
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Sunday, July 18, 2010 (5:31 p.m.) 

> Hmm, Jack, do you realize what happens when you 'listen' to a piece? Your
> brain centers for memory and emotion are activated, not just the areas
> that control the mechanics of hearing. Everything you listen to is tainted
> with your own emotions and biases. Thus, it is no longer objective. What
> you like to call BS is what I like to call science. When you've finished
> antagonizing people on this board, it might be helpful to check out a
> neuroscience textbook to facilitate your future ramblings.

Do you realize in order to be subjective you would need to actually express and react to something objective? You can actually choose not to have these emotional responses if you listen or watch something enough or you can actually not have these responses at all. I've listened to too many scores, albeit Hans Zimmer scores, to have some internet mole rat tell me my opinion is "tainted." So, now because I say a score is bad my statement tainted with feelings. Unfortunately, you don't understand the device of precedent. When you post something please be sure to actually know what you are talking about and crack open an actual book.



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Jack
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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Sunday, July 18, 2010 (6:09 p.m.) 

And also what bugs me is that you mistake reacting emotionally to the music to actually describing whats going on and hearing the music as an act or knowing what is happening when music is playing. When I describe the music to Inception and hear to notes being played I know that there is a description to whats going on. I know there are guitars playing. I know there are droning electronics playing. Based on your statement the whole piece should be indescribable, which is a fools notion, and that while my memory is being "activated" I am noticing how derivative it is of other scores. Your argument on the other hand says "You couldn't ever effectively describe the score."

If I express my feeling I would say : It's a bad score

When I say something like it's got the same tone and the same construction as The Dark Knight. That is a fact. To prove it listen to The Dark Knight! I did not make it up because from experience I can tell what is similar and what is different in his scores. When I say that Waiting For a Train is droning I know because that is the act that is going on. It's not like it's not happening. And your mangling of words that have clear definitions like "redundant" I.E. characterized by similarity or repetition which is exactly a technique used in the score Dream is Collapsing and Mombasa. It bugs me to know end when BS like "What you like to call BS is what I like to call science" but because if my memory and brain is paying attention to the music you can choose to listen to music any way you like I.E. the Aaron Copeland method or the way I listen to music. Which would then accommodate your grips with the science. Look it up instead of talking in boring circle philosophy.



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AntonioE1778
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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Monday, July 19, 2010 (9:18 a.m.) 

> Hmm, Jack, do you realize what happens when you 'listen' to a piece? Your
> brain centers for memory and emotion are activated, not just the areas
> that control the mechanics of hearing. Everything you listen to is tainted
> with your own emotions and biases. Thus, it is no longer objective. What
> you like to call BS is what I like to call science. When you've finished
> antagonizing people on this board, it might be helpful to check out a
> neuroscience textbook to facilitate your future ramblings.

With respect, may I offer this: Science is supposed to be inherently objective by definition I believe. Therefore, it seems that you have contradicted what science actually is, no?


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cldesa
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Jack
Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Monday, July 19, 2010 (6:45 p.m.) 

> With respect, may I offer this: Science is supposed to be inherently
> objective by definition I believe. Therefore, it seems that you have
> contradicted what science actually is, no?

You're right, science is supposed to be objective. Unfortunately, that objectivity is far from inherent, personal bias tends to get in the way. If you're counting or measuring cells, for example, you're more likely to unconsciously arrive at a value that supports your hypothesis. There are safeguards to prevent bias, such as double blind studies, but inevitably some subjectivity slips through. Even with a hypothetical objective data set, it's still up to the scientist to interpret the results and present an encompassing theory. That's why scientists spend so much time and money replicating the experiments of other scientists - they're trying to increase the probability that the phenomenon being reported is actually present, and not the product of someone's bias. Thank you for being nice!



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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Saturday, October 16, 2010 (6:53 a.m.) 

> You're right, science is supposed to be objective. Unfortunately, that
> objectivity is far from inherent, personal bias tends to get in the way.
> If you're counting or measuring cells, for example, you're more likely to
> unconsciously arrive at a value that supports your hypothesis. There are
> safeguards to prevent bias, such as double blind studies, but inevitably
> some subjectivity slips through. Even with a hypothetical objective data
> set, it's still up to the scientist to interpret the results and present
> an encompassing theory. That's why scientists spend so much time and money
> replicating the experiments of other scientists - they're trying to
> increase the probability that the phenomenon being reported is actually
> present, and not the product of someone's bias. Thank you for being nice!
>

That is objectivity. Hypothesis's are product of simply noticing subtle things about people. Actions are not subjective, and science's job is to prove the objective. How am I "unconsciously arriving at a value to support my hypothesis" when my experiment is an external event? In other words, you are a tool.



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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Friday, July 23, 2010 (4:43 p.m.) 

> Hmm, Jack, do you realize what happens when you 'listen' to a piece? Your
> brain centers for memory and emotion are activated, not just the areas
> that control the mechanics of hearing. Everything you listen to is tainted
> with your own emotions and biases. Thus, it is no longer objective. What
> you like to call BS is what I like to call science. When you've finished
> antagonizing people on this board, it might be helpful to check out a
> neuroscience textbook to facilitate your future ramblings.

So, now we have science to back up Hans Zimmer's brilliance?
And we now need science to protect Zimmer's drone?

That's the most ridiculous crap I've read since I started discussing Hans Zimmer music.


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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Friday, July 23, 2010 (5:50 p.m.) 

> So, now we have science to back up Hans Zimmer's brilliance?

Did he/she say anything about backing up Zimmer's brilliance? Hell, did he/she even mention Zimmer? They're just talking about music, in general. If you want to extrapolate and put words in peoples' mouths, go ahead.

> And we now need science to protect Zimmer's drone?

See above.

> That's the most ridiculous crap I've read since I started discussing Hans
> Zimmer music.

And this is exactly why I don't engage in these sorts of arguments. Bull-headed people making dogmatic claims...not even open to other opinions...while also managing to be condescending and ridiculing. He/she articulated their point of view and backed it up with facts, which you extended to something completely unrelated, and you called it "ridiculous crap." Was that really called for, Georg? Of course, saying this won't even matter at all to you. You'll think what you think, regardless. Whatever. I'm done.

(Message edited on Friday, July 23, 2010, at 9:19 p.m.)


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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Saturday, October 16, 2010 (7:01 a.m.) 

> Hmm, Jack, do you realize what happens when you 'listen' to a piece? Your
> brain centers for memory and emotion are activated, not just the areas
> that control the mechanics of hearing. Everything you listen to is tainted
> with your own emotions and biases. Thus, it is no longer objective. What
> you like to call BS is what I like to call science. When you've finished
> antagonizing people on this board, it might be helpful to check out a
> neuroscience textbook to facilitate your future ramblings.

I laugh at your short statements, you real cannot prove that I'm wrong, but tell me to study a textbook to affirm my beliefs. Why should I? You should be sufficiently knowledgeable to tell me, no? Music is not subjective, and all things are not relative. If they were this discussion has no meaning, and both our statements are right. You can listen to music objectively and notice when things are being used. Unfortunately, noticing the obvious now means "noticing the subjective," and that simply doesn't make sense. Although, I find it funny that you want to use science to prove Zimmer's genius, which in all frankness, is stupid.

Also, you can become desensitized to music as you listen to it for a while, inheriting a sense of objectivity, if you will. In the case of Zimmer, I've heard so many scores by him that it really doesn't fill me with anything. I just listen. I like how you say it's "tainted." Than I suppose your argument is tainted with inaccuracies because your emotion.


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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Friday, July 23, 2010 (4:47 p.m.) 

> Music is not entirely subjective. Your opinions on the score may be
> "subjective" but the score is not. I don't need to hear this BS
> philosophy but what you're doing is saying it is art because we cannot
> understand it because it's subjective. But what you're really saying is
> it's so bad that you can't understand it therefore it must be art and
> subjective. Which is quite a funny statement itself. This argument takes
> away the fact that there are actual criticisms of the score that you may
> or may not have listened to. The fact that it is droning ,I.E. to pass,
> proceed, or act in a dull, drowsy, or indifferent manner, is not
> subjective because I am not feeling what is being heard in the score but
> rather describing what is transpiring by actually listening to the score.
> Ears help discern this.

> The argument about how "6.5 billion subjective opinions do not equal
> an objective one" is also a straw man because my opinion that I
> express is not "subjective" but rather objective, from listening
> to many Hans Zimmer scores and knowing his music personally and that of
> other composers too, and makes you sound rather benign to me(There's those
> darn "subjective" opinions again). But the fact that you are
> mangling words to come up with these foe philosophical statements about
> "What is" is also a fallacy because if the evidence is actually
> being played on album then you can't say "well, it's so redundant
> that it's art."Plus, there are also things called
> "consensus" like rotten tomato's "Tomatometer" which
> is the quantifiable score of reviews. And again this BS argument about
> quantifying complexity. Have you actually taken a look at Hans Zimmer's
> sheet music or for that matter listened to any of his scores? To say that
> Zimmer is not being redundant in his scores is like saying that writing
> "poop" 1 thousand times would be a diverse representation of
> words. And the fact that you have interviews, sound bites, and the scores
> themselves that actually show how redundant and absurd Hans Zimmer's
> career has become also doesn't help your argument(When is gonna retire and
> tour the nation? He promised that but I guess that was subjective too).
> Also, you talk about it from an emotional stand point which is actual
> subjectivity but whereas I'm actually in the world of listening to scores
> impartially.

> Also, The example of a thousand pieces orchestra to a one handed melody is
> also a straw man because there are actual one handed pieces that are a
> thousand times more complex and more wonderfully executed then the
> entirety of Hans Zimmer's score. Chopin did one. Liszt also. And to say
> that complexity becomes noise bothers me the most. So a cue like
> "Waiting for a Train" is not droning on and on but "Scherzo
> for motorcycle and orchestra" is just noise? The purpose of music is
> to transcend noise into beautiful sounds that make music and not actually
> become the sound because that would be just SFX.

> Inception is an actual mess of sounds and if I took the sounds of
> Vuvuzelas and sang french over it you would probably call that
> "existential." The problem is that you are hiding a bad score
> behind the guise that if it cannot be good then it should be art but there
> are plenty of scores that are masterpieces technically and emotionally
> like Lawrence of Arabia and Once Upon A Time in the West which are actual
> masterpieces and art.

> P.S. I hate people throwing around the word subjective like they know what
> they mean I am not listening to a score "existing only in the
> mind" or perceiving the score to be real. That is BS, so save it.

I love you, man!

And that is completely subjective


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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Friday, July 23, 2010 (4:34 p.m.) 

> I don't think it can and I'll tell you why. Maybe Zimmer's score doesn't
> contain as many key shifts or brass tuplets or leitmotivs as a typical
> John Williams' score would (I'm using him as an example because, judging
> by your username, you're a fan), but those elements are quantifiable,
> i.e., measurable. You can't quantify, or even objectively qualify, boredom
> because it's inherently rooted in subjectivity. It's something that humans
> feel. What one person finds boring, another person may not. Does that mean
> one person is right and the other isn't? No. It can't given the nature of
> the word.

Yeah, well, show me a real person (that is not utterly juvenile) that finds Inception exceedingly "un-boring" - "exciting" is a word I dare say even the most fierce Zimmer fan won't attribute to Inception.

There is a time and a place for everything, and I'm sure, if you are driving down an empty highway at midnight, playing Inception can rise to the level of excitement of preventing you to fall asleep.

There is a level of boredom that you definitely CAN read from the sheet music. If you print out John Ottman's Superman Returns Suite, it sure sounds as tedious as it looks.


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theFUZZ008
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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Friday, July 16, 2010 (8:06 p.m.) 

> Zimmer's more atmospheric/brooding scores I don't think are ever likely to
> appeal to more traditional score collectors, but I do believe I understand
> what he is attempting to accomplish with scores like The Dark Knight and
> Inception. Essentially, Zimmer is intentionally avoiding the traditional
> approach of obvious themes and intellectual concepts such as thematic
> development, and instead is attempting to develop sounds and chord
> progressions that elicit an intended emotional response subconsciously
> rather than consciously. If you attempt to sit down and listen to
> Inception and analyze it in the same fashion you would John Powell's
> outstanding "How To Train Your Dragon", you would like grow
> bored quickly, as Inception doesn't lend itself to intellectual
> dissection. On the other hand, if you wait till late at night, or are
> otherwise in that half asleep/half awake state where your conscious and
> subconscious can almost connect, and listen to Inception, the music makes
> total sense. Considering the context of the film, that seems very
> interesting. I think the trick to appreciating a score such as The Dark
> Knight or Inception is actually to not think about it at all -- don't
> listen for the themes, don't try to pick out compositional techniques,
> just let it wash over you feel what it wants you to feel. Now, whether or
> not Zimmer has been successful as this approach, or whether or not the
> film could have been better served by a different approach or score, is
> certainly debatable.

You stated everything eloquently, but I have to respectfully disagree with you. Avoiding themes is bad in my book, but i know some people love atmospheric scores so I can't fault him there. But abandoning intellectual concepts is just sounds to me like an excuse to be simple or stupid. The chord progressions aren't serving the score, they serve the composer's comfort zone and stock set of skills. The score really doesn't evoke an emotional response. I kind of wish he had been allowed to write the romance he had initially intended. The film is very complex and interesting, but the score is not. I think you're right in questioning if it was successful. It served the film fine, it is just not very interesting.

Please don't take anything I said as an attack on you or something like that. I mean no disrespect. Zimmer is a frustrating composer for me, and it is disappointing when such good, high profile films get served with his same shtick and praised for it, especially in reviews.

(Message edited on Friday, July 16, 2010, at 8:08 p.m.)


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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Tuesday, July 20, 2010 (12:25 p.m.) 
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> You stated everything eloquently, but I have to respectfully disagree with
> you. Avoiding themes is bad in my book, but i know some people love
> atmospheric scores so I can't fault him there. But abandoning intellectual
> concepts is just sounds to me like an excuse to be simple or stupid.

Another (hopefully) respectful disagreement:

I suppose I'm the odd one out here, but I've always found themes to be more like a lazy summary of a general concept, rather than an appropriate musical analysis of on-screen events. In many cases, the "excuse to be simple or stupid" you mention seems to be an accusation best directed at themes; an excuse to avoid doing a thorough analysis of on-screen events and accurately representing them musically, instead settling for a cursory musical nutshell.

As an example, I much prefer the avant-garde soundscapes of Goldsmith's Alien score (the film sessions, not the official album) over his melodic approach to Star Trek: The Motion Picture, not because I inherently prefer dissonance over harmony, but simply because one more accurately suits the film. And speaking of the Alien series, Goldenthal's Alien3 is a prime example of excellent on-screen event analysis, even going so far as to take advantage of spatial dimensions in his recording sessions, adjusting instrument distances to match far-away or up-close events. Those are levels of analytical finesse you won't find in a Williams recording, and while his theming approach can work for more frivolous material or films with a multitude of characters like Star Wars or Harry Potter 3, it's always a bummer to buy a 60+ minute Williams album like Schindler's List or Seven Years In Tibet or Munich and only get about 20 minutes worth of original music.

I agree that re-iterating musical concepts can be appropriate when dealing with re-iterated characters or events in a story, but must the musical concept always be a melody? I don't believe so.



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Re: I get what Zimmer is trying to do.   Monday, January 17, 2011 (10:13 p.m.) 

I don't think thematic writing itself is lazy - but it CAN be lazy. If a composer writes a theme for John Doe and merely repeats the melody without any change whatsoever anytime John Doe appears onscreen, then it's lazy. But if the composer adapts the melody to fit John Doe's character arc, or maybe hints at the melody for a crucial mystery in order to hint at John Doe's involvement in something, or even uses similarities between John Doe's theme and another character's to suggest relationships between the characters - that's intelligent.



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