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Comments about the soundtrack for King Arthur (Hans Zimmer)

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Re: The Zimmer Effect
• Posted by: jonathan   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Sunday, August 1, 2004, at 11:56 a.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: The Zimmer Effect (Fraley)

amen to that.

I'd hope for all people to read this ...

> The Zimmer Effect: the ability to polarize the film score community like
> no one else.

> If nothing else, you have to admit no other composer approaches Zimmer's
> level of controversy. I've written on this before, but it seems people
> either love his music or hate it, and the passion with which they do so is
> amazing. Fans proclaim him the greatest composer ever, and detractors
> don't stop at simply saying they dislike the music, they frequently feel
> the need to insult the music, the man, and the fans.

> I really think there is a misunderstanding between the two camps. Zimmer
> is by nature a collaborator, and frequently gets the credit (or blame) for
> something he didn't actually write ("The Rock", for example, on
> which Nick Glennie-Smith was the primary composer). Most of Zimmer's
> detractors fail to make the distinction (which, admittedly, can be
> difficult to do at times). I'm not actually referring to works on which
> his name actually appears, but scores like "Armageddon",
> "Pirates of the Carribean", etc, in which Zimmer had either no
> or very little direct input on. Not everything that comes out of Media
> Ventures was composed by Hans Zimmer (in fact, lately, nothing has since
> Zimmer parted ways with MV on bad terms a while back).

> Another common point of disagreement is the composition and style of the
> music. Some claim his music is powerful, others say its simplistic and
> overly synth-dependent. Zimmer simply seems to approach music from a
> different perspective than other composers. Williams thoughtfully composes
> his scores, where there is subtleties hidden in the music. A single
> instrument playing differently from the rest of the orchestra, or a theme
> played slightly off kilter may hold significance, a musical forshadowing.
> You can actually listen to and "study" the better scores by
> maestros like Williams and Goldsmith. Zimmer typically doesn't have this
> kind of depth, and his orchestrations (taking that literally to mean
> arrangement of the orchestra) are not that complex -- you won't usually
> find the orchestra playing six different parts.

> However, that doesn't make Zimmer's music any less valid or interesting.
> He seems to begin with the idea of "what sounds pleasing to the
> ear", and then works outward from there, adding sounds, other parts,
> etc. To Zimmer, the orchestra is simply another instrument in the palet,
> rather than being the palet itself. This leads to complaints about
> Zimmer's music being too dependent on synths, but that statement is
> predicated on the assumption that everything is SUPPOSED to sound like a
> live orchestra, for example that using synth strings is inherently
> inferior to live strings. Zimmer takes the position that synths don't
> sound inferior, simply different, just like a french horn sounds different
> from a trombone. Why limit yourself only to sounds that can be reproduced
> by a live instrument? Ultimately, Zimmer's objective is to produce
> something that simply sounds pleasing and interesting. The complexity in
> his music isn't in the arrangement of the notes, the actual composition
> (like Williams or Goldsmith), but in the careful selection of the sounds,
> the musical palet, and the inclusion of new (to film music, anyway)
> musical elements frequently pulled from modern influences like rock or
> techno. And before anyone says "but composers have been using
> electronic beats or electric guitars for year", remember Zimmer was
> doing this long before it was popular or even considered acceptable in
> film music. His big-break score, "Black Rain", was reportedly
> hated by the producers and music critics of the time.

> What all this means, is that many old school or traditional film score
> fans find Zimmer's music to be offensive, simplistic, and just so much
> noise. However, many younger film score fans find his music to be cutting
> edge, exciting stuff. Its also worth mentioning how so many people focus
> on his action scoring, and forget he has composed for a variety of
> projects in all genres.

> I have noticed that Zimmer's popularity is very high among people with no
> formal music education, people who lack the knowledge of composition to
> notice the details present in a well-composed orchestral work. However,
> that doesn't mean that Zimmer's music only appeals to people who
> "don't know any better", it simply means it succeeds in reaching
> beyond the borders of traditional film score or classical music fans. For
> many film music fans, they dislike Zimmer because his music doesn't fit
> the traditional criteria of a complex score, it doesn't sound like what
> they are used to hearing.

> Everyone has personal preferences. There is absolutely nothing wrong with
> either liking or disliking Zimmer's music. However, I think a little more
> tolerance and open-mindedness is necessary on both sides. Before claiming
> Williams is boring next to Zimmer, consider that there may be complexities
> in the composition of Williams that you may not be noticing. Likewise,
> before proclaiming Zimmer's music as "noise", consider that the
> very same reasons you dislike it may be the reasons others love it.

> In conclusion, my $0.02. As a collector of film music for 15 years, I
> appreciate both sides. Personally, I believe Zimmer is a brilliant and
> highly under-rated composer who has done much to evolve the state of film
> music. Just like our parents who thought the music we listened to growing
> up was garbage because they didn't understand it or it was so different
> from what they grew up with (and no matter what generation you are, your
> parents never approve of your music ), Zimmer gets the same treatment
> quite often. Just remember, Zimmer's music isn't ABOUT the same thing
> traditional orchestral scores are.

Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  • The Zimmer Effect  (3353 views)
       Fraley - Wednesday, July 28, 2004, at 4:44 p.m.
    •      Re: The Zimmer Effect  (2627 views)    We're Here
         jonathan - Sunday, August 1, 2004, at 11:56 a.m.
    •    Re: The Zimmer Effect  (3305 views)
         Jojo - Friday, July 30, 2004, at 6:54 a.m.
    •    Variety's Spice and the Road Ahead  (2918 views)
         Amondar Narundithar - Thursday, July 29, 2004, at 3:19 p.m.
    •    Re: The Zimmer Effect  (3096 views)
         Some Guy - Thursday, July 29, 2004, at 2:11 p.m.
    •    Re: The Zimmer Effect  (2867 views)
         Amuro - Wednesday, July 28, 2004, at 8:30 p.m.
    •    Re: The Zimmer Effect  (3184 views)
         Zimmer_Fan(returned) - Wednesday, July 28, 2004, at 6:44 p.m.

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