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Comments about the soundtrack for The Terminal (John Williams)

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Re: My take on rip offs, Zimmer clichés and reading music
• Posted by: Ken Applegate   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Wednesday, July 7, 2004, at 12:09 a.m.
• IP Address: lsanca1-ar13-4-60-135-085.lsanca1.dsl-verizon.net
• In Response to: Re: My take on rip offs, Zimmer clichés and re... (Musica42)

Okay, I will first thank you for clearing up some misconceptions of mine. The last that I'd heard, Zimmer didn't know how to read music, but you have apparently seen his own work on paper, so I will take your word for that. I also totally know that film scorers routinely get help. That is just a fact of the business that I understand and accept. I in no way would expect Mr. Zimmer to "fly solo". That would be beyond unreasonable. There are a couple of responces in this post that I would like to address because I might have done a bad job communicating what you were responding to. I'll try to not write half a bible this time.

"That's a good argument but unfortunately the inverse would also be true.
What if the tubist was Hans Zimmer? Would he be able to effectively
compose music for film? No."

Unfortunately, that is not always true. Case-In-Point: Jim Self (who recently played the finale of John's Concerto with the Pacific Symphony). The man is a tubist who can compose. I also am a tubist who can compose. Can we compose music for film?? Of course we can. If we can compose, we can write a film score (after a course in the finer points, which I think Jim wouldn't need since he's been in that environment for several decades.) Also, performance is a craft all its own. Composition is a craft all its own, but the two are joined by the common factor of music. To say that a composer who knows what he needs to know only knows part of his craft would be wrong. The same applies to the performer. He or she practices as much as they need to, perform to the level that they are required to and just do what they are supposed to do. That is a person who knows their craft. And I think you typed that in a much less complex manor, so I'll just stop with this now.

"Zimmer is a composer; the hypothetical tuba player is a performer."

I was under the impression that Zimmer had to perform in order to get his ideas to somebody who could write it down properly. Something that has been cleared up.

"My point merely was that whether these words are
written down or not doesn't affect their meaning."

The only thing that I was trying to say (and did a poor job of it) was that the words would end up meaning nothing to anybody but the one who thought of them if proper steps were not taken to preserve those words. The music that we are talking about has been copied, written down, and heard by the public who goes to movies that Zimmer composes music for. I think that point can take the not writing argument right out the door (once again, that's an I think.) It also opens the music up to millions of interpretations and can result in millions of meanings being found. I know the only one that should count is the meaning originally given to it, but that is rarely the case. I guess it's just that things mean so much more when it's written.

"I think this media ventures composer thing is being blown ridiculously out of proportion."

Yes, I admit that my "30 composers" reference was a gross exaggeration.

Sorry about bringing Homer into things. I thought that you had made the reference, but I forgot that thinking just gets me into trouble. So, whoopsie.

"Christ have (you) ever heard a great piano player throwing down his soul onto those keys?! If that isn't communicating than I don't know what is..."

Perfect example. The thing is, I would actually have more respect for somebody who could play the Rochy concerti without being able to read music than a guy who composes and doesn't know how to read (once again, a subject that has been cleared up.) Why?? Playing pieces that complex by ear... How much more musicianship can you squeeze into one person???? If you can do that, you can do anything. And there is the case of just the natural who doesn't need to know the basics in order to communicate.
Also, performance involves... direct communication? I mean, being in front of the audience that you are communicating with while you are doing it. People generally don't say how moved they were when they were in the same room with a composer who was writing. They tend to talk about the performance,. Do you see what I am saying?? If not, I'll try to clear it up at a later time.

"I know I'm simplifying things ridiculously and for that I apologize, but give the guy a little more credit."

Believe me, being a tuba player, I like simple. I was honestly never aware of Zimmer's background in electronics. That is pretty cool. One more good thing to know about him.

"Anyway, you seem like a smart guy who thinks this kind of stuff through so
I don't see much point in trying to convert you to the way I think or
whatever."

Thanks very much for the compliments. I see that you are not trying to alter my thinking just to match yours. There would be no real point in that. You are just trying to alter my thinking with more up to date facts that were not in my possession. Thanks for that. You also seem like a smart guy and I look forward to discussing things with you in the future.

"You've got plenty of valid points and a few less than valid
ones, which I'm more than positive is the case with myself as well."

Most people have a balance of a smaller amount of bad rather than a smaller amount of good. Good thing too. Otherwise the human race would be an unwinable one. I have found no real negatives on your part in this thread. You have just gone up to bat for somebody who couldn't. It's darned noble.

"Fact is I enjoy and respect Zimmer and hate to see misconceptions about his
work practices propagated. Just check your facts please and don't believe
everything you read. Least of all anything you read from me "

Don't worry; it's usually pretty hard to fool me. I'm shure that the people who told me that he didn't know how to read heard that fact from a credible source (or a really good liar.) They spoke about it as though they could be certain that it was true which is why I put such stake in it. I do, as a result of this conversation, have more respect for the man, but unfortunately, I still don't much care for his work. Just not my bucket of ice.

Well.... so much for not writing another post of biblical proportions,

Ken Applegate




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