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Comments about the soundtrack for The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer/Various)

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Re: Who is this reviewer?
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• Posted by: Flo
• Date: Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at 3:48 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Re: Who is this reviewer? (Hyun21K)

> Thank you for giving me your perspective on film scoring! It is very
> insightful.

> I have to confess that I am only an occasional film music listener. I
> usually listen to modern music so that tells you what music I'm used to.

I listen to a lot of modern music as well. I see filmmusic as a sort of extension and side-development of 20th-century music. But there's also a lot of cross-inspiration going on.

> I definitely do agree that what you described is a more intellectual
> approach to scoring films. I only went over the techniques of composition,
> not the context in the film.

You definately have to take the context of the film into account as well. Some movies don't need a complex type of score - which doesn't mean that the composer wouldn't be able to supply it. Hans Zimmer for instance has shown, that he can write good and interesting music. It just seems that lately he isn't really in the mood for it.
A lot of Goldsmith's themes for instance are relatively simple, but the way he uses them are interesting, intelligent and complex. Or Bernard Herrmann for example. He uses simple musical motivs which he develops and changes. Zimmer also uses themes, but the orchestration and application never really varies, as if he thinks that people won't be able to remember a theme if it is played differently.

> On the other hand, I do wish that more film composers would try to learn
> about music theory because too much film music is sounder more like
> popular music (i.e. songs). I guess that has a lot to do with the
> composer's background (i.e. Hans Zimmer), but still writing to match the
> emotions and action of the screen flexibility requires more skill.

As I said, a lot of crossover going on. Filmmusic doesn't necessarily have to be orchestral music. It has no real musical tradition (back in the 20s they would play whatever came to mind when a movie would play). In this regard a song can work as well as a piece of music tailored for the scene. It has to do with how you apply it. Sadly nowadays music is way too overused. Getting back to TORA TORA TORA, that movie, being 2 hours something in lenght only has a score of about 30 minutes. Even more sparse is how Tarkovsky handled the music in his pictures. STALKER for instance has only 10 to 15 minutes of music in a 3 hour long picture. And the composer who did this was classically trained and had a long background in composition for film and concert hall. And what he wrote was very simple and haunting.
On the other hand there are a lot of composers without classical training who are able to make great scores.

> John Williams uses counterpoint and advanced instrumental techniques.
> Jerry Goldsmith used them too. But most of the other film composers do
> not.

> Once again, thank you for your thoughtful response!

You're welcome! I always enjoy a good discussion about music! BTW, which contemporary composers do you enjoy?


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