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Harry Potter track 2: the Jurassic Park wannabe
• Posted by: Dan Sartori   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Monday, April 8, 2002, at 9:59 a.m.
• IP Address: p-proxy-1-int0.net.wisc.edu

I'm specifically talking about track 2 in the HP score. I haven't heard any of the rest of the music, but if it is all like track 2, then I must say that I don't think the score is very good at all.

First of all, track 2 doesn't really bear any resemblance to Schindler's List at all (despite those who say it does) except the very opening riff, which sounds almost exactly like the Schindler's List theme with only slight instrumentation differences. I've been told, however, that this is Harry's theme which runs throughout the soundtrack. The problem with this is that it is a major theme and we hear it not once or twice, but CONTINUOUSLY throughout the movie, which detracts from the score's originality greatly since Schindler's List is popular. If Williams had copied the theme from a lesser-known movie, then it might have been ok. but he chose SL. What ends up happening is that we unconsciously pair the music from Schindler's List with the movie SL which cripples the message that Harry Potter does have, especially since the two films are vastly different.

The thing that I am most unhappy with regarding this track is all the similarities it bears to Jurassic Park. There are many cues where, if I knew the general theme of JP but didn't own the soundtrack, I would think that I was actually listening to JP music. The instrumentation and method of writing is exactly the same as that used in JP, and I can point to several specific spots where there are blatant similarities. The music which begins at 00:54 of Harry's Wondrous World sounds very similar to music from JP track 4 "Journey to the Island" before 01:21 of that track. In fact, I put on both of them at once and found that they sound almost exactly the same (not in the order of the notes, but in the sound of the music - instrumentation, volume, style of playing, etc.). The other part that is painfully similar to JP is the part in Harry's Wondrous World that begins at 03:59. This passage is obviously derived from JP's End Credits. Other places throughout the soundtrack feature the juggling of the theme from horns to trumpets and back again - a cue straight from JP - and straight string accompaniment for a trumpet theme - another theme that is taken directly from JP.

The problem with all of this is that Jurassic Park and Schindler's List are about as different of movies as you can get from Harry Potter, so the music shouldn't sound the same. If it does, as is the case with Harry Potter, then you confuse the audience as far as what emotions you are trying to convey to them. These two concerns (the stealing of previous motifs and the confusion of emotional content) are the same reason that Bicentennial Man fails to be an inspiring score. What people on this site need to realize is that the order of notes in a theme is NOT the primary element that makes music sound different from piece to piece, but rather that it is ONE OF THE WAYS in which composers distinguish between pieces. Other things such as instrumentation, style of playing, tempo, and dynamics are just as important.

Overall, I give the second track of Harry Potter 2 stars, and if the rest of the soundtrack is anything like it, I don't recommend it.




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