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Comments about the soundtrack for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (John Williams)

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Re: John Williams is a petty theif
• Posted by: Jon8
• Date: Monday, March 10, 2014, at 1:01 p.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Re: John Williams is a petty theif (Aaron)

I have a problem with this thread - John Williams is not a petty thief, he is a master thief.

To quote one of his great influences, Stravinsky: "Good composers don't borrow, they steal".

> Hello,

> I read with interest your post on John Williams as 'petty thief".

> As someone who works in a creative industry, I will tell you that all
> artists "expand on ideas" "are influenced by" or in
> your case "steal" from other artists all the time.

> Take for example writers, early greek mythology establishes the core
> archetypes of all modern narratives that have we enjoy in print, stage and
> screen today. Just because modern fiction has a CIA operative as a
> protagonist doesn't mean this story hasn't been told a thousand times over
> already.

> It is the same with music, Mozart was influenced by Haydn. You can hear
> the influence in the music.

> Similarly you can hear the great influence Wagner had on Debussy's Opera
> "Paleas and Melisande".

> And more recently - I went to the Disney concert Hall and heard the
> composer John Adams conduct his new piece The Gospel According to the
> Other Mary - and guess what - IT RECOGNIZABLY SOUNDS LIKE WILLIAMS!!

> The notion that any artist is a truly original act, simply highlights the
> fact that most people are not that familiar with these artists influences
> and inspirations. The number of times I hear a famous melody in another
> artists work happens all the time. It's called cultural legacy. This is
> what artists do - they leave behind a legacy that will hopefully inspire
> and further the intellectual pursuit of mastery of their specific craft.

> Think of the last great book you read or movie you watched. You can trace
> it back to mythology.

> The notion that Williams is a "petty thief" is really just
> intended to inflame. Think about it, because you recognize a motif does
> not account for how Williams will orchestrate and EXPAND on it in the
> totality of a particular cue or score. All artists do this.

> So in essence when you recognize 7 notes in a particular order, what about
> the other tens of thousands of notes that surround and expand on it in a
> particular work?

> The notion that an artist must never pay homage to and expand on a source
> of inspiration insists that they live and work in a sterile bubble.

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