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Comments about the soundtrack for Superman (John Williams)

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Re: Too Many Themes!
• Posted by: joe s
• Date: Saturday, May 28, 2005, at 10:24 a.m.
• IP Address:
• In Response to: Too Many Themes! (tim)

> How does Williams do it? He uses no less than 6 important themes in the
> movie. He has the main theme (1) built upon the one and five degrees of
> the scale. He has the love theme (2). There is the Krypton theme (3) which
> could be argued as a variation of the march theme. The krypton theme has a
> minor variation. Then there is the kryptonite theme (4) which uses the
> idea of the fifths and then moves a half step above and incorporates the
> whole step "su-perman" motif. Not quite as important is the Home
> theme (5) used nearer to the beginning of the movie. And then the
> villains' theme (6), which sounds strikingly similar in tone to the ewok's
> theme (which is a ripoff of the march from love of three oranges). Not to
> mention the minor themes which permeate the score. He has a rhythmic
> military motif similar to the one in close encounters. He uses a melodic
> phrase for baby's trip to earth. He constructs jonathans' death in much
> the same way. Same goes for the golden gate bridge cue. And et cetera.
> This is nothing new with Williams. He likes to use melodic phrases to
> develop his cues. He may not use a major theme from the score but it's a
> basis on which to write. Plus it makes for a memorable cue both in the
> movie and on the cd and compositional it helps to anchor the music. Take
> any movie by Williams and he'll have a sort of "throw-away"
> theme. Although his "throw-away" themes are great in their own
> right. This started to develop after jaws and continues in movies like
> raiders, et, jurassic, schindler, and up to harry potter. How the hell can
> one man be so prolific and create so many widely varying themes? Easy,
> well, sort of. His themes, if you listen very carefully, are based on
> small melodic fragment. He uses the interval of a fifth NUMEROUS times to
> create themes. And he uses the 1,2,3 scale degrees to a large extent and
> 3,4,5 (usually in that order) with minor variation. He is also fond of the
> major/minor 6th leap. And then there's the rhythm invention which is where
> the true genius of Williams lies. His cues are constructed with a very
> strick rhythmic sense to them, a pulse which drives the music. Rhythm
> tends to come first and then all the pieces fall together. Think about
> that next time you listen to a score by williams. Listen for those things.
> It's not a bad thing, it's just his melodic compositional style. But
> they're there and it's something to study and, above all, appreciate.
I agree with your statement completely. His style and unbeliveable use of lay motive is becomeing a lost art. With super hero films like Spider Man and X-men which rely completely on techno and small bits of classical you cannot feel the music.

Comments in this Thread:     Expand >>
  • Too Many Themes!  (4677 views)
       tim - Wednesday, June 11, 2003, at 9:25 p.m.
    •      Re: Too Many Themes!  (3882 views)    We're Here
         joe s - Saturday, May 28, 2005, at 10:24 a.m.

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