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Do you prefer Western-centric scores or ones that incorporate specialty instruments?

James Charles Taylor
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ArborArcanist
Clint Morgan
Philipp
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Craig Richard Lysy
Do you prefer Western-centric scores or ones that incorporate specialty instruments?   Tuesday, November 9, 2021 (7:39 p.m.) 

(Or How to Get Out of the Western-centric Bias)

(This does not include concerns about the use of electronic instruments and/or influences from other music genres because that's a different can of worms)

I feel that I have a particular dilemma that drives my tastes. That would be that I would only prefer to hear ethnic instruments in historical dramas and otherworldly fantasy flicks and a Western-centric style for other genres. I care about accessibility and listenability because "ethnic instruments" have a different timbre and tone from the instruments of the standard orchestra, which would make it or break it in terms of listenability, leading me to avoid ethnic and folk influences if it distracts me from the listening experience.

This question is one of taste. I'm worried that if I were to have a career as a film composer with a strong bias towards Western-centric music, I wouldn't succeed. I would have to follow examples from the differences in tonal color and how they would benefit my work.


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ArborArcanist
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James Charles Taylor
Do you prefer Western-centric scores or ones that incorporate specialty instruments?   Tuesday, November 9, 2021 (11:34 p.m.) 

Most music is case by case. I would never have expected the pairing of tabla and yialli tanbur to be appropriate instrumental representations of a British heroine, but Bear McCreary made it work in Assassinís Creed Syndicate: Jack the Ripper. James Horner of course used the shakuhachi flute in the darnedest of places (the tiger scene of Jumanji comes to mind), while contrarily Eshkeri scored the setting of Ghost of Tsushima specifically with an emphasis on incorporating Japanese instruments. Meanwhile, Brian Tyler chose to grant Crazy Rich Asians a jazz and Western orchestral score (more fitting to the romcom genre than the Singapore setting), and it worked to accentuate how the film carefully avoided ethnic and cultural cliches or stereotyping.

I personally think on both a level of listenability and intellectual interest, there is no true superior method. Sometimes speciality instruments make sense for a given directorís cinematic vision, and sometimes they do not. Of course, I donít find non-Western instruments to affect the experience in a negative way, and often welcome the change of pace they can offer.


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Clint Morgan
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James Charles Taylor
Re: Do you prefer Western-centric scores or ones that incorporate specialty instrumen   Tuesday, November 9, 2021 (11:35 p.m.) 

> (Or How to Get Out of the Western-centric Bias)

> (This does not include concerns about the use of electronic instruments and/or influences from other music genres because that's a different can of worms)

> I feel that I have a particular dilemma that drives my tastes. That would be that I would only prefer to hear ethnic instruments in historical dramas and otherworldly fantasy flicks and a Western-centric style for other genres. I care about accessibility and listenability because 'ethnic instruments' have a different timbre and tone from the instruments of the standard orchestra, which would make it or break it in terms of listenability, leading me to avoid ethnic and folk influences if it distracts me from the listening experience.

> This question is one of taste. I'm worried that if I were to have a career as a film composer with a strong bias towards Western-centric music, I wouldn't succeed. I would have to follow examples from the differences in tonal color and how they would benefit my work.

Ultimately, I prefer scores that make me feel something. smile I don't really care if specialty instruments are involved as long as it makes sense both musically and narratively.



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Philipp
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  In Response to:
James Charles Taylor
Re: Do you prefer Western-centric scores or ones that incorporate specialty instrumen   Wednesday, November 10, 2021 (1:12 a.m.) 

I don't see any exclusive choice here, if the music is good I don't care where it comes from.

> (Or How to Get Out of the Western-centric Bias)

> (This does not include concerns about the use of electronic instruments
> and/or influences from other music genres because that's a different can
> of worms)

> I feel that I have a particular dilemma that drives my tastes. That would
> be that I would only prefer to hear ethnic instruments in historical
> dramas and otherworldly fantasy flicks and a Western-centric style for
> other genres. I care about accessibility and listenability because 'ethnic
> instruments' have a different timbre and tone from the instruments of the
> standard orchestra, which would make it or break it in terms of
> listenability, leading me to avoid ethnic and folk influences if it
> distracts me from the listening experience.

> This question is one of taste. I'm worried that if I were to have a career
> as a film composer with a strong bias towards Western-centric music, I
> wouldn't succeed. I would have to follow examples from the differences in
> tonal color and how they would benefit my work.



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trstnvnk
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  In Response to:
James Charles Taylor
Do you prefer Western-centric scores or ones that incorporate specialty instruments?   Wednesday, November 10, 2021 (2:03 a.m.) 

I really don't have a preference one way or the other, the most important thing to me is whether or not I think the music is good.


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Craig Richard Lysy
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  In Response to:
James Charles Taylor
Re: Do you prefer Western-centric scores or ones that incorporate specialty instrumen   Wednesday, November 10, 2021 (6:09 a.m.) 
• Now Playing: Rashomon by Hayasaka  

Thank you for the post.

I have a special love for films, where the composer infuses their soundscape with ethnic colors and sensibilities. My personal favorites are the blending of occidental and oriental sensibilities, why I gravitate these days to east asian films, and Korean and Chinese TV series. But I also like scores which impart African, Indian, Arabic and South American auras. In short, I am welcoming to all non-traditional western orchestral instruments.

All the best



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