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John Williams Movie Scores

John Williams is probably one of the few living composers of music who does not need to be introduced even when discussing with non musicians. His fame and still effective and beautiful film music production nowadays (the last one being in Spielberg's movie Lincoln) has always seemed to precede him, being a person who has a spectacular list of compositions in the domain of film music, with probably the highest percentage of successful ones, so witnesses his endless list of underscores found through a simple oogle search. !ersonally, " consider him to be one of the old guard composers who proves that beautiful music can be still composed using the traditional acoustic sounds of the orchestra, away from the increasingly pervasive influence of synthetic music and samples. He is a composer who has the most versatile writing# his music successfully portrays drama, love, heroism, sadness, tragedy... whenever any of these is needed to support the visual. " also find him to be an imaginative composer who avoids the superficial scoring moments found in many movies# today for e$ample, most composers would use a stereotyped high or low pedal tone when scoring a suspenseful or horror scene, Williams on the other hand, proves that %ilm music is as important and interesting as absolute music, and builds a networ& of related and meaningful themes and motives reflecting efficiently the delicate twists of a scene. Schindler's list music scored by Williams, has much in common with 'omanticism and " particularly find many affinities with (dward (lgar's monumental Enigma Variations (theme and first variation). (lgar, a leading (nglish composer of the late nineteenth century who was thoroughly discussed in lesson ), did not reach international recognition until after the performance of (nigma variations, and left an impressive set of wor&s that brought bac& (nglish music to the forefront of international musical composition after more than two centuries of absence. *s " mentioned in a previous assignment, +he music that " find bearing a significant resemblance to John Williams' ,Remembrances" from Schindler's list is the theme and first variation (-.*.(.) from (dward (lgar's Enigma Variations op. ./. "t seems that Williams has well absorbed the compositional traits of the 'omantic era since his piece sounds authentically romantic, especially with its added sense of the tragic. +hese resemblances can be felt on the level of tempo, harmonic content, rhythm, orchestration and structure. %rom a tempo standpoint, both pieces are moderate to slow, with an increasing feeling of forward movement whenever the music moves to a higher degree of tension and lyricism. Williams' use of meter is more fle$ible, alternating between 010 and .10, naturally adapting to the demanding synchroni2ations of music and visual. "nterestingly, both pieces share the same &ey of minor. 3n the harmonic level, both the (nigma theme and 'emembrances start with the same progression# i 4 501. 4 i 4 iv, with (lgar developing afterwards his music using secondary dominants however, tonici2ing the chord degrees used diatonically (without the secondary dominants) by Williams. "n both pieces, the central section presents a contrasting ma6or theme with Williams choice leaning towards the e$pected relative ma6or while (lgar going to the parallel ma6or &ey in the theme, and a 7uic& passage to ( flat 8a6or in the first variation. 'hythmically, the theme and the beginning of 'emembrances start with simple rhythmic figures, alternating between the use of 7uarter notes and eighth notes. +he resulting pulse is a fi$ed regular one

with a sense of discipline and organi2ation. *fterwards, the first (nigma variation further underlines the lyrical aspect of the music with a sense of forward motion using triplets and 9/th notes figures, also used by Williams after having e$posed his first theme# the violas playing 9/th notes and cellos triplet figures insure a deeper and more intense lyricism and the same sense of forward motion. :oth orchestrations present similarities too, especially when the music gains in tension in (nigma's first variation and the second section of Williams 'emembrances. "n (lgar's theme and Williams first section, the lyrical melody is presented by the first violins playing in their medium to high register with occasional similar interval s&ips of )th and ;th, thus increasing the e$pressive content of the melody. +he first variation and Williams second section presents a stri&ing similarity# both composers decide to use the soaring high register of the low strings (cellos) thus adding further tension to the music. %inally, both pieces have the same tripartite structure# an *:* ternary form, with the Williams piece having a more elaborate proportions in each section. http#11www.youtube.com1watch<v="c>!bW3"?40 http#11www.youtube.com1watch<v= @y0Hwwb>as