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John Williams: An Inspiration

analytical Essay
1271 words
1271 words
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There has been much debate over the years about the originality of

film music. On the one side there are the purists, who cry foul at the piecing together of

classical segments simply because the film composer doesn’t have the time or the

originality. On the other side there are the film score gurus, who insist that the composers

were merely inspired by the earlier music and used the idea to write their own compositions. One

composer in particular that has come under condemnation from the purists is John Williams. He

has been accused of “borrowing” from composers as well-known as Dvorak(New World

Symphony) and as obscure as Erich Wolfgang Korngold (kings row theme). The

underlying debate, however, is not whether or not film composers are borrowing from

other composers scores but what makes a piece of music original or copied.

The answer to this question is not an easy one to find. There are so many

sides, opinions, and conditions to explore and debate that it could take one a lifetime to discover a suitable answer that would satisfy both sides. So, rather than attempt to fit it all into a single essay, I will focus on one facet of the debate; Is John Williams use of other music scores

Inspiration or plagiarism?

To answer this question we need to first understand the common structure of a

film score and the process used to formulate them. Usually, after the film has been coceptualized

(or some footage has been actualized), the composer is shown an unpolished "rough cut" of

the film, and talks to the director about what sort of music (styles, themes, etc.) should be used — this process is called "spotting.". The director might even have a “temp score”(a score of pieced ol...

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...lassical composers, I applaud this man for his creativity, style, but most of all for the great contribution he has made to the music and film world.

Works Cited

Bond, Jeff. "God Almighty! FSM Finally Talks to John Williams." Film Score Monthly 8.1 (2003): 10-13. IIMP. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

Bond, Jeff. "Zimmer Takes Aim...at FSM." Film Score Monthly 2.7: 21. IIMP. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

"Film Scoring." Wikipedia. Ed. Wikipedia. Jan. 2003. Web. 06 Dec. 2010. .

Kaplan, Jon. "Dumped!: Famous and Not-So-Famous Rejected Film Music." Film Score Monthly 8.9 (2003): 24-31. IIMP. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

Karlin, Fred, and Rayburn Wright. On the Track a Guide to Contemporary Film Scoring. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2004. Print.

News. ""Kong" Score Tossed Out at 11th Hour."" Film Score Monthly 10.6 (2005): 6. IIMP. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.

In this essay, the author

  • Describes the purists who cry foul at the piecing together of film music.
  • Explains that the film score gurus insist that composers were merely inspired by the earlier music and used the idea to write their own compositions.
  • Explains that there are so many sides, opinions, and conditions to explore and debate that it could take one a lifetime to discover an answer that would satisfy both sides. they will focus on one aspect of the debate; is john williams use of other music scores?
  • Explains the process of spotting a film's music, and how the composer draws from the temp score to form the rough cut or final working score.
  • Explains how they stumbled upon a new reason for the use of other composers ideas and phrases in the film score world.
  • Analyzes how bond, jeff, "god almighty! fsm finally talks to john williams." film score monthly 8.1 (2003): 10-13.
  • Explains kaplan, jon, karlin, fred, and rayburn wright. on the track a guide to contemporary film scoring.
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