Just some thoughts

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Just some thoughts




So it's pretty well known right now that I've been listening to the Interstellar music a lot lately.

And so I was just watching some silly videos that overlay the Interstellar music over other movies, like Gravity or Star Wars or whatever. And because I was procrastinating art, I was reading some comments. I mean, yes. This is YouTube comments I'm talking about mainly, but I've seen this same topic applied elsewhere and it just got me thinking.

I like Hans Zimmer's music. I think he's a wonderful composer, and I would probably call him genius.

Well, someone did just that in a comment, and of course, is replied with some toxic comments.

Some people who have probably studied some music composition and such, maybe even Music Majors, are going on about Hans Zimmer and his compositions are anything but genius, which I call bull on and I'll tell you why soon.
Now, they make a solid point about how most of Interstellar's soundtrack is comprised of a re-occurring few chords, with "hardly any melody" (This is often a negative critic. Note that most Pop songs do the exact same thing, and I'd hardly call them masterpieces and made by geniuses.). They quote some critic dude saying that Hans Zimmer just composes and doesn't really have a feel for the characters or even plot he's composing for, yada yada, and claims that they can take the Inception soundtrack (or any of Zimmer's compositions) and it could just as easily be placed in The Dark Knight or some other movie he's composed for.

May I take this moment to point out that I personally think Hans Zimmer did a great job conveying the mood and characters in Sherlock Holmes. Just saying. Try putting that on top of The Dark Knight.

Anyway, this whole line of thought got me thinking. And this is something I've thought about a lot recently. For some quick context, it's been a while since I've watched Kyle Landry stream on twitch, because usually there's an art stream going on at the same time that I watch. The visual Art community is so welcoming and warm and helpful, and then I go back to Kyle's streams and the chat is just...meh. Sure, it can be funny--it's generally full of memes and Twitch emojis. But the art streams are too? The general feel of reading the comments on Kyle's stream, which is obviously full of music enthusiasts and pianists--who are usually "classically trained" and have a deeper understanding of music composition then I do-- is just about toxic.

And I think I've found out why.

They have disconnected music from emotion. Sure, they can "play with emotion" and such, but do they really feel it? Music isn't just there to sound nice, or to be impressive on a piece of paper, or to always be a conglomeration of various musical theories in order to create "the most genius composition ever" (herpderder). No, music is a representation of emotion. Of feeling. I don't care if theoretically the music isn't genius. I don't care if theoretically the music IS genius. I, and many others, need to be able to feel the emotion that went into it, that shaped the piece. It's the emotion that makes a piece genius, not the composition.

Why else are those early 8-bit songs from gaming considered masterpieces? Simple and memorable melodies and chords, that's what. Would you compare Koji Kondo to Mozart? I mean, I did a project comparing him and Tchaikovsky, but that's just me shhhhhhh 8th grade self Plus, there was an emotional attachment to them from your own feelings playing games and what not.

So, of course, there's the visual aspect of movie soundtracks. I already loved the music in Interstellar, but until I saw the visuals with it did I have a deeper appreciation and connection. I cried so many times during Interstellar, embarrassingly so when you consider that I actually cried in moments that weren't the faintest bit emotional simply because I was connecting the music to the visuals in front of me. And then those moments where I was supposed to feel something? It was crazy man.

To say that Hans Zimmer isn't a musical and compositional genius because he has a specific music style showcased in many big-name movies is utter crap. Try telling me he isn't a great composer when I watch (obviously spoilers if you haven't seen the movie, and if you ever plan to, DON'T WATCH because I didn't know this at all and it was made that more impactful) this scene and I'm crying, largely in part because of the music. (Which can be heard better here, if ya want to know. I just tried watching the scene muted with the soundtrack itself playing, and it was kinda cool.)

Don't get me wrong, folks. I'm going to be a Music Major myself. I'm super excited to learn all the cool composition tricks and chords and structures and such. And yeah, I already know I'll be listening to music and trying to pick out the usage of different theories and what-not--I already pick out the different instruments if I can. But that doesn't mean I'll stop listening to music from an emotional standpoint. I'm not going to go around calling such and such or so and so crap just because it is a bit repetitive or uses certain chords. If I feel or can associate some emotion to it, then clearly something is going right.

And the emotional appeal is not something that can just be written in using perfect technique.
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Just some thoughts :: Comments

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Post on 10th September 2016, 1:01 pm by Greece

I agree. I haven't listened to any of his music, but that's not the point. What matters is there are many different ways to make "good" music. Being simple and repetitive can keep the music simple, and helps to add certain emotions (it depends of the song so it could try to communicate loneliness or sadness, while a different song could be anger (while pop songs are just trying to get the music stuck in your head)). I admit I am a person he does enjoy more melodic songs and movement over repetitiveness. But that doesn't mean I hate it. In fact I'm pretty sure you can have movement id repetitive songs, it just relies more on instrumentation. (I am admittingly pulling this out of no where, it's just how I feel)

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Post on 10th September 2016, 1:55 pm by Burnin' Bunnies

I'd say that's about right. Heck, there's this well known classical piano piece that I've learned that is basically alllllll repetition. I had to learn how to make it interesting by accenting certain notes and playing with tempo and dynamics--which is exactly what Hans Zimmer does with the Interstellar soundtrack so whatever.

The most important thing about music is the emotion, which is why it's so easy to do as Lux mentioned in the Problems thread. It's all about layers of emotion.

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Post on 12th September 2016, 4:23 pm by Princess

I semi-disagree.

Emotion and feelings are important, yes. But those are very subjective methods of measuring something. Any piece of music could give someone an emotional response. For example, that score you love - Interstellar - does nothing for me.

Basing music on standards that are able to be judged is necessary for growth.

I am curious to what your definition of "toxic" is. Critiquing and disliking something isn't necessarily negative. Of course, I'm not in the chats, so I don't know.

Some food for thought: people like Hans Zimmer and John Williams are barely part of the process of writing music for movies anymore. They might give a general melody or say they'd like this kind of sound for a specific movie, but it's really a different person who writes the movie score. They send the score to Zimmer/Williams, it gets checked off as passable, and they get paid (and not credited; it's part of the deal). At least, this is how the process was described to me when I was in high school and someone who was one of those paid, not credited composers visited and explained to us how the film music industry is now.
That was a while ago, so I could be wrong on some details.

I'm missing some other thoughts I'd like to express, but the words aren't coming in an organized manner at the moment, so maybe I'll expand upon this later.

I respect your opinion, though. Elitism is very ugly.

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Post on 12th September 2016, 7:19 pm by Burnin' Bunnies

Thanks for sharing.

@Princess wrote:
Emotion and feelings are important, yes. But those are very subjective methods of measuring something. Any piece of music could give someone an emotional response. For example, that score you love - Interstellar - does nothing for me.
Thank you for pointing this out as well. I didn't touch on this very well above, because I, as well, often have a lot of thoughts I'm not able to convey very well when I start typing.
I agree. It is very important to be able to judge music with a set of standards. But what isn't okay is to decide that because said music doesn't always fit the standard that it can't be good in anyway, and that is where the emotional impact comes in. These comments and chats that I have been reading call people out for liking something because the music may not meet their standards, and therefore must be horrid for everyone. They disregard the other people's emotions.
I myself have been at fault for this before. I use to commonly say, "You can't spell crap without rap," just because I personally am not a fan of rap. However, I have tried to have a more open mind lately, and I do currently listen to some songs with some rap in them. I know plenty of people who love rap music (mostly just peers during high school)--it's how they connect to music. And I need appreciate that. So I try to not be rude about the genre anymore, and I will give it a chance, but I don't think I will ever really click with it at all.

So I have to understand that not everyone will like my type of music. And that's fine. I don't think of you any less for not liking a specific art form. It didn't work for you? That's fine. (Though I do admit that now I'm interested in what your favorite soundtrack might be, if that's your cup of tea.  Silly )

I am curious to what your definition of "toxic" is. Critiquing and disliking something isn't necessarily negative. Of course, I'm not in the chats, so I don't know.
I hope I answered that some above. Most of the toxicity is just bashing on certain music/composers/piece without much basis for why. It's calling people stupid or fools for liking a song, maybe providing some theory for why they don't like it themselves, maybe not. It's going to a [insert composer/soundtrack] song on Youtube and saying how [insert composer] sucks, even though they didn't really need to be there if they didn't like the content all ready. That kind of toxic. I guess it's not quite toxic and more of just negativity, but in the chats it can get a bit out of hand because of some mob mentality.

Some food for thought: people like Hans Zimmer and John Williams are barely part of the process of writing music for movies anymore. They might give a general melody or say they'd like this kind of sound for a specific movie, but it's really a different person who writes the movie score. They send the score to Zimmer/Williams, it gets checked off as passable, and they get paid (and not credited; it's part of the deal). At least, this is how the process was described to me when I was in high school and someone who was one of those paid, not credited composers visited and explained to us how the film music industry is now.
That was a while ago, so I could be wrong on some details.

That is really interesting! I'm a little saddened to hear this, but at the same time it makes sense and I'm not all that surprised. The more you know! Thanks for sharing!

I'm missing some other thoughts I'd like to express, but the words aren't coming in an organized manner at the moment, so maybe I'll expand upon this later.

I respect your opinion, though. Elitism is very ugly.
You're welcome to share more thoughts! I'm willing to hear them. Hearing more opinions is very good, especially since I am trying to keep an open mind about this sort of thing.

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