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Author Topic: The Musical Score  (Read 235072 times)

Offline peteinportland

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The Musical Score
« on: January 17, 2006, 05:52:34 PM »
There have been several people comment on the artistic elements of the score of BBM. This is the thread to discuss the score and everything relating to it. As I am not Knowledgeable about the technique and the artistry of scoring films, I greatly look forward to learning much from the discussion.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2006, 06:39:35 AM by peteinportland »

Offline jim ...

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2006, 07:41:37 PM »
As a musician by profession, I am always intrigued with the musical score when watching a film.  The impact of this score almost goes unnoticed ... it's there to enhance but not get in the way.  Gustavo Santaolalla has done this beautifully in BBM.  The music he used in the bar/restaurant scenes is obvious country fair and fits the atmosphere well.  What I am most intrigued with is the rest of the score .  There is not much in the way of lush orchestration. He uses it sparingly, mainly to enhance large scenic shots. Otherwise, the music itself is almost minimalistic in nature.  Simple is the word ... and fits the simplicity of the way of  life in rural Wyoming.  In these moments, the music is sparse .... often only a guitar .... two or three voices intertwined with each other.  The timing and entry of the music is so subtle that one almost doesn't even realize it's there.  If you listen carefully enough, Santaolalla foreshadows emotionally pivotal moments in the story.  One that comes to mind is the scene near the end of the movie when Ennis is about to discover the shirts in Jack's closet.  As Ennis is kneeling in the closet and is about to discover them, there is a single note ... plucked on the guitar. It's as though at that very moment, Ennis sees the shirts, and the realization of their meaning all comes together.  There are moments like this sprinkled throughout the movie. 

In an interview of Santaolalla that I read, he stated that the scoring of most movies is done after the entire film has been shot.  He is sent the first cut of the film ... watches it and then starts composing.  BBM was different.  He and Ang Lee met before the film was shot ... he read the screenplay and talked with Lee about what he wanted to convey ... scene by scene.  It was after this conversation that Santaolalla set pen to paper.  Next time you see BBM, listen carefully to the score .... to the sparseness of the writing and the exquisite timing.  It's truly amazing writing.

There is so much more to the music that I could talk about but I'll spare you all .... at least for the moment.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2006, 07:43:41 PM by jim ... »

Offline acsntn

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2006, 07:52:05 PM »
I had a question about the placement of A Love That Will Never Grow Old..the Emily Lou Harris song that won at the GG last night.

Which scene is it heard? thx

Offline Carissa

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2006, 07:57:13 PM »
I had a question about the placement of A Love That Will Never Grow Old..the Emily Lou Harris song that won at the GG last night.

Which scene is it heard? thx
It's as Jack is driving away after coming up to see Ennis after the divorce.
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
- Romeo and Juliet (Juliet at III, ii)

Offline acsntn

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2006, 08:39:28 PM »
thx!

Offline Carissa

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2006, 08:59:06 PM »
In 2004, I was lucky enough to attend a syposium at the Tribeca Film Festival that was a discussion with Howard Shore and the score of Lord of the Rings.  It was a fascinating discussion of how he chose the different themes for the different cultures and scenes.  I hope that there is something like this on the Brokeback Mountain DVD.  Especially since the unique way in that the score was done before any filming was done.

I think that the score was absolutely haunting.  I'm going to take your advice Jim and pay attention more closely the next time I see Brokeback Mountain.
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.
- Romeo and Juliet (Juliet at III, ii)

Offline mary

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2006, 11:41:12 PM »
Thanks Jim - I had heard about how Gustavo Santaolalla composed the score but not knowing much about the industry I did not realize how unusual this is. Seems like a wonderful way to allow the music to be more part of the entire artistic process.  Yet another reason to see it again and pay attention to the music.  I had noticed the subtle foreshadowing before Ennis finds the shirts.
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Offline peteinportland

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2006, 12:11:22 AM »
Personally, I love the way the music foreshadows the two of them coming together. For me, the score cues my emotions.

Offline Ross:Broken

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2006, 03:07:29 PM »
I think the score is wonderful...so evocative of the movie...and full of so much yearning.

Here's a link to a Santaolalla interview:

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=1518813

It answers the question of why "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" is not on the Oscar shortlist.  >:(  What a shame.
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Offline Ross:Broken

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2006, 03:29:04 PM »
Here's a link to how well the soundtrack is doing:

http://billboard.com/bbcom/ask_bb/index.jsp

Act fast!  This link will not be valid in 6 days...
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Offline chaya

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2006, 07:43:30 PM »
As a musician by profession, I am always intrigued with the musical score when watching a film.  The impact of this score almost goes unnoticed ... it's there to enhance but not get in the way.  Gustavo Santaolalla has done this beautifully in BBM. 

I'm not a musician, but I very much noticed the music and was struck by its raw beauty. The opening guitar, w/ the strings plucked, then echoing, captured the vast, empty, lonely scenery. Those two opening notes almost sound like a voice calling out into empty space.... the melody continues a bit more, then a resolution into a major key chord (I think!) This opening music mirrors the beginning of Jack and Ennis' relationship: how Ennis and Jack first meet, how tentative they are, slowly getting to know each other, then resolution in a relationship (or in a tent  ;) .

The bittersweet score of "The Wings" is so beautiful, ditto the sad and sweet music played during Brokeback scenes of them sheepherding, riding horses. The third time I watched the movie, I consciously paid attention to the music, to see which piece would be played w/ which scene. I kind of gave up, too engrossed in the movie. Thanks for the info about how it was scored, very interesting! 
"Three puppies belonging to one of the blue heelers went in a pack basket, the runt inside Jack's coat, for he loved a little dog." Annie Proulx, BBM

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Offline chaya

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #11 on: January 19, 2006, 03:45:18 AM »
One more thing I forgot to mention - those two opening guitar notes, the ones in the very beginning of the movie? It also made me think of when you're up in the mountains, by yourself, and you yell something out, to hear your own echo. There's a slight echo to the guitar notes that rings, rolls out. In the second measure (?) (sorry Jim ..., I'm sure I'm getting this all wrong), when the two notes are played again, a steel guitar very gently "responds" to the lone guitar notes. It kills me every time I hear it.
"Three puppies belonging to one of the blue heelers went in a pack basket, the runt inside Jack's coat, for he loved a little dog." Annie Proulx, BBM

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Offline chaya

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #12 on: January 19, 2006, 04:00:31 AM »
OK, one more thing, then I have GOT TO return to my normal life and get something done!! "The Wings" seems to be a motif for their established relationship and its subsequent struggles. I'm such a sucker, when that music washes over me, it gets me every time.

ATTN:  jim ...  Why is it that certain note combinations affect us so emotionally? That going up a half-step (or half note?) gives you that incredible sense of longing?
"Three puppies belonging to one of the blue heelers went in a pack basket, the runt inside Jack's coat, for he loved a little dog." Annie Proulx, BBM

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Offline jim ...

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2006, 05:58:45 AM »
OK, one more thing, then I have GOT TO return to my normal life and get something done!! "The Wings" seems to be a motif for their established relationship and its subsequent struggles. I'm such a sucker, when that music washes over me, it gets me every time.

ATTN:  jim ...  Why is it that certain note combinations affect us so emotionally? That going up a half-step (or half note?) gives you that incredible sense of longing?

let's see if can explain this in the least technical way. In music, the distance between two notes is called an interval.  There are various types of intervals but the most common are major and minor intervals.  Minor intervals tend to suggest that sense of longing, sadness or musical tension.  An example is a minor 2nd (which is used often in the film). C to C#  (also called a half step) is a minor 2nd.  That's the interval I think you're referring to chaya.  There are also major and minor chords that do the same thing emtionally to us ... but that's a whole 'nother story!  Hope I've made this clear.

Offline petetown

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Re: Element: The Musical Score
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2006, 08:36:54 AM »
Having had the Soundtrack since my second viewing...it's been interesting to see how the score and songs were placed in the film.
No One's Gonna Love you like Me........Jack and Lureen's dance song. (Where Jack is seeing looking off in the distance)
A Love That WIll Never Grow Old.......Jack driving away crying
I Will Never Let You Go........Done as an intsrumental, another dance scene

I was delighted and amazed that Ang Lee listened to the music BEFORE filming scenes! They are so connected!

AND.....that the original King Of the Road (Roger Miller) was used. Why was the duet recorded??? I think it's great.....it gets me over crying after A Love that will never grow old.....but , why?
And if Willie Nelson doesn't keep me in the theater crying with He Was A Friend of Mine.....the last time I sat through Rufus Wainwright singing Maker Makes.......a song I'm just beginning to get.