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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old September 1 2010, 11:16 AM   #1
DakotaSmith
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TAS Music Cues

Y'all:

As you may have read elsewhere, I've had a long-term project to get all the individual music cues for TAS extracted, edited, and generally processed into something that sounds decent.

I've been working on this for some time and still have a long way to go, but I thought I'd give y'all a chance to see the work in progress.

It's here, at YouTube.

It's just the first track, and it's the easiest one, which is why I threw it up there.

My next milestone is the completion of what I call "Action Cue 01" and "Action Cue 02". I'll put up a link when I'm done.

Comment, questions, or nasty remarks are invited.

For those who are interested, the process is:

Using DVD Audio Extractor (amazingly running just fine under Wine), I'm extracting the 6-channel English audio tracks from all the TAS DVDs. These are saved as .flac files.

The .flac files are then loaded into Audacity for editing. Of the six tracks, four are music-related.

Annoyingly there are also various sound effects mixed in, such as phasers and bridge sound effects. This requires that non-musical sounds be replaced with silence and an appropriate cut from another episode edited into place. That's actually the rather lengthy part.

Also lengthy is the audio processing. Unfortunately, the music cues aren't a consistent sound level, varying with the accompanying dialog tracks. The cues must be first normalized and then carefully processed to restore the original sound levels.

Once edited, the files are saved as native Audacity files and then exported to standard MP3s. EasyTag is then used to provide accurate MP3 tags and album art for the cues.

Finally, the cues are turned into videos using OpenShot Video Editor for upload to YouTube.

Dakota Smith
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Old September 1 2010, 02:24 PM   #2
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Re: TAS Music Cues

An excellent project, DakotaSmith, keep us posted. I've always loved the music used in TAS, and have (probably forlornly) hoped for a soundtrack. I'm not at all certain of this, but were the exact same cues used in other Filmation projects back in the day? I have a vague memory of this in their Tarzan effort.
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Old September 1 2010, 04:17 PM   #3
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Re: TAS Music Cues

LOKAI of CHERON wrote: View Post
An excellent project, DakotaSmith, keep us posted. I've always loved the music used in TAS, and have (probably forlornly) hoped for a soundtrack. I'm not at all certain of this, but were the exact same cues used in other Filmation projects back in the day? I have a vague memory of this in their Tarzan effort.
There were a few overlaps, as Dakota and I discussed in another recent thread (basically every odd-numbered post from #69-#75). But the bulk of the music used in TAS was original to it, and only some of it was reused in other Filmation projects.
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Old September 1 2010, 04:45 PM   #4
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Having listened to this music a lot in the last 10 years or so, I can probably answer this:

Filmation established a library of music starting in the mid-1960s. Most was composed by Ray Ellis (under the pseudonym "Yvette Blais") and to a lesser extent Norm Prescott (under the pseudonym "Jeff Michaels").

For each TV series, Ellis and Prescott would score fifteen to thirty minutes of music specifically for that series. The music would contain common themes and motifs not shared by other series.

The music composed for each show was then used and re-used extremely liberally on that show. They would often create different musical arrangements by editing portions of multiple cues into a single cue, for example. The music editor might take the first fifteen seconds of Action Cue #1 and cut it together with the denoument of Love Theme #2. Or they might take five seconds of Love Theme #2, six seconds of Action Cue #1, four seconds of Action Cue #3, and then end the entire thing with the crescendo from Action Cue #2.

Listening to it, I continue to be amazed at the skill of the sound editor. Today they'd use a computer program and cut to the visual ending of a particular sound as represented by waveforms on the screen. In 1973, the editor cut-and-pasted together cues with magnetic tape and a mechanical splicer. Obviously the computerized method is much simpler and more accurate, but the Filmation editors could somehow pull off doing all their music editing and still keep it in time.

In general, the shows didn't re-use music from other shows, though there are exceptions. There's a cue used in "More Troubles, More Tribbles" that probably dates to 1968's The Archie Show. It occurs when Kirk is shown sitting in a pile of Tribbles at the end of the show, and is the Filmation signature "funny music cue." If you watched Filmation shows, this cue will be immediately recognizable. It occurs at approximately 00:57 in this clip.

(The same clip shows some idea of what I'm talking about in terms of music editing. There's music underneath the entire action of the clip, and almost all of it is edited together from clips of multiple cues.)

Star Trek sparingly used musical cues that originated in Lassie's Rescue Rangers, another 1973 Filmation show. The themes and motifs were radically different, but the generally adventurous feel of the music made it work well.

(In fact, the signature Lassie cue was eventually reused in Shazam! It's heard as Captain Marvel flies in at the end of S1 episodes to give the moral of the story. You can hear Lassie music at 01:34 in this clip, as Captain Marvel flies away.)

So there wasn't a lot of stock music in TAS. There was a little, but in general, they just edited the hell out of the cues scored explicitly for the show.

Filmation did use Star Trek's music on other shows later, albeit sparingly. Star Trek's action cues would appear in Filmation shows for several years, most notably Space Academy, Shazam! and Jason Of Star Command. Again, even in those shows, Filmation generally edited the hell out of the show's own music rather than use stock cues. However, some of the TAS action cues are so effective and bombastic that their use in the other shows was totally understandable.

Part of the reason that people tend to think more stock music was used is because the music tends to be very similar. It's not surprising: all composers have a specific style, and if you listen long enough, you can tell the composer just from the feel of the music.

Ray Ellis was no exception. Furthermore, because he was scoring generalized musical cues intended to be inserted almost anywhere appropriate, he didn't have the luxury of scoring to specific action. Consequently, the music sounds rather generic for the most part -- and the generic quality of TAS' music is shared with almost all of Ellis' scores.

The only exception was Flash Gordon: The Greatest Adventure Of All. In that TV movie, Ellis scored for specific action, and it shows. The music tells a story to some extent, in a way that none of Ellis' other Filmation scores could.

However, it's the general feeling of being a bit generic, of not being scored to match specific action, that makes Ellis' musical cues sound very similar. Consequently, even casual listeners think they're hearing stock cues when in fact it's just the same 20 minutes of music edited to within an inch of its life.

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Old September 1 2010, 05:06 PM   #5
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Christopher wrote: View Post
There were a few overlaps, as Dakota and I discussed in another recent thread (basically every odd-numbered post from #69-#75). But the bulk of the music used in TAS was original to it, and only some of it was reused in other Filmation projects.
And I must point out that it was this thread that got me started on doing this project the right way.

I had previously obtained the entire soundtrack (fully mixed) from someone who sent me copies of isolated music from the laserdisc release of the series. This was about ten years ago, now.

These recordings did not include the isolated music track available on the DVDs. In fact, until this thread, I was unaware that the DVDs had separate musical tracks. Call me stupid, but even when I ripped the soundtrack from the DVDs, I was getting a single stereo track that included all dialog and sound effects, making the job of isolating the music considerably more difficult.

However, informed that the separate music tracks existed, I went back and researched how to rip the entire six-track English audio that includes isolated music.

Actually, it's not entirely isolated. For stereo/Dolby processing (something never dreamed of in 1973), it looks like the sound editor took the original music track and created a separate track for additional surround effect. However, Filmation apparently laid down at least some of the sound effects onto the music track -- or the DVD editor did it to create a feeling of depth.

Unfortunately, the practical upshot is that there are still sound effects that need to be replaced. However, the job is much easier simply because the number of replacements is dramatically reduced while the availability of replacement cuts is dramatically increased.

So in short, this is no longer a project of a few years but a few weeks or months, depending on the time I can devote to it.

I'll post more as I finish. I'm working on Action Cues 01 and 02 now (they tend to go together and may even have been recorded as two movements of a single cue).

Dakota Smith
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Old September 1 2010, 05:17 PM   #6
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Cool thread, and good job!

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Old September 1 2010, 05:21 PM   #7
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Very nice work there, Dakota.
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Old September 1 2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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Re: TAS Music Cues

DakotaSmith wrote: View Post
Filmation established a library of music starting in the mid-1960s. Most was composed by Ray Ellis (under the pseudonym "Yvette Blais") and to a lesser extent Norm Prescott (under the pseudonym "Jeff Michaels").
Jeff Michael, actually, after the first names of Prescott's sons. (No harm, though; growing up, trying to read the credits on my crummy little TV, I always thought it was Jeff Mitchell.)


Listening to it, I continue to be amazed at the skill of the sound editor. Today they'd use a computer program and cut to the visual ending of a particular sound as represented by waveforms on the screen. In 1973, the editor cut-and-pasted together cues with magnetic tape and a mechanical splicer. Obviously the computerized method is much simpler and more accurate, but the Filmation editors could somehow pull off doing all their music editing and still keep it in time.
The music and sound-effects editing was mostly done by Sam Horta and his company Horta-Mahana, listed in the credits. And I think there were some less skilled music editors working for Horta-Mahana on later shows like Space Sentinels and Blackstarr, because the music editing on those shows is painfully bad.


(In fact, the signature Lassie cue was eventually reused in Shazam! It's heard as Captain Marvel flies in at the end of S1 episodes to give the moral of the story. You can hear Lassie music at 01:34 in this clip, as Captain Marvel flies away.)
And note that that fanfare is basically a variation on part of the same signature Lassie melody heard under his lecture to the audience just before that (in one of the arrangements that you speculated before might be Prescott's work). That melody, in a variety of arrangements, showed up heavily in Lassie, Shazam, Isis, Tarzan, and the like, and is one of my favorite Filmation motifs.


Star Trek's action cues would appear in Filmation shows for several years, most notably Space Academy, Shazam! and Jason Of Star Command.
I'm not sure about Space Academy. I got the DVDs for that and Jason specifically hoping to hear TAS music in them, and I recall there being virtually none in SA and only some in JoSC's first season.


However, it's the general feeling of being a bit generic, of not being scored to match specific action, that makes Ellis' musical cues sound very similar. Consequently, even casual listeners think they're hearing stock cues when in fact it's just the same 20 minutes of music edited to within an inch of its life.
Um, aren't those just two ways of saying the same thing? I think what you mean is that they may think the stock cues are the same from show to show when each show actually had its own distinct catalog of cues.

And I think there was a good deal of variety among Ellis's various scores. His style evolved over time, so that a cue from an early '70s show, one from a late '70s show, and one from an early '80s show all had distinct sounds, distinct approaches to orchestration and the like. And some shows had distinct sounds based on the kind of show they were. Fat Albert had a jazz/funk-influenced score befitting its setting. Tarzan's cues had a "jungle rhythm" quality along with an unusual instrumental sound that I think was a Hammond organ or something similar. The same instrument also carried the Isis theme, but in a different style. The Lone Ranger featured a mix of Rossini-influenced cues and "Old West"-type cues. Zorro had a Latin-influenced score. Blackstarr (what little music it had that wasn't cribbed from Flash Gordon) was in the same grand orchestral vein as Flash (except for the very annoying funny-sidekicks leitmotif for the Trobbits). And so on. There's really a lot more variety to Ellis's work than you're giving him credit for.


DakotaSmith wrote: View Post
Actually, it's not entirely isolated. For stereo/Dolby processing (something never dreamed of in 1973), it looks like the sound editor took the original music track and created a separate track for additional surround effect. However, Filmation apparently laid down at least some of the sound effects onto the music track -- or the DVD editor did it to create a feeling of depth.
No, the music and SFX were on a combined track in the original audio. That's why a few episodes on the Isis DVDs let you play an isolated music/SFX track but you can't just get the isolated music.

By the way, are you aware that Andy Mangels, the producer of the Filmation DVD sets and noted Filmation historian, is a member of the TrekBBS? If you have questions about the DVDs, or about Filmation in general, you can go directly to the source, as I've done on a few occasions.


So in short, this is no longer a project of a few years but a few weeks or months, depending on the time I can devote to it.

I'll post more as I finish. I'm working on Action Cues 01 and 02 now (they tend to go together and may even have been recorded as two movements of a single cue).
I look forward to it. I've always wanted to hear this music in the clear.
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Old September 1 2010, 07:10 PM   #9
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Thanks--I'm looking forward to hearing more!
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Old September 1 2010, 09:37 PM   #10
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Christopher wrote: View Post
And note that that fanfare is basically a variation on part of the same signature Lassie melody heard under his lecture to the audience just before that (in one of the arrangements that you speculated before might be Prescott's work). That melody, in a variety of arrangements, showed up heavily in Lassie, Shazam, Isis, Tarzan, and the like, and is one of my favorite Filmation motifs.
You're absolutely right about that music cue, though I hadn't noticed it until you mentioned it. Yep, that's Lassie, all right.

Actually, I think the composer of that cue is a bit more up in the air for me than some other series' "love themes" (what I tend to informally call that music). The reason I think it may be more directly Ellis is because of the orchestration and the use of percussion. Most of the "love themes" were simply a slow re-hash of the series' main theme. I may be wrong, but they don't typically have much percussion.

But Ellis liked percussion -- that awesomely clear "Slaver Weapon" music makes that clear. You can hear all kind of percussion, usually cymbals or tapping -- the same as in that Lassie cue.

I'd love to be able to pick Ellis and Prescott's brains and discover who did what, but I suspect the information is now lost to history.

Christopher wrote: View Post
I'm not sure about Space Academy. I got the DVDs for that and Jason specifically hoping to hear TAS music in them, and I recall there being virtually none in SA and only some in JoSC's first season.
I think you're correct about this. I have a dim memory of "Action Cue 01" from Space Academy, but this may be confused with my memory of Jason, which did use that cue a couple of times. I'd have to go back and watch SA again and make a special note.

(Probably the reason I may be confused, of course, is that both SA and Jason used the same standing sets. I recall Action Cue 01 as having been used against the backdrop of those sets. It was probably just Jason.)

Christopher wrote: View Post
I think what you mean is that they may think the stock cues are the same from show to show when each show actually had its own distinct catalog of cues.
Yes, that's exactly what I meant. Thanks for wording it better.

Christopher wrote: View Post
And I think there was a good deal of variety among Ellis's various scores. His style evolved over time, so that a cue from an early '70s show, one from a late '70s show, and one from an early '80s show all had distinct sounds, distinct approaches to orchestration and the like.
I don't want to make it sound as though I have anything other than the greatest respect for everyone involved, Ellis included.

I don't know Ellis' work at all. He was primarily known for his jazz work, if I understand correctly, and I have absolutely no interest in jazz. I've never had occasion to learn much about Ellis.

All I can judge is from his Filmation score work, because that's all of his that I've ever heard. That work sounds to me like a great composer doing good work under difficult conditions.

Would Ellis have preferred to score every TAS episode individually? Sure. Would it have sounded awesome? I'm certain.

But this was 1973, and there was absolutely no money in Saturday morning cartoons to score every episode individually. There was money for what got written: 15 minutes to half an hour of cues for each show.

In that context, Ellis' work is even more impressive, since he could write music that was general enough to work effectively under almost any circumstance. With half an hour of material to work with, Filmation's editors did a remarkable job.

What Ellis could have done if given a real budget and time is more evident in Flash Gordon -- and even then, you can tell it's limited by budget restrictions. It would be very interesting to me to hear a full motion picture soundtrack scored by Ellis. I suspect that it would have considerably more depth simply because Ellis would have had the time to write it with more complexity.

I note that his IMDB page shows that he contributed music to Adam Sandler's awful animated movie, Eight Crazy Nights. It's one of the worst movies ever made, but I'd be very interested to see what Ellis composed that late in his career. He's also credited for music for the series Dangerous Women in 1991. I've no idea what that sounded like, but I'd be very interested to hear it.

Edit: As it turns out, the pilot episode of Dangerous Women is available on YouTube. Guess I'll be listening for Ellis-isms this afternoon ...

Christopher wrote: View Post
By the way, are you aware that Andy Mangels, the producer of the Filmation DVD sets and noted Filmation historian, is a member of the TrekBBS? If you have questions about the DVDs, or about Filmation in general, you can go directly to the source, as I've done on a few occasions.
Cool ... I had no idea. Maybe he can get me the original music masters ... ?

Christopher wrote: View Post
I look forward to it. I've always wanted to hear this music in the clear.
Actually, I'm kind of changing my mind because Action 01 and 02 are difficult to splice. I may put those off for a bit.

I'm thinking the episode opening/Captain's Log cue might be next instead. There's a lot of that cue in the clear, and it would make an appropriate next track chronologically.

I may also do a version of the main titles sans effects. The laserdisc release of the series retained the original end credits for "More Troubles, More Tribbles", which featured an end title sequence without the cymbals used as the Enterprise approaches the screen. The DVD release replaced this with the standard orchestration with cymbals.

The problem is that this cue comes from a very old source and was never mastered the way the DVD cues were. Consequently, if it's to sound similar, I'll need to add a stereo track and do some minor work on the bass ... probably add a slight echo for effect, the same as the DVDs ...

It's a cool cue and it sounds nice, but it doesn't have to tonal depth that the DVD audio does.

Anyway, either that or the episode title/Captain's Log cue will be next. I'm not sure which.

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Last edited by DakotaSmith; September 1 2010 at 09:48 PM.
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Old September 1 2010, 10:25 PM   #11
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Re: TAS Music Cues

DakotaSmith wrote: View Post
I'd love to be able to pick Ellis and Prescott's brains and discover who did what, but I suspect the information is now lost to history.
Sadly, neither man is still with us.



(Probably the reason I may be confused, of course, is that both SA and Jason used the same standing sets....)
Yep, and the Seeker shuttlecraft from SA was a revamp of the futuristic RV from Ark II. All about saving money. Star Command was handwaved as "a secret section of the Space Academy" to justify the recycled sets, props, miniatures, etc., and they crossed over SA's robot Peepo a few times.


Christopher wrote: View Post
By the way, are you aware that Andy Mangels, the producer of the Filmation DVD sets and noted Filmation historian, is a member of the TrekBBS? If you have questions about the DVDs, or about Filmation in general, you can go directly to the source, as I've done on a few occasions.
Cool ... I had no idea. Maybe he can get me the original music masters ... ?
I don't know if those exist. They've long been thought lost, but then I came upon this:

http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/0...ry-collection/

It includes the themes to a lot of Filmation's '60s superhero cartoons (not by Ellis), plus the Shazam theme, and it calls them digitally remastered. Which implies that they did have access to masters, unless they're misusing the word "remastered." I sent Andy an e-mail asking about it, but I haven't heard back yet.
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Old September 1 2010, 10:32 PM   #12
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Christopher wrote: View Post
It includes the themes to a lot of Filmation's '60s superhero cartoons (not by Ellis), plus the Shazam theme, and it calls them digitally remastered. Which implies that they did have access to masters, unless they're misusing the word "remastered." I sent Andy an e-mail asking about it, but I haven't heard back yet.
Holy frak, a remastered Shazam! ?! I must get this CD. Immediately.

I thought I'd never hear a decent Shazam!, which is a bummer because I like the theme a lot. I've put together a few attempts at splicing, but so much of the sound spectrum is missing ...

I must have this CD. And definitely let me know if you hear that the masters for any Filmation show (particularly TAS) are still available. I doubt I could actually get access to them, but it would be great to put together a Filmation Soundtrack CD(s).

Dakota Smith
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Old September 1 2010, 10:50 PM   #13
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Second cue is up on YouTube:

Star Trek Animated Series End Titles - No Effects

As mentioned earlier, this track originates with the laserdisc edition of TAS. If I recall correctly, it was used in "More Troubles, More Tribbles" as the end credits. It's the same orchestration as the standard titles, but without the cymbals used as sound effects when the Enterprise approaches the screen.

My source file for this was an MP3 rather than a FLAC or higher-quality format, but it doesn't appear to be immediately obvious. I've done little with the cue so as to not ruin the source I had.

Specifically, I threw in a second stereo track processed to bring out the bass a little more. A third track was thrown in at a very low volume with a slight echo effect. It's not really noticable unless you know it was there, but that was my intent. The DVD release music has been similarly processed, so the cues should sound similar.

Next up: Episode Titles/Captain's Log.

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Old September 2 2010, 12:01 AM   #14
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Re: TAS Music Cues

I knocked out a few of the easy ones (thank you again, "The Slaver Weapon," for your excellent quality and general lack of sound effects).

The track list is currently:

Things to always keep in mind:

These track names are mine. I've named them according to how they make sense to me: your mileage may vary. If anyone actually knows the names of these tracks, I'll happily change them.

Yes, Action Cue 03 is going up before Action Cues 01 and 02. That's because the entirety of Action Cue 03 was in the clear and required very little editing. Also, Action Cue 03 tended to occur earlier in the episodes, and I'm sort of going in chronological order through an episode.

(Also, 01/02 are going to be a bitch, as they'll require major [for me] editing to complete.)

Have fun. As always, comments, questions, and nasty remarks are invited.

Dakota Smith
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Old September 2 2010, 12:18 AM   #15
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Re: TAS Music Cues

Nice work. It'd be nice if you could even out the volume more, though.
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