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Old October 26 2011, 02:59 PM   #1
Mark Henson
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Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

Hi guys - I compose music in my spare time and have been working on a potential theme for a TV series based on the 2009 characters (or possibly the next film...?)

Let me know what you think - I've pieced it togther with various scenes from the reboot film just for effect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hB8JAlP2S6o

Thanks all! - I love this forum!
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Old October 26 2011, 03:37 PM   #2
judexavier
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

Nice. I like how you reworked/blended the old intro motif to be the main theme in the first section.
The second section doesn't seem to have as strong of a theme, although I probably wasn't hearing the mix right on
my crappy speakers I wonder how it might sound with stronger brass balance, like the old John Williams/LSO soundtracks.
What hardware/software/instruments do you use?
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Old October 27 2011, 02:11 AM   #3
Maverisms
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Location: North America, Sol b
Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

^Agreed. it starts fairly strong, but it just kinda gets lost after a while. I'm not feeling any motifs. One of the things that grabs me about good theme music is the way it evokes the subject with only a few bars.

007, Indiana Jones, Star Trek (TOS, ALL TMP, VOY, JJ), Star Gate/SG-1, Hawaii 5-0 (original), Dragnet, Knight Rider, Law and Order, Doctor Who...

Those themes have an unmistakable sound. You know what you are hearing when you hear one. This, I'm not feeling. The Courage fanfare doesn't seem connected and sounds muted.
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Old October 27 2011, 03:53 AM   #4
Ziz
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

I'm with the others - it needs more of the Courage theme in there. All the ones Maverisms mentioned have a solid 10-20 seconds that you can recognize regardless of what's before or after it. Yours started to feel like it had that but then kind of lost it somewhere.
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Old October 28 2011, 03:12 AM   #5
JES
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

You should mention in the title that this is actually original music. I was expecting a remix of some sort, not a theme that was completely new. Mentioning this might attract more viewers. It is lucky that you advertised it on this site, otherwise, I might have skipped over it if I saw it on a Youtube playlist. And I'm glad I didn't, because it is always refreshing to listen to fan-made themes.

On the other hand, however, it is like my fellow forum members have already said: there is no real theme, certainly not a strong one. I think that it isn't worthy as a main theme; it sounds more like a background theme for the middle of a certain scene.

Still, I hope you don't feel discouraged. Like I said, it is always refreshing to hear a new theme.
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Old October 28 2011, 02:52 PM   #6
USS Jack Riley
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

Good first effort. Certainly not a bad go of it.

A suggestion I can give you about theming is to watch the original TOS episodes and ST: TMP. We all know the "fight" theme from TOS. It has become synonymous with Star Trek. That is just one example (there are "warning sexy women just came on camera" themes, etc.).

TMP has them all over the place. Ilia has her own theme which, when played more slowly or with an emphasis on different instruments, becomes a love theme. V'ger has its own theme (granted, it sounds like electronic gongs, but, by God, you know what they are referencing). Even the Enterprise gets a theme.

If you have the director's edition of TMP (or can get your hands on it), there is an extra devoted to the music and one of the things that the director points out is that the scene where the Enterprise first leaves drydock didn't have a theme at first. The composer went back and rewrote the music for the scene and added a theme. The extra then plays both scenes, with and without the theme. The difference is incredible.

Keep up the good work, I think you are on to something. Also try listening to a bunch off different soundtracks (or better yet, watch the movie with the music paired up to it, even westerns (Big Country is a good one) and romance (the Quiet Man, for example - okay, in today's parlance that would technically be a romantic comeday, but they didn't have those back then, romance was serious business! )

I look forward to hearing future iterations.
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Old October 30 2011, 09:30 PM   #7
DFScott
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

I love that you're doing something musical here in the Trek Art forum, Mark; we don't have nearly as much aural art as we do visual.

What makes a composition into a theme is its ability to be memorized. I love music that goes an entirely different direction than one might expect, and that you find yourself humming even after the show's over.

I think your composition would be improved if you cleared the screen for a few minutes, stopped looking at your visual montage, and considered what combination of thematic elements makes you feel the way that you want the new Star Trek to make you feel? Imagine yourself walking away from the TV into the kitchen in the middle of a really killer episode during a commercial. What are you humming, whistling, drumming? What's the rhythm and timbre that keeps your mind in the story?

I know some have said it was nice that you inlaid the Alexander Courage theme in the middle; but for this exercise, I would suggest avoiding any "quotation" of a prior Trek theme. (Bring it back later, but for now put it aside.) Let yourself go with this one. What makes your heart rate rise? Is it Anton Bruckner's rolling waves or Richard Wagner's anthem-touting horns? Or is it Led Zeppelin's driving riffs or Eric Clapton's magic hands?

Find it and hang onto it, get it on paper. Remember, you're not looking for a chord progression but a melody. I think your current work is based around a chord progression, and it's vaguely reminiscent of the Stargate Atlantis theme:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1zvWMREQhQ

Which is also mostly a chord progression. A theme built around a chord progression is like a cage within which the theme is a birdie bouncing around at random. You need to uncage the bird and let the melody fly free, then frame the chord progression around where it leads you.

The Next Generation, Voyager, DS9, and Enterprise untrained a whole generation of would-be musicians in how to write music for sci-fi; for most of their existence, they played background chords behind the action. USS Jack Riley mentioned how everyone remembers the fight theme from TOS; people remember a half-century old incidental piece from "Amok Time" more readily than almost any single piece of TNG music (besides the theme ripped off from TMP).

When you find your theme, whether it's on the piano or guitar or whatever instrument you use, it will astound you like a foreign visitor bashing through the window. Pin it down, get it on paper, don't lose it. Capture it, and then get a saddle on it and ride it where it wants to take you. You may be completely amazed with where you go with this, but then again, so will we.

DF "Always Thought Trek Music Could Be Improved with a Dose of Norah Jones" Scott
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Old October 30 2011, 10:27 PM   #8
Captain Robert April
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

Frankly, the only music I remember from JJTrek is the original Courage theme being played over the visuals they ripped off from the Lost In Space movie. The other two hours is a complete blank.

Kinda like "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight"; without that Danny Elfman theme from the two Tim Burton movies, the entire soundtrack just doesn't stick in the ol' engrams (it also points to one of the things Bryan Singer got right with "Superman Returns" when he brought back that John Williams theme).
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Old October 30 2011, 10:50 PM   #9
DFScott
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

Agreed, Captain A.. The dark superhero music doesn't fit in the Trek motif. I know it's probably what the producers and/or director was going for to sell the film to the studio. It just doesn't sell the Trek concept to the audience. And while I think Michael Giacchino has done superb work elsewhere ("The Incredibles" was outstanding), for whatever reason, the motif chosen for Trek XI was the wrong one.

Frankly, I don't see why the Trek music couldn't have rocked. Bring in a screaming Stratocaster. There's moments of the film where parts of Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" would have been tremendously preferable to what we got.

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Old October 31 2011, 12:55 AM   #10
Maverisms
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Re: Musical content - New Star Trek theme 2009 - TV series titles?

I own the '09 soundtrack. Both of them, actually. I have to disagree. Giacchino did a good job defining a sound for most of the movie. I agree with most of the soundtrack critics, that he failed to provide a dynamic and memorable sound for the villains. But to be honest, I don't think Trek movies have managed that since Khan. And I don't think Star Trek, in general, has created a memorable motif since the Borg action ditty from Best of Both Worlds.

Giacchino missed on creating a cohesive sound track, but his hero motif works as Star Trek sound (IMO), and I like the way some of his action movements call back to the TOS fight stings. Most importantly, for this discussion, Giacchino created a definite motif. It is easy to recognize and listening to it I can hear the call back to the Courage motif, without being a rip off of the same.

Last edited by Maverisms; October 31 2011 at 02:31 AM. Reason: clarity
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