Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by Harvey, Aug 11, 2012.
Funny, but I don't feel like I'm missing anything.
The CD for the Bremner suite lists the cues that comprise the suite. Comparing that cue list with the new set, and listening to season 3 disc 1, I'm struck by how the suite really is just a bunch of Fried's cues stitched together. Pretty much all Bremner did compositionally, was patch the "paradise" cues more-or-less seamlessly into one concert piece.
I say "all", as if that were so friggin easy that just anyone could do it. But I thought it was interesting, especially with an eye toward re-creating the suite by making a playlist of the cues we now have in the new set. It's pretty much possible to do that. But there are three provisos:
The suite lists something called "Birth Announcement" right before "False God". We don't have a "Birth Announcement" cue in the new set. Comparing the suite to the new set, I'm pretty sure "Birth Announcement" is just the cue "Wind", which leads right into "False God" (track 23 of s3d1).
Several of the "paradise" cues sort of smash-cut to an Enterprise cue. That would be jarring if you tried to arrange a playlist of cues to re-create the suite – you'd get some abrupt cut-offs. Bremner had the orchestra finish the cue and then start playing the next cue, in an orderly fashion, without these "cuts" to other scenes.
The Royal Philharmonic is a larger instrument than Fried used in studio. The new set credits 23 or 24 musicians (does the orchestra manager count?), which is a decent number; but I'm sure the Royal is a larger body. Bremner re-arranged the music to play it with this larger group, and the difference in sound is evident. I really notice it in the False God cues, which have the biggest & boldest statements of the New God / False God theme. On the new set, it sounds like the bass line is being played only on a single bass (sounds electric to me). In the suite, sounds like a whole section hitting the bass line – adds a lot of power to the theme.
So: I think you can patch together a version of the Bremner suite using the cues we now have (you'll need to edit some WAV files). But it's not going to sound quite the same as the suite.
Bremner missed a trick by not including the cue "Back To Reality". It reprises the opening "Pine Trees" cue, but on a solo stringed instrument (viola?) rather than woodwind, making it a lament, where the opening cue has a feel of quiet optimism or renewal. It's devastating. Would have fit in beautifully at its proper place in the suite (after the False God stuff, before the Death of Miramanee). There are a couple other "paradise" cues Bremner omitted, possibly for space reasons, that would have fit the mood ("Forest Montage", "Troubling Dreams", etc). But that "Back To Reality" cue packs an impact, and is a real loss to the suite.
I did some nitpicking, but I want to add that I think Bremner's suite is a legit concert piece. I'm grateful that he put something together that has some chance of getting Fried's music for this episode into the repertoire.
Yeah, you've said that before (I think when we were having a discussion about whether Duning was the only TOS composer to borrow from the other composers). I'm not sure I buy it.
The theme for Spock's scenes with the Commander is heard mainly in "Vulcanization" and "Back From Dead / Commandeered" (s3d3 tracks 6 & 10). They don't sound anything like Steiner's "Marlena" cues (s2d3 22-24-25), certainly not rhythmically and they may not even be the same key. (I can't tell about the intervals. My ear for intervals is, to put it kindly, "untrained").
What the theme most sounds like to me is Courage's eerie season 1 music. I have not listened to the Courage season 1 music since the set came out, but I think the Enterprise Incident "Commander" cues would not sound out of place in the Cage score, or Man Trap. Much more in common with those than with Steiner's Marlena cues – at least, that's what it sounds like to me.
Understandable, I say the same thing about my sister-in-law's holiday artichokes. Yet so many other folks love them....
I left Australia on Dec 23 for the USA - and was just notified that my TOS set arrived at my front door early on Dec 27!
Ah well, something to play with when I get home at the end of January.
Why not eBook it as PDFs? That will hold all your formatting stable.
I never claimed they were the same melody or rhythm; obviously they aren't. I'm saying Courage's Commander motif is structurally similar enough to Steiner's "Romulan Theme" that it seems likely to be a pastiche of it, an homage to it. Much like Steiner's Enterprise theme from "Charlie X" and "Mudd's Women" is a pastiche or inversion of the Courage fanfare -- different notes and timing but the same structure, not a variation on the theme but a reference to it.
Yes I understood. I am disagreeing with you, not failing to understand you.
If it has neither the same melody nor the same rhythm values; if it has neither the same key (unconfirmed, just my impression) nor the same interval values (I'd have to see a score, my ear is not good enough); then it's tough to say it has anything at all in common musically. (If the three pairs of notes are descending in the Courage, and also descending in the Steiner, then we can rule out inversion.)
The "structural" similarity you call out seems way too vague to justify calling the one a variation of or reference to the other. Melodies ascend and descend; without a hard reference point like melody or rhythm or key or interval to identify between two, there's just not much to go on.
(Don't the pairs sometimes descend and sometimes ascend in the Courage?)
I'll change my tune (heh) if we learn that the intervals are the same between the two pieces. Then I would agree that the Courage is a nod to the Steiner.
Hey, Therin, thanks for the idea. Since I published it through Amazon's "CreateSpace", it already is pdf. (You send them the pdf of your file, they create a very nice trade paperback on demand.)
Anyone who might like inspirational stories based on the life of Louis Armstrong, feel free to look at some sample pdfs (the book's table of contents, intro, and a typical chapter) at www.livelikelouis.com.
I have now opened my set... and I have observed this issue with audio being clipped at the beginning of tracks. It is annoying!
Unfortunately, the problem lies in the mastering of these CDs -- quite a few of the tracks are not Redbook standard which calls for 2 seconds of "silence" at the beginning of the track so that CD Players have a chance to "unmute" themselves. Interestingly, most of the tracks seem to have 2 seconds at the end of the track which is fine, but won't help your player play properly. Some players are slower than others, but this often causes the start of a track to clip.
The fix: Remaster the discs. Insert 2 seconds of silence at the beginning of all tracks (I'm using Pro Tools for that operation). Reburn disc. Sad that one has to remaster an expensive box set just to hear the first few notes of a track...
While I'm there, I will probably get rid of some of the tape hiss on some of the tracks which also should have been fixed IMHO.
The intervals are not the same. That's obvious to me just by listening, and I never claimed they were the same. You're being too literal, too narrow. I'm just saying the one is reminiscent of the other, and since they're both themes for Romulans, and since they're by composers who'd been working on the same show for two years and were presumably familiar with each other's work, it is not implausible that Courage may have been influenced to some extent by Steiner's theme -- enough to do a theme that was distinctly his own, but still evocative of the Steiner theme.
And I'm not claiming it "is" a nod. I'm not stupid enough to confuse a hypothesis for a fact. The only way we'd actually know is if there was some surviving interview with Courage or document by him where he said it was so. Absent that, the most we can say is that it's possible. And that's all I'm saying -- that it seems plausible to me that it could be, that I wouldn't be surprised if it was.
Wasn't trying to call you stupid.
In most cases I would expect other ways to "know", on a musicology basis. We know Duning interpolated cues from Steiner and Fried into his scores, just from listening. Our unaided ears tell us. The score confirms it (these liner notes also confirm it); but we already knew just watching the episodes.
A musician could tell if one melody is an inversion of another, just from looking at the scores – it's obvious, it reveals itself without any explication from the composer.
I would expect a nod or reference to reveal itself.
Oh ok. Not obvious to me. I flunked interval training.
Ok, that was the question I had earlier (way earlier) in the thread: is it reasonable to presume the two composers were familiar with each other's work on the series?
I don't know how series composers worked. My impression is that composing & conducting a score for a single episode did not yield enough money to cover the rent for a month – or rather, that scoring for a single series was not a full-time job. So the TV/movie composers were very busy, scoring multiple series & movies at a time, juggling gigs.
A glance at Gerald Fried's imdb page shows 15 titles other than Star Trek over 1966-7; most of them series with multiple episodes. Courage's page shows Stagecoach, 2 episodes of Lost In Space, Doctor Dolittle, and Hello Dolly during the years of Star Trek's run.
My point is: did these guys have time to listen to each other's scores, or even read them? We know that each composer had the Courage fanfare to reference when writing flyby's. But did they study each other's scores beyond that basic tidbit?
Christopher, you write tie-in novels. I believe you consider it a professional responsibility to stay abreast of tie-ins by other writers, who are sort of your colleagues. I believe you also enjoy reading other tie-in novels, so staying current is both a job and a pleasure. We could be tempted to look at you as a template for someone who does creative work in Star Trek, and assume the TOS composers kept tabs of the other scores written for the series.
But I wonder if that's an anachronism. In interviews these guys talk about each episode in its own terms. They don't talk much about overall series style & feel, except to note that the producers wanted "blood & guts music" rather than "space music".
Eh, i dunno, it's probably pretty darn easy to leaf thru a couple scores, if you know how. We can imagine Justman handing each composer a small sheaf of pamphlets when they assign the work.
I would really like to know more about how these guys worked.
Anyone else having audio problems with Track 12 of Season 3 Disc 4, Cave Exit -- about 11 secs in the audio level seems to change very oddly?
There are a few schools of thought on that. I'm not bothered by much tape hiss om the early scores (maybe it's not getting past my tinnitus). Some think they should have minimized but, but others feel it would have robbed the music of some detail. I'd rather have everything as it is, but if you can remove it yourself, cool.
And I still say that's too narrow and exclusionistic a way of defining a reference. I've heard many musical pastiches that were not as close as what you're insisting on here, like Ray Ellis and Norm Prescott's themes for Filmation's animated versions of Star Trek, Gilligan's Island, and the like, which were designed to sound similar to the original themes yet be distinct pieces of music so they didn't have to pay any royalties. Or musical parodies and pastiches in countless comedies and cartoons over the decades. We know that Courage intended the Star Trek theme itself to be a pastiche of "Beyond the Blue Horizon." It's not an inversion or any of the narrow range of things you're talking about -- it's just broadly similar in structure and style. And we know for a fact that it was an intentional homage. So I simply cannot understand why you are insisting on such a limiting definition of what constitutes an homage or pastiche.
Look at the liner notes for George Duning's scores. He used Steiner's Romulan/Blackship theme for Henoch in "Return to Tomorrow," and used part of Fried's "Mr. Spock" cue from "Amok Time" as a Spock motif in "Is There In Truth No Beauty?" and "The Empath." Also, Steiner used Courage's "Captain's Theme" from the second pilot as the opening and closing Enterprise cues for "Charlie X" and the closing cue for "Mudd's Women." So we know there was cross-pollination beyond the fanfare itself.
Just to return us to an unanswered question I raised earlier in the thread if we could please ...
One of the first CDs I turned to was Spock's Brain. It's a favourite score of mine. However, I can't seem to find one particular piece. I always assumed it was from Spock's Brain but I can't find it either in the main score or on the library cues. It is repeated many times during the latter part of season three. The piece I am referring to is first played in the sickbay scene in that episode (just after McCoy has said "The brain lives on, but there is no mind!" and then during Kirk and Scotty's "That girl" "Ay"...). A slightly different version is played moments before, and then this particular one is heard a few moments later; it's only a short motif. Other examples where it is heard include Kirk saying "an alien life force" on the bridge just after Spock's scan in Day of the Dove, during Spock's "we are being monitored" dialogue when Flint observes him and Kirk in Requiem for Methuselah, just after Spock crushes the chalice in the chamber in Plato's Stepchildren and McCoy ushes Kirk away, and when Kirk leaves the bridge after shouting at Spock in Turnabout Intruder (the cue just before the scene in which he files his nails).
Can anyone identify and find this?
Another interesting point is that whilst the majority of the opening music of Spock's Brain had to be scrapped due to feedback problems, (the majority of the opening teaser utilised music from The Enterprise Incident from when Chekhov attempts to locate Spock and beams him and the Romulan Commander aboard), the very opening cue during the space exterior shots, (which was retained) it seems, was overlayed with an additional string instrument sting (like during the Death of Miramanee in The Paradise Syndrome), as the cue as presented on the boxset has no overlayed/added instrument whereas it does in the opening shot of the broadcast episode. However, unlike The Paradise Syndrome where the cue presented is the broadcast version including the overlayed string instrument when Miramanee dies, with Spock's Brain they present us with the raw clean version rather than the final televised version with overtracked string sting, so there is some inconsistency in the set between some tracks having raw music, whilst others have the final broadcast version with additional stings overlayed.
Likewise, other odd stings here and there don't seem to be on the set (another example being the raw sting when Nancy changes appearances during Man Trap...it is present on the set, but not its raw version, and indeed the sting used during Miramanee's death is presented raw in The Mark of Gideon when the Admiral ends the conversation with Spock after he protests at the Admiral's decision "So noted", but we don't get it on the set...).
Sure, we've all heard many of these. And in every case, you can hear the similarity. They also have identifiable reference points, usually being in the same key and often having either rhythm values or interval values in common with their "source", as well as harmonies. Someone who knew what they were doing could look at the scores and explain how/why the pieces sound similar to laymen like me.
That's not the situation here. The Courage Commander stuff doesn't sound similar to Steiner's Marlena theme, and doesn't have reference points. There's no stylistic similarity between the Courage & the Steiner; and the structural similarity you point out, seems very very tenuous. I just don't see (hear?) any connection at all between the cues.
Was well aware of the Duning examples; we were all aware of them before the box set was released. When you & I were discussing this much earlier in the thread, I opined that Duning was the only TOS composer who ever quoted the other composers, except to the extent that all the composers quoted some of Courage's music from the pilot(s).
I had missed the Steiner examples from Charlie X & Mudd's Women. As you point out, they are straight up statements of the captain's theme from WNMHGB. Really they are almost identical to "Beyond the Pale" (s1d1 #17). But these don't really seem to be counter-examples. The first two non-Courage scores for the series quote the opening / main title music from the pilot, for their own opening and closing. That's hardly surprising, seems more like standard operating procedure.
I feel as if your examples are making my argument for me. But perhaps I've wandered around so much (esp dwelling on the music for the Romulan Commander) that my main point is not clear. Here it is: There was very damn little "cross-pollination" between composers on TOS. It's almost shocking how little there is. Duning is the only TOS composer who quoted or referenced other TOS composers in the body of his own scores – except of course for the dictated re-use of Courage's opening music for the pilot(s).
You've posted above the complete list of cross-polination examples. Here it is again:
Every composer re-used Courage's fanfare for the "fly-bys", as dictated by the producers.
Steiner used Courage's opening music from the (second) pilot to open the first TOS non-Courage score, and to close the second.
And that's it! Even if we add Courage's music for the Spock / Commander scenes to this list, which I've argued extensively against, that's still a very small list.
Duning's use of the Steiner Black Ship music, and of a couple of Fried's cues from Amok Time, really stands out in a series where no other composer quoted others (except where dictated). And this makes me want to learn more about how these guys worked. We know that screenwriters received a series "bible". Did composers receive something similar, a composer's bible? If so, what was in it?
Why was Duning different? His quotes are utterly, utterly appropriate. But I'm sure there were other "appropriate" contexts for quotes. Fried's Spock themes, Courage's captain theme, Steiner's enemy theme: these could have been worked in to any number of different places. Yet no other composer did it. Did Duning feel a responsibility to "fit in" with the series tone, and the other composers did not? Where by contrast the other composers felt it was their job to give the music editor more stuff to work with, stuff that was different from what they already had, so they would purposely refrain from any quotation. Was Duning less busy with other work than the other TOS composers were, so he took time to review other scores? (and the other composers did not) Was Duning actually a fan in addition to being a pro, so he wanted to do "shout outs" to the other composers, while the other composers were not so motivated?
Duning's use of quotations, against the utter lack of quotes from the other composers, raises a ton of questions about how these guys worked. I would like to learn more.
Speak for yourself. I hear a very clear similarity. Different people's perceptions work differently. Some people's brains latch more onto patterns, others more onto specific sounds, etc. So two things that seem dissimilar to one person can seem very similar to another.
Let's try this... I'm going to compare the notes of the two basic motifs, starting them both on C for the sake of comparison.
Steiner Romulan motif: C - C# - C - D# - C - F - C
Courage Commander motif: C - C# - C - C# - B - C# - C
That's two 7-note phrases with the same first three notes and the same last note -- 4 identical notes out of 7, more than half the phrase. Three notes differ, but follow the same pattern of up-down-up. Then, in both cases, notes 2 through 7 repeat (or approximately repeat) at least two more times. And in both cases, notes 1 and 7 are sustained longer than any of the other notes, although the actual lengths of the notes are different.
So I see a good deal of similarity between the two. Plus the similarity that they were both written for Romulans. Coincidence? Sure, maybe. But maybe not. All I'm saying is maybe, and I don't know why you're so hostile to a simple maybe.
Warlord - I'll be on the lookout for the Spock's Brain cue -- I will grab a section of the audio from the episode and keep it handy as I go through the set. I just opened my set at Xmas, so I haven't had time to anal-yze all of it yet. I think the word "inconsitent" seems to best fit the description. I think they should have included the edits for tracked sequences since that is the way we are used to hearing the music for certain episodes. It would also be handy to know at a glance how many episodes utilized a particular cue as a tracked piece.
Wait, where are you getting this? Do you have the sheet music? From where?
I said earlier that I would "change my tune" if we found out that the intervals in the melodies were substantially the same. You said they weren't.
You're overstating your case a little, by transposing them to the same key. You thus get two of your seven notes to be "identical", because you moved them there. It would probably be fairer to count the intervals (the hyphens) – though here I'm starting to get out of my musicology depth. I'd say those were two 7-note phrases (a reference point) that both end at "home" (very common), with 2 out of 6 identical intervals. Note that it might be 3 out of 6: look at the interval between notes 4 & 5. Written down like this, they both look like "one and a half notes"; but I think C# to B natural is just one whole step, not a step-and-a-half.
Two intervals out of six does not sound as convincing as "more than half the phrase identical", but I think it's fairer.
That said, these two seem a little more similar than I thought at first, particularly given the phrase length. Where are you getting the notes from?
I'd have to go way back in the thread to the first mention, which I'm not all that motivated to do, but my impression is that you opened with way more certitude on this than "a simple maybe". So I marshaled my arguments.
"Hostile" is a strong word. I didn't use provocative phrases like "I'm not stupid enough to..." or "narrow-minded" – at least, I don't think I did.
I've been listening to the music for 38 years, so naturally I have the melodies memorized. I have a very good memory for music. I used an online "virtual piano" applet to play the melodies and transcribed the notes. I'm not sure what keys they're actually in -- I only have relative pitch, not perfect pitch -- which is why, as I already said, I chose to start them both on C for the sake of comparing the two melodies.
I said they weren't exactly the same. I also said they were similar. And clearly they're even more similar than I realized.
My "case" was never anything more than that there is a similarity. You're the one who's insisted on applying a bizarrely narrow and exclusionistic set of standards of what constitutes a similarity.
And I stated from the beginning that I was deliberately transposing them for the sake of comparing their patterns. I never claimed that they actually were in the same key. So I don't appreciate your insinuation that I was trying to deceive or misrepresent anything.
Okay, I did say the Courage motif "is pretty much a variation" of the Steiner, and I can see how that could be interpreted to mean a deliberate variation. That was a poor choice of words. All I meant is that they're very similar. As I've said, I can only speculate about whether the similarity was intentional.
Separate names with a comma.