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Star Wars music = classical music?

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Yes

Author Topic: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?  (Read 122327 times)

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Offline Frellie

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2009, 02:14:06 AM »
Star Wars is often called a space opera. How convenient in this discussion!  ;)

More like a soap opera in space...  >:D

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2009, 03:33:20 AM »
But if you mean 'art music', than I can't really see how Star Wars tunes could fit the description.

How about Korngold's or Holst's music? Art music?

More like a soap opera in space...  >:D

I disagree. Sorry.
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Offline Frellie

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2009, 05:31:14 AM »
How about Korngold's or Holst's music? Art music?

I would be mercifully inclined to count their scores, on individual merit, and along with those by composers like Prokofiev and RVW, among the exceptions to the rule.

This of course notwithstanding John Williams' admirably irrevocable musical imprint in the heart and mind of many a film lover.  ;)


Offline jochanaan

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2009, 07:20:53 AM »
Oh, don't go there!  :o...
Sorry.  I already did.  See the "Opera and Vocal" forum. ;D
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Dana

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2009, 12:01:30 AM »
I would go further and say that movies are the operas of our time.  Now THERE's a discussion for another thread! ;D



>:D

Dana

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2009, 12:03:25 AM »
     If someone asks me if I like music I might say "I like some music". So, what kind do I like? It doesn't seem to me that "good" music is a kind in any useful sense. So, there will be categories. :)

OK, then I vote that the Star Wars soundtrack is not classical music, because it fits into the "movie soundtrack" category just fine.

Offline Bogey

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2009, 06:12:42 PM »


>:D

I am yet to ever report someones post to a moderator, but you came as close as anybody with this one, Dana. $:)
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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #27 on: November 09, 2009, 08:19:59 AM »
I think smooth jazz counts as jazz, I might think post-rock counts as rock, but, Star Wars soundtrack, or any film soundtrack for that matter, counts as classical. I think a better term would be "contemporary orchestral compositions". But we really don't have an accurate term, other than "film score".




  I will only address the Star Wars soundtrack as it is the title of this thread. I will say that it copies the concept of the "leitmotif"- a melody, tune etc. for each character, idea,  and/or situation and the music does enhance the visual drama.  This concept was developed in Wagner's Ring cycle in a phenomenal way.  So in a sense yes the soundtrack of Star Wars does have some artistic merit so it can be considered classical music.  That said, John Williams is no match for Wagner and I find that with repeated listening the soundtrack wears a little thin to my Wagnerian ears. 

  marvin   

Offline Catison

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #28 on: November 10, 2009, 05:04:47 AM »
The Star Wars scores are full of amazing music, but they are not classical music; they are movie scores.  Movies are not the operas of our time, they are the movies of our time.  The opera of our time is simply that, opera.  I doubt John Adams feels like he is competing with Jerry Bruckheimer.

The unspoken assumption here is that movie scores, because they are not classical music, are somehow lesser forms of art.  That is not correct either.  They are amazing examples of music written for the cinema, and that is important.  Although they are wonderful to listen to on their own, we cannot divorce them from their intended use, which is to comment on a visual story told in widescreen moving images.  That is precisely why they are not classical music; because they were never primarily intended to stand on their own.  To call them classical music would be to deny the very reason why they are great.
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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #29 on: November 10, 2009, 05:29:45 AM »
The Star Wars scores are full of amazing music, but they are not classical music; they are movie scores.  Movies are not the operas of our time, they are the movies of our time.  The opera of our time is simply that, opera.  I doubt John Adams feels like he is competing with Jerry Bruckheimer.

The unspoken assumption here is that movie scores, because they are not classical music, are somehow lesser forms of art.  That is not correct either.  They are amazing examples of music written for the cinema, and that is important.  Although they are wonderful to listen to on their own, we cannot divorce them from their intended use, which is to comment on a visual story told in widescreen moving images.  That is precisely why they are not classical music; because they were never primarily intended to stand on their own.  To call them classical music would be to deny the very reason why they are great.

  Carefull there Catison.  Max Steiner, who wrote the score for the movie King Kong declared that Richard Wagner invented cinema music.  After all the Ring cycle is a series of images, pictures ,if you will, with music.  Cinema theaters today adopts the Wagnerian music drama principal of having the lights dimmed, seats raked and facing the stage/screen and the orchestra hidden in a pit.  This is very similar to the cinemas of today, with surround sound taking the place of the orchestra of course.   That said I do agree with you that there is a distinction between opera/music drama and cinema music but a valid argument can be made to link the two.  

  marvin
« Last Edit: November 10, 2009, 05:35:57 AM by marvinbrown »

Dana

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #30 on: November 10, 2009, 08:41:22 AM »
      Sure there's a link, but whereas the premiere of a new Wagner opera was advertised as the grand new opera by Wagner, no one goes to see the new John Williams movie. All of the similarities you mention between opera and the cinema also exist between opera and musical theater - yet people cringe at calling it classical music. Maybe it's at least a little bit of snobbery by classical music fans, but there's still a distinction - in opera, the music headlines just as much as, if not more than, everything else. That's only sometimes true in musical theater, and it's definitely not true of cinema.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #31 on: November 10, 2009, 12:52:59 PM »
Movie music can be anything. Rap, classical, rock, tango, jazz,... ...anything. The music in Star Wars is extremely near to classical music. That's why only the most snobbery assholes say it's not classical music.

no one goes to see the new John Williams movie.

There are fans of John Williams who do go to see a movie because of the music. At least they buy the soundtrack. Also, music is considered generally much more important in operas than in movies (music has a VERY important role in Star Wars but who cares about the music in "Dumb and Dumber"?  ;D ). 
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CD

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #32 on: November 10, 2009, 01:42:33 PM »
There are fans of John Williams who do go to see a movie because of the music.

Sad.

MN Dave

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #33 on: November 10, 2009, 01:43:40 PM »
I hear a lot of other classics in his "classics".  ;D

Offline drogulus

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #34 on: November 10, 2009, 03:14:30 PM »
OK, then I vote that the Star Wars soundtrack is not classical music, because it fits into the "movie soundtrack" category just fine.

     So long as category isn't a qualitative judgment I'm not disagreeing. It seems to me, though, that the insistence on keeping music within the lanes isn't just a matter of categorizing. When someones says that film music isn't classical they aren't just making the point that the music wasn't intended for the concert hall, but rather that it isn't appropriate to play it there for some reason, and that is what I disagree with. Instead I would leave it to individual scores. Some excellent film scores simply can't be made into concert pieces because outside the film they lack coherence. For me that is the only issue.
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Bulldog

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #35 on: November 10, 2009, 04:14:51 PM »
Movie music can be anything. Rap, classical, rock, tango, jazz,... ...anything. The music in Star Wars is extremely near to classical music. That's why only the most snobbery assholes say it's not classical music.

By your standards, most of the folks who have voted on this thread are snobbery a**holes.  That must make you a populist a**hole.

Offline Catison

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #36 on: November 10, 2009, 05:36:36 PM »
When someones says that film music isn't classical they aren't just making the point that the music wasn't intended for the concert hall, but rather that it isn't appropriate to play it there for some reason, and that is what I disagree with.

The argument I made above has nothing to do with the concert hall.  It has to do with intended use, and the fact that it distorts the accomplishment of a good film score to compare it with a something like Also Sprach because they were intended to be listened to differently.  There are moments in most great film scores in which the only purpose is to get out of the way of the images on screen.  That would be bad practice for any type of classical music, which is meant to keep the listener's attention at all times.  In fact, there are many times that film scores have failed miserably simply because they draw too much attention to themselves.

I can understand separating the criteria, and judging the Star Wars scores as classical music and as movie scores separately.  The fact that they can be judged well when both standards are applied is a key to understanding their greatness.  But I would be careful calling them classical music, as if that the the primary way they should stand up.
-Brett

Offline Bogey

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #37 on: November 10, 2009, 06:57:06 PM »
Well, when playing the Mahler #3 for the third time the other day, my wife did inquire as to what movie it was from. >:D
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Dana

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #38 on: November 10, 2009, 10:42:24 PM »
There are fans of John Williams who do go to see a movie because of the music. At least they buy the soundtrack.

      I have friends who very closely follow film score chatter, and know all of the projects that any given film composer has on his plate. We walk out of the theater talking about the music just as much as the lightsabers, or the wizardry, or the dinosaurs. We enjoy the music, and get excited about it. We don't go to the movies for the music, and unless you're going to claim to be the first, I don't know a single person who does.

Offline drogulus

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Re: Does Star Wars soundtrack count as classical music?
« Reply #39 on: November 11, 2009, 02:43:19 AM »
The argument I made above has nothing to do with the concert hall.  It has to do with intended use, and the fact that it distorts the accomplishment of a good film score to compare it with a something like Also Sprach because they were intended to be listened to differently.  There are moments in most great film scores in which the only purpose is to get out of the way of the images on screen.  That would be bad practice for any type of classical music, which is meant to keep the listener's attention at all times.  In fact, there are many times that film scores have failed miserably simply because they draw too much attention to themselves.

I can understand separating the criteria, and judging the Star Wars scores as classical music and as movie scores separately.  The fact that they can be judged well when both standards are applied is a key to understanding their greatness.  But I would be careful calling them classical music, as if that the the primary way they should stand up.

     I agree that most film music will be inadequate for precisely the reason you cite. However I don't think it's all that important what the original context of the music is except to the extent that it exhibits the limitations film music often does: by itself it isn't interesting enough to demand the continuous attention of the concert hall. IOW, it's only significant if the music doesn't hold up. I'm interested in the cases where these obstacles are overcome.

     When I say Star Wars counts as classical I mean it's provenance doesn't exclude it from consideration. And it's so firmly in the classical tradition that it draws attention to an odd fact, that the popularity of this music draws it in where the art cultists don't want it, while the music they prefer has far less appeal. As a part time cultist, I find this amusing. We do love policing our categories, don't we?
 
« Last Edit: November 16, 2009, 10:27:32 PM by drogulus »
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