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The genius of the original Star Trek composers (Courage, Kaplan, Steiner, Duning, Fried)

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dcoscina

dcoscina

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Haven't really seen the original series, but Dennis McCarthy constantly blows me away with his emotional writing for TNG. Seriously underappreciated composer.
From what I've heard, Nick Redman's mandate to TNG composers was to keep it as subdued as possible. Kind of the antithesis to the original series music mandate. I didn't mind St:TNG but it wasn't terribly captivating stuff. I think Ron Jones did some amazing work back then but some of it was thrown out because it was perhaps too good..

Given the limitations, yes, TNG had good music, but nothing like the classic series to be honest.
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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You know what would be a fun exercise? Writing a piece with the same instrument resources that these guys had. I'm really into writing for chamber orchestra anyhow lately (more realistic chance of the music getting performed!) so once a few projects clear up, I might to do this for fun
 

bbunker

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Just wanted to point out a misspelling on your title - unless I'm missing a beat, it shouldn't be "Durning" but "Duning" - as in George Duning, right?

Lots of sketches available of his at his archive at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming, fyi...
 
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dcoscina

dcoscina

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An excellent analysis here, very much worth checking out: A truly Wagnerian approach - the music echos everything in the shot!

Lots of Herrmann influence in the Steiner music - my favorite of the bunch.

The small ensembles are such a unique sound.
Just wanted to point out a misspelling on your title - unless I'm missing a beat, it shouldn't be "Durning" but "Duning" - as in George Duning, right?

Lots of sketches available of his at his archive at the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming, fyi...
Fixed thanks
 

ed buller

Senior Member
So Question: Whom amongst you can point to a specific discipline ,technique that is used in these scores. I find that music in American TV, especially the fantasy , science fiction genre, particularly exciting and colorful. From mid fifties to the late sixties; Shows Like:

Voyage to the Bottom Of the Sea
The Time Tunnel
Lost In Space
Star Trek
Land of the Giants

etc

They all used a rosta of composers , some Big names too...and yet there is a style that is consistent across them all. But I struggle to put it into words....Its a kinda Melodic Atonal Hybrid. It's wonderful !!!!!!!!!!!....i would pay CASH MONEY to learn how to apply liberally ...but alas it eludes me.

There are a few film scores that have it too: The Satan Bug is a perfect example. Jeff Bond wrote a great book on Star Trek music but it didn't really deal with the notes themselves....that's the tricky part.

I am very curious what the HIVE thinks on this as it's obvious many of us realise how truly stunning this music is

thoughts ?

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ed
 

Dr.Quest

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An excellent analysis here, very much worth checking out: A truly Wagnerian approach - the music echos everything in the shot!

Lots of Herrmann influence in the Steiner music - my favorite of the bunch.

The small ensembles are such a unique sound.
This is so good! Thanks for posting!
 

marclawsonmusic

Senior Member
Thanks, Ed. It all sounds kind of similar to me, but I am still learning about this atonal music.

For sure, there is no discernable 'tune'... but there definitely something melodic. It's like a series of smaller musical statements stitched together into a larger piece. There is enough consistency that you can follow it, but it's certainly not predictable.

I grew up listening to all of this stuff. In fact, I just watched 'The Man Trap' the other night and was thinking how cool the music was. But I've never tried to study it musically before, so this is fascinating.
 

ed buller

Senior Member
It IS fascinating. It's a unique "HOLLYWOOD" musical vocabulary that was widely used for about 20 years. There is some consistency too it . I truly believe that a lot of what I am hearing was a shared musical lexicon that these composer knew about and used continuously. Interestingly there is a parallel movement happening in England around the same time. But there the music was a little jazzier and lighter in tone. TV music from Barry Gray and Film Music from Ron Goodwin:



there's lot's of Hexatonic and Octatonic sonority here; Also poly chords a plenty . Barry was very fond of those. He was taught by a Bartok student too which explains a lot !

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ed
 

tonaliszt

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there's lot's of Hexatonic and Octatonic sonority here; Also poly chords a plenty . Barry was very fond of those. He was taught by a Bartok student too which explains a lot !
To me all of these seem to have some relation to pitch sets - particularly some Octatonic subsets which Bartok would have liked (it is all extremely interval-based in the melodic material). The main thing is the process in which the pieces were composed, a very specific way one would score to picture on paper. If you can find Jack Smally's book Composing for Film, he does a good job laying out how this process works. He also lays out simply a few of the non-tonal concepts that would have been used.
 

ed buller

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To me all of these seem to have some relation to pitch sets - particularly some Octatonic subsets which Bartok would have liked (it is all extremely interval-based in the melodic material). The main thing is the process in which the pieces were composed, a very specific way one would score to picture on paper. If you can find Jack Smally's book Composing for Film, he does a good job laying out how this process works. He also lays out simply a few of the non-tonal concepts that would have been used.
I have Jack's book. Also a book by Russell Garcia who wrote a bunch of TV and film music that has quite a lot about serialist techniques that were popular. I suspect your right that pitch sets played a big part. I just have a feeling that there's some great recipes and musical tricks these dudes used a lot that has disappeared over time!....

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ed

 

tonaliszt

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I just have a feeling that there's some great recipes and musical tricks these dudes used a lot that has disappeared over time!....
Yes - impossible to argue with that. I think some of it can clearly be traced back to academic approaches of the time (the atonal processes), but the missing stuff is certainly in the Wagnerian influence - many of the ex-German film composers that would have been influences/teachers of these composers were never taken seriously by schools and the processes were never written down!
 
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