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Old 25-04-2007, 04:58   #1
Mr_Bandman
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A hint in the music?

Before I get to my thought, here are a few things on which we can probably tacitly agree:
  1. SHE is brilliant.
  2. SHE is involved in the script editing process so that SHE can ensure continuity and accuracy.
  3. John Williams is a brilliant film composer, and few are as adept at forming musical characterization through character-specific motif.
  4. We all know the themes for Harry, Dumbledore, Hedwig, Hagrid, etc., when we HEAR them----that's JW's brilliance-----just like we know Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Superman, Oscar Schindler, Indiana Jones, a 30-foot long great white shark, ET, Yoda, and a thousand other characters when we HEAR them----they all have their own musical motif.

I am a high school band director (hence the screen name). I was rehearsing a medley of John Williams' film music with one of my younger ensembles the other day that includes The Face of Voldemort from the film version of HPSS. It is, of course, a sinister, creepy sounding piece of music, but the thing that struck me is that it includes the Harry motif in two forms----first is the one we all recognize, played on orchestra bells in the upper octave----it is sweet and innocent, magical and hints of heroism. When it is presented again, it is twisted and sinister, and he (JW) has altered some notes in the melody to give it a decidedly dark, evil sound, and it is presented by the low woodwinds and low strings (bassoon, bass clarinet, cello---that sort of sound).

Here's my question: Why doesn't Voldemort get his own distinctive melodic motif at this point? Why is his a twisted, minor key variation of Harry's theme? Is it too much of a stretch to wonder if JKR collaborated with JW on his musical characterizations? If it were almost any other composer I would think not, but JW's themes are as universally recognized as the characters they represent. It stands to reason, I think, that SHE would want them to accurately portray Her characters just as she wants the scripts to do.

So....I could very well be making something of nothing here.....but is it possible that we were given a hint toward the entwined relationship of Harry & Voldemort in the film score?

Last edited by Mr_Bandman; 21-05-2007 at 04:38.. Reason: bad grammar....I hate bad grammar....especially mine....
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Old 25-04-2007, 05:50   #2
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Re: A hint in the music?

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Originally Posted by Mr Bandman
I could very well be making something of nothing here.....but is it possible that we were given a hint toward the entwined relationship of Harry & Voldemort in the film score?
You know . . . that is a wonderful point! Now I want to watch GoF again and check what we hear in the graveyard.

Sadly, most never pay any particular attention to the music, which in a way shows the composer's brilliance in complementing the action (or lack therof) on screen. Of course . . . being a musician we tend to look for it . . . I agree on Williams' characterisation (can't wait to hear Umbridge's theme!) And . . . you are right . . .if Jo has a say in the script, why not in the music as well, or at the very least, perhaps he has asked for her input.
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Old 25-04-2007, 13:43   #3
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Re: A hint in the music?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Bandman View Post
Before I get to my thought, here are a few things we can probably tacitly agree on:
  1. SHE is brilliant.
  2. SHE is involved in the script editing process so that SHE can ensure continuity and accuracy.
  3. John Williams is a brilliant film composer, and few are as adept at forming musical characterization through character-specific motif.
  4. We all know the themes for Harry, Dumbledore, Hedwig, Hagrid, etc., when we HEAR them----that's JW's brilliance-----just like we know Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Superman, Oscar Schindler, Indiana Jones, a 30-foot long great white shark, ET, Yoda, and a thousand other characters when we HEAR them----they all have their own musical motif.

I am a high school band director (hence the screen name). I was rehearsing a medley of John Williams' film music with one of my younger ensembles the other day that includes [I]The Face of Voldemort[I] from the film version of HPSS. It is, of course, a sinister, creepy sounding piece of music, but the thing that struck me is that it includes the Harry motif in two forms----first is the one we all recognize, played on orchestra bells in the upper octave----it is sweet and innocent, magical and hints of heroism. When it is presented again, it is twisted and sinister, and he (JW) has altered some notes in the melody to give it a decidedly dark, evil sound, and it is presented by the low woodwinds and low strings (bassoon, bass clarinet, cello---that sort of sound).

Here's my question: Why doesn't Voldemort get his own distinctive melodic motif at this point? Why is his a twisted, minor key variation of Harry's theme? Is it too much of a stretch to wonder if JKR collaborated with JW on his musical characterizations? If it were almost any other composer I would think not, but JW's themes are as universally recognized as the characters they represent. It stands to reason, I think, that SHE would want them to accurately portray Her characters just as she wants the scripts to do.

So....I could very well be making something of nothing here.....but is it possible that we were given a hint toward the entwined relationship of Harry & Voldemort in the film score?
I like the music of John Williams, (I didn't care for the music of the last movie done by someone else.) I don't think there was any kind of hint in the music, just poetic license, (so to speak) on his part. I didn't care at all for the music in the last movie. It just wasn't "Harry" music.
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Old 26-04-2007, 05:25   #4
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Re: A hint in the music?

I am not a musician, but i will say this: though not everyone is a musician, and we do not always pick through it, we do notice it. We especially notice it when it is not there, or if it doesnt fit what is going on. but you are right, we do not go picking through it for details, but only because it may not be our specialty. hence where you come in...

i think you might be onto something. there are a lot of similarities between harry and voldemort, and is it that big a jump to think that maybe when Voldemort put on the hat that he was given a choice between gryfindor and slytherin, and he chose slytherin? i dont thinkn it is, after all, JKR has said several times that it is our CHOICES that make us who we are. this is a tangent, but maybe if Voldemort had chosen gryfindor, maybe he wouldnt have turned out so bad and would have become a reformed bully? then again, maybe not. either way, i could see harry joining voldemort had it not been for meeting ron on the train, and not liking malfoy. afterall, if he had met malfoy first, what would he have thought? he hasnt had the greatest guardians (geez, darn dursleys dont know what is good for anyone do they? spoil one child rotten, and give nothing to the other. havent they heard of a happy medium? apparently not....) if harry had not met Rom, i think it might be safe to say that he might not be who he is today. over all, i think you are definately onto something. I have a question to pose here: Does harry's theme song show up in any other character's theme song? Cause this might give some indication to which side characters are most important, or something else.
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Old 26-04-2007, 07:02   #5
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Re: A hint in the music?

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Originally Posted by Lovegood54 View Post
I have a question to pose here: Does harry's theme song show up in any other character's theme song? Cause this might give some indication to which side characters are most important, or something else.
I don't know----I have a couple of the soundtrack CDs----I'll listen and see what I can find.
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