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Film Music Is Bad Bruckner



Film Music Is Bad Bruckner

Film music has its roots in European symphonic composers. Anton Bruckner was, to my mind, one of the worst composers who ever lived. Yet he is revered by some as a late romantic master. Bombastic and vastly grandiose, his works are a tempest in a teapot, all signifying nothing.

If you are forced to listen to a Bruckner symphony you'll be subjected to the trumpets going "Ta Da Da Da Da Da" every ten seconds.

It's as if the cavalry had finally come to save John Wayne. It all sounds like music, surely. But it never adds up to anything worthy of the name "masterpiece." Thus Bruckner was insecure, to say the least. Musicians constantly joke about his revisions to his symphonies.

 

Bruckner Caved Under Criticism

When friends made criticisms of his work, however gentle, he would brood and sulk. Then he would make the change that the friend wanted. You think the trumpets should play that tune more often? You think the last part is too long?

Okay, I changed it. Given the fact that Bruckner's music was so bad in the first place, it is only possible to make it worse with changes offered by anyone.

Like A Cheap Boris Karloff Film

Thus Bruckner's work takes on a Frankenstein-like, stitched together motley quilt quality with lurching, endless transitions. What bothers me about film music is the same thing that bothers me about Bruckner's music. There may be a single composer, but everyone weighs in on what the music to the film or show should be, from the producer, director, star and editor.

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The Effect Of Music By Committee

This dilution of creative force makes the music into less than what it could be. This quasi-music is sort of like Velveeta, which is and isn't cheese. And this is true of pop music, where you can hear the composer trying to make something that sounds "commercial," killing any originality they had in the first place.

The film composer has always been a willing slave of the director and producer, not the creator of grandly original musical thought. If you really listen to almost all film music, with your eyes closed, it barely sounds like music at all, but some tinny, treacly stream of psychoacoustic musical babble.

The viewer gets the "proper" emotional cues from the "music." My favorite films are those that really don't use music much at all. I'm truly offended by clucking bassoons and comic music telling me that the actor in front of me is being funny. If that actor were so darn funny, I wouldn't need your clucking bassoons. 

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