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Thread: Orchestral Soundtracks vs. "Regular" Classical: Same Genre?

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Default Orchestral Soundtracks vs. "Regular" Classical: Same Genre?

    OK, this is a fairly random question, but a fair question.
    Would you consider orchestral soundtracks and "regular" classical music to both be classical genre?

    The example in my case is Star Wars soundtracks. I was putting the digital tags on them and thought, "Soundtrack or classical?"

    My line of reasoning is that orchestral soundtracks are basically a sub-genre of classical, basically kind of like a specific form of incidental music (that might be how Wikipedia categorizes them).

    I can't say that I've ever seen soundtracks labeled as classical though. So, what do you all think?

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    Senior Member Bulldog's Avatar
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    Generally, film scores serve the movie; regular classical music serves the composer.

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    Senior Member mikeh375's Avatar
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    As Bulldog says. The approach to both ways of writing is significantly different, each being dictated to by a different objective. The rhetoric and linear progress for film music is restricted and subservient, whilst in art music there are no limitations other than those imposed by the composer. As you can imagine, this produces very different results and requires completely different creative mindsets from the composer.
    Last edited by mikeh375; Jan-26-2020 at 11:44.

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    Member gregorx's Avatar
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    Yeah, two different things. Film scores have to make their impact immediately as opposed to a symphony or other orchestral work that can take its time in developing themes. I've always thought that writing a film score must be very difficult.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    Purely for practical reasons I lump them in with classical music in my CD collection - simply because lots of 20th century classical composers also composed film music (Korngold, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Arnold, Bax, Alwyn, Takemitsu, to name just a few).
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    I'm leaning towards calling film music classical. If the purpose of the music determines the genre, that begs the question if other types of program music are actually classical. Everyone would call Beethoven's music to Egmont classical even though it was written for a play. Same thing applies to Mendelssohn's A Midsummer Night's Dream music. Prokofiev's soundtrack to Alexander Nevsky could reasonably be considered classical. He took the music from this film and made it into a cantata. It wouldn't make sense to me to say that the actual soundtrack is not classical but that the cantata is simply because it was made into a standalone piece. That's just my opinion anyway.

    I've been to concerts where excerpts from John Williams's film music were performed alongside "regular" classical pieces. I think these are often special arrangements written so that they are easily detached from the rest of the score (like Wagner's Ring concert arrangements). Especially in the case of Williams's music, it seems that these film excerpts have become part of the standard repertoire.

    I think a standard definition of what classical music is needs to be in place before it can be determined where soundtracks fit in.
    Last edited by adriesba; Jan-26-2020 at 23:00.

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