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When I listen to the soundtrack Planet of the Apes, composed by Jerry Goldsmith, composer, I hear an oblique classical tone poem. On the other hand, the soundtracks to many of Quentin Tarantino's movies, such as Pulp Fiction are based in pop music. Therein lies the confusion. The real issue is that "Classical" music has been around for hundreds of years, whereas the the technology of movie making redefined the listening of more modern music for today''s audiences.

I wonder what music called "Classical" consist of 200 years from now? Will it include Paul McCartney? Duke Ellington? Willie Nelson? Ryuichi Sakamoto?
200 years from now . . .

I suppose that it will be determined by what future folk value in music.

Well, we could get a clue by pretending that someone in 1822 is asking what "Classical Music" will sound like in 200 years.

Maybe. 'Cause at the time, the phrase "Classical Music" likely had a different definition. 1822: Beethoven, Liszt, Mendelsohn, Schubert, Kuhlau, Donizetti, Meyerbeer.

So 'scuse me while I go slightly off topic.

For so very long now, Classical Music has been reproduced faithfully . . . as well as could be ascertained . . . faithful to the composer's intent. But in the 20th Century people started recontextualizing works, whether it be lifting tunes for popular songs, or resetting/reorchestrating them for synthesizers, vocal ensembles, rock band, etc.

But lately there's also been a trend to reproduce pop music faithfully, as originally released. Todd Rundgren may have been one of the first with his 1976 album Faithful, where he covered a handful of influential pop/rock tracks, but with the intent of reproducing them 'faithfully'. His intent was to get as close to the original recordings five to ten years on or so, and succeeded.

Nowadays there's a group, The Analogues, who are performing live concerts faithfully reproducing entire albums of the Beatles, using period instruments whenever possible, note for note. They consist of a core group of six musicians, and supplemented with whatever else is needed, including guest vocalists, small string and brass sections, harp, whatever . . . And they do this with the reverence formerly given to Classical Music concerts. Live.

Funny, but a couple of decades ago I had to put together a Beatles backing band for a show, and it took six of us to faithfully reproduce the music: drums, bass, 2 guitarists, piano, and keyboards.


Here's the Analogues performing the White Album live:

 

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I first want to point out, that the title of this thread is a bit of "poisoning the well".

The OP states in his thread title, that orchestral music composed for film, is in fact, classical music. Then they ask, why do some people not agree with his conclusion.

Just because music is orchestral, and even if it is composed by classically trained composers, does not make it classical music.

This 2008 article for The Guardian states my feelings pretty clearly:

Can Film Music Ever be Classical?

"Whether a piece is classical or not has nothing to do with the forces involved, but with the way in which it is intended to be listened to. Classical music is designed to be considered, contemplated and - being the most abstract of all the art forms - to provoke a truly subjective response in each of its listeners. Film music, on the other hand, is meant to accompany moving pictures, to provide an objective commentary to the on-screen action. Robbed of that on-screen imagery, it loses much of its meaning. "
Well, then, where does "programmatic" Classical Music stand with your definition? Programmatic music is meant to conjure images, and stating that film music "loses much of its meaning" when robbed "of that on-screen imagery" is an opinion; subjective to the point of being an irrelevant position.

Tam O'Shanter overture by Sir Malcolm Arnold


 

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Ok, but in which way is incindental music for tragedies different? Short musical pieces for different scenes.

The overture is a symphonic movement like the end credits in a film.
Much like ballet music. Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker, and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring both come to mind. Short musical pieces for different scenes.
 

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@Eva Yojimbo @Forster

So, are you asking "why does it matter", it's only a word.

In reality, it doesn't matter for me. I have a folder in my phone called "Classical Music" and there I put all the music that I perceive as "classical": doesn't matter who is the author and what is the intent. My personal classification is about the style.
So, I have Beethoven's music, classical film music and classical videogame music mixed in the same folder.
My phone is a private property and I do what I want.

The radio Classic FM follows my same definition of "classical music". This is why in the "Classic FM Hall Of Fame" everything with a classical sound is accepted: from historic classical music, to videogame music.
Classic FM is a private property too, so they do what they want.


So, why would classification matters? Well, it matters when you argue with someone. For example, if Classic FM had two or three managers, they might have a discussion about what they should accept in the "Classic FM Hall of Fame".

In this forum I posted a piece that was accepted in the "Classic FM Hall of Fame" and that I have in the folder of my phone. A moderator told me that I shouldn't post it because it's from a videogame, so he used the "intent argument" ("it's not about the style, but about the intent/context").
So, this is an other example: a moderator of this forum must decide what is "classical music" because in the main section you can post only classical music.
This forum is a private property too and the admin does what he wants, just like Classic FM.

So, to conclude, it doesn't really matter, because everyone follows the classification he wants in his private property.
This thread is only to talk, like any other thread in this forum.
I was simply curious to hear the arguments of people who think that classical music is not about the style but about the intent/context.

I'm reading that arguments but I still think that Classic FM has the most pragmatic view on this subject: being open to novelties.
I've found that the Mods in this forum are pretty open-minded about what constitutes "Classical Music".

There's probably a few reasons for this, likely dominated by their observation that everyone has their own opinions on the definition.

They may also collectively think that Classical Music is a rather large and vague umbrella.

They may also take into account other educated opinions, such as the folks at Classic FM.

Personally, I
think that classical music is about BOTH the style AND the intent/context.
 

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Why do we now teach that Pluto is not planet. For clarity and educational categories.

CM vs film music. Same thing. Is it a good analogy?
No, probably not.

Pluto WAS classified as a planet, but as scientific description became less vague, it was decided that Pluto doesn't really fit the more specific description of "planet", for "clarity and educational categories".

Film Music has not been expelled or downgraded from Classical Music. It is its own broad genre that overlaps with the broad genre of Classical Music. Some film music shares characteristics considered to be "Classical". Some Classical Music has been used as film music. Some Film Music has been adapted into Suites that are regularly played by symphony orchestras in Classical Music concerts.

Nothing has "changed".

I do, however, find it amusing that some folks will vehemently argue the topic as though the issue is an "Either/Or" thing.

"You're either WITH us, or you support the enemy!"
 

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Well now, consider that Pluto was never a planet, except to those who were uninformed (or overly sentimental for their own personal reasons).
Even Clyde realized this back in the 1980s. He was a friend of mine (he was so old-school that he couldn’t accept the Big bang, he thought the universe had to be infinite and eternal because he had checked about a million stars (in the 1920s), another very human assumption).

I think it’s the same with helpful music categories.
By TODAY'S definition, yes, "Pluto was never a planet".

But it was the definition that changed, not Pluto. Years ago Pluto was a planet, by definition.

Pluto was discovered on February 18th, 1930

Pluto was reclassified from a planet to a "dwarf planet" in 2006. You can safely refer to it as a "former planet".

[The more I write the word "planet" the stranger the word looks.]

From 1930 when it was discovered up until 2006, Pluto was also considered the ninth planet of the solar system. It used to be considered a planet.
 

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I’m simply making a point. A few posters have rejected film music as CM and made it sound like it’s a no-brainer that avante-garde is. You have indicated how these decisions are made and clarified it more to my liking above. It’s interesting to me that a few here read my position as trying to eliminate avante-garde. No, I’m questioning why it gets to stay and film music has to go. (And again, I’m not all that invested in this. I decided to respond when a poster early on, without equivocation, totally rejected film music.)
The biggest obstacle to coming to a reasonable conclusion in all of this is that there is no CONSENSUS as to the scope of the phrase CLASSICAL MUSIC .

Of course, it all overlaps. Classical, avant-garde, experimental, pop, rock.

Is ELEANOR RIGBY "classical". It's a string quartet with solo voice and vocal ensemble.

Is Albrechtsberger Concertos for Jew's Harp, Mandora and Strings "classical"? Is the Jew's Harp a "Classical" instrument?
 

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OK, is this a good time to p!ss everyone off?

Fine.

There's not an awful lot of Classical music composed post-1930 that I enjoy listening to. Sure, there's some, and I occasionally go out on a limb and listen to something less than a hundred years old in the genre, usually on the recommendation of someone on this site.

I think I'm being pretty generous giving all the post-1920 Classical sub-genres a listen once in a while, when there's a good chance I won't really be captivated by it. And, I've found some stuff I like. Although, I'll admit it's usually some tonal throwback.

But I find that these experimental, avant-garde, 12-tone, sound-collage, minimalism, and randomness genres to be pretentious and often irritating (and I can APPRECIATE music that is "intellectual", even if I don't listen to much of it).

Again, there are exceptions, but here's the thing; I really enjoy Vivaldi, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Chopin, Schubert, Schumann, Debussey, and other composers that have similar styles. And I listen to these types of works far more often. I could pull up a random track from ANY of these composers, and be pretty certain I'll enjoy it. Not so much with Post-Modern and "Contemporary".
 

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anyone;
classical music was never composed to accompany images; there is a long history to prove that as classical music exists since the 9th century; if you can tell me a point in time when it was composed to accompany images you are the greatest genius on this planet; you can argue that there is no definition of classical music, but there is also no definition of a human being; classical music to most people is composed to be played before an audience and is taught in academic schools; even electronic classical music is researched and taught in dedicated institutions; tell me in which institution film music is being taught as music to be played outside of the cinema; in which places is it played to a live audience; classical music existed more than 10 centuries without film music; so give me a break and do not try to consider it now as classical music; that being said great film music is sometimes as good as classical music
And THIS is where that argument breaks down. Some Classical music was composed to accompany images, even evoke images.

You can go all the way back to pre-baroque Masses, or music for Fireworks, Opera, Ballet, and programmatic music meant to evoke images of Italy, the mountains, the ocean, battles, or planets.

Film music is regularly played in concerts, often with the music condensed into Suites.
 

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That's a lot to unpack there.

To be honest, I don't know if Mozart and Beethoven were concerned with this distinction between popular and art music: it looks more like an other modern empty/useless definition, like many others.
The music of both was not experimental. It was very melodic and appealing and it was composed in a style that was popular in the classical period.
I'm not saying that they were not trying to put their fingerprint in their music and that they were not innovative, but they didn't break the basic rules of music: it was melodic music composed to give pleasure to their ears and to the one of the persons who paid for their service.

Their goal was simply to compose the best possible music.
To be fair, film didn't exist back then. It was theatre, ballet, and masses/oratorios. I don't even really think there was a category of "Popular" music back then, as there was no means of distribution. There was "folk" music, I guess, and the "Classical" composers did appropriate those tunes and timbers for their own uses.

Mozart and Beethoven, in their own eras, WERE pretty experimental, or, as you put it, "innovative". They DID "break the basic rules of music", in many ways. It's difficult to contextualize it now, a couple of centuries later. For instance, Beethoven's publisher threw a fit over what is now the "Grosse Fugue".

But there are a myriad of different ways in which they broke rules. Their melodies were innovative. Sure, they were melodic, but they broke melodic rules of the day.


HansZimmer said:
I don't know if your distinction works for classical music in general, but it probably works for the distinction between experimental music and already accepted music. It's true that composers of experimental music know that many people will criticize their music and that they would have a larger audience if they composed music which follows the rules.
See above. Grosse Fugue.

To his contemporaries, Mozart was difficult, overly complex, uncomfortably rich in dissonance and chromaticism, and too virtuosic. It was an age that preferred simplicity and “charm.” Music by composers that seems insipid to us now was held in higher esteem than Mozart’s, except by people who were really experts. Mozart was actually quite shocking in his day, as Beethoven was in his. I imagine Beethoven was as hard to understand in his time as Wagner in his.

HansZimmer said:
Furthermore, the distinction doesn't work for popular music. Indeed it's not true that popular music is conservative: it's full of innovation. Rap music for example is the most popular style of music today, but it used to be "new/experimenal music some decades ago". Even today there are still people who say that it's not music.
Irrelevant. For centuries parents hated the music their children loved.

The art of composition, at least until the 20th century, was a continual progression, slowly evolving new forms and methods based on the traditions of the immediate past, breaking rules bit by bit.


HansZimmer said:
So, I wonder if this distinction between popular and art music makes any sense. I think thare are simply different styles of music and that in each style there is more serious music and less serious music.
So, there is good pop and junk pop, good rock and junk rock, good rap and junk rap, and so on..
It would make sense to say that the best music of each style is art music.
That actually makes sense.

Sometimes we cannot tell which contemporary art is art, and which is junk. We're too close to it. But when it comes to popular music, we can actually look back on the Billboard Hot 100 charts of last decade, or 25 years ago, or 50 years ago, and assess individual works in hindsight, both in composition, innovation, influence, and how that compares with its continued popularity. Some artists were huge, but are largely forgotten while others have had ongoing popularity

HansZimmer said:
Classical music for me is only a style of music like pop, rock, rap, and so on...
If you tell me that, in average, it is a more serious style of music than others I agree, because in the classical music concerts are concerts and not shows, because people who work in the field are technically trained, because the evident trash from an artistic perspective is not tolerated.
I'm not sure what you're getting at here. I THINK I'm in agreement here, but . . . well . . .

I guess I'm confused at making a real distinction between the technical skills of musicians in "Classical" music and "Popular" music. There are absolute virtuosos in Pop, Rock, Jazz, Country, and Rap. Yes, it's far more likely for a talentless musician to be popular in Popular music than in Classical music (I'm lookin' at YOU, Dave Clark).

This alone doesn't really have any bearing on the actual music you're comparing.


HansZimmer said:
That said, I simply think that some film composers follow the classical style.
If movies producers would want music that is appealing for most people they would use pop and rap songs as scores, don't you think?
Um . . . they do

American Grafitti
Three Mile
Guardians of the Galaxy
Barbershop
42nd Street
Singin' In the Rain
2 Fast 2 Furious

HansZimmer said:
In reality there's a quite conservative approach with film music: it was decided that music in classical style is effective for movies and while popular music changed during the last decades, the film music of today is similar to the one of 1900.
Oh no. Oh no. Oh no no no no no.

Let's start with the fact that films didn't even have dedicated scores until the advent of sound films in 1929 (Yes, there were a handful of exceptions, but aren't there always exceptions?)

Scores from the 1930s do not resemble scores from the 1960s, or the 1990s, or the 2010s. Even when Max Steiner championed the use of leitfmotifs in 1933, it is far different when, forty years later John Williams uses the same tool for a score. The "Romantic" style which practically "dead-ended" decades earlier, evolved in the hands of film composers. One wouldn't mistake the music of John Williams for that of Max Steiner, except when Williams is stealing from him, much like he did with Holst and Wagner.

You're certainly CORRECT in your assessment of "popular" music in film, that its use is markedly different from decade to decade, as popular music changed so drastically constantly. But film music also changed . . . the changes may have been more subtle, but they changed. Morricone doesn't sound like Miklós Rózsa or Korngold. Jerry Goldsmith doesn't sound like Franz Waxman.
 

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Amusing that adaptations of Classical music have made the Pop Music Charts

First one that comes to mind is Deodato's somewhat Disco version of Also Sprach Zarathustra, although it was released under the 2001 A Space Odyssey title.

There's other hits directly inspired by Classical Music:


Lady Gaga – Alejandro / Vittorio Monti – Csárdás
Eric Carmen – All by Myself / Rachmaninov – Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor
Billy Joel – This Night / Beethoven – Pathétique Sonata
Maroon 5 – Memories / Pachelbel – Canon in D
Elvis Presley – It’s Now or Never / Eduardo di Capua – O Sole Mio

Barry Manilow - Could It Be Magic / Chopin - Prelude in C Minor No. 20

I'm missing so many I'll bet.
 

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Is the approach not to say that classical music and film music are two distinct genres, but that nether can be precisely defined so that some overlapping cannot be ruled out.

Classical music is a genre where the music is paramount. It is composed to be listened to. Film music is an add on. Obviously it gets heard but its purpose is to supplement what you see. You may get some memorable themes (Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago, The Magnificent Seven) but they rarely get a chance to develop. Most of it is literally just background music. Listened to on its own it goes nowhere. Unless you are a real film buff a concert of film music is deadly. That does not mean it is bad, just that it does not work out of the context it was designed for.

Up to a point one can say the same thing about ballet music. One can distinguish between great music written for the ballet and great ballet music. Great music written for the ballet (The Rite of Spring, Prelude à l'aprés midi d'un faune, Daphnis et Chloë, The Miraculous Mandarin) usually fails as ballet music simply because the music is too good. On the other hand, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev knew what they were doing. You may want to sit and listen to the suites of their ballet music, but probably not to a whole ballet.
"Unless you are a real film buff a concert of film music is deadly. That does not mean it is bad, just that it does not work out of the context it was designed for."

Symphony orchestras program evenings of film music regularly. I'd venture to say that rarely is it "Deadly", unless the choices are deadly. It also works "out of context".

That's like saying an evening of Classical Music is "deadly". That would also be rare. Sure, it's possible, if you programmed an evening of Delius, or Vaughan Williams. You could program an evening of Beethoven Sonata 2nd movements, and it might be a bit of a snoozefest.

No, when a Symphony Orchestra programs an evening of Film Music it is usually quite good, if not great. A quick Google brings up plenty of examples:

2015: USC Symphony Orchestra presents an evening of film scores
Award-winning John Williams, composer for Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park and more

9/27/2022: Los Angeles Philharmonic: Gala John Williams Celebration, Dudamel and Williams conducting. The program includes Williams' Violin Concerto No. 2.

2022-2023
: The SF Symphony Orchestra (Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen) has a series of film music scheduled:
9/16/2022: Star Wars: A New Hope
11/25/2022: The Godfather Live
1/26/2023: Jurassic Park
3/24/2023: Black Panther
 

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Music written for a film is made up of mostly shortish "cues" for scenes. These are usually no more than a minute, or two. I would guess the longest segments of music are at the beginning and end of a film, or for an extended montage sequence.

[edit]

This is not how a Classical music composer approaches writing a concert work. Film music is what accompanies the movie and is subordinate to the director's film, and it doesn't matter if it "sounds" like Classical music it hasn't been written in the manner of a Classical work.

However, if the music from a film has been arranged into a suite, or other kind of concert work it is no longer film music, but a concert work, which could be considered Classical in nature.
Simon Moon said:
This is what John Corigliano, composer of the music for "Red Violin", has said himself.

"When you see a film, the music reflects what’s happening on the screen. The music comes out and in, for one minute in one sequence, or maybe six minutes and 22 seconds somewhere else. When you’re sitting in a concert hall on a wooden chair watching a bunch of people saw away at instruments, your entire concentration is only on the sound and that’s the difference. For example, I took themes from The Red Violin and used them for my Violin Concerto. There’s also the Suite for Violin and Strings, and those are about 25 minutes of music cues for the film sequenced together. To me, the suite is not as satisfying, because a lot of them are short cues, and they don’t build a structure abstractly that one can sit and listen to in the concert hall in the same way that the concerto does. "

"When I’m writing for the concert hall I’m thinking about shaping long arches or sustaining a 15- or 20-minute movement. When we’re writing film cues, we don’t think that way, because we have to work within much shorter time limits that are given to us. "
While the music for a score IS broken up into smaller "cues", AND while Corigliano has let us know how HE personally treats composing scores vs. concert hall pieces, not all score music is composed in that manner.

Some soundtrack composers may (often?) have larger themes in mind, and THEN break them up into one to six minute snippets of his larger work, adapting them along the way . . .

Composing is a rather multi-dimensional endeavor in which many things are considered.
 

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I'm a film score buff. In fact, have have quite a few recordings by 94 different composers. A lot of soundtracks I've listened to over the years weren't keepers, though, because I prefer scores that are 100% orchestral, and its why, for the longest time, the only Hans Zimmer recording I used to have was "The World Of Hans Zimmer: A Symphonic Celebration."
My iTunes digital music library has 54 days of music in it, and I have 4 days of soundtracks, and 9.4 days of "Classical".

Of course, not all of those soundtracks are orchestral, like those from A Hard Day's Night, or Guardians of the Galaxy (although that one is a CD of songs, and a CD of orchestral scores).

The quirkiest thing is that I have three different versions of 110 In The Shade.
 

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I was sampling some of Mark Knopler's soundtrack works (The Princess Bride and Wag the Dog), and actually wasn't impressed. My expectations were actually high.

I guess if I want a rock guitarist writing soundtracks it'll have to be Pete Townshend or Trevor Rabin. I suppose it helps that Rabin was actually a classical pianist before he picked up the guitar, as well as a singer. He's written for well over 40 films and a few TV series.

 

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^^^^ One of my favorite Knopfler soundtracks is Irish Boy from the lesser-known movie Cal (1984]. It is, yet again, a good example of a work that stands alone well outside the movie.

Nice save.

Yeah, when I was sampling I included to Irish Love from Cal. Very nice track, but seems more like solo album material than soundtrack. But I haven't seen the film, nor heard any more of the soundtrack. I'd guess it works nicely in the film, and that since you recommend it, probably one of his better soundtracks.

I was surprised by the Princess Bride soundtrack. I love the film (as well as the book, before the film was even planned), and don't recall thinking the soundtrack being poor at the time, but, well, you know, some soundtracks don't stand up well on their own.
 
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