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Why do many people think that classical music composed for film scores is not classical music?

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In the "Movie Corner" I opened a poll about the film scores which got the nomination "Best original score" in the Academy Awards (Oscars) of 1990: Talkclassical best film score award - 1990

This is for the first part of the competition Talkclassical best film score award.

Now, the score of the film "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (one of the film nominated in 1990) could be probably classified as Jazz (see for example the first theme) and Intrumental pop (see for example the second theme).

I think that no one would say that this is not jazz music because it was composed for a film. No one would say "this is not jazz but film music". Indeed, film music is not a genre of music: it only means that the music was composed for a film.

However, the other four nominated film scores, I think that can be classified as "romantic music".
Usually, the film scores which get a nomination for the "Best original scores" are more or less classical music.

That's why the radio Classic FM started to insert some film scores in the competition Classic FM Hall of Fame.
Their decision is criticized by many people. Read for example this article of the journal "The Guardian": Can film music ever be classical?

The argument of the writer of this article is that film scores can never be classified as "classical music" because they are composed for images and not for concerts (so, it is not standalone music, but a part of the movie).
If this argument is valid, then we must conclude that the score of "The Fabulous Baker Boys" is not jazz because it was composed for images and not for concerts.

However, I agree that pure "motion music" is not extractable from it's context, but the best film scores (the one who win at The Academy Awards) are not simply "motion music": it's music that can be extracted as standalone music. Indeed, the best score composers sell tickets for concerts.

Maybe the real reason of these people is that they think that John Williams is not as good as Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and so on and they see classical music as a "closed enclosure" where you can enter only if you have a special permission.
If it is so, still I don't see the logic: you don't have to be Roger Federer for being a tennis player. So, you could simply say "Peter is a tennis player but not the number one" and "John Williams is a classical music composer but not the number one".

You might say that Bach is the number one and John Williams only an ordinary composer, if you think this, but I don't see the logic of "the closed enclosure".
Someone could for example say that the composer of "The Fabulous Baker Boys" is a poor jazz composer, but it's still jazz.

To conclude, my opinion is that much of the music composed for film scores is good classical music: "good" is my personal judgement, but every one can have his own.
If you ask me "Don't you hear the difference between classical music and film scores?", my anwser is that usually film scores are built around one or more powerful themes, while some pieces in classical music are not so melody focused.
I won't say that film scores don't have their distinticive rules, but that those rules are compatible with classical music, because there are many pieces that are considered "classical" that are built around a main theme.
"Spring" of Vivaldi is a good example.
The idea that classical music must be "chaotic" is only a personal preference of some people and not a rule that every composer must respect.
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In response to your question ("Why do many people think that classical music composed for film scores is not classical music?) I would ask,
"Why do some people feel the need to argue that "classical" music composed for film scores IS "classical" music?"

Music composed for films draws on different musical traditions, including that which is considered "classical". To that extent, it can be called classical. I'm not clear what the purpose of the argument is for labelling "classical-for-film" as "classical".
Is jazz not jazz if it's written for a film?
Well quite. But does that make the entirety of the soundtrack, a single coherent jazz composition? I ask because it seems those who wish to argue for film music being "classical" would like to say that a "classical soundtrack" is a single coherent composition.

Of course, I may have that wrong, but I did ask you several pages ago why this question matters, and thus far, you've chosen not to answer. Please put me right if I've got it wrong.
As I state quite clearly, there is no classical style.
And yet, for the film goer with some acquaintance with Mozart or Bach or Beethoven or Wagner or Holst (etc), they will hear what sounds like "classical style" in many traditional film scores.

The OP may be resistant to answering my question about the purpose of their question, but they are asking about "classical music composed for film scores", and I for one know what that refers to.

Marianelli's score for Atonement

Zimmer's score for Gladiator

Desplat for King's Speech
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@Eva Yojimbo @Forster

So, are you asking "why does it matter", it's only a word.
Me?. No.

@Eva Yojimbo @Forster
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.
Thanks for trying to answer my question. You may have missed my first post where I asked it. I'm repeating it here because the post contained a reply to you (in bold):

In response to your question ("Why do many people think that classical music composed for film scores is not classical music?) I would ask,
"Why do some people feel the need to argue that "classical" music composed for film scores IS "classical" music?"

Music composed for films draws on different musical traditions, including that which is considered "classical". To that extent, it can be called classical. I'm not clear what the purpose of the argument is for labelling "classical-for-film" as "classical".
I didn't see the post which you say the moderator said had to be moved because it was 'videogame music' not classical, so I can't comment on that specifically. I'm not sure I agree with the idea that music should be classified by 'intent' (certainly not 'intent' alone) and that style doesn't count. Clearly, style does count if one wishes to discuss "classical music composed for film scores " as distinct from "jazz/folk/pop/rock composed for film scores": the intent is the same, the styles are different.

As others have already pointed out, determining what may or may not be classified as "classical music" rather depends on what one's criteria are for "classical". It's a messy business and open to interpretation. Personally, I'm happy with the classification "film music" which is much less messy.
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[...] Many here feel that the orchestral music that Hollywood often uses for its big films provides an experience similar to listening to genuine classical music while many of the rest of us listen to it (examples have often been posted) only to find the experience not at all similar to the experience of listening to true classical music. [...]
Some of us fit into neither of the groups you describe. Mostly, I listen to film music in context. I pay little attention to what it "sounds like" (romantic, modern, whatever). I might notice if it's particularly apt, or melodic, or energising, or if it's by Hans Zimmer or Danny Elfman. I've just been watching No Time To Die (Zimmer) and enjoyed the movie. The music, when I noticed it, seemed like typical Zimmer, for a typical Bond movie. I'm not interested in going to a concert to hear it, nor buying a CD of it, nor streaming it on Spotify. I did find the use of the song from OHMSS over the final sequence and closing credits quite moving.

In other words, I listened to "film music", not anything else.
Guys, guys.

John Williams just turned 90 years old in February.
So, he's old enough to be canon, surely?;)
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My point has been that the vast majority of educated people (in Britain, anyway), people who have some knowledge and appreciation of literature and art, tend to know nothing about classical music. I have seen TV quizzes, the ones that get middle classed contestants, where no one can name more than three or four composers and no one can recognise the music (or the name of a major work) of any. Presenters who are seen as influencers openly say that an interest in classical music is a weird affectation. The size of even the Classic FM audience is very small in comparison with the size of the more or less educated population.
How does your point relate to the question posed by the OP?
There are members who believe that film music can be a form of classical music.
There are some who do not.
...and there are some who think it doesn't matter either way.
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Thi score is good. Did it get a Oscar nomination?
Yes, but John Barry won for Dances with Wolves.
"So, what does the movie "sense and sensibility" have to do with Dances with Wolves?"

No idea...why do you ask?
You wrote.

"Yes, but John Barry won for Dances with Wolves. "

It's like to say that the score of "Sense and sensibility" lost because Dances with Wolves won.
No, it's not. You asked if Dave Grusin got an Oscar nom for Havana. I said yes, it did, but he lost to John Barry.
^ I'd be interested to know what movies released recently you've surveyed to be able to generalise about movie soundtracks of the 2020s. From what I've been seeing, "classical" continues to feature strongly, as well as "modernist", and "popular".
We get bogged down in trying to define (film music, popular music, classical music) and go round and round so that I am unclear what the "much film music is classical" fans are saying about the music in question. I would like someone who believes some contemporary film music to be truly classical to post a list of their three favourite and, for them, most classical such composers and then to compare their value (to them as listener) with some less than top flight but certainly very noted classical composers - say, Weber, Berlioz, Nielsen, Myaskovsky and Chausson. Do the film composers rank for them with such ranked classical composers or are they feeling merely that they all belong in the same category ("classical music")? Are they arguing that their favourite film music is as great as the classics to them?
I'm not sure your suggestion will resolve the confusion - except for those who wish to assert that "classical" film scores (ie those scores that are not obviously jazz or pop or any other distinct genres) must not only belong within the classical repertoire (itself with porous boundaries) but be deemed as of the same quality as a symphony as Beethoven or Mahler.
It won't resolve it, I know. Everyone's taste is different and right for them. But at least it can help me to clarify what people are saying and how the film music they feel is classical fits within their wider classical taste.
Tbh, I don't know how many, if any such members as I described are here in this thread and contributing.
Refreshing the debate from a different angle, I'm submitting a half-dozen works below that have more than a dozen movements. The core concept of each opus is such that its composer elected not to shoehorn the music into commonly-accepted forms (no 3-movement concerti or 4-movement symphonies here).
Not just composers, either ... album producers have issued recordings of these wherein each musical movement is a recepiant of its own track #.
The resultant albums resemble soundtrack albums, like it or lump it. [most soundtracks have 12 or more cues]
Imagine! Music which has no connection to cinema or TV ... but nonetheless plays like a film score because it is based upon extra-muscial narratives and creates its own mould instead of being pegged into a pre-determined (and pre-approved) pigeonhole.

13 cues: Baldr (by Leifs) A choreographic drama based upon Norse mythology about the creation of 'Man' on Earth. Primordial pre-Christian paganism in 2 Acts, with 13 tracks, across 2 CDs.

15 cues: Office des Oracles (by Ohana) Ancient religious rituals & prophecies vocalized in 12 sections, a couple of suites + a coda. The Alpha & the Omega ... with the Minotaur, a dragon, tarot cards, horoscopes, etc. in between.

16 cues: Les heures persanes (by Koechlin) 16 piano minatures - subsequently orchestrated - based upon traveller Pierre Loti's novel depicting a multi-day journey across Persia. Each movement is rather like a musical snapshot focused upon a specific time of day at a certain location. A musical photo album, if you will.

17 cues:
The Kairn of Koridwen (C.T. Griffes) A Dance-Drama based upon Druid legend, arranged for 8 musicians in 2 Acts.

Zodiac (by Bennett) The 12 zodiac signs, along with 5 Ritornellos, yield a 17-movement work with 17 minutes duration (each track is between 44 seconds & one minute 9 seconds in length). Hhmmm ... seems not unlike those brief cues typically utilized in music for a television series, eh?

18 cues: Le miroir de Jésus (by Caplet) "poèmes d'Henri Ghéon" are set to music (vocal & instrumental) and serve as musical prayers according to the "Mystères du Rosaire".
An interesting thought, but it seems to me that it offers nothing to "answer" the "problem". These are just numbers of short pieces with a superficial resemblance to a list of soundtrack "cues". Holst's The Planets belongs here too, as well as much by Satie (eg Trois morceaux en forme de poire )
^ Given the number of film composers currently at work, I agree that the narrow focus on John Williams is tiresome, no matter how marvellous his scores.
The soundtrack to The Lion King serves its purpose well. It's a movie aimed at a family audience, with a tale that is not meant to be complex or sophisticated (though it's similar to many old tales - eg Hamlet - that are). Zimmer's score does what it needs to do, pointing up the emotional highs and lows and blending well with the songs. Like all good movie composers, Zimmer knows what strings to pull (or buttons to press) so the music inevitably sounds conventional to more sophisticated ears.
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I'm not the one who apparently can't hear the aesthetic gulf between a piece of film music that isn't even particularly good by the standards of that genre and Beethoven.
Is that what our Hans Zimmer thinks? I didn't read him that way. Very enthusiastic about The Lion King, but not that he puts it on a par with LvB. Or did I miss something explicit in this vein?
We're still going on about the elderly, passed or soon to be passed soundtrack composers. Doesn't anyone have any regard for any of the younger generation?
I get that it sounds good in trailers but the BWHHHHHHHHH is one of the great crimes against movie music.
Since the pandemic, and having moved house, I go to the cinema less often, but trailers did go through a period where even the most modest film had to be trailed using loud and harassing music. It seems to have settled.

(Almost as irritating is the "This Year!" and "Based on a true story" captions that are supposed to add to the imperatives that we must see this fillum!)

Hans said that the Lion King excerpt was less repetitive than the "Moonlight" Sonata, meaning Zimmer one, Beethoven zero. I think making the qualitative comparison at all is absurd.
But as he didn't carry out a complete analysis, we don't know that the final score wouldn't have been Zimmer 1, Beethoven 32.

yep, I do but my take on this does not change.
Nor does mine. I'm just a little ticked off that most of the discussions about film composers (never mind the fruitless debate about whether it counts as classical) pays little attention to the many who are working now. Just checking the list of nominees for the past 5 years at the Oscars shows that there's more to score than Williams and Zimmer, Morricone and Goldsmith, Steiner and Herrmann.

Nicholas Britell
Germaine Franco
Jon Batiste
Trent Reznor
Atticus Ross
Terence Blanchard
Hildur Guðnadóttir
Thomas Newman
Ludwig Goransson
Marc Shaiman
Alexandre Desplat
Jonny Greenwood
Alberto Iglesias
Emile Mosseri
James Newton Howard
Randy Newman
Carter Burwell
...and, yes, John Williams and Hans Zimmer. (Out of these two titans, only Zimmer won in the last 5 years.)

insert missing 'to'
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