Aggie's Music

I usually blab about film scores on this blog, but I don't mind the occasional tangent towards other interests. :)

Monday, May 21, 2007

Polanski's protest fizzles

An article that I found interesting:

*Polanski fan*

HAPPY VICTORIA DAY! *fireworks!*

Thursday, May 10, 2007


OH yays! The books I ordered from Chapters are in! Last night, I had a nightmare about explosions and dead body parts, but now I feel a lot better knowing my mailbox ate this beautiful package!!

"Tunes for 'Toons", by Daniel Goldmark. Yay! I jumped when I saw this book on Amazon! It spans the cartoon times of the 1930s-50s. There are a lot of classic cartoon books, but not a lot on the music! It talks about Carl Stalling, Scott Bradley, Silly Symphonies, and the JAZZ times! This is one field of music that I'm really getting interested in.

"The Art of Film Music", by George Burt. I was trying to find some more film music books that dealt with the classics (e.g. "Film Music: A Neglected Art", by Roy M. Prendergast) and I found this book! It's around 200-250 pages, but it's crammed with scores by Hugo Friedhofer, Elmer Bernstein, and Alex North. I think the set-up of this book might be better than "A Neglected Art" (it is more recent), but we'll see!

"Deep Listening: A Composer's Sound Practice", by Pauline Oliveros. Pauline came to one of my composition seminars last term. Her philosophy, and this book, greatly revolves around the idea that any kind of sound can be interpreted as music. It is something that requires meditative practice, and it was one of the contemporary musical practices and I found interesting. The book is small, but is filled with short and rather simple steps/lessons to help you hear the world. Oooooooo.

Oh noes, which one should I read first?????


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)

I watched Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) a while ago. The score to the film is by Bernard Herrmann. He’s better known for his work with Alfred Hitchcock (Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest) so I decided to look at some of his work outside of Hitchcock, but still around the same time. It was a pretty fun film!

“I decided to evoke the mood and feeling of inner Earth by using only instruments played in low registers. Eliminating all strings, I utilized an orchestra of woodwinds and brass, with a large percussion section and many harps. But the truly unique feature of this score is the inclusion of five organs, one large Cathedral and four electronic. These organs were used in many adroit ways to suggest ascent and descent, as well as the mystery of Atlantis.” (Herrmann)

Indeed, he made the music’s relation to the film seem more natural than human. I loved the organs! It was really haunting, most of it in lower register. Harps were used to signify anything colourful or delicate in the movie... such as when the crew enters the Mushroom Forest. It seemed a bit contrasting at first... very melodic and pretty compared to the low brass and harps, but I suppose Herrmann wanted to accomplish a broader range while still making the idea of going inside the earth somewhat dark and horrific.

I like how Herrmann puts so much thought into orchestration. A lot of films these days call for strict full orchestra, aaaaand that’s a bit weird. I’ve been reading articles about how a director can really limit the composer’s imagination, whether it is tampering with the orchestration itself, timing, etc. Bernard Herrmann is a perfect example of really pushing his ideas.

Yay for the summer! I have more time to watch lots of movies! :D