Why is it a single instrument playing invokes more feeling then a bunch

Discussion in 'Star Wars And Film Music' started by beezel26, Nov 27, 2005.

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  1. beezel26 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2003
    star 7
    In many of the pieces for a bit you hear but one musical instrument. And usually in invokes more emotion and is more haunting then the entire ensemble. The french horn in twin moons scene. The single harp in the vader dying sequence.

    any others that do it for you.
  2. Well_Of_Souls Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2001
    star 5
    One of my favorite solo pieces in a film score is the trumpet solo at the end of Aliens just before the fade-out to the end credits.
  3. MasterObi-Wan-Kenobi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 6, 2002
    star 3
    It isn't. It is just very difficult to make everyone in an orchestra to play with the same emotion and feeling. I had a 12 hour rehearsal with my orchestra this weekend, and seeing how hard work is paying of to make people feel the same and play with the same intentions really pays off. For example, listen to Anikins betrayal or the Immolation scene, those pieces wouldn't have been anything when played solo.
  4. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Why is a whisper more intimate than a shout?

    How can a stroke of the fingers that barely touches your skin be so much more powerful than a punch?

    For more intimate or introspective moments, a solo is often far more powerful. The beginning of "Healing" from Conan the Barbarian or "A Window to the Past" from Prisoner of Azkaban spring to mind. On the other hand, sometimes nothing but an oversized orchestra and choir will do. Imagine "The Battle" from Cutthroat Island played as an oboe solo -- it just wouldn't work!
  5. han_solo_321 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 14, 2002
    star 4
    A single instrument is for emotion. A bunch of them of for an action or a scary part.
  6. Boba_Fett_123 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2002
    star 4
    I direct you to Anakin's Betrayal and The Immolation Scene, neither of which are action cues, and neither of which are solos.
  7. darthlrrp Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2005
    star 4
    i admit some solo instruments do sound more intimate(ie guitar, cello)but if you listen to the prelude to act III of tristan und isolde you will realized that sometimes a large ensemble can be quite intimate if orchestrated the right way
  8. droideka27 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2002
    star 7
    For the haunting thing, it really generally needs to be a single instrument, to get the proper feeling, but personally I find whole ensemble pieces with force to be much more emotional generally, like in Battle of the Heros.
  9. TheBoogieMan Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 14, 2001
    star 6
    Also, if we are talking music in general, I find that the most emotional peices I know (Allegretto from Beethoven's 7th; Adagio for Strings by Barber; and Symphony no. III by Goreki) involve mass groups of instruments rather than individual solos.
  10. lightsaber_wielder Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    Both the oboe and cor anglais as featured in "Across the Stars". Great stuff. :)
  11. Vaderbait Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 6
    It's not always the case that a single instrument is more emotional. Like someone kept mentioned, Anakin's Betrayal and Immolation are powerful. I would say that tragic moments or romantic moments are best with a large orchestra, but flat out sad scenes, or "end of an era" (such as Vader's death) play best with single instruments playing slowly.
  12. Headphonekenobi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 4
    Don't forget the voice! As far as an emotional solo instrument I think the voice reins supreme. Look at Padmes Ruminations... even though there is a bass line continually held in the background that voice is ominous and would be more so if it were completely a capella IMO.
  13. war_monger Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 26, 2003
    star 5
    The first part of "Padmé's Ruminations" has never really done it for me (I seem to be the only person in the world with this affliction). The second part evokes more emotion, albeit an entirely different emotion. So creepy. Gotta love it.
  14. Typo_Fairy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2005
    star 1
    I agree that it isn't always a single instrument that's best, and that voices can definitely be the most haunting of them all. In fact, I'm surprised no one's mentioned it already, but what about Birth of the Twins/Padme's Destiny? It starts off with a nice little wandering mystical tune, but then leeches off into a haunting chorus. It's actually my favorite piece on the whole soundtrack just because it's so deeply affecting and literally gives me chills every time I listen to it.
  15. Vaderbait Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 6
    I've got to disagree. Sometimes the voice can be haunting, but too often it's overused, or used in the place of music. Most of the time vocals just distract from the music or ruin the moment by overdoing it.
  16. Jedi-Washington Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 3, 2003
    star 4
    What we're talking about here isn't so much emotion, but more an agreement on expression. The instruments that stick out arn't agreeing on an expression, and while in most music, that's frowned upon, Film music loves to play with this tactic. Bringing something out that wouldn't otherwise be heard. I'm sure many times the designers pick up on the tone and boost it a little. As for something emotional, it really has a lot to do with the context with which your putting it in. The more emotionally attached you are to a scene, the more you will be to the music at that point. While if you're just listning to it with no idea about what's acctually going on, like listening to Star Wars without acctually seeing it, you might not have as much attachment to that music or understand how incredibly emotional it really is.

    Emotion can be used in incredible ways. it really has nothing to do with instrumentation. For instance, playing a Hymn with an ensemble after showing the players Shindlers List or a depressing movie like that you will get a much more emotional performance from them. The mood in which you record and how you treat the music does greatly affect the overall sucsess of a piece. Professional musicians are usually trained enough to pick up the mood on cue and fake the emotion in they're playing, but with younger musicians in particular, I really think it helps to get them into the mood beforehand.

    Anyway, Just to answer the question, a spicific instrument solo is usually more emotional because solos are given more of a chance to let free. If you're background or just doing chords, you're confined to an acoustical box. Your use of vibrato is limited, your dynamics are limited, and so is your tone. One is trained to blend. But during a solo, an instrument can let free, as the oboe player in Across the Stars. Every instrument is capable of being expressive, and so is every ensemble. Ensembles are just a lot harder to match and get the feeling right. Everyone will have their own take and unless you have absolutely superb musicians, you will not usually get as good of results. That's not to say that they can't have an impact though.

    ~JW


    EDIT: I agree with you war_monger, The first half of Padme's Ruminations is a terrible cue. Personally, that was the only place where I thought Williams really messed up by putting music in at all...as much as it would have been unothodox, I would have preferred that scene absolutely silent. Just visuals.
  17. halibut Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 27, 2000
    star 8
    Possibly because a lone instrument evokes the emotion of solitude. Humans crave company, and the idea of being alone is not an attractive one to most of us, and hence ranks highly on the scale of emotions. A solo instrument brings that emotion to the surface.
  18. Cerrabore Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 17, 2004
    star 4
    John Williams in particular has a habit of showcasing a solo instrument, then following it with a full orchestral reprise. This happens often in Schindler's List and Memoirs of a Geisha.
  19. Darth_Bach Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Hate to tell you Vaderbait, but vocals are music too, not just instrumentals. In fact, any good film score contains choral music. The voice is the only instrument that is naturally built into the body, and has an ability to express that even professional instrumentalists work years to emulate. Just ask some. I myself, am both.
  20. Miana Kenobi Admin Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Apr 5, 2000
    star 8
    Halibut hit it right on the mark. I was going to use Itzak Perlman's violin solos in Schindler's List as an example. However, I will add that it is not just loneliness that is brought out from this. In solitude, it gives one time to think, to hope, to dream. These all can still be expressed with a solo instrument. For example, one of the violin solos in Far and Away expresses the hope of finding a new home and a new hope in the plains of America. :)
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