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Is trailer music to blame for non-memorable themes?

Discussion in 'Working in the Industry' started by mac, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. JeffvR

    JeffvR Senior Member

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    Trailer music is just there to "grab the attention". It seems the only reason. People don't seem to care if their trailer has it's own unique music which suits the tone of the film.
     
  2. will_m

    will_m Senior Member

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    Disagree, for example here is the trailer music for Dunkirk, it has a number of sonic similarities to the films soundtrack, as do a fair few custom score trailers.

     
    Greg likes this.
  3. Greg

    Greg Senior Member

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    What planet are you on? There wouldn't be hundreds of trailer houses and hundreds of trailer music libraries if no one gave a shit. So many trailers are meticulously crafted to grab your emotions and sound like the world of the movie. Some trailers are total garbage but many are brilliant too.
     
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  4. Replicant

    Replicant Senior Member

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    Some of you take this shit just way too seriously.

    Anyway, I don't think trailer music is to blame.

    I'd argue that the limitations of sample libraries of yore, which very much restricted you to writing for what the samples were good at (spiccato strings, anyone?) and the resulting style being suitable for the aesthetic of most blockbuster films in a post "Batman Begins" world.
     
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  5. Desire Inspires

    Desire Inspires Senior Member

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    Agreed.

    Many of those that don't care will end up making more money from doing boring office jobs while the many that do care will struggle to find steady work.

    But all is not lost. I guess that is a good thing, as the next superstars of film score/trailer/whatever-comes-next composers will be born from the chaos!
     
  6. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    The OP put up a video that asserted a very narrow claim -- that Marvel films, except The Avengers, don't have memorable themes.

    The title of the thread, however, is much more general, asking if trailer music in general has wrecked melody in general in movies.

    Almost anything you could write about trailers and film music will have exceptions, but a couple of general points:

    1. Time: The OP's video emphasises that you can actually hear the Avengers theme at big moments in the movie. By contrast, precious little "real estate" is allocated to music in most films today. Think of Barry's "Out of Africa" or "Dances with Wolves" themes -- whether you like them or not they are really conspicuous and play for a full minute or more -- the main them in Out of Africa is two full minutes if you play the most famous bit.

    The filmmaker PLANNED it that way. The film luxuriates in music during that time. Filmmakers rarely seem to want that now.

    2. Music takes courage: I have seen directors visibly recoil when anything that I'd call "music" gets suggested. Often they seem actually afraid of it; I think that accounts for some of the issue, especially with action movies, but in others as well.

    3. Other Genres Still have themes: Some rom-coms, especially historical ones, have quite memorable themes, that are played throughout the movie and can be a bit catchy. It remains part of the genre.

    4. Most trailer music has almost nothing to do with the production: The people choosing the trailers are not usually the filmmakers, and the score is not usually written when the film starts its advertising run. A lot of trailer placements has been pre-written music that wasn't even conceived for the specific trailer.
     
  7. JeffvR

    JeffvR Senior Member

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    I'm on earth. What I was trying to say, some trailer tracks are used 100+ times across different trailers, that's not unique and most of the time it has nothing to do with the music in the film itself.


     
  8. will_m

    will_m Senior Member

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    I don't get what you're trying to say here, every genre or style has it's conventions and staples. Do you listen to rock and say oh no they're using distorted power chords again or hear some blues and think man I hate that 12 bar progression they keep doing.

    Trailers use certain conventions because they work, some people will choose to keep using them and others will evolve the convention to something new.
     
    Desire Inspires likes this.
  9. JeffvR

    JeffvR Senior Member

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    My point is not about conventions and staples. When I'm watching a trailer I want to be immersed into the world of THAT film. So also the world of sound for that film. I liked the example of Dunkirk by the way.. but you don't see that very often.
     
  10. AlexanderSchiborr

    AlexanderSchiborr Senior Member

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    Look, Jeff probably wanted just to point out that it doesn´t matter if the music is in the film / trailer "a" or film "b". Using powerchords and electric distortion in rock / metal doesn´t mean that the music has to be the the same. Using string instruments and short articulations in orchestral productions doesn´t mean we all have to do another generic Zimmer 16th notes ostinato. Sure if you do willingly so, then this can become a parody. Typical trailer music devices like the inception braams, godzilla drums and the emotional delay piano is a parody because they are overused clichee and they are used without any reason and context. There is no focal point and motivation to support the drama, just more to fill out the space with soundeffects and snippets of notes. It is a bit like Mickey Mousing in cartoons. Done in slight moderation, it can be effective. And Jeff said it: Those devices are just there to grab attention. I think music is not the focal point of storytelling in such cases anymore how it was back then, so it feels often like a filler for a scene where they need music to put in just to have something, regardless what the scenes drama is really about.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2017 at 5:10 AM
    JeffvR likes this.
  11. will_m

    will_m Senior Member

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    Your statement seem contradictory to me, you say that using strings and short articulations in orchestral music doesn't mean we all have to play ostinatos but in trailer music using braaams, godzilla drums (note sure what you mean here) and piano are somehow "without reason or context".

    To me they are just tools that can be used in a number of ways, every genre has the same thing, there is recognisable instrumentation and progressions in all. Can they be overused without any alteration, sure.

    It seems to boil down to a base level of respect for another genre, where if its not perceived to be complex enough or somehow unique then it isn't worthy. I'd recommend to anyone who feels this way of any genre, try producing something to the standard of the top players and see how well you fare.
     
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  12. JohnG

    JohnG Senior Member

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    Very true, Greg.

    Very true, Will. Every time I try a type of music that seems easy, I find it's not... so... easy.
     
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  13. Nick Batzdorf

    Nick Batzdorf Moderator

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    John:

    Jawohl.

    And it seems unlikely that I'm the only one who finds everything but what I'm working on at the time very easy. :)

    ***

    I haven't read this entire thread, but at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious: the reason trailers don't usually use the theme (unless it's a film version of a well-known TV show or something) is that... they're not the film, they're advertisements for it! More often than not, it's just music to support exciting cuts.
     
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  14. Replicant

    Replicant Senior Member

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    I have personally found that the supposedly "simple" music, like trailer music or ambient stuff, is the most disarmingly difficult to create with both authenticity, and a compelling piece on its own.

    I would say this example works entirely against your point.

    All of that music is almost all the same, just with subtle variances that, to varying degrees, justified calling it a new "sub-genre". I mean, metal music is the only genre on Earth, where people try to convince you that singing about a given subject consitutes a new sub-genre.

    "Pirate-metal" isn't a thing, no matter how badly "Running Wild" or "Alestorm" and their fans kick and scream. The former is no different from the typical 70s - 80s NWOBHM band.

    Regardless, you will not find a metal band where palm mutes and dyads aren't the defining, universal feature of the genre. That's true as far back as Rainbow to as current as Arch Enemy.

    I feel this strongly ties in with my "limitations of samples" argument, because with the required distortion, the electric guitar forces you to play in this rhythm style — I'd go so far as to argue that it is limitations such as these that define genres.

    To quote Kip Winger
    : "I was really into Black Sabbath, but heavy guitars can really be very limiting, it's a great frequency and it's great fun to listen to but on the other hand, musically you can do a lot more without it."
     
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  15. Kony

    Kony Senior Member

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    What a JW Close Encounters trailer looks like today....

     
  16. AlexanderSchiborr

    AlexanderSchiborr Senior Member

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    First I thought that this is a humourous post by you, but it is an official trailer. And what do you think?
     
  17. AlexanderSchiborr

    AlexanderSchiborr Senior Member

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  18. Fab

    Fab Senior Member

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    My friend who makes trailer music says he can't even listen to JW stuff now because in comparison...it sounds 'puny' and not massive enough.
     
    Ollie likes this.
  19. jononotbono

    jononotbono Luke Johnson

    Why are you comparing trailers from the 70's to now? The world that (most) people live in now has completely changed! Even the format of a trailer from the 70's compared to today is completely incomparable! The original trailer is like a behind the scenes Blu Ray extra. Do you honestly think that the approach of old, including the musical style, would actually get people in the cinema of today? Because that's the whole point of a trailer right? To get people into the cinema and parting with their hard earned money. Death at the box office comes to mind.
     
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  20. AlexanderSchiborr

    AlexanderSchiborr Senior Member

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    Did I say that? Neither I said that it is appealing to the people nowadays, nore I postulated any comparison here. I posted it for completion. What you like better is a very personal decision of your own taste. When you like the new trailer, it is fine! The rest is up to your own interpretation. If you think the new trailer works better than the old one to the nowadays audience: Yes you are completely right with that. But do I have to like the new one just because it works better for the actuall audience? Nope.
     

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