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Philosophy and Composers

jadedsean

Active Member
Hi guys,

I'm currently in the last year of my BA, the assignment i propose to present is based on a particular artist. As i'm heavily influenced by the film music genre i decided i wanted choose a composer. The brief is to choose a significant artist in relation to their cultural, social and political impact and their continuing influence on contemporary music genres. The research should draw on theoretical contexts found in the wider discipline of cultural studies, such as critical theory and postmodernism. The paper should critically analyse an artist from 1970 onward and chose a film from the composer and analyse four pieces of music.

This allows me the opportunity to research the philosophies and psychology of a particular composer. I have thought of many composers i could research but felt i'll ask the community first as my experience in the field is quite limited.

Any suggestions would be informative a appreciated.
Cheers
Sean
 

Jaap

Senior Member
I assume you have thought of Ennio Morricone? His work spans a lot of era's. He composed a lot of political and socially engaged movies from Italian directors, beside that he is also very active as classical composer. His works go from oscar winning stuff to arthouse movies and everything in between. His style covers a lot. Influences from modern composers, but also actually quite a lot of pop influences.

I am in no way very familiar with the real depth of life and works. This is some general knowledge I have about the man, but if I where in your position I probably would choose him for research!
 

Baron Greuner

Senior Member
Coincidentally I was at Music College in 1970. Every now again film composers would come round and give a talk. Rarely though, because back in those days in music colleges, film music was regarded as one of the lowest forms of life, with the emphasis very much on the playing aspect of instruments.
One guy that came round, and I caught him once, was Bernard Herrmann. He apparently was living in London 6 months of the year back then. Even though he was predominantly a film composer, he was very highly regarded in the classical community. What I remember about Herrmann was he smoked continually, had a strong NY accent and was very funny. He was also absolutely brilliant at writing music that made a film go where it should go.

From about 1960 on to the early 70s there were quite a few film composers that really stood out and the list is too long to mention, but I would definitely go for Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann, John Barry, Ennio Morricone, Elmer Bernstein, Michael Small, Michel Legrand, Miklos Rosza, Alex North and many more.
 
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jadedsean

jadedsean

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Oh thank you guys for the great suggestions. The majority of them have crossed my mind bar Miklos Rosza, so it confirms i'm on the right track. I'm open to other possibilities if anyone else could chime in. Thanks again for your time guys i really appreciate it.
 

mc_deli

n trepreneur
I am a big Curtis Mayfield fan. The film work is perhaps not the most highbrow but you get bags of social and political context. And there's plenty of quality work between 1970-75. Of course the orchestral arrangements in e.g. Right on for the Darkness are by collaborators, Tufo, Pate, usually (but then if you pick some of the modern big score boys you might not know who really wrote the cues!).

I digress. Anyway. Never miss an opportunity to remind people to listen to Curtis. There's no place like America today.
 

Soundhound

Senior Member
Gil Scott-Heron was a brilliant political songwriter and performer. He came to a sad end, but his work was important to the 60s movement and its aftermath.
 

chimuelo

Star Of Stage & Screen
Yeah, I actually opened for him, and after our show my band leader informed me to stay, got 100 dollars and watched the guys set up.
I was always the only cat who wasn't black, but that's Jazz in the late 70s.
Just followed the group since the guitarist made sure I could follow his frets.
Never heard of him but once we vamped on Johannesburg for 20 and thousands of blacks were getting whipped up raising fists, etc. I kind of figured what he stood for.
Only 16 years old I beat feet back to my folks house and my old man was watching the news, knowing I was gigging on Broadway he was nervous.
Then the cameras showed all of the angry broth as and I told my old man it was cool
200 dollar day...
He shit a brick.
Couldn't seem to understand when your performing your cool. Other brothas got your back in case some fool try's to get cute.
What's the word.....JOHANNESBERG......!!!

Definitely a political guy.
 
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jadedsean

jadedsean

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Great suggestions guys, still mulling it over at the moment i will definitely researched the guys put forward. Thanks for your input i appreciate it. More suggestions are welcomed.
 

NoamL

Winter <3
I think you will run into a problem examining the "psychology" of a film composer, insofar as film composers are generally pretty quiet and private people.

I'm not aware of any film composer having written a manifesto or essay about what his music means, what methods he used to create it, or what political movement his music is associated with. This contrasts with the avante garde music world where such essays seem to be more than half the fun. So, you could probably find 10x the grist for your thesis if you were to look at Stockhausen, Ferneyhough or some other modern composer compared to looking at Morricone or Williams. Especially if the crit theory dimension is important.
 
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