Game of Thrones

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macaroniman
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Game of Thrones

Post by macaroniman » Mon 13 May 2019 16:37

Okay, so the game of thrones score is obviously extremely vast, spanning eight seasons now which is a lot of music to write. I'd like to preface by saying that I respect Ramin Djawadi for being able to pull that off. It's no small feat by any means and he has managed to establish two or three memorable themes. I couldn't do what he did, not by a long shot

But

I find the music very boring and thrice now the score actually really irritated me. The first time was when he started to use piano music in what was supposed to be an unsettling scene. Arguably his desired effect of creating something jarring, musically, worked, but it annoyed me far more than it served its goal. It should come as no surprise however that literally everyone and their mother loves that piece to death. Not me though. It's this piece:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pS-gbqbVd8c

The piece isn't bad in of itself (though I got quite bored by it), it's just that it totally and completely doesn't fit the musical world that was set up in all prior seasons. For me it completely broke immersion and kinda seemed like some awful fan-made cover as you tend to find on youtube.

Then there's this piece for the Night King, the supposed big bad villain of the entire franchise:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1frgt0D_f4

It just makes me hate pianos. I find the way it's used here so cliched, so dull, so modern in the worst possible sense of the word... ugh

Then there's the battle music which to my ears is mostly just sound design. Pretty good sound design at that... but not really music? All the cliches are present: action ostinatos, five million brass players, a boatload of drums...
(I could only find this version with the SFX still mixed in)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_d5vChcjJ90

Compare that to something like Patrick Doyle's Henry V score:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a-dR8HD45qs

I haven't seen anyone, anywhere ever talk about Ramin Djawadi's music other than throwing praise at his feet, which I don't think he's really earned? Again, I respect the man for the amount of work hours all of this must have taken, but I find Game of Thrones's score ranging from mundane to awfully cliched. It's not just game of thrones really - his other scores have the same "music as an ambience" feel that I really, really dislike.

What do you all think? Am I completely alone in disliking this music?

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Strickland
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Re: Game of Thrones

Post by Strickland » Fri 17 May 2019 15:26

macaroniman wrote:
Mon 13 May 2019 16:37
I respect Ramin Djawadi for being able to pull that off.
I don't.
macaroniman wrote:
Mon 13 May 2019 16:37
What do you all think? Am I completely alone in disliking this music?
I totally agree. It's a music you compose when you have no time, not a very good musical knowledge and directors dumb enough to think it's working. It doesn't match at all with what you watch. The piano is both generic and out of place in this context.

Meanwhile Bruce Broughton, Joel McNeely, Eliot Goldenthal, David Newman, David Arnold, Nicholas Dodd, Edward Shearmur barely don't compose anymore. It's beyond me.

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FriFlo
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Re: Game of Thrones

Post by FriFlo » Sat 18 May 2019 08:37

I agree! I have not seen more than a 3 parts of the first season from GOT, so, I am not an expert at all, but I still have my idea of how fitting this music seems. This solo piano thing and all the rest of that cue reminds me of these things:
1) Fucking movie trailers finally defining how film music is made.
2) Minimalism music that is pretty much reduced to the actual meaning of the word (minimalising musical language to its core until every song sounds the same and is only distinguishable due to its sound design - if at all!).
3) Fantasy, super heros, science fiction, history drama ... choose whatever genre or sub-genre you want and find out that you do not need a seperate musical style for it. Neither for the genre, nor for the individual film.
4) The composers job is to render the directors or producers vision that has been laid out by his choice of temp tracks. In our narcissistic world, it is the musical taste of some hipsters that define what art is. Forget about people with some musical education! Our modern technology makes education abundant. Why do you think Khans theme in Startrek 2 (the newer films) sounds like Philip Glass? Well, I guess some of the producers of the movie must have been pretty fond of the hours or whatever ... there are countless examples like this. ...
oh, and there might be a secondary objective a film music composer is tied to: the Producers nephew plays electric guitar and there has to be some way for him to be be on the recording.

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DarkestShadow
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Re: Game of Thrones

Post by DarkestShadow » Sat 18 May 2019 14:07

You're certainly not alone. I really don't like this score and also heard the same from several others - composers mind you.
I only watched season one and currently stuck at the first 4 episodes of season two (lost one of the discs - damn haha) and the music sometimes didn't only bore but annoy me. The main theme is good IMO... although nothing really extraordinary. The execution could be better as well... I one could take 50-70% great parts of the overall theme and create a great piece from it with more poignant melodic elements and better arrangement + real orchestra. Yea sure, the cello is real, but there is no way the orchestra is real. Same for the whole score. To bad that a show with such a big budget doesn't invest in live recordings. There are much smaller projects being recorded live... as some member(s) here can attest. ;) ;)

In the audio commentary of one of the episodes I heard that Ramin had very little time to do the score, so yea that's probably a lot of the reason for the lacking score. Although I also find that there are a lot of strange arrangement/orchestration choices. Weird flat harmonization sometimes... I'm not sure someone skilled in that department would make these choices even under time crunch.

I'm also listening to that Night King track now... my god. One of the worst tracks from a big TV or film project I've ever heard. Extremely boring and weird. I mean... how can perceptions differ so much?? Listening and reading the comment section is almost beyond brain-fuck! :D :D

ALthough I hear a nice potential track from 7:42 to 7:49... but before and after that.. NO! NO! I might he stealing this part and make something out of it haha.

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macaroniman
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Re: Game of Thrones

Post by macaroniman » Sat 18 May 2019 19:41

You all raise some interesting points. I certainly agree with the points you identified, FriFlo.

I confess it's a relief to hear that I'm not the only one to take issue with the score. I can think of various explanations on how this happened, but given Ramin's other's scores I'm most inclined to believe that this is simply his musical style, and it's very much in vogue these days. The modern philosophy seems to be "music as an ambience": noise in the background that kind of fits what's going on on screen but doesn't say anything itself, doesn't stand on its own two legs, and certainly doesn't hold up to any kind of musical scrutiny.

Personally I rather dislike this style of music - it offers no value to me as a listener, it might fit what goes on on screen (or at least not detract from it), but it's got nothing to say to me. What concerns me more is that I'm often being asked to do the same on projects, to push the music into the background. Not only do I dislike it musically, I actually find it much harder to do.

Where I do respect Ramin is the sheer number of hours invested - it's easy for me to criticise, but I don't know what constraints he was under. Doing 8 seasons of music is no small feat, no matter which way you look at it. I don't like the result much, but I don't think the guy was lazy. This is just how he writes, I'm afraid.

To those still early into watching Game of Thrones: it's an excellent series up until about Season 3 or 4. After that it starts to fall apart. Season 7 and 8 (the final season) are absolute trainwrecks. Considering the time investment it takes to watch all of it, I would actually recommend against watching it, or watching up until the 3rd or 4th season. The fault is not with the cast - they're quite good for the most part, but the writing gets worse than a 14-year old's fanfiction, unless you're into Rian Johnson style "subverting expectations" crud. If the narrative has somewhat spiked your interest, I can recommend the books or audiobooks.

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Audioholic
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Re: Game of Thrones

Post by Audioholic » Mon 20 May 2019 14:57

There are a few parts of The Night King theme towards the end that I thought sounded cool. Snippets here and there that maybe showed what the composer could do if he actually tried to take a good idea and develop it (those cool ideas are never developed tho so...whatever lol). That was the first time I ever had that opinion though - it surprised me because my overall opinion of the music in this show is very negative.

The music in GoT is, overall, extremely bland. The main theme is about as boring and uninspired as it gets. I see people fawning over this music all the time and it’s a total head scratcher.

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