Classical Music (Pro) vs. [Insert Genre of Music Here]
I like nearly all different types of music, old or new, simple or complicated, etc. etc. That being said, classical music (specifically referring to Western art music), in my opinion, is the greatest of them all. I respect all music and look forward to debating this with anyone who disagrees.
No bashing the other genre for the sake of bashing. There has to be a legitimate reason for giving criticism to the opposing genre, e.g., "This is better/worse in this respect because..."
Also, have fun with this debate! There's no right answer (except mine (just kidding :D)), and the con can choose whatever music genre (s)he chooses.
Classical music: Western art music that has distinctive principles, such as specific staff notation, and is frequently but not always more complicated and with more exactness than other genres of music in Western culture.
Western culture: A broad term used to describe culture with roots in Europe, which also applies to countries with major European influence, such as the Americas and Australasia.
The first round will only be for the con's acceptance, and for the con to state which genre (s)he thinks is the greatest of them all.
My genre: Film score, Film music, music accompanying a film (specifically those that are musically composed and are not songs with. An example would be the background music of Star Wars).
I would like to thank my opponent for joining me in this debate. I would like to say, however, that I think you have made a mistake in choosing film score as your genre, a mistake made grander by specifying the style used in Star Wars...but I'll get to that in a little bit. Here are a few reasons that I say that classical music is the best genre:
Section 1: Skills and Talents
The education for classical music (regardless if it's voice, instrumental, composition, etc.) is a detailed and disciplined process that teaches classical musicians how to do their best with what they have and what they desire to do in music. They often have to be musically gifted as well as musically knowledgeable, so music should come more naturally to them in comparison to someone who is one or the other. Many who are classically trained actually go on to help musicians who are not classically trained (such as George Martin, producer for the Beatles who helped them musically, especially with their Baroque pop (see Section 4)) and write or cowrite for other genres (such as Stephan Moccio, a classical composer and pianist who cowrote "Wrecking Ball"). Even in the way vocalists are trained, classical music is there. Most pop singers have vocal training, and this training is often either straight classical or with elements of it. One may argue, "What does that have to do with the genre?" I'll tell you: it points to the fact that classical music is a genre that can be easily transmitted through other genres (see Section 4) through the skills required to make it and, as I'll discuss next, its complexity and musicality.
Section 2: Complexity and Musicality
(A few examples that help this section will also benefit Section 3, and thus will be shown there)
Classical music can be very complex, and thus is more intellectually stimulating than most other genres of music. This complexity often includes changes in themes and orchestration, a technique that has been neurologically proven to keep an individual engaged in the music. This applies to all genres, of course, but it is very common in classical music and not so common in some other genres.
When it comes to musicality, the complexity (or, in many cases, lack thereof) just enhances it. The music can be so variant by the amount of different instruments that are used in classical music and by the many different styles and emotions conveyed in it, whether they have emotional lyrics or none at all...and that part brings us to Section 3!
Section 3: Variety of the Genre
https://www.youtube.com... A lovely Bach composition
https://www.youtube.com... From Mozart's "The Magic Flute"
https://www.youtube.com... I'm sure you'll recognize this one.
http://en.wikipedia.org... Not many will recognize this one.
https://www.youtube.com... A highly emotional piece by Samuel Barber
https://www.youtube.com... "Rhapsody in Blue," by George Gershwin. A hugely important piece that changed what classical could mean and brought a new found respect to jazz in the scheme of Western classical music.
Avant-Garde 20th Century (the most different of any of them):
https://www.youtube.com... "The Rite of Spring," the one with the riots and stuff. Incidentally, he had it played a few months later and was praised for his ingenuity. Don't feel obligated to listen to the whole thing, if you don't want to.
https://www.youtube.com... "Sonata II" by John Cage, using the prepared piano.
A note on the John Cage piece...
Cage created the most common form of the prepared piano, a piano where specific objects are put in specific parts of the strings etc. to make it sound different. In that piece, you hear it in action. Not many other genres have things so regimented along side things that are so unusual as John Cage's compositions, or Stravinsky's for that matter. An even more bizarre example is 4'33', which is four minutes and thirty-three seconds...of not playing music. I would say "silence," but Cage's point was that the noise heard by chance while the musicians were experiencing their nearly five minute tacit was the composition. Makes you think, doesn't it? Classical music is the greatest genre in part because it can challenge what music is and push the limits as far as possible.
And here's why film score might not have been a great debate choice...
Section 4: Influence and Crossover Genres
John Williams is the composer for the six (and soon to be seven) Star Wars films, as well as for Harry Potter, Saving Private Ryan, E.T., Lincoln, Jaws...the list goes on. I am a huge fan of his. There's just one problem...film score, particularly in movies that John Williams has worked in, is a genre that takes most of its influence from Western classical music. John Williams himself composes contemporary classical music outside of films that are not so different from the ones in the films for which he has composed. It may as well be classical music. Furthermore, much of his music is influenced by the likes of Holst, Mahler and Stravinsky...in fact, a lot of the Star Wars music sounds a bit too much like "The Rite of Spring" for some people's taste.
I was actually going to include Williams to prove my point before you did.
Here's a short video that compares some of his music to classical music (the first segment has no audio, fyi, so sorry if you experience more audio problems. Hearing the comparison is nearly enough, though): https://www.youtube.com...
Here's a more in-depth comparison, if you'd like to take a quick glance or a long one: http://www.quora.com...
Anyway, I'd like to talk a bit more about its other influences/crossovers before I run out of room.
There's baroque pop/baroque rock, pop and rock that takes instrumentation and style from classical music (particularly the baroque period), which includes the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" and "For No One," as well as the newer version of the Plain White T's song "Hey There Delilah." But it's not just about genres that bare that close of a resemblance to art music; it's about style, chord structure, and emotionallity (This is a good read on it:https://prezi.com...). Billy Joel often talks about playing Gershwin to warm up and Sting about Bach.
As a final summation, I will be so bold as to say that classical music encompasses more than we are often aware...and I believe that it always will.
My opponent's arguments seem to justify that classical music is superior to film score since film scores are so similar to classical music. The point that film scores are similar to classical music is understandable. However, in my perspective, film score is not only borrowing many of the techniques of classical music, but also somehow transcending it.
Film score is like contemporary classical music. It's the classical music of the future. The reason I say this is because film score has evolved to the point that is distinguishable from classical music. Take for example the score for the movie 'Pacific Rim' or even movies as old as 'The Dark Knight'. These scores are unique and entrancing. Hans Zimmer and Ramin Djawadi are able to resonate to the story of the movie and apply their music there. They are able to find just the right music for particular scenes. When I think of batman riding his motorcycle and I hear classical music playing, I would feel as if something is very off. These movies have their own unique themes and I cannot imagine classical music playing in the background of The Dark Knight. That is the gift of film score. As soon as you hear it in the radio, you immediately know the movie its associated with. Thus, they are quite distinguishable from classical music, which are more timeless and not associated with anything in particular.
Compare this to classical music. Hours of orchestral delight. Yet, it feels as though something is missing. And that something, is story. Classical music cannot tell a story. It can be assigned to one, but it wasn't made purely for that purpose. Therefore, it is meaningless. What the human mind hears are just tones and vibrations. They are pleasing to hear but lack that backstory, that background of information that you can recall as soon as you hear the music. When you hear Hans Zimmer playing Man of Steel, you immediately think of Superman, his story and how he wants to save the world. When you hear the score of Interstellar, you think of the stars, the black hole Gargantua and how much the father misses his daughter.
Stories connect us. They touch our hearts and inspire us to do more. Classical music does not carry a person's legacy. Beethoven's Fur Elise does not make me think of the life and trials of Beethoven. Pro's example videos do not tell me the stories of the composers or the stories of anyone at all.
I agree with Pro that classical music invokes emotions. I find it interesting that the Rite of Spring was so strange that it caused a riot. But so can stories. Stories inspire us to act. They teach us that the state we are in is not the only place we can be. We can strive for better and that's what stories do.
In this respect, film score does a better job of reminding us of stories than classical music. Because film scores were designed just for that.
Music is evolving. Classical music will forever stay classical. A single piece of composition by one single person. But film music grows and expands in different ways. Adapting to the story of the film. This is why film music is slowly but surely becoming superior to classical music.
For musical pleasure, please have a look at the first 30 seconds of each video
https://www.youtube.com... (Pacific Rim)
https://www.youtube.com... (The dark knight)
I feel compelled to first address the generalizations that were made by my opponent in regards to classical music being written without a story line and/or unrelated to anything, being just "one composition by one composer," and, above all, "meaningless." I mean no disrespect in saying this, but these three things above all other claims in the argument are simply wrong. The fact that some people associate film music with certain memories of events that the music is related to has less to do with it being put to stories/meanings more often and more to do with a greater familiarity to film music, and not much else.
I do not claim that film music does not invoke emotion and memories, considering it does so very well. But there are operas that have hugely moral-based stories that have music that, like film music, are written with the story in mind and the actions going on in mind. For example, in the opera Don Giovanni (SPOILER ALERT (but to a story that's, like, half a century old and has about five different endings)), there's a haunted statue that is commanding Don Giovanni to repent. The music accompanying him is extremely foreboding and increases in intensity with every command of "Repente!" When Don Giovanni has run out of time, he is sent to hell, an action that is brought with fast-paced and even more intense music. Again, association with the music to events has less to do with the quality of the music itself and more to do with personal experience. A person could just as easily hear the Imperial March and not be able to link it to Star Wars as one could hear Ride of the Valkyries and not be able to associate it with The Valkyrie.
I did in fact show a piece that told a story, contrary to my opponent's statement, which was the solo from the Magic Flute. I couldn't find a good one that didn't include dialog beforehand that had an English translation (my apologies), but essentially the Queen of the Night is enraged at the one whom her daughter, Pamina, loves, and gives Pamina a dagger to kill her love, Sarastro, and threatens to disown her if she doesn't.
There are many pieces of music in classical music and every genre that are not associated with a storyline, but very few of them are truly "meaningless." Even excluding the numerous pieces that musically represent or are musically inspired by people, things, poems, ideas and emotions, there are many that have obvious political and/or social messages without being put to a story. A good example is Ralph Vaughan William's Dona Nobis Pacem, which uses the works of the American poet Walt Whitman. Vaughan Williams and Whitman are a match made in heaven. The music perfectly accents the words, and the message is obvious: "War is a terrible thing and we desperately need peace, and hopefully someday peace shall be granted."
Another good example, which goes against the claim that classical music "does not carry a person's legacy" (it does without this example as it carries on the legacy of the composer, but I know this wasn't the point of the statement), and this is Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait. About eight minutes into the piece, they read quotes of Lincoln and describe the scene where the words were said; it's impossible not to be inspired. The music is perfect for the president too: first powerful, then tender, then playful, and then somehow a combination of each, an emotional complexity that mirrors the complex man that was our 16th president. It carries on his legacy excellently.
Classical music can tell us important things without storylines, even without lyrics, even sometimes without most or any context as to why or for what the music was written. Movies have music that helps them get the message across and remember it, but it has more to do with the context of the movie and less so with the music.
My opponent believes that film music is superior to classical music because, in his eyes, it has transcended it. I understand this point of view, and it was a good example to use the music for Pacific Rim in particular. That being said, I disagree. In the case of Batman, even though my opponent said that having classical music with it would feel "very off," I honestly didn't see a huge step from 20th-21st Century classical music. As someone who has been with classical music all of his life, if someone told me it was a new contemporary classical piece (which my opponent used to describe movie music, but is an actual term for a period of classical music which we are currently in), I wouldn't be very surprised. Even the more electronically enhanced parts could be linked to modernism in classical, which used (and uses) electric guitar and introduced experimentation with electronic music. Day One Dark, by extension, is essentially musique concrete - which started in classical music and includes the Beatles Revolution 9 - mixed with some older classical elements. The only one that I couldn't be convinced is classical if someone lied and I had never heard them before would be the Pacific rim music...but again, we've been using electric guitars in classical music for awhile now, even if it's not extremely widespread. Leonard Bernstein's Mass uses two electric guitars, two electric basses and even two synthesizers and is still considered classical. It's less to do with the fact that the two genres are similar, then, and more to do with the fact that classical music has been doing what no genre has done before for a very long time, where film music is, at best, a good fusion genre that makes little of what hasn't already been done.
It's so similar that Hans Zimmer, who writes very little outside of the film score, has won three Classical BRIT Awards, is played on classical radio stations, and is often categorized as a contemporary classical composer, by these radio stations or otherwise.It's worth listening to "Alternative Energy" by Mason Bates, if you can find it (I couldn't find a full one yet, sorry), as film music has little difference from it in style or purpose (you can read about it here, which even gives a sort of story that is told within the music:http://www.sfgate.com...)
To quote:"Music is evolving. Classical music will forever stay classical."
I've already addressed the issue of music changing over time. Classical music is still being written and is still changing (see the definition in argument one if you thought I meant the period of Western art music), and has been evolving for over 1500 years. 1500 years of influence, change, and variety. People are still writing, reforming, arranging and rearranging classical music. No one ever said music wasn't evolving, and classical music is certainly evolving. It has been all 1500+ years of its existence.
As a closing statement, I would like to point out that my opponent said that film music is "slowly but surely becoming superior to classical music," which, even if not on purpose, implies that classical music is, at least currently, superior.
But if we go along with my opponent's definition, then no distinction can be made between classical and film music. If there is no distinction, then there can be no debate. Therefore I would like to define film music as specifically 'music accompanying a film.' And the focus is on film music with no dialogue or lyric. Basically, background music.
I hope this distinguishes film music as just an ordinary contemporary classical music. Contemporary classical music can stand on its own. Whereas film music requires the film to represent it. Film music is unique in this case, since you cannot mention film score without also mentioning the movie it was made for.
My opponent also states that classical music brings about emotions just as well if not better than film music. I agree somewhat but let me show you why this is not always the case.
Compare my opponent's "Lincoln Portrait" by Aaron Copland with John William's "With Malice toward none" from the movie Lincoln by Steven Spielberg.
As a youtuber quotes from the movie in the comments, "With malice toward none, with charity for all. With firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in"
Now there seems to be a more profound impact in William's piece. Those who have watched the movie Lincoln will be reminded of the trials of that president, the things he did and the things he achieved. They can remember the scenes, the faces, the objects. But when I hear Copland's piece, I do admittedly feel emotion, however it is not as strong as the emotion I feel listening to William's piece for one main reason: William's piece is specific to a story, or a moment in the story and that is why it that much more powerful.
Another example my opponent puts forth, Alternative Energy by Mason Bates, actually has a story and is not meaningless. I had never heard of this music before and so now I respectfully concede my point about classical music being meaningless and without a story accompanying it. My opponent is right that they do indeed have large scale significance and sometimes do have storyline. But here is a comparison between Bate's (yes, masterful and engaging) piece and the epically amazing OST of Iron man by Ramin Djwadi.
Bates's piece: https://www.youtube.com... (Sample. As my opponent said, the full version could not be found)
Ramin Djawdi: https://www.youtube.com...
Bate's piece reminds me of the story of the creation of the particle accelerator along with the industrial revolution (a story mentioned in my opponent's article). This moves me somewhat, bringing me back to those years of hard work and awe. It calms me and would be the sort of music I would listen to when I am busy working on an assignment. However, listening to Djawdi's piece brings about an epic awe. A sort of wonderment on something fictional and fantastical, and then getting extremely excited about it.
In other words, I start jumping up and down like I'm being possessed by the musical composition. I just feel so much joy being reminded of Ironman, a superhero I love. Do I love particle accelerators, human revolutions and new innovation? Absolutely. Do I get even more excited by the prospect of a genius superhero in a high tech suit, flying around shooting pulsars and saving people? Heck yes.
But that's not even the limit to how much emotion can course through people when they hear a film score. Consider the most arguably epic soundtrack made by Hans Zimmer. His piece 'Rise' in The dark Knight Rises does more than just simply relax his fans but also to make them fanatic, perhaps even cheering at the movie screen. Here is the brilliant piece: https://www.youtube.com...
Yes, the soundtrack of star wars was perhaps influenced by classical works like Gustav Holst's musical composition. But I still stand by my claim that film music transcends classical music. It takes those components and turns it into something else. Something more. Classical music may accompany stories at times but perhaps not to the degree that film music does. Film music does its best to move the movie, to make it more exciting, more sad or more awe inspiring. But it's not just any kind of background music. It also incorporates many classical music styles and fits it to the stories. In this way, film music is an evolved form of classical music.
My opponent disagrees with this view in my example of The dark knight soundtrack, claiming that he did not "see a huge step from 20th-21st Century classical music." I disagree. Classical music is soft, relaxing or at times highly intense. But the soundtrack of the Dark Knight is something special, something unique. It has a crime fighting atmosphere to it. The kind of atmosphere that suits a vigilante and suits the kind of movie with such tension and action. I challenge my opponent to give an example of a classical music that can do the same as described before.
Film music has been evolving and becoming better with each passing year. My opponent says Interstellars' soundtrack "is essentially musique concrete - which started in classical music and includes the Beatles Revolution 9 - mixed with some older classical elements." This is not true. The soundtrack goes beyond just incorporating some classical music elements. Hans Zimmer instills a 'religious' atmosphere to the soundtrack to make it seem more otherworldly and 'spacelike'. They did part of the music using a peculiar instrument at a church. It is why the soundtrack is so beautiful.
Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com...
Skip to the middle to get to the part I was mentioning.
To close off, I quote Jasper Hope, chief operating officer at the Royal Albert Hall. He says film music is "a serious classical music genre despite, in my opinion, being some of the best classical music written". And goes on to say:
"I absolutely see it as classical music. It"s live classical music of fantastic standard and composition and performance. It doesn't mean it"s the only form of classical music but it adds to the canon. It"s a story conveyed and told in front of your eyes, and there"s an incredible score." Hope also says that film music should be treated just as seriously as great composers like Mozart or Tchaikovsky.
You can read the entire article here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk...
But Hope claims film music to be classical music, "[back] then, [musical composers] did not write to accompany a film, they wrote to accompany opera or ballet. It might be a different medium, but you"re not talking about something that"s widely different." And like I said before, I don't disagree. But for the sake of the debate, let us keep the distinction between classical music and film score in that film score is purely the music for film.
I respect the fact that my opponent is able to admit that film score is essentially a type of classical music while sticking to his original stance, and I will respect the fact that he wishes to keep them separate for the sake of the debate.
That being said, I encourage the voters to keep this similarity in mind and for them to decide whether or not they think it matters when they vote. I still believe it to be an important factor, as I believe that film music got to where it is because of classical music; that much is hard to dispute, but the voters should individually determine its import in this context (though it shouldn't necessarily be the deciding factor in either direction). Again, with this all said, I will respect my opponents request to keep them as separate things for the sake of the debate.
I want to address something that I believe to be an issue with the way my opponent determines which genre is better. Although he addresses many aspects of the music, there is one that he keeps returning to: the story. The problem here is that it doesn't really focus on the quality of the music itself, rather it focuses on the quality of the stories associated with the music.
That's like saying Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon is about a wonderfully trusting boyfriend who stays by his girl in the face of infidelity and Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen is about absolutely nothing, so therefore the Speedwagon song is infinitely better...which it's not, in my opinion, and I think most people who like these type of songs would agree.
When I listen to the example from Lincoln my opponent used in the previous argument to counter my example of a Copland piece about Lincoln, I don't hear as much that's musically interesting. It follows one common theme, stays in one key, keeps one main tempo, and ultimately contradicts my opponent's claim that film score "grows and expands in different ways" (Round 1) in comparison to classical music. The Copland piece is one where you can tell someone it's about Abraham Lincoln even without the quotes and, through the music, they can be shown his emotional variance and surmise much about what kind of a person he was. I challenge my opponent to find a film score that achieves this.
As for the challenge from my opponent, 1:40 into this (https://www.youtube.com...) is worthy of a vigilante I believe, and the entire thing is worthy of a elegiac send-off to a fallen hero. This (https://www.youtube.com...), by extension, is worthy of a fight scene.
On the Musicality of Film Music and the Musical Skills Required to Make It:
Although I agree with my opponent that film music is becoming more diverse, I do not believe that it has gotten to a point where it has risen higher than classical music (or perhaps other classical music, in many instances). This is mostly because classical has many, many different variants to it, while film score has but a few. One of these main types is the type shown in Batman. Classical has certain periods of music where there are certain common attributes, but this one has a huge amount of common, nearly overused attributes. Pounding bass drum, strings zipping out the melody, first lower and then higher, the brass section in the very bottom of it all, etc. etc. It doesn't take too long to see these common attributes and slap a new piece together.
The Interstellar soundtrack does seem divergent from this, but I don't see how my opponent's point of making it more "religious" and using a church organ somehow makes it less based in classical music, a genre that has a very prolific history with both religion and church organs. The fact that Zimmer used both of these factors in Interstellar only sort of backtracks to my original point of them being similar.
I would also like to point out again that classical music has a uniquely translatable factor to it, so much so that many of those who want to be good at any music genre, such as (and perhaps especially) film score start out in it. There was a study that I mentioned in Round 1 that spoke of it's influence in modern, non-classical music, which is partially due to this. I bring this up mostly to go back to the point that classical music is so hugely influential, and to point out the fact that film music has not yet reached the influence, variance or skill of classical music.
For this round, I will do a quote by quote rebuttal.
"I want to address something that I believe to be an issue with the way my opponent determines which genre is better. Although he addresses many aspects of the music, there is one that he keeps returning to: the story. The problem here is that it doesn't really focus on the quality of the music itself, rather it focuses on the quality of the stories associated with the music."
I disagree to this statement. The music embodies the stories. It carries it within its every vibration and resonance. Story is embedded in film music. That is what film music is intended to do. So yes, how well a music can connect to story is very much a quality of the music itself. It shows how potent and symbolic the music is. We judge books by how well the words inside can tell stories. We judge art for how symbolic and deeply layered with story it can be. Granted, not every book and not every art has a story to tell. Just like classical music, they are not necessarily concentrated on story. My argument mainly is that film music's strong point is that it can tell stories much better than classical music. It can embody stories better than classical music. On the other hand, classical music's strength is in how beautiful it sounds and how well it is musically composed.
Like my opponent has said, film music has attributes of classical music. In a broader sense, it actually is classical music. Film music does not only have strong musical composition, it also embodies symbolic story remarkably well. When compared, film music is that much more potent, that much more powerful and meaningful than classical music as a genre.
"When I listen to the example from Lincoln my opponent used in the previous argument to counter my example of a Copland piece about Lincoln, I don't hear as much that's musically interesting. It follows one common theme, stays in one key, keeps one main tempo, and ultimately contradicts my opponent's claim that film score "grows and expands in different ways" (Round 1) in comparison to classical music. "
That is the entire point of the piece. It is selective to a specific scene and selectively symbolic. Just because the film music from Lincoln wasn't musically varied, doesn't negate that film music as a whole does not expand or grow when compared to classical music. There are other examples (like the film music in Interstellar) to show that film music is expanding not just more than classical music but also from classical music. It feeds on it, learns from it and improves. If that was not the case then Jasper Hope from my previous article would not have said film music should be treated just as seriously as classical music.
"The Copland piece is one where you can tell someone it's about Abraham Lincoln even without the quotes and, through the music, they can be shown his emotional variance and surmise much about what kind of a person he was. I challenge my opponent to find a film score that achieves this."
I do not think that is true. It is subjective that my opponent can tell that the piece is about Lincoln. A hypothetical situation where someone who does not now the title or the composer of the piece might not know what the piece is about. They may take a guess but without knowing the title, it is difficult to know that it is about lincoln until at least the speech at the end of the piece.
I did not mean to say that William's piece from the movie Lincoln will be able to let people know it's about Lincoln without telling people that is. I only meant to compare the William's piece and Copland's piece and I suggested that William's piece was more 'intone' or imbued Lincoln's story better or more significantly than Copland's piece which required you to know facts about the president beforehand. In the case of William's piece, all you would need to do is to see the movie for the full effect whereas Copland's piece does not give a guideline to how much of President Lincoln you would need to know to understand the impact and significance of the piece of music. Just like if a child were to listen to the piece and he or she would not be so interested or engaged in it because they would not know enough about President Lincoln to appreciate the piece.
Therefore as for the challenge, I can only provide one of William's piece yet again. https://www.youtube.com...
"This is mostly because classical has many, many different variants to it, while film score has but a few. One of these main types is the type shown in Batman. Classical has certain periods of music where there are certain common attributes, but this one has a huge amount of common, nearly overused attributes. Pounding bass drum, strings zipping out the melody, first lower and then higher, the brass section in the very bottom of it all, etc. etc. It doesn't take too long to see these common attributes and slap a new piece together."
Again, the music is selective to certain scenes. They aren't composed for variety, rather to fit them into specific scenes with a certain mood such as anger, anguish or fear, tension. I do not see how does undermines film music's musical complexity.
"The Interstellar soundtrack does seem divergent from this, but I don't see how my opponent's point of making it more "religious" and using a church organ somehow makes it less based in classical music, a genre that has a very prolific history with both religion and church organs. The fact that Zimmer used both of these factors in Interstellar only sort of backtracks to my original point of them being similar."
My opponent seems to be making an almost flawed argument here. My opponent first argues that film music does not vary a lot compared with classical music. Then my opponent admits that Interstellar's soundtrack is varied and diverse but that this just means film music is similar to classical, which would actually mean film music is as varied as classical, contradicting what my opponent is saying.
"I would also like to point out again that classical music has a uniquely translatable factor to it, so much so that many of those who want to be good at any music genre, such as (and perhaps especially) film score start out in it. There was a study that I mentioned in Round 1 that spoke of it's influence in modern, non-classical music, which is partially due to this. I bring this up mostly to go back to the point that classical music is so hugely influential, and to point out the fact that film music has not yet reached the influence, variance or skill of classical music."
I do not agree with this. While I can agree that classical music influences contemporary music, to say that film music has not reached the skill or variance of classical music is contradictory to the quote I gave by Jesper Hope about film music composers being as good or as significant as classical music composers and also why they have their last names most notably known such as "Zimmer", "Djawdi" or "William".
In closing, I would like to say or at least imagine that music has evolved in the coming ages. What is contemporary now will be classical in the future. This, my opponent admits is true. Hence, contradicts my opponent saying it does not reach to the standard of classical music.
Much of this was written in a back-up file on my computer while my Wi-Fi was down, so sorry if I don't quote my opponent word for word in certain areas where I meant to.)
I would like to thank my opponent for the complement in his opening statement in Round 4, and for joining me in this interesting debate. The fact that I brought him music that he might not have heard otherwise (and liked) gives me an extreme joy as someone who would like to go into music education, and I'm glad that he let me know. I would also like to compliment him on being able to agree with my statement that film music is essentially a type of classical music while still being able to maintain his stance that it is variant enough from it.
I would like to quickly clear up two misunderstandings from the last round, which admittedly were mostly my fault:
1. When talking about the Copland piece, I didn't mean to say that the piece itself would tell you it's about Lincoln. I meant to say that if you yourself were to say to someone "This piece is about Lincoln," and then play the Copland piece, then from the style of the piece a person could deduce what Lincoln might have been like.
Much of my arguments and my opponent's arguments have been based in things that are slightly subjective, and are hard to prove beyond the realms of one's own opinion. Nevertheless, in my final argument, I will attempt to show the voter the reasons (s)he should vote for pro.
To address the challenge, as good as the music was, I personally was not moved as much as by the Copland piece. An even stronger argument exists that is almost ironic: as one commenter put it, “This seems like John Williams is channeling Aaron Copland.” Not just for the sake of the debate, but I completely agree. It seems very inspired by the work of Copland, and I honestly believe that Copland's piece takes a step forward when it comes to emotion and musical quality/complexity. Williams' piece to me sounds like something that has been done before time and time again. This is all very well, but, as I see it, not as interesting.
My opponent maintains an opinion that film music is inherently superior due to the fact that it is written for movies that have storylines, and the music helps you remember these storylines by being linked to them so well and by working so well with the story's events. Thus, I will expand on my argument that this has little to do with the quality of the music.
As a composer myself, it's not very difficult to emotionally link a piece of music to a storyline or at least something physical. This is something that all genres of music have achieved time and time again. The fact that the rock song “Damned for All Time” from the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar (which, to be clear, was a concept album and staged show before it was a movie (and another movie)) reminds me of the scene very well and was stuck in my head for seven days straight (I'm serious) and reminds me of the time that I was screwing around and trying to sing all of the parts even though two of them are too high for me does not mean that the song is better than a piece that isn't linked to a storyline. This is because, to slightly rephrase and expand on a previous argument of mine, the fact that you are reminded of the movie when listening to film music, or any story with any music, has less to do with the skill of the music and more to do with the fact that music itself has been shown to be very strongly linked to memory. Music, regardless of genre, is used to treat memory-based diseases such as Alzheimer's. Music, regardless of genre, brings memories, thoughts, stories and ideas back in the same or a similar way. I find that I can hear any song that I might happen to know at least slightly and be able to link it to one of these things. My opponent made a point in saying that, when, hearing film score, you immediately think of the movie. An argument could be said as easily against this being a positive, in that music outside of movies could be grounded in many equally as powerful (or more powerful) non-theater-based experiences.
I would also like to go back to my point that the music itself is independent from the story. My opponent points out that books and paintings and many art forms can have a lot of stories to tell or none at all. Very true, but if a book is written based on a piece of music or vice versa, this does not inherently make the book/the music better than something that is not based on a story (or has a story). Again, film score can accurately convey emotions and make memories out of the movies, but this isn't that hard to do.
To push this point a little further, let me use a composer that has written both film music and contemporary classical music: Phillip Glass.
Glass wrote the music for a controversial film known as Koyaanisqatsi (Hopi for “unbalanced life” or “life out of balance”), which is basically a film that shows the unbalance of humans, nature, and technology. To be blunt, as well as I think Glass' music fits the ideas portrayed in Koyaanisqatsi and helps the moviegoer remember it, I have very little use for it musically. It's nothing special. Most of the ideas in it have either been heard before or are so simple that they might as well have been. Compare this to his piano concertos, not centered around a story (that I'm aware of) and standing alone, and you have something much more impressive. Glass wrote them with a wonderful mix of more traditional musical themes and more contemporary ones, and it came out wonderfully.
Koyaanisqatsi (the not-so-great movie one): https://www.youtube.com...
A section of one of his concertos (the full recordings aren't free, unfortunately...): https://www.youtube.com...
I shall also bring attention to my opponent's focus on storyline, more specifically focus on it as opposed to music, instead of along with. In his example of Iron Man vs. Alternative Energy, notice how he brings the main focus to the topics of each piece as opposed to the actual music. Again, as I've stressed throughout this argument, this is most assuredly not the key contributor to the quality of the music, and my opponent almost makes it out to be the only one.
I stress even more to the voter that the story ≠ the music. Any genre has the ability to be associated with a story, and do it very well. Does that make the music better? Nope. I believe most people will agree that most music has a sort of story, and even the pieces that don't have one don't necessarily need to.
As for the Jesper Hope quote, even if one was to agree with this, it still doesn't argue for variance. This is because classical music has many very different periods, which is why it's so variant. There is a clear difference between the baroque period and the classical period, and so on. Film music is essentially just as variant as one of these periods, not all of them.
I'm keeping it short this argument on all the other issues. I'd just like to wrap up by saying that I do not think that film score has reached the diversity, complexity, influence or greatness that Western art music has, and I believe that to be evidenced by my previous arguments. A special thanks to Adam_Godzilla for joining in this debate and making it so interesting, and I hope he enjoyed it as much as I did.
I strongly insist that the voters vote for pro.
Now on to my final rebuttals.
Again, I must note, that all these arguments made by Pro and I are ultimately subjective, nevertheless who made the better argument is totally up to you and I won't hold it against you should you vote for Pro and not me.
It seems my opponent's main rebuttal or argument is that it does not matter how well film music can embody a story, since it has little to do with the quality of the music. I do not think this is so, again, an example in art is how well art is regarded when it can tell a story or has deep symbolic meaning. True, classical music has the same capability, however, I argue that film music on its own (unassociated with a movie) is just as symbolic and capable of meaning as classical music. As I have argued before, quoting Jesper Hope, film music's musical quality at least equal to that of classical music. But when added to a film, it becomes that much more symbolic than classical music and it embodies the story very efficiently as I have shown in my dark knight soundtrack example.
Consider that in Interstellar, Christopher Nolan had told Hans Zimmer only the theme of the movie; that a father is yearning to get back to his child. And from this story theme, Zimmer was able to produce something so beautiful, majestic and utterly brilliant to accompany the film. That's the difference between classical music and film music. Their purposes are wholly different as film music is geared towards the story and adds so much more depth, meaning and emotion to it.
Consider this piece from the movie that captures the raw emotion of lost passage of time: https://www.youtube.com...
Con also did not address refute my claim that he was being secular. Con himself purports that film music is essentially classical music, which therefore implies that's it's musical quality should be equal to that of classical music. However, Con then claims that film music is less varied than classical music. This would have made sense had Con stated that film music was different to classical music, but in so far, I believe I have been the only one to say so.I do agree that film music is a kind of classical music (contemporary classical music) but, like Pro stated, I was still firm on my belief that it was different to classical music.
Other than this secularism, Pro refutes my claim about how well film music embodies story by stating that he was not moved by the Lincoln piece I gave as an example, compared to his example of Copland's piece. This is an argument I cannot refute since it is entirely subjective, I cannot say for the majority of people which moved them more, Copland's or William's piece. My opponent states,
"An even stronger argument exists that is almost ironic: as one commenter put it, "This seems like John Williams is channeling Aaron Copland." Not just for the sake of the debate, but I completely agree. It seems very inspired by the work of Copland, and I honestly believe that Copland's piece takes a step forward when it comes to emotion and musical quality/complexity. Williams' piece to me sounds like something that has been done before time and time again. This is all very well, but, as I see it, not as interesting."
The only refutal I can give here is the opposite of my opponent"s opinion. William, having channelling Aaron Copland, was able to make a more resonant piece that fitted the movie Lincoln much better. I believe just as firmly as Pro, that William"s piece is more emotional resonant than Copland"s piece, despite perhaps not being as musically complex, but being more effective by making the music simple and having a more powerful effect by being straight to the point.
My opponent then attempts to show that even if film music can embody story very well, this does not contribute to the quality of the music. This is something I strongly disagree with. Film music's ability to embody a story, to capture the emotions and the raw atmosphere is profoundly significant. What is music but the 'art' of vibrations? And what is art, but the ability to express, embody or symbolise. Yes, there are lots of other variants, and yes, classical music has its own strengths. But, given that as I have attempted to show before, film music is as strong as classical music and it evolves from it, learns from it and becomes something more.
The example my opponent gives I would say backfires his claim that it is of 'little use' musically. The film music of Koyaanisqatsi is brilliant and captures the emotions brilliantly, including the theme of human and technological imbalance. My opponent says,
"Glass wrote the music for a controversial film known as Koyaanisqatsi (Hopi for "unbalanced life" or "life out of balance"), which is basically a film that shows the unbalance of humans, nature, and technology. To be blunt, as well as I think Glass' music fits the ideas portrayed in Koyaanisqatsi and helps the moviegoer remember it, I have very little use for it musically. It's nothing special. Most of the ideas in it have either been heard before or are so simple that they might as well have been. "
Again, the music is powerful because it is simple. It is powerful because it is focused and specific. Yes, the full concerto was good, I found it a very good cover by Maki Namekawa (who played the music in Pro's video), but I do not believe it does the movie more service. It is a more generalised version of the film music. When listening to it, I don't feel as if it as good as the original or even unique or variant. To me, the original piece for the film of Koyaanisqatsi will always be the memorable and the unique one out of the two versions. Consider that in the original, there are more instruments used and much more of a techno atmosphere, which contradicts my opponent's claim that is 'nothing special'. This techno atmosphere further depicts and embodies the essence of the film. Just compare the two again to see what I mean.
Part of the full: https://www.youtube.com...
"I shall also bring attention to my opponent's focus on storyline, more specifically focus on it as opposed to music, instead of along with. In his example of Iron Man vs. Alternative Energy, notice how he brings the main focus to the topics of each piece as opposed to the actual music. Again, as I've stressed throughout this argument, this is most assuredly not the key contributor to the quality of the music, and my opponent almost makes it out to be the only one."
My opponent has no rounds left, however, I still would have wished he outlined the 'actual' key contributor to the quality of the music. I admit, I was focusing on one aspect, but only to prove a point. And I did not make it out to be the only key aspect. I do admit that I argued it is one of the key aspects. But there are surely other key aspects I either forgot to mention. However, Pro has not said what these other key aspects are.
"As for the Jesper Hope quote, even if one was to agree with this, it still doesn't argue for variance. This is because classical music has many very different periods, which is why it's so variant."
Just because film music did not have enough time to evolve like classical, does not mean it less variant. As I've said, it evolves from the knowledge and evolution of classical music. Film composers did not just pull film music from the air I would argue. It evolved from it. Carefully adopting the skills and then applying it, modifying it to the film and embodying the film.
Thank you again for the wonderful debate and I wish my opponent good luck in his further studies and in this debate. It has been a true pleasure.
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