Vision and Purpose
The six first articles of The John Williams Compositional Techniques have been a great success.
We wish to thank everyone that got involved with them, hoping that they added value to your knowledge.
From now on we are moving to the next step of the project which means that the articles will continue to come, but less frequently.
Working on such as project requires a lot of responsibility and preparation and, since we are talking about a great composer, we are committed to deliver to you the best he and you deserve.
The next step of the project involves writing the book in a didactic understandable way.
As a gift, I will share with you what I consider, up to this date, the preface of “The John Williams Compositional Techniques” book which outlines our vision and purpose of the project.
During my journey of self-study, one of the most amazing orchestral sounds I came across were John Williams compositions. Just like the majority of film music professionals and fans, I think that John Williams is one of the best, if not the best, film music composer of all times.
No other composer has received so many nominations or academy awards like him and these recognitions are due to an obvious reason - He is not only responsible for many memorable movie themes but for the most accurate dramatic scorings of scenes of all times.
His music vocabulary is by far the widest and richest one in film music and this is why I think it is worth compiling a book about the subject.
Since there wasn't any other previous deep study about his technique, I endeavored myself to a profound and serious analysis about each small detail of his scores in order to fully understand how he achieves such result.
At first, and for some time, I could not grasp most of what was in his scores because no other method or teaching I had previously studied touched the many aspects that are crucial for a comprehension of such composition techniques. However, my persistence in trying to understand his scores paid off.
In the beginning, I was completely blind in realizing why such a combination of notes, rhythms and instruments were sounding so good since they were violating all the “rules” and principles of traditional and the so called modern kind of composition.
After some time pondering about them, I started to “see” some patterns, guess few things and write down everything of what I thought could be the right analysis to understand such an amazing technique.
Up to this point everything was purely theoretical and in order to prove to myself that I was right in my guessing, I decided to emulate his techniques on my own music (in the same way shown in the first six articles of this blog).
As I didn’t have a full orchestra available, the current technology helped me out to be able to listen to what I was writing and to verify if my guesses were right or wrong.
Surprisingly, I was very accurate with all of my analysis which gave me more confidence and hope to go ahead and pursue a deeper study of John Williams' Compositional Techniques.
This book is meant for those who are serious in learning about the composer’s mind.
As all of us are constantly, consciously or unconsciously, being influenced by others. The purpose of this publication is not to imitate the John Williams style but instead, to be influenced by his great way of thinking and feeling art.
Even though no one can be really imitated, this deep study of his techniques will help the reader to gain a better understanding of John Williams' mind setting while composing for movies and, through this process, we will find out the best of our own voice.
The real intention behind this publication, unlike what it seems to be by the tittle, is not to solely understand the composer’s technique but to create a mindset that is similar to the genius who composed all of these scores. This can only be done by studying and applying what has been analyzed.
Imitation is something valuable when you are in the ground steps, but as experience increases, the serious student of these principles has to apply this mindset to his/her own sake, voice and nature in music.
As far as I know, up to the present time, there isn't such a profound study about his techniques like this one.
I’ve seen several tutorials on the web, seminars from other composers and even some extensive academic articles explaining John Williams' compositions but none of them were devoted enough, maybe due to the lack of a real understanding, to extract from John’s mind the knowledge that he possess.
Most of the other studies were merely descriptions of what is written in the scores and fail to realize what was going on in the mind of the composer.
This book is not written for the untrained composer or musician in the field of composition. If you pick this book to pursue a serious study of John Williams' techniques I assume that you have an advanced knowledge in music composition, otherwise, confusion and lack of comprehension may be set in one’s mind.
There won’t be basic explanations of music theory like scales and orchestration. I have reserved each page of this book to exclusively explain the advanced composing way of the composer in question because I believe the basic composition theories are very well grounded in the many previous publications throughout history.
Why John Williams?
I believe that we are all striving for best in our lives but people do not always have the best resources for learning.
This is particularly true in film music where composers rarely publish their complete scores. According to my own opinion, no other composer in film music has a richer and more diverse writing than John Williams. He has proven to be a film composer who greatly enriches the director’s film instead of only writing something which follows with the scene. In today’s world, where technology is making it easier and easier for anyone to be called a composer, John remains achieving superior quality by being an old-fashioned “pencil and paper” composer.
Even though he hasn’t adopted to the evolution of music technology in his method of writing he preserved and improved the most basic and fundamental knowledges of music composition which appears to become a rare skill of modern composer.
Mentally predicting the sound of an orchestration or orchestral effect seems to be second nature for John and he masters them with tremendous fluency and speed. His old-fashioned method of composing provides the composer freedom of technologic dependency and focuses much more on what he is or can become instead of what he has.
New technology is a great servant but a bad master, and, I constantly see more discussions about equipment, software and how to use them instead of discussing about improving your compositional skills and talents.
The sake of this book is not to deprive any technology but it is intended to bestow pure creativity to the composer within yourself which solely exists in his mind and not in the physical world.
I wish you a wonderful learning journey!
OBS: the book The John Williams Compositional Techniques has not been released yet. 2017 is a good time for great development of this project and if you want to keep updated about it subscribe to my Blog and my YouTube Chanel.