movie soundtrack

World Music Exploration - Chinese Opera and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Soundtrack

This week, my students and I are eagerly anticipating the May long weekend. It's our last breather before the final round of non-stop recitals and examinations.
It was a toss up between Chinese opera and a movie soundtrack. Like European opera, Chinese opera is a spectacle of song, instrumental music, drama and dance. However, the melodies and the harmonies are unlike European music. Here's a clip from Sacrifice of a Princess, complete with English subtitles:

  I can picture some of my students cringing. They do that with any opera music though. On the other hand, my dog loves opera and enjoys this clip immensely.

I imagine this next clip will be a hit for my male and female students alike. This is the second fight scene between actresses Ziyi Zhang and Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. I really enjoyed this movie. The fights are beautifully choreographed, while the music blends in seamlessly into the fabric of the story. 

In this clip, the war drum aptly underscores the mounting tension between these two warriors.

(c) 2011 by Musespeak(TM), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

May 2008 Music Celebrity of the Month

May's Music Celebrity of the Month is Max Steiner. Steiner was an Austrian-American film composer who scored the soundtracks to Gone With the Wind and King Kong.

If you'd like to add some of Max Steiner's memorable soundtracks to your music library, you can check out some of them here.

He was an Academy Award winner who lived from May 10, 1888 - December 28, 1971.

(c) 2008 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Movie Music Musings

Christmas Break gives me a chance to catch up on all the movies and shows I want to see. I finally got around to watching The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. Excellent story but excessive use of the blue screen. The actors were a delight to watch. Casting was excellent. As a writer and musician, I couldn’t help but analyze the movie from these two angles. I’ve never read the books (but I will next year). The writer within reveled at picking out symbolism and foreshadowing, while the musician was moved to tears when Aslan went to meet his fate. The drum’s tattoo filled the theatre with dread as Aslan padded up to face the witch. The strings sang out their doleful melodies, swelling into a heartbreaking crescendo as the terms of Aslan's bargain with the witch were fulfilled.

Music makes a huge difference in movies, I think. If the music doesn’t match what is happening on the screen, it does make it more difficult to connect with the characters emotionally.

Both The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Star Wars Trilogies are superb examples of when the music, action and dialogue are seamlessly joined and balanced. It’s Wagnerian, really.

Wag-huh? Richard Wagner (pronounced VAHG-ner) was a German composer, conductor and writer who lived in the 1800s. He revolutionized opera by his use of leitmotifs – a recurring theme that is associated with a certain character or event. Look no further than Luke Skywalker’s theme played when he contemplated his destiny standing before Tatooine’s twin suns or the theme for the Fellowship of the Ring.


On a final note, this will be my last post for 2005. Happy New Year everyone! May 2006 be a healthy, prosperous and happy one for you.

© 2005, Musespeak™, Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.