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John Williams

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John Williams has composed over one-hundred film scores of which he has received forty-five Academy Award nominations. He has become a household name through his memorable music motifs. These themes capture the essence of the film and as one fan summarized:

"John Williams has composed some of the best known themes and scores ever. You can't deny that the Star Wars scores, for all the movies, especially the Imperial March, are incredible. He invented the famous Jaws theme, which is a standard now in any shark scene in movies. And you can't forget Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park...all of which wouldn't be nearly as good without Williams' scores."

This kind of excitement and familiarity of John Williams' compositions is a typical response when his name is welcomed into a discussion. When asked what comes to your mind when you hear John Williams' music, the most popular answers are heroic, dramatic themes that bring about pleasant memories. These responses uncover the origins of why John Williams is the biggest name in the history of movie music. His award-winning technique of scoring a film allows true emotions to capture the character's essence, which in turn allows the audience to fully connect with the character. These figures which John Williams brings to life are familiar archetypes that we have grown to love through our childhood fairytale stories. This familiarity grabs the listener in so that you are hearing something that reminds you of pleasant memories.

Williams is best known for heroic, rousing themes that encompass the adventure and fantasy of the films. To achieve this bold, masculine sound, Williams uses powerful wind instruments to represent the hero and villain. The effectiveness of the music relies on the interrelations between the soundtrack and the rest of the film's system. Williams' technique of scoring a film is unique and relies on human instincts and emotions. Through this creative interrelation, the audience is able to connect fully with the archetypal characters making the themes memorable.

Williams approaches the scoring of a film in a stepwise process by reviewing each scene individually. In an interview on the Public Broadcasting System (PBS), he emphasized that when you read a script or a novel, we cast images in our minds by creating the scenery to something we relate to. By then seeing a film, the director's interpretation of a script, the viewer is always slightly disappointed because the visual image may not match our preconceived notions. By not reading the script, Williams approaches the motion picture without any predetermined thoughts. He watches the movie before it is edited and reviews each scene several times, jotting down emotions and timing on a cue sheet. He begins by writing three or four bars and then gradually builds on a theme. It is a "constant process of writing, looking, checking, running



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