Rifling - The Rifleman

Retroist Scoreboard: Rifling through the classics

There’s been no shortage of soundtracks from classic westerns lately, but this week I have a real treat to bring to your attention, a vintage surprise from a label normally associated with audiophile classical releases rather than soundtracks. Laurel Records is releasing a 2-CD set of Herschel Burke Gilbert’s original music from the classic late ‘50s/early ‘60s TV series The Rifleman, remastered from the original session tapes. The 2-CD set includes a 24-page booklet detailing the series’ music and the career of its composer, who also happened to be the founder of the label. The track list includes such gems as a vocal version of the theme tune, which many listeners may not have realized had lyrics all along! TV soundtracks from this era, let alone soundtracks representing the golden age of TV westerns, are rare specimens indeed.

Rifling

The Esteemed Herschel Burke Gilbert.

Varese Sarabande is bringing back a classic soundtrack they first issued on vinyl in the 1980s, this time on CD for the first time: Bob Colbert’s score to the mammoth 1983 miniseries based on Herman Wouk’s The Winds of War. Colbert, a veteran of such TV fare as Dark Shadows, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and Supertrain, gave the epic tale of family drama amid the turmoil of World War II a fittingly grandiose orchestral treatment that has been available on LP only for the past 30-odd years. As part of the Varese 500 series, this release is limited to a very, very short print run of 500 copies worldwide.

Even ThinkGeek is getting in on the soundtrack action this week, with an exclusive milk-white vinyl release of highlights from Ramin Djawadi’s music from season one of HBO’s Westworld. It contains only a fraction of the music available on the full-length digital download, but if you like your music for unnervingly emotional robots to have the warmth of vinyl, this is the only game in town. This title is reportedly selling fast, so muster your best robot-like reflexes on the ordering button.

Last but not least, Intrada has put a heap of back catalog titles on sale through April 26th, offering a 30% discount with the coupon code SALE30. Titles you can pick up at unhealable deep-cut discounts include 48 Hrs., The Blue Lagoon, In Like Flint, SpaceCamp, Cat’s Eye, Judge Dredd, Red Dawn, The Shadow, and vinyl releases such as Rocky IV and Clash Of The Titans. Pick up some real classics for your collection, possibly without weeping for your wallet. Hey, you needed to spend that tax refund somewhere, didn’t you?

Before we shut down this week’s Retroist Scoreboard, here are a couple of sneak previews. La-La Land Records has been delighting X-Files fans for several years with elaborate box sets containing highlights of Mark Snow’s scores from many a popular episode of the original show’s run, and now the label is bringing X-Files fans’ soundtrack collections up to date with a collection of music from the recent revival of the series, available for order next week.

Varese Sarabande is taking pre-orders for the May CD release of the score from Barbarella, the first-ever official CD pressing of this score. (There have been CDs transferred from the original LP before, but all of those prior releases have been bootlegs.) Also, the price is definitely right on this one – the music has that unmistakable flavor of the ‘60s, and it has a price tag from the ‘90s.

And finally, the official soundtrack of the human race as of 1977 is about to be made available! Last fall, Ozma Records launched a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign to fund a remastered edition of the Voyager Golden Record, the gold-plated LPs that were affixed to the Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft before their launch toward interstellar space in 1977. Devised by Ann Druyan, Carl Sagan and Jon Lomberg, the Golden Record is a primer of the sights and sounds of Earth, including natural sounds from many environments, music from many cultures (including the late, great Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong), and pictorial and pictographic representations of Earth, its location, and its dominant life forms who felt like flinging some very informative vinyl into the depths of the Milky Way galaxy. While the 3-LP vinyl box set ran nearly $100 and is still in production, those of us who, like myself, backed the project at a more budget-conscious level can expect to receive our digital downloads in the very near future. There’s no word as yet on any general, non-Kickstarter-backer release plans for the remastered Voyager Golden Record.

Now, if the Voyager Golden Record had been made about a year later, what are the odds that Earth’s Greatest Hits would’ve wound up including some John Williams tunes suitable for a galaxy far, far away?

Shoot Movies

Retroist Scoreboard: They shoot movies, don’t they? (4-12-17)

Soundtrack fans, saddle up for a return to the wild west, as La-La Land Records has a real treat this week: the complete Elmer Bernstein score, as heard on screen, from 1965’s classic John Wayne/Dean Martin western The Sons Of Katie Elder. Though there have been soundtrack releases from this film before, they have been suites or re-recordings, and not the original 1965 studio recordings used to score the film, and they’ve been nowhere near complete. And you’d better be ready to round this one up fast: La-La Land is only pressing 1500 copies.
Shoot Movies - The Sons of Katie Elder

And while you’re at it, La-La Land is making it easy to start a soundtrack stampede in your collection, dropping the soundtracks from Rio Lobo, Stagecoach, The Shootist, Bandolero, and Take A Hard Ride to $10 each through April 23rd. That, my fellow bad hombres, is enough of a steal to make you feel like a real bandito.

Varese Sarabande isn’t rolling out any new titles this week, but they are having an ongoing sale on some classics, including John Williams’ Family Plot, Jerry Goldsmith’s score from The Red Pony, Henry Mancini’s music from Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe?, and even the great Bernard Hermann’s music from TV’s The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Classic video game soundtracks hitting vinyl seems to be a thing these days – why tickle just one retro gene when you could tickle them all at the same time? – and in that spirit, Brave Wave is rolling out the full soundtrack from Ninja Gaiden, as heard both on the NES and in the arcade, across two volumes, available on CD, vinyl, and iTunes downloads. Composed by Keiji Yamagishi, Mikio Saito, and Ryuichi Nitta, this is iconic game music given a grand treatment; the second volume, in fact, boasts the first-ever official release of the music from Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom.

European label Quartet Records is also getting in on the vintage western action, releasing a freshly remastered CD of John Barry’s score from the 1977 Charles Bronson movie The White Buffalo, but that’s not the big surprise of this release. The big surprise is that the album producers unearthed the movie’s original score, composed by David Shire and rejected by the studio and director, on the grounds that it was too modern for the movie’s setting, resulting in a late rush to hire Barry to rescore the picture. But was the studio right? Now you can judge for yourself – both scores are presented here in their entirety.

And while it may not be retro, I can’t resist the plot setup of the new Anne Hathaway flick, Colossal.

[Via] JoBlo Movie Trailers

What makes it even more irresistible is that it’s been scored by Bear McCreary, of 10 Cloverfield Lane, The Walking Dead, Outlander, Battlestar Galactica and Agents of SHIELD fame. McCreary really is one of your author’s favorite current composers, and I’m really looking forward to his score from Colossal, which should be hitting the download services as we speak.

One of 2017’s most hotly anticipated releases is just waiting in the wings, and hopefully in the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to drop some news on you about a soundtrack box set suitable for a heroine wearing satin tights while fighting for her rights. One also hears there’s music on the way from the most recent season of a show which assures us, repeatedly, that the truth is out there.

Until then, friends, it’s time for the final installment of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, putting all of the lingo of this wonderful hobby on the table at your disposal, so you know what you’re hearing, and how you’re getting to hear it. Hopefully this has been useful to budding fellow soundtrack enthusiasts.

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary: what’s in a soundtrack?
Dialogue – it’s hard to do a movie without dialogue, but sometimes the producers of soundtrack albums feel that dialogue from the movie needs to be mixed into the music (instances of this include the original release of Queen’s Flash Gordon and the mixed score/songtrack album for Apollo 13). Opinions among film music enthusiasts vary wildly as to the merits of doing this, but the prevailing wind seems to favor not mixing dialogue in with music. Get three or four soundtrack collectors in one room, however, and you’re likely to hear a dissenting opinion.

Entr’acte – the older brother of the overture, the entr’acte is a piece of music dating back to when movies, particularly lengthy ones, featured an intermission. Sometimes music would play during the intermission (and sometimes it wouldn’t), but a piece of music called the entr’acte would notify the audience that the intermission is nearly over. Like the overture, the entr’acte was an opportunity for the composer to show their chops without competing with a sound mix or dialogue. While the overture could be found hanging around into the late 1970s, the entr’acte has fallen out of use (along with the intermission…). Movies with entr’actes include Ben-Hur and Ice Station Zebra; DVD and Blu-Ray releases often omit the entr’acte (…because who needs an intermission when you’ve got a pause button?), so music specially composed for the entr’acte is often lost to history unless it appears on a soundtrack release.

Overture – seldom used in the Modern Age of movies or film scoring, the overture is a piece of music played before a movie begins, prior to the opening credits, frequently summing up some highlights of the score before the audience has heard those highlights in context. It was a rare chance for film music composers to shine without having to compete against the rest of the movie’s sound mix. Overtures can still be found in movies as recent as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and The Black Hole (both released in 1979).

Score – the instrumental underscore of a movie, television show, or game. Unlike source music, the characters in a movie do not hear the score, leaving the music to act as something of a Greek chorus conveying emotions or other meaning directly to the audience. The Academy Awards specifically separate Oscar awards for best song and best score. Some collectors – myself included – will use “score” and “soundtrack” interchangeably, though commercially released soundtracks may be more akin to a songtrack.

Soundtrack – in purely technical terms, this is the full sound mix of any movie or television show, including music, dialogue, and effects – the literal sound track adjacent to the picture on a film distributed to theaters. (As such, many an older soundtrack release is labeled as “music from the original motion picture soundtrack”.) In soundtrack collectors’ parlance, of course, a soundtrack is simply the music from a movie, though a soundtrack producer may decide there’s a reason to include dialogue as well.

Die Hard

Retroist Scoreboard 3-29-17: Yippie-ki-yay, Mr. Falcon!

Yippie-ki-yay - Die Hard
A few years ago, La-La Land Records graced us with the complete score from 1988’s Die Hard, a movie that’s pretty much defined the one-good-guy-stuck-in-one-place-with-a-bunch-of-bad-guys subgenre for the past 30 years…and, no surprise given the size of the movie’s ardent following, that soundtrack sold out virtually overnight. The label is now reissuing it, with different cover artwork but identical musical content, in an edition of 2,000 copies. It’s the late, great Michael Kamen doing his tongue-in-cheek action thriller thing in his prime. Since Kamen and Bruce Willis make such a good combination, La-La Land is also marking down their already-released soundtracks from The Last Boy Scout and Die Hard With A Vengeance through April 10th.

Speaking of soundtracks that sold out in a hot second, Varese Sarabande has announced an April 14th release date for a vinyl reissue – on, appropriately enough, 180-gram sky-blue vinyl – of Bill Conti’s criminally underrated score from 1983’s The Right Stuff. This soundtrack has a long and winding history: Conti prepared an album from the original session tapes, which are now lost to time, only to see the planned 1983 album release cancelled because the movie wasn’t soaring at the box office. Conti hung on to the album masters, however, and Varese issued that long-overdue album on CD several years ago, and again, it sold out practically overnight. This is the first reissue of that album in any format, and is the first time it has hit vinyl, like it should have back in ’83.

Varese has also set the same date for the release of the score from season two of Game of Thrones on vinyl. Though a date hasn’t been set as yet, Varese is apparently also working on a long-overdue CD reissue of the original soundtrack album from Barbarella.

Fans of much-loved fairly-recent TV have another gift coming in April from Varese: a compilation soundtrack of music from the TV series Chuck, composed by Tim Jones, who sought fan input on which pieces of music from which episodes they wanted to hear on CD.

Kronos Records is now taking pre-orders for the April CD release of Italian composer Stelvio Cipriani’s score from 2001’s Death, Deceit & Destiny Aboard The Orient Express, but you’d better jump on that train now (as dangerous as it might sound), because Kronos is only pressing 300 copies of it.

So what’s the big deal with whether or not a score is “complete”? It might be the difference between hearing that one piece of music that stuck with you for years and years, or not having it show up on the album. And that, friends, brings us to another installment of the glossary.

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary: What kind of release is it?

Box Set – some soundtracks are too big for one or two CDs, pushing them into more expensive box set territory. (Though it’s slightly subjective, the line between what is and isn’t a box set is whether a soundtrack release has a third disc, because at that point a thin double-CD jewel case will no longer contain the score’s magnificence, or at least its sheer length.) TV soundtracks have recently become the major source of box sets, such as La-La Land’s huge collections from Star Trek, Lost In Space, and Mission: Impossible, though epic films such as Ben-Hur and Spartacus have been the subjects of their own box sets. Some box sets may balloon in price due to elaborate packaging (the giant working zoetrope of the Danny Elfman/Tim Burton Collection box set, or Silva Screen’s Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Music Collection with its giant wooden TARDIS); if one of these sets goes out of print, may God or the higher power of your choice help you as you wade into the shark-infested waters of the secondary market.

Compilation Soundtrack – especially in TV music, this is a soundtrack release with excerpts of music from multiple episodes, but not necessarily the full score to any of them (see recent years’ Star Trek TV score releases, the X-Files box sets, etc.). Most TV soundtrack releases fall under this category.

Complete Score – this is a reissue (or perhaps a first-time release) that puts every note of music recorded, sometimes including music left on the cutting room floor for a variety of reasons, in the hands of soundtrack collectors. (Television soundtracks have an equivalent – see episodic soundtracks.) Since some film scores are rife with extremely short “stingers” or scene transition music, the result may be a great many short tracks, but listeners are free to skip these at their leisure in favor of longer cues.

Episodic Soundtrack – in terms of television soundtrack releases, this presents the complete score of one or more episodes of that series, usually in chronological order. Quite rare in comparison to more common Compilation Soundtracks, this is a category that includes Film Score Monthly (FSM)’s massive Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Ron Jones Project box set, Sonic Images’ series of Babylon 5 episodic soundtrack CDs in the late 1990s, and some of Silva Screen’s relatively recent releases of the scores from Doctor Who’s annual Christmas episodes. The equivalent for movie soundtracks is a complete score. Since television scores, and even some movie scores, are often heavy with excessively short (sometimes three-to-five-second) pieces of “stinger” or “act out” music heard just before commercial breaks, it is often felt that there simply isn’t interest in hearing every note of music recorded for a given television episode.

Expanded Score – a reissue that adds more previously unreleased tracks, but does not necessarily represent the complete score of a given movie or TV show. Issues at stake may be licensing costs, part of the movie’s music may be temp tracks or cues licensed from other soundtracks (the latter is a practice that didn’t exist 30-40 years ago but is growing in prominence now), some of the original session recordings may be missing or damaged beyond repair, or the composer may simply not wish for every track to be released for their own reasons.

Reissue – everyone has issues, but soundtrack collectors have reissues. While some film scores are just now seeing their first release, some are reissues that either duplicate or expand upon a previous vinyl or even CD release.

Songtrack – many movies have tie-in albums of either licensed songs, or specially commissioned songs by popular artists which may or may not even be heard briefly in the movie. Examples of movies with “songtracks” include Twister, The Martian, Ghostbusters, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Hidden Figures, and countless others; in some unfortunate cases, unless one of the specialty soundtrack labels releases a score at a later date, songtracks may be a movie’s only official music release. Some songtracks, such as the original 1984 Ghostbusters album, may include short selections or a suite of edited highlights from the score, but that’s the exception rather than the rule.

Charlie Brown

Retroist Scoreboard 3-22-17: Charlie Brown vs. The Devil

Soundtrack fans, there are some classics both well-known and obscure out this week, music for everyone from the Devil to Snoopy. Surely somewhere, in that vast spectrum, you’ll hear something you like.

Intrada has managed to squeeze onto a single CD two scores by the late, great Leonard Rosenman (Rebel Without A Cause, A Man Called Horse, Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Lord Of The Rings, Star Trek IV, Robocop 2), but the difference in subject matter is a bit jarring. The scores in question are from the 1975 film Race With The Devil and 1982’s romantic drama Making Love (!). Intrada points out that fans of Rosenman’s music from his two entries on the original Planet Of The Apes film cycle will enjoy Race With The Devil. If you don’t get whiplash from the transition in tone, this one’s for you. Rosenman is film music royalty who often doesn’t get his due, despite a stellar high-profile resume.

For those who don’t feel like dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight, Kritzerland Records has a real treat – complete score from 1969’s A Boy Named Charlie Brown, composed by Vince Guaraldi and John Scott Trotter with songs by Rod McKuen. Though there has been an LP release for this movie, it was a dialogue-heavy “story album”, and this CD is the first-ever release of the music without that dialogue. Only 1,000 copies are being pressed, so you may need to fly a little bit faster than Woodstock.
Charlie Brown

For fans of modern reboots of their childhood, Varese Sarabande has has Brian Tyler’s score from the new Power Rangers . Tyler’s music has graced major franchises from the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies to Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age Of Ultron… it’s safe to say he’s on the go-to shortlist in Hollywood for “big-screen epic”.

And now, to further your soundtrack collecting education, here’s another chunk of the glossary. When is a soundtrack not just an official release of the original recordings? Well…there are some grey areas. And some of them are expensive.

Until next week, music lovers…

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary, part 3: rarities & oddities
Bootleg – when a soundtrack is not commercially available on CD, it’s not uncommon for someone to perceive a demand that has gone unfulfilled…and fill it. For many years, soundtracks released only on LP (i.e. Tron, The Black Hole, Silent Running) were bootlegged on CD. Bootlegs should be considered, if not an absolute no-no, then an absolute last resort: proceeds from bootleg sales line the pockets of individuals who happened to own an old LP, with none of the proceeds going to the composers, the studios, or the musicians who brought the music life with their performances. Keeping an eye on the bootleg market, however, has provided the soundtrack labels with something of an indicator for which releases are desired: the three examples above have all since received official reissues, two of them vastly expanded. In this collector’s opinion, if an official reissue of a title is released, even if you’ve bought a bootleg along the way, it’s only proper to buy the official reissue. (In many cases, the sound quality will be vastly superior to the bootleg.)

Composer Promo – in the days before digital music could be embedded into a web site, composers seeking future work would ship out composer promo CDs to producers, directors, and studios’ heads of music. These were not intended for public distribution (but hold that thought for a moment), and as such were not officially licensed by the studios in question. To defray the costs of having custom CDs pressed, composers would sometimes quietly look the other way while the pressing plant sold a very, very limited number of copies directly into the soundtrack collectors’ market (and would likely deny all knowledge if a studio lawyer came calling). In the 1990s, one such operation, Super Tracks, was particularly brazen about selling composer promos of titles such as Krull and Galaxy Quest, eventually disappearing in one legal dust-up too many; studio lawyers often regarded composer promos as no better than bootlegs. A close cousin of composer promos is the private-label release, intentionally created for sale to collectors. With the advent of streaming audio from composers’ professional web sites, actual composer promo CDs and their attendant legal issues have all but vanished.

Private Label Release – some composers have decided to cut out the middle man and have small runs of their scores pressed for sale directly to fans and collectors (such as John Scott’s marvelous score from The Final Countdown, or the many soundtracks released by the late Joel Goldsmith’s Free Clyde label, named after his dog). These may be subject to the same licensing and quality issues as composer promos, and can suddenly go “out of print” for that reason, but are intended from the outset for public sale. For some lesser-known composers and their even-lesser-known scores, this may be the only way to obtain the material. In some rare cases (i.e. Dennis McCarthy’s score from the PC game Star Trek: Borg), a private label release will quietly go out of print and get a fully licensed official CD release on one of the soundtrack labels.

Rerecording – a from-the-ground-up reconstruction and new recording of a score, usually using the original sheet music and the composer’s original notes, along with extensive notation on the part of whoever is behind the new recording. This is a dirty word for some collectors, as what they’re getting is not the original recording, and may differ in terms of tempo/timing, performance or instrument quality (up to and including recreating orchestral recordings entirely with synthesizers – see also the wide spread of opinions about including dialogue in soundtrack releases, and magnify that controversy by a thousand). One thing to keep in mind: there are, sadly, many cases where original session recordings have vanished or have been damaged beyond the ability to restore them, meaning that rerecordings are the only way we can listen to those scores now (example: John Barry’s Raise The Titanic!).

V'ger - Star Trek the Motion Picture

Retroist Scoreboard 3-14-17: V’ger, you’re my knight in shining armor

Soundtrack fans, we’re in yet another unexpectedly meaty week of wonders, so let’s waste no time in diving right in.

La-La Land Records, as previously announced, is now taking orders for their limited edition (1500 copies) double LP vinyl pressing of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, returning Jerry Goldsmith’s magnum opus to turntables for the first time in nearly 40 years, this time with the complete score spread across four sides. (The CD box set has even more music, if you’re after music instead of a display piece: Goldsmith scored half the movie before coming up with the iconic Enterprise theme, which was later repurposed as the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the CD edition presents the complete score as heard in the movie plus what basically amounts to an unused alternate soundtrack.)
V'ger

While the first Star Trek movie is returning to vinyl, another classic movie is, incredibly, only just now making its way to CD thanks to Varese Sarabande, which is presenting Dave Grusin’s music from On Golden Pond, interspersed with dialogue from the movie (in some cases, quite lengthy chunks of dialogue).

Varese also has a trio of limited editions now available: an “encore” re-pressing of Elmer Bernstein’s score from Disney’s The Black Cauldron, limited to just 1000 copies for those who missed out on the last limited edition issue of this title.

For fans of high-octane action movies (and their music), there’s a new edition of Basil Poledouris’ music from the Steven Segal flick Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, more than doubling the running time of the original 1995 CD release. Even the movie’s source music is included as bonus tracks. What’s source music? Ask me that again in a minute.

And finally, John Williams’ score from the 1990’s Stanley & Iris gets a limited edition CD release of 3,000 copies, but that’s not all: tucked into the open space left by that movie’s score is a second Williams score hitting CD for the first time, 1972’s Pete ‘n’ Tillie. The two movies’ music are a good fit to share a CD: both are heartfelt relationship movies, and hey, it’s John Williams.

So…about source music: it’s a wonderful thing when original source music winds up as a bonus track on a CD…of course, that’s assuming that the director isn’t married to his temp track. Confused yet? That’s why we have another slice of the Retroist Scoreboard Glossary this week.

The Retroist Scoreboard Glossary: How The Sausage Gets Made
Additional Music – you’ll see this in movie and especially TV credits these days…often in small print. Particularly with the breakneck production timetable of television, but also with movies, composers must hire extra help to ghost-write the sheer amount of music needed within that timetable. Some of today’s biggest names were yesterday’s up-and-coming “additional music” composers: the ubiquitous Bear McCreary (10 Cloverfield Lane, The Walking Dead, Agents Of SHIELD, Outlander, Black Sails, Da Vinci’s Demons) got his break composing “additional music” for the 2003 Battlestar Galactica miniseries, whose primary composer moved on, leaving McCreary to take over the hourly series, making his career in the process. Due to the structure of CD release contracts with the primary composer, this additional music may or may not appear on an official release, leaving music from memorable scenes off the table. (Thus was the fate of the pivotal, Joel Goldsmith-composed “Flight Of The Phoenix” scene from Star Trek: First Contact, which was left off of the original 1996 soundtrack release at the label’s demand, simply because it wasn’t by primary composer Jerry Goldsmith.) In a few cases, the assistant composers may release their material as a composer promo.

Music+FX Track or Stem – a special mix of a movie or TV show’s music score and sound effects, prepared so that local voice artists in various parts of the world can do a language dub without the original actors’ voices in the background. Particularly with older films, this may be the closest we come to having a film’s original music tapes; it’s exceedingly rare to see a CD release of a Music+FX mix, but not unheard of (i.e. La-La Land’s “archival” release of Jerry Goldsmith’s rare score from The Satan Bug). Music+FX mixes are more often the domain of bootleggers.

Source Music – composers may be called upon to create “source music” for a scene in which a movie’s characters can hear that song in question from some on-screen source – a radio, a jukebox, a band on stage, to name a few examples. (Contrast this against the movie’s score, which the characters do not hear.) Some reissue producers go out of their way to include specially composed source music, particularly if it’s been the subject of “what was that song…?” debates for years and years. In some cases, source music is a piece of music from a movie’s songtrack.

Spotting – a process during pre-production of a movie or TV show in which the composer sits in on a screening of a rough edit to discuss the timing, placement and emotional thrust of the music with the director and/or editor(s), sometimes using temp tracks as a guide. (These meetings are called spotting sessions.) Once spotting is complete, the process of composing actually begins, though some composers may discover at a very late stage that the director’s ideas on spotting has changed, and their music has been tracked over a completely different scene…or has been replaced with a piece of the temp track.

Temp Track – a “temporary track” is often assembled, during a movie’s editing process, by the director and/or the film editor to track scenes in a movie that has no score yet. Temp tracks are often cobbled together from classical pieces or other movie soundtracks, and a composer hired to score a movie will often be asked to compose music with a similar feel…without actually duplicating it note-for-note, of course. The history of film music is rife with instances of directors falling in love with their temp tracks to the point that they either don’t hire a composer, or reject a specially commissioned score when it doesn’t live up to the director’s expectations (perhaps the most famous specimen of this category being Alex North’s unused original score for 2001: a space odyssey). Temp tracks are controversial in film music, whether for the perception that they limit a composer’s creativity, or for the not-limited-to-Kubrick phenomenon which plagues composers to this day (just this year, Johann Johannson’s score for Arrival was disqualified from Oscar contention because of the prominence of Max Richter’s composition, “On The Nature Of Daylight”, in key scenes of the movie – a holdover from the temp track that the director felt couldn’t be improved upon, costing his composer a nomination).

Tracking – once a composer has turned in a completed score, that music is at the mercy of the film’s director and/or editor(s), and may not appear where it was originally spotted. The music may be chopped up, edited and tracked in a different place entirely, such as >em>Star Wars Episode IStar Wars Episode III. Additionally, licensed or specially commissioned songs may be tracked into scenes, replacing sections of more traditional scoring (Ray Parker Jr.’s memorable song was tracked into as many scenes of Ghostbusters as possible late in editing, leaving significant portions of Elmer Bernstein’s score on the cutting room floor).