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The Official Star Trek Music Discussion Thread


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#1 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 21 2008 - 01:07 PM

I thought it might be enjoyable to discuss the music of Star Trek (any of the series or films).

Although I like most of the music used in Trek (e.g. the trombones that often accompany Klingon segments in TNG, the gorgeous brass underpinnings that surround Data and Picard while they are on the Scimitar in Nemesis, listening to the opening of one of the movements from a Brahms sextet in the TNG episode Sarek, or the ambitious polyphony performed by Jack, Patrick, Serena, and Lauren in Chrysalis), I would have to say that I am partial to the music used on TOS (not necessarily the opening music, but the stock vocabulary used throughout the run of the series). It's wonderful, ethereal and other-worldly, and at times, definitely occcupies a different 'sound world.' When listening to it, I rarely (if ever) believe I am on earth. It somehow has the capacity to 'transport' me to another time and place, which for me makes it all the more believable that I am on one of those strange, new worlds.

Segments I am particularly fond of are the pizzicato string work done during the opening scene while on Deneva in Operation-- Annihilate! (this is the same music heard in This Side of Paradise right after Kirk says 'Gentleman, we're debating in a vaccum ... let's go get some answers'); the passage which accompanies Nona when she is healing Kirk in A Private Little War (also heard when Szabo is conducting the seance in Wolf in the Fold, and after Spock is sprayed by the plants in This Side of Paradise, and--I think--during one of the segments in Return of the Archons); and the wonderful closing music as Charlie is taken away by the Thasians in Charlie X (also heard when the away team beams over to the Botany Bay in Space Seed, except that in Space Seed the transporter sound effect accompanies the segment--and the overlap of the transporter beam effect and the music with definite pitch is gorgeous; I don't think it occurs elsewhere in all of TOS). (N.B.: It is interesting to note that the segment when they first beam over to the Botany Bay in Space Seed is very nearly the same progression that is heard in the VOY episode Time and Again, when the away team is examining the subspace fractures first experienced by Paris earlier in the episode. When I first heard the passage in Time and Again, I got out my DVD of the TOS and VOY episodes in order to compare the two. The similarity is haunting. At first, I thought I was hearing TOS stock music, but after repeated listenings, I realized that the harmonic successions in the two scores were not identical. It is quite astonishing, to say the least.)

These excerpts are part of the wonderful, imaginative stock vocabulary used througout much of TOS. You can hear the aforementioned segments in several shows, and during many different scenes, not all of which are mentioned here. What are your favorite segments of music in Trek?

#2 of 1046 OFFLINE   Michael Harris

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Posted January 22 2008 - 01:12 AM

For me the best piece of "Trek" music is that played when the three Klingon ships appear in the first film. That music, along with the sight of the bad ass Klingon ships, was worth the price of admission.

#3 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 22 2008 - 01:42 AM

Quote:
For me the best piece of "Trek" music is that played when the three Klingon ships appear in the first film. That music, along with the sight of the bad ass Klingon ships, was worth the price of admission.
Good choice! I also like the music in TUC during the opening credits. I suppose my favorite Trek film score is from TMP. I have often put that film on just for the music (e.g., when I'm doing other things around the house).

#4 of 1046 OFFLINE   Tarkin The Ewok

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Posted January 22 2008 - 07:54 AM

Besides the opening themes for the first four series, I'm quite partial to the main theme from First Contact.

#5 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 22 2008 - 08:23 AM

^^^
Tarkin,

Just a general comment. I took a peek at your DVD collection. Nice! I liked the set up of the page, and esp. the blues (or blue greens?)--very easy on the eyes.

#6 of 1046 OFFLINE   Robert James Clark

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Posted January 23 2008 - 07:12 AM

Favorite Trek score is probably Cliff Eidelman's thrilling score for The Undiscovered Country.
I've felt that Goldsmith's later Yrek efforts were a trifle bland compared to TMP...

#7 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 23 2008 - 08:32 AM

Quote:
Favorite Trek score is probably Cliff Eidelman's thrilling score for The Undiscovered Country.
I've felt that Goldsmith's later Yrek efforts were a trifle bland compared to TMP...
Agreed. There is something magical about the score to TMP. And when I'm watching various special features for some of the Trek series, I greatly appreciate--and never tire of--hearing that score (and the scores of other Trek films) in the background. That was a nice touch to the DVDs.

#8 of 1046 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted January 23 2008 - 09:05 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert James Clark
I've felt that Goldsmith's later Yrek efforts were a trifle bland compared to TMP...

Not just his Trek scores. I felt his Air Force One opening was too similar to First Contact's opening.

But since we're talking Trek scores, I'll just add a "me too" for TMP. I used to listen to it every night while doing my homework in high school.

For the most part, the music has been strong in the films, although Generations was bland and I don't remember much about the music from the last two movies, which I've only seen once each.

I would also say that the opening theme for Voyager was the best part of that series.

Now don't ask me to talk about specific elements. I've never really studied the music and it's been a couple years since i listened to any of it...which means I need to pull the DVDs out and watch them.

#9 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 23 2008 - 10:32 AM

nolesrule,

Those are all good points. I really do like the theme to VOY quite a lot, maybe the best of all as far as the series are concerned (although the theme to DS9 is right up there for me). In my family, when listening to the VOY theme, we frequently see who out of our children will remember to crash the cymbal at the appropriate time. Posted Image

BTW, I don't think your link ("My DVD Collection") is working. I've tried to access it a few times, with no luck.
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#10 of 1046 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted January 23 2008 - 10:48 AM

Yeah, the DVD Profiler website moved. I need to get the link updated when I have a few minutes to look the URL up. I turn off user sigs on HTF, so I forgot I even had that link there.

I'm a stay at home dad, so I have time on my hands during the day. I'll start watching the movies again over the next couple weeks and see if I can come up with some good comments.

#11 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 23 2008 - 10:59 AM

Quote:
I'm a stay at home dad, so I have time on my hands during the day. I'll start watching the movies again over the next couple weeks and see if I can come up with some good comments.
I'll look forward to reading them. Music is probably my greatest passion, and I'm a huge fan of just about everything sci-fi (esp. The Outer Limits and TOS).

Speaking of being a dad, my three-year old is downstairs now, asking for a Trek episode. She has her own titles for the episodes, such as "The Corn" (yes, she doesn't seem to believe it's a Gorn); "Babok," "Ruk," and "The Horta." Even though there are 79 episodes of TOS, these are the ones she always wants to watch. I think I have to broaden her interests a bit. Posted Image

#12 of 1046 OFFLINE   seanOhara

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Posted January 23 2008 - 03:50 PM

My favorite is the end credits of Star Trek IV. And I'd love to have the punk rock song from the bus scene.
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#13 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted January 24 2008 - 12:07 AM

Quote:
My favorite is the end credits of Star Trek IV. And I'd love to have the punk rock song from the bus scene.
Re: the punk rock song--

Yeah, gotta love Kirk Thatcher in that scene. I wonder if the tune is available; I've never looked for it before. But I will today.

Okay, here is more on Thatcher and the tune:

"Kirk Thatcher was an associate producer of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and also played the part of the music-blasting punk on the bus in that film. He was also the voice of the Vulcan computer.

Thatcher actually composed the song 'I Hate You' which plays on his boombox in the movie."

Kirk Thatcher - Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki

The tune is called I Hate You. Apparently, the track was performed by Edge of Etiquette. For more see:

I Hate You - Memory Alpha, the Star Trek Wiki

I haven't corroborated anything beyond what is furnished on the Wiki site.

#14 of 1046 OFFLINE   Dave Hahn

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Posted February 04 2008 - 06:01 PM

Quote:
. . . I'd love to have the punk rock song from the bus scene.
Quote:
I haven't corroborated anything beyond what is furnished on the Wiki site.

In the Production section, (about 17 mins. in), on the specials features disc from the Special Collector's Edition of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Kirk Thatcher tells the story pretty much as stated at the Wiki site.

Even though the movie itself is without doubt the worst material in the Star Trek Universe, I like what Jerry Goldsmith did with the Main Theme and the Klingon March in Star Trek V. Just about the same stuff from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but, to my ear, it seems cleaner. From either source, it remains a favorite.

When Mr. Goldsmith passed away and it was being covered in the news, I remember seeing an interview with John Williams, who discussed his admiration of Goldsmith's work. Williams specifically mentioned the Main Theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture and said that he thought that the use of the horns was brilliant.

It might be passé, but I always remember "Spocks Love Theme" from the original series. I found it haunting.
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#15 of 1046 OFFLINE   Ockeghem

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Posted February 05 2008 - 05:16 AM

Dave Hahn:
Quote:
It might be passé, but I always remember "Spocks Love Theme" from the original series. I found it haunting.
A gorgeous theme for sure. I've already gone into why I love the music for TOS, so I won't repeat that here. But, I did want to mention that I picked up the three-CD (boxed) set of music from the original series soundtrack a couple of years ago (consisting of vols. 1, 2, and 3) and then supplemented that set with two more discs: Star Trek, Volume Two: Newly Recorded Music From Selected Episodes Of The Paramount TV Series (Mirror Mirror, By Any Other Name, The Trouble With Tribbles, The Empath); and Star Trek: Newly Recorded Music From Selected Episodes Of The Paramount TV Series (Charlie X, The Corbomite Maneuver, Mudd's Women, The Doomsday Machine). The non-boxed set discs are faithful to the original scores, despite these being newly recorded. For lovers of the music of TOS, I highly recommend the boxed set and the additional two discs. I believe the CDs from the boxed set are also sold individually.

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My main reason for supplementing the boxed set (which is a great collection) is because some of the more notable stock music was not included in the set. For example, I love one particular passage from Charlie X (this is the same segment that accompanies the landing party in This Side of Paradise, right after Kirk says "Gentlemen, we're debating in a vacuum. Let's go get some answers" and also soon after they first arrive on Deneva in Operation: Annihilate!). I had to have that theme at all costs. Posted Image

#16 of 1046 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted February 05 2008 - 06:19 AM

Well, I got around to watching TMP through First Contact over the last week or so, and my original thoughts on the film scores still stands.

Goldsmith's TMP was exciting and awe-inspiring, but I feel could have used a little more touch of Alexander Courage to help bridge the gap.

Horner's TWOK was perfect for the action-packed film. But still had the gentle touch with the Genesis theme.

Horner's SFS was mainly a rehash of themes from TWOK, which worked as a bridge to connect the films as the story was connected. I wasn't so thrilled with his Klingon theme, which I don't feel was as good as Goldsmith's, and I kept comparing.

Rosenman's TVH theme was light-hearted and perfect for the material. Even the "intense" chase scenes (Checkov's 2 escapes) were jovial in tone. I really loved the credits music.

Goldmsith's TFF music reused many elements of his TMP music, which I think benefitted the film and was probably the best part. He increases his use of Alexander Courage's original ST music, something that was mostly missing from the first movie.

Eidelman's TUC score was both haunting and mysterious, which fit the plot perfectly. The music underneath the cast signoff at the end of the film was grand and a perfect emotional conclusion to the final original cast film.

McCarthy's Generations score was unremarkable in just about every way. You could feel the hint of DS9's title them during the opening, but it was soft and understated, like the rest of the score. There was absolutely nothing to grab hold of and probably served to diminish the film as a whole.

Goldsmith's First Contact did the material justice. Like in TMP, he found ways to go beyond just the orchestral score, lending the Borg a more electronic presence. His opening theme was good, though not as strong as the TMP/TNG, and unfortuantely was too similar to the opening theme of Air Force One. Of course, I feel that John Williams has been suffering from this issue in his scores of the last 6-7 years as well, but that's a subject matter for another thread.

And that is my brief synopsis/opinion of the scores of the first 8 Trek films. If anyone can't figure out abbreviations, then that's your problem. Posted Image

#17 of 1046 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted February 11 2008 - 12:06 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolesrule
Goldsmith's First Contact did the material justice. His opening theme was good, though not as strong as the TMP/TNG, and unfortuantely was too similar to the opening theme of Air Force One. Of course, I feel that John Williams has been suffering from this issue in his scores of the last 6-7 years as well, but that's a subject matter for another thread.


For the sake of completeness, I'll add this:

Star Trek: First Contact and Air Force One were composed almost back to back. Plus, Air Force One came afterwards.

The main theme to U.S. Marshals is the same as the action theme in Star Trek: Insurrection, both of which came out in 1998.

In both cases, the Trek renditions beat the other ones hands down.

Anyway, I have a bit of Trek music, and while I'm partial to the Khan and Spock scores (because I'm a total JH nut) I love both Horner's theme and Goldsmith's theme almost equally. That being said, they have nothing in common so I've never felt the need to compare them.

I absolutely HATE the TNG version of Goldsmith's theme, because it's sounds so cheaply done. I really enjoyed Dennis McCarthy's own TNG theme that was rejected, but I understand why it was never used - it's too "big" and feels more at home in an '80s sci-fi movie rather than a weekly Star Trek show.

I have every single rendition of the great DS9 theme made for the show (more than just two) and it's always been a dear favorite.

I'm glad it's unanimous: The Voyager theme IS the best part of that series. I love its sad, noble beauty. The show actually felt that way at first, but lost that soon after.

#18 of 1046 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted February 11 2008 - 01:22 PM

I'm well aware that Air Force One was second. I remember sitting in the theater for that movie and shortly into the titles thinking that it had to be Goldsmith doing the score because it was so similar to First Contact. And then I waited for the music credit to validate my thought, which turned out to be correct (obviously).

I only saw Insurrection in the theater once, and while I caught U.S. Marshals on TV, it was only about a year ago so there was no way for me to make the comparison.

The Voyager theme gave me so much hope for that show, but I never even made it through the first season. I was a freshman in college at the time, and I remember a bunch of us gathering in a neighboring dorm room to watch the first episode.

I've never heard McCarthy's TNG theme. I'll have to see if I can find it.

#19 of 1046 OFFLINE   Nicholas Martin

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Posted February 11 2008 - 01:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nolesrule

I've never heard McCarthy's TNG theme. I'll have to see if I can find it.

Here you go:

TNG Rejected Main Title Theme

#20 of 1046 OFFLINE   nolesrule

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Posted February 11 2008 - 01:48 PM

Thank you very much Nicholas. That was certainly interesting to listen to. Until you mentioned it, I never even knew he'd taken a stab at it.

The first thing I noticed was that it used the same opening as the updated TNG theme in later seasons (which I felt was the better version). But once it got into the main part, my first thought was, and I'm totally serious about this, but my main thought was "Galaxy Quest". I guess that's in line with what you said about being a theme for an 80s sci-fi movie.

As for McCarthy's arrangement and conducting of Goldsmith's Star Trek theme for TNG, it always seemed thin in comparison. I can't think of another word to describe it.


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