Tuesday, November 21, 2017

6m1 The Sound of The Incredibles

We're so jazzed to unveil our next topic - Michael Giacchino's score to The Incredibles. Written & directed by Brad Bird and produced by Pixar Animation studios in 2004, this super-sized supermovie brings a great many firsts to the podcast (our first animated feature, first Pixar film, first work from Michael Giacchino). Today we explore the swanky sound of this unique score and discuss the tradition that so inspires its spy vs spy style. Michael Giacchino's path to The Incredibles is an adventure story itself, full of unlikely origins and a true hero's call (this time to follow in the footsteps of a living Double-O legend). Sit back and enjoy - it's fun for the whole family of supers!

The Incredibles - Michael Giacchino - 2004 - Pixar Animation Studios (Brad Bird, dir,)
-The Glory Days
-Off To Work
-Incredible Success
-The Incredits


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  1. While I am fully aware that the themes presented here are in 5:4, the beat pattern more suggests 10:8. Think of the mission impossible theme, which is also in "5:4" but has the same beat pattern of 2 sets of 3 eighths then 2 sets of 2. Wild Woods from Mario Kart 8 has the same pattern as another example.
    This has a very different feel then say something like Brubeck's Take 5 (although not the base line). I'd be curious to see if you feel the same way I do about it or not, and perhaps could be a topic for discussion about feeling beat patterns rather than the written time signature (although I dont know if it would work on your podcasts, though). Blue Lake Overture by Chance is a great example for me, as each time I've performed it back in school, the conductor showed the beat pattern instead of the written time signature. This makes it easier to follow and feel a groove. I feel it's this 4 beat groove pattern in this soundtrack that really sets the style moreso than it being in "5:4"

    1. Hi Andrew! (apologies for our long delay - we are finally getting the show back into production). You bring up a great point about rhythmic grouping & accent (or beat battern as you call it). Conceptually, it's sometimes down to preference which of the equivalent time signatures to indicate a piece in. For material that's conducted & sight-read (especially in a recording environment where time very much=money), there's nearly always an emphasis on the smoothest, least-frenetic time signature possible. For time signatures in eighth notes, we typically conduct by beating groups of eighths (in 6/8 we beat with the baton twice: 1-2-3, 4-5-6). The rhythmic grouping we have here is 1-2-3, 4-5-6, 7-8, 9-10 (similar to Take Five or Mission Impossible). These kinds of asymmetrical groupings lead to some uneven beatings of the baton, which is totally called for sometimes, but would be unnecessarily complicated (particularly at this tempo) for conducting a tight performance. Also, on the page, session orchestral players typically prefer to read music in the lowest common denominator (& the sheet music for the cues in question are written in 5/4). When it comes to playing the music however, like you say, we all employ various techniques to enforce our time, keeping the subdivisions of the pulse always in our minds. Whatever way of conceiving of the rhythm works for a particular player, by all means go for it :) But in a recording setting, in terms of the beats we want to see conducted, and the clicks we want to hear in our headphones, the steadiest, least frenetic pulse is ideal. Fun fact: the Star Wars main title is written not in 4/4, but 2/2, with John beating the baton once every measure (and those measures include plenty of highly-subdivided, 'fast' strings of notes in various sections of the orchestra :) Thanks for the great food for thought - have a great day!