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Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming
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Author:  radio picon [ Fri Nov 25, 2011 5:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

Hi Bear, first of all BSG was/is the only TV showed I've truly loved and been moved by. Your scoring was instrumental ( :P ) in creating the mood and feel of the world, story and characters in it.

My question is about "Kobol's Last Gleaming": what was your inspiration for the melody of the voice and the duduk in it? Were you thinking something "Middle Eastern" when you wrote it, or was it Armenian, Byzantine or what?
Also, who sang the Armenian version in Occupation? Was that Raya?

I didn't completely appreciate that song or "Shape of Things to Come" at the time though I liked them. Now though, 2 and a half years after the show ended, I can really see the beauty in these two pieces.

thanks!

Author:  AdamCarlo [ Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

I love all of the tracks Bear wrote for the BSG soundtracks but the ones with vocals I find to be even more moving. I love how he used several different languages too.

Author:  Bear McCreary [ Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

Thanks for the kind words.

As with most things, the inspiration most directly comes from the imagery, story and characters of the show I'm scoring. However, after that, I frequently drew from traditional and world music from various cultures for my work on BSG.

As for the singers, in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" you were hearing a boy soprano named Daniel McGrew, who was about 9 or 10 at the time and had an angelic voice. In "Occupation," the singer for "A Distant Sadness" was Raya Yarbrough. She also contributed substantial vocals to "Rapture," "He That Believeth," "The Plan," "Daybreak" and many, many other episodes.

Vocal pieces were always a major part of the score. I find that vocal music communicates more deeply and immediately than instrumental music. However, I always took the time to make sure that the singers were singing ACTUAL melodies and texts, that had been carefully planned out. Little in this world annoys me more than "ambient, warbling ethnic vocals" in soundtracks. I always want to ensure that the lyrics and presence of the voice are taking full advantage of the narrative possibilities, and not just adding some generic exoticism.

There are many other singers who worked on BSG over the years. Melanie Henley Heyn sang "Battlestar Operatica" and Lillis O'Laoire sang the Gaelic "Wander My Friends" in Season 1. And, of course, Brendan McCreary sang "All Along the Watchtower" in Season 3. Allessandro Juliani sang "Gaeta's Lament" in a memorable episode in Season 4. The voice was a powerful tool in my musical toolbox. :)

Author:  Bear McCreary [ Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

Also, to find out more about these singers, check out...

RAYA:
http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/raya-y ... d273386840

BRENDAN:
http://www.youngbeautifulinahurry.com/

Author:  radio picon [ Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

Thanks for the response and the information, Bear!

I am glad that when you decided to use vocals that it was for real words and melodies, rather than screeches and moans like when they used to use Diamanda Galas on soundtracks. Though, having said that, she might have been interesting on a BSG episode :D

I liked the vocals you incorporated too, but you did some really valuable work with instrumentals. I really think Kobol's Last Gleaming, Two Funerals and Shape of Things to Come (and the other variations) were really important in creating the mood in early BSG...for me at least.
And the duduk, overused as it may be, is as good a subsitute as any for a human voice.

Author:  AdamCarlo [ Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

I like how the opening of "A Distant Sadness" uses the same or similar motif that we hear in "Heeding the Call". My own interpretation is that it signifies how 3 of the Final 5 (Tyrol, Anders and Tigh) are actively engaged in the resistance on New Caprica. ;)

Author:  Helicopters [ Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

I am glad that when you decided to use vocals that it was for real words and melodies, rather than screeches and moans like when they used to use Diamanda Galas on soundtracks. Though, having said that, she might have been interesting on a BSG episode :D



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Author:  Bear McCreary [ Fri Jun 29, 2012 11:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Inspiration for Kobol's Last Gleaming

I always hate random screeches and moans. Frankly, I think it's bullshit unless there's a real narrative reason for it to be there. The human voice is the only instrument capable of communicating text as well as pitch and rhythm, so why take that essential element out of it?

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