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Bear McCreary

Posted in Personal by Will on Monday, March 2nd, 2009 ~ 1am

There is a most amazing 3-part blog entry over at composer Bear McCreary’s website today. It details the production of the musical score of last Friday’s Battlestar Galactica, which was a unique episode in that one of the characters was a composer, and the score had the opportunity (and challenge) of breaking through from its usual place as something only heard by the audience, to something heard by the characters. The technical, as well as the philosophical, challenges are detailed.

If you’ve seen the episode, you were probably as astounded as I was that the usual cinematic cliches of hiding actor’s hands as they pretend to play the piano were entirely absent. Even the related cliche of having a real pianist put their arms around the actor, through the shirt sleeves of the actor’s costume, was not used. And before you say “oh, well then the actor was a pianist”, read the story of the actual execution of this episode, and know why this episode should get an Emmy.

http://www.bearmccreary.com/blog/?p=1597

In the third part of the blog, McCreary asks for suggestions on what a particular composition — an original composition that serves as prelude to All Along the Watchtower — should be called. My suggestion, posted in his blog’s comments, is reproduced below:

I’d like to suggest the title “Chiasma”, which is the moment in biological reproduction when two different sets of chromosomes are together and are starting to exchange traits, prior to dividing.

It makes me think of Kara and her dad, and of the Cylons and humanity splitting off into their own unique beings, but sharing some traits.

And of course, there’s the association in the word “Chiasma” to the root of the word “chasm”, which ties in to the need for there to be a “Watchtower” between them!

(Wiki it.)

As for the episode, when the episodes started and I saw the piano I unconsciously steeled myself for the cliches that I expected would soon come — that artificial blend of actor and performance that as you say never works. My astonishment grew as the actor seemed to play and speak naturally. I was so wonderstruck by this that I didn’t really think ahead to [who the man was] until about half the way through, when the lighting on his face was so consistently shadowy that it suggested that he wasn’t entirely physical. And that didn’t ruin things AT ALL. It became a richer experience as the knowledge grew.

And then I watched the episode again. I’d watch it a third time if it wasn’t past midnight tonight. Thank you, Bear.

Left by willbueche on Your comment is awaiting moderation. March 1st, 2009

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  1. Lou said,

    on March 4th, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Will: The series itself has had some of the most incredible music ever heard scored for a TV show. In particular, last year’s episode where Kara was running thorugh the ship to the beat of wild drums was just fantastic. Overall, the show is simply stunning in its storyline, acting, special effects and of course music. It’s a series that will gain many new fans as a result of watching the DVD collection(after hearing so many people rave about the show, I believe people will be drawn to see what it is all about, and then will get hooked). Can’t wait for (and am also dreading) the finale. Hate to think that this show will soon be over.

  2. Will said,

    on March 4th, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Same here, and I hope hope hope it has an amazing finale. I’ve got all the soundtrack albums for it and am looking forward to the season 4 soundtrack when it comes out. It’s been an amazing run in nearly every respect.

    The one story point that failed for me was that Baltar never bother to ask Caprica Six if she knew anything about the Six in his head. Let’s be real – it would have been the first thing he’d have asked her, the moment they had privacy.

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