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.
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!
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