Large Time Signatures for Film Scores

Well that would depend if they were a Big-endian or Little-endian Sumerian.

And I’ve never met a Sumerian without a time signature!

I met a Little Endian Sumerian on an Internet Carbon Dating site. She’s older than she looks, but but she can count time in Sexygesimal! :laughing: :unamused:

People have been squabbling about rests in Sumerian music for a long time. It’s nearly 1000 years since some exasperated monk, trying to make sense of the score of “Sumer is i-comen in” (which was obviously the fight song of some Sumerian national sports team or other) wrote

“Each [performer] should take notice of one of the long written rests, but ignore the others”…

There are MANY possible features out there, and NONE of them should be decided upon lightly.

Meeting a Little Endian Summerian is rare since according to the song there are only Ten Little Endian Boys.

As to your second comment, the use of large time signatures is ubiquitous in film music world. Ask any film orchestrator or conductor, and they will all confirm the same. It’s been a tradition for decades, and it’s not going to change. Big time signatures give an easy visual cue for conductors as to where the time signature changes. Remember that most all film tracks are recorded to click track, with players sight reading. It’s a fast paced environment. Nobody cares whether it looks beautiful or not, as long as it is easy to read and conduct, with zero mistakes.

I know, hence the comment.

I asked myself, and I agreed.

I know. Still sucks.

No, it’s for “conductors” who can’t really conduct and have no conducting training, and for film composers who can’t really read music. Much in the same way as scores are not transposed,. Anyone who really knows what they’re doing can read a transposed score. Not so, a lot of the film community.

Agreed, but large time sigs can actually lead to mistakes, because unless a conductor has the ability to read the whole score at once, they could be focused momentarily on a section that doesn’t actually have a time sig, because the stupid big one is elsewhere in the score.

Look I know nothing is going to change, but it doesn’t stop me grumbling. :wink:



I’m trying to work with the System, not fight it a la Don Quixote.

To illustrate my previous post, one of Hollywood’s most successful film orchestrators, Tim Davies, who also has his own big band, recently released his newest CD with original jazz / big band compositions.

In addition, he put up several score reductions on Youtube. This is absolutely wonderful stuff, and I can warmly recommend everyone to watch them all in full, but in the context of this discussion - large time signatures - notice the large time signatures in the youtube video I am reposting below. The score was created in Finale, playback is synced with the live recording as available on CD (obviously this is not Finale or any VST playback - this is a live band).

This guy is a really seasoned orchestrator, and conductor, and while you may disagree with his workflow, there is a reason why he does things this way. (and why he has been so successful and keeps getting asked back etc)

Yes, but one of the reasons I am so successful is that I don’t like to accept the status quo. :slight_smile:

Fair enough, he is entitled to his own workflow. I’m entitled to mine, and as I’ve also conduced and orchestrated film scores, his opinion is no more valid than mine.