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‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ had 134,000 possible sounds.

By b0oua Apr 9, 2024
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Steven Spielberg and John Williams put forth a lot of effort to figure out how to be able to say “hello” to the extraterrestrial entities.

There is no doubt that you have heard it, regardless of whether or not you have watched the masterpiece that Steven Spielberg filmed in 1977, titled “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which was about alien contact. To be more specific, you will have been exposed to the five musical notes that are used for communication between humans and aliens. These notes, along with the accompanying soundtrack for the entire movie, were composed by John Williams. On the other hand, Spielberg himself collaborated closely with him in order to identify the precise five notes that represented contact.

In order to better his skill when reading and executing musical scores, Steven Spielberg partially based himself on the theories of music theory, which is a way of musical learning that allows one to sing the reading of a score with one’s voice. This was done a year before the filming began. Williams first suggested that the succession be seven notes; however, Spielberg’s notion, which he had in mind was a kind of “simple greeting,” did not mesh with Williams’ proposal.

After that, Williams enlisted the services of a mathematician to determine the number of possible combinations of five notes that might be formed on a scale of twelve. A staggering 134,000 different possibilities emerged as a consequence. From among them, Williams chose one hundred that had some musical sense, and then he and Spielberg researched them in great detail until they discovered a combination that convinced them.

“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” a masterwork about alien contacts that was directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1977, is something that you have most likely heard about, regardless of whether or not you have watched it. To be more specific, you will have been exposed to the five musical notes that are used for communication between humans and aliens. These notes, along with the accompanying soundtrack for the entire movie, were composed by John Williams. On the other hand, Spielberg himself collaborated closely with him in order to identify the precise five notes that represented contact.

In order to better his skill when reading and executing musical scores, Steven Spielberg partially based himself on the theories of music theory, which is a way of musical learning that allows one to sing the reading of a score with one’s voice. This was done a year before the filming began. Williams first suggested that the succession be seven notes; however, Spielberg’s notion, which he had in mind was a kind of “simple greeting,” did not mesh with Williams’ proposal.

In order to determine the number of possible combinations of five notes that may be made on a scale of twelve, Williams subsequently employed a mathematician to perform the calculation. A staggering 134,000 different possibilities emerged as a consequence. From among them, Williams chose one hundred that had some musical sense, and then he and Spielberg researched them in great detail until they discovered a combination that convinced them.

The end result is not just a moment that will go down in cinematic history, but it also reveals a great deal about our connection to music. Spielberg’s intuition was correct, because if there is one thing about music, it is that it cannot be misunderstood, in contrast to language or images. It is possible for a tune to sound like that in any culture, regardless of whether it is cheerful, sad, or menacing. Spielberg and Williams were able to find the ideal music to convey the message “hello.”

The plot of Close Encounters of the Third Kind is significantly impacted by a musical motif that plays a significant part. The entirety of the movie revolves around a straightforward five-note motif that serves as a code and announces the interaction between humanity and the extraterrestrial beings they encounter.

The modifications of this motif make a substantial contribution to the progression of the story and its plot. As an illustration, when the humans make an effort to communicate with the extraterrestrial beings, they go through a number of different variants. Altering the register, putting some of the notes in various octaves, and controlling the tone color through instrumentation are some of the things that fall under this category.

The soundtrack, according to Steven Spielberg, is comparable to an additional character in the film because of its presence. The five-note motif that is utilized in the film Close Encounters serves as a means of communication throughout the course of the movie. To communicate with one another, the aliens use lights, colors, and notes.

The motif functions as a signal that is intended to be interpreted as a greeting. In order to arrive at the ultimate combination of notes, the composer, John Williams, worked through hundreds of different permutations of five notes.

G, A, F, (octave lower) F, and C are the five notes that the scientists play in order to attract the attention of the spacecraft before they arrive at Devil’s Tower. B flat, C, A flat, (one octave lower) A flat, and E flat are the notes that they play as they arrive to the tower and seek to communicate with one another.

As they look up into the night sky, they see streaking objects that like comets that are tearing through the darkness. As Jillian listens with bated breath, Roy whispers to her, “We are the only ones who know.” They are the only ones.” Suddenly, three teeny-small scout ships that are lighted with neon lights appear, and a little red orb follows in their wake. These ships hover above the end of the runway.

The workers responsible for audio analysis get themselves ready to communicate with the glistening and lit items that are located at the rendezvous place. At the location, a massive electronic board that is covered with colored strips and a powerful musical keyboard that is synthesized have been erected. When it comes to communication, the scientists working for the Air Force make copies of the electronic sounds that they have heard in transmissions and combine them with light sequences that are displayed on colorful strips. As soon as the signal “Sunset” is received, the computer and audio specialists begin playing the loud and clear sounds of the five-note sequence.

One of the Best Animated Films Awarded the Oscar The film Happy Feet (2006) made a direct allusion to this event, in which the penguin population communicated with “aliens” (people) by exchanging dance steps. This occurred when the human’s “space ship” (a helicopter) arrived and perched on an outcropping that resembled Devil’s Tower.

Lacombe, a French scientist, advises that the organist perform the sequence with a faster tempo and experiment with other frequencies for the five notes or tones. This would be done in order to entice the friendly mothership to land as he marches out to the end of the runway. There are three ships that are dancing over the runway, and each of them is responding with their own duplicate tones. They are emitting the musical sounds in a certain combination of five notes. After that, they take off, go their separate ways, and ascend into the heavens. There is a resounding outpouring of applause from the whole audience.

An excerpt from John Williams’s film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” If it weren’t for the unfortunate circumstance that it was released later in the same year as George Lucas’ immensely epic Star Wars: A New Hope, Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third type could have been able to reverberate with the same type of attraction in people’s memories. Despite the fact that both films include science fiction plots that are at their best, as well as wide-ranging Oscar nominations that both honored John Williams’ soundtrack,

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is by far a more introspective and, at times, rather frightening alternative to the introduction of aliens. Concerns of being kidnapped by aliens were blended with the unpredictability of confronting and talking with a civilization that was significantly more advanced in Spielberg’s narrative. Despite the fact that the first half of the story is dominated by suspense, the actual military encounter with the aliens that takes place at the end is carried out well with the assistance of creative communication through the use of lights, colors, and music.

As a result, Spielberg needed to find a little musical motif early enough in the production process so that he could use it when he was preparing the final half hour of the movie. The cooperation between Williams and Spielberg was still in its infancy, and Williams had to convince studio executives that he was far enough along with Star Wars to contribute his best to Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

This was despite the fact that the composer had already won an Academy Award for his work. In order to conjure and get a consensus on the five-note greeting that humans would employ to request a response from the aliens, he sat down with Spielberg on multiple occasions. This was done for the explicit aim of constructing the welcome. Williams had the popular Pinocchio theme to “When You Wish Upon a Star” in mind from the beginning of the composition as well, and he would later incorporate that tune into the last minutes of his music.

However, Spielberg was adamant on imposing the five-note limit, despite the fact that Williams had requested that he be allowed to use seven or eight notes to form the welcome. After all, greetings are intended to be brief, and the fact that the word “hello” is composed of five letters is not an accident. Despite the fact that Williams ran through hundreds of different permutations, neither of the men were pleased with the outcomes. Following a number of sessions, Spielberg made a decision out of exasperation, and paradoxically, it was the motif that has been so successful and well-known that it is now recognized all over the world.

Williams’ score for the film is much more complicated than simply that iconic phrase, despite the fact that practically all of the attention that is given to the music for Close Encounters of the Third Kind is focused on that five-note theme (and to some degree, it is justifiably so… It creates such a dramatic impact in the tale of the film). In contrast to Star Wars, which was a straightforward space opera from beginning to end, Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a score that is composed of three separate pieces all together.

In the first act of the movie, there are lengthy lengths of atonal and dissonant parts that follow the kidnapping and strange clues of an alien presence. These passages were clearly inspired by the avant-garde musical approaches that were applied to films portraying otherworldliness in the previous decade. The middle sections of the music alternate between this subdued tone and explosive action cues that hinted at the rhythmic and orchestral harmony that would later be featured in Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T.

the Extra-Terrestrial. The well-known tonal melodies that Williams has developed during his career are most prominent in the final third of the score, which is introduced by the well-known communication section. There is more to the picture than just the five-note communication motif that serves as the primary theme. Williams permits the awe of the aliens to serve as the source of inspiration for the character’s true fundamental identity, and it takes quite some time for that concept to become apparent.

This topic, which can also be seen as a representation of Devil’s Tower, the majestic mountain in Wyoming where the aliens are supposed to be received, initially achieves cohesion with the assistance of a choir in the song “Forming the Mountain” and especially in the song “TV Reveals.” In the last cue, Williams releases a great crescendo of delight with the choir.

This occurs as the character of Roy, played by Richard Dreyfuss, sculpts the peak from memory and ultimately learns the name and location of the mountain. “The Mountain” is the first time that the lush romanticism that characterizes this theme is presented. This occurs as the picture transitions to its final location. A jubilant expression is given to it as the story nears its conclusion in “The Escape.”

Due to the fact that the theme and its concert arrangement are used in both the conclusion and the closing credits, audiences will most likely remember the lengthy and consistent performances of this theme that took place following the alien encounter. The majority of the composition’s running length is devoted to the five-note communication motif, despite the fact that the arrangement that Williams brings with him on concert tours makes a clear reference to the motif.

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