Talk:James Horner

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James Horner is the Invisible Man?[edit]

why is there not an image for him? does none exist? a quick search of google finds this:

You can't just pull an image off the internet. Copyright, my good fellow. JonBroxton (talk) 20:02, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

From ViP[edit]

James Horner article[edit]

The James Horner article (about the film composer) seems to have been removed, history and all. Moreover, its talk page not only has an obscenity on it, but has been protected, though it is not on the list of protected pages. I don't see any discussion of this in the usual places (unless there's a usual place I'm just unaware of). What's going on here? -mhr 18:58, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The talk page is not actually protected, it just had the protected msg. As for the article, it may never have existed. --No-One Jones 19:03, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I'm sure the article existed. I've read it before (which is why the change to the talk page was showing up in my Watchlist today), and there was even a debate on the talk page about including some content from an external Web site (possibly here, but I'm not certain), which the author of said site wanted to include. It's a bit disturbing that it seems to have up-and-vanished... -mhr 20:52, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)
It did indeed exist. Snoyes deleted it in December as it was apparently a copyvio. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:38, 12 Feb 2004 (UTC)
I'll write up a new page. Taco 02:44, 13 Feb 2004 (UTC)

no particular order[edit]

The soundtracks are neither alphabetized nor in date order. What gives? MPS 20:43, 10 Jun 2005 (UTC)

-Also, The awards/nominations for the movie 'braveheart' on the James Horner page do not match up with those on the braveheart page..? can someone correct please.-

Skating around a rather central issue[edit]

Reinstated critism/controversy section. To paraphrase a Kryptonian, "This is not a fantasy. These are matters of irrefutable fact." –TashTish (talk) 12:22, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

No, it's not. Everybody who has listened to enough film music (1000+ scores )knows that it is not true. (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 06:56, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

I've listened to over 3,000 scores. It is true, and I'm a FAN of Horner. --JonBroxton (talk) 07:35, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Don't get me wrong, I own many Horner scores, but even I admit that large segments of his music is interchangable. To soften the articles about him by saying people "feel" he reuses is servicing no one fairly. Horner makes very appropriate movie music, that has a tendency to reuse entire compositional sections with no change in orchestration. That's fine.

That's the sort of composer he is and there's no shame in saying that he's a very commercial, uhhh....efficient, composer. He's found what works and sticks to it. There's no shame in it and no shame in saying it.
The article doesn't even deal with the fact that his music is annoyingly repetitive. To use his Braveheart score as an example, Horner wrote a probably 32-bar long theme for Braveheart with a certain orchestration (solo instrument plays the melody, then full orchestra repeats it, I believe) and then uses that same exact segment of music over and over and over again for every dramatic scene in the movie. John Williams, in contrast, swaps around motives between different instruments and sections and will change the shape and form of themes to create an appropriate mood, Horner just plays the same stuff over and over again, ad infinitum.
there is nothing wrong with James Horner's film scores. Just because he has sections in his music that sound like they could be from another movie that he wrote for, doesn't make him a bad composer. If you still don't understand, maybe the shere number of movies he's been hired to score for says something about how well his music is appreciated. So just leave him alone.
I would like to point out that one of the reasons that Braveheart was so popular was because of its brilliant soundtrack. It really makes the movie more than what it actually is.
This seriously needs to stop. Yes, Horner reuses motifs and sometimes even subthemes all the time, but people are making a mountain out of a molehill. He's an artist, and that's his style. James Horner's music is familiar, he has certain signatures that tell the listener that it is his music. Without waxing too philosophical, it's as if he, or rather, his music, is another actor in the film. I'm a composer (not professional, or of the level of Horner), and I reuse elements of other pieces in new compositions all the time. Horner's music is very emotional, and he uses specific phrases to evoke or emphasize certain emotions. I am sick of James Horner being known as "that guy who recycles his music." Take Jerry Goldsmith, for instance. He did an amazing score for The Secret of NIMH. An eleborate passage during a scene of that movie was reused almost in its entirety in the airplane chase scene of The Mummy. It's far more common than most people acknowledge.
I've heard the "he has certain signatures that tell the listener that it is his music" line before, in a slightly different form. In fact, I heard "we have a signature style" from Nickelback's lead singer when it was pointed out that two of their songs sounded exactly the same when played simultaneously. Having "a signature style" is no excuse to use the same section over and over and over and over and over again in a score. John Willams' scores are very melodic with distinct themes for each character but his themes are rarely (if ever) played in exactly the same manner each time they're heard in a score.
I'm not sure it needs to stop... the central problem in my view isn't Horner's reuse of his own themes. It is his reuse of other composer's themes. My awareness of this problem came with Horner's first big hit, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where he clearly reused Prokofiev's "Battle on the Ice" from Alexander Nevsky. Though I've watched few of the movies he has scored (Am I the only person who never bothered to see Titanic?) some fairly cursory research turned up a number of examples where he has recycled famous bits of "classical" music (well, mostly 20th Century era). I'm no musician, but I am an academic. If I reuse someone's ideas, I have to provide a citation. For me, Horner's reuse of other's themes rankles a bit. If they provide citations at the end of the movie, even in a folksy style (If you liked this score, you'll LOVE Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky!!!) I'd think it was OK, but without citations, it is a bit dishonest. When he quotes himself, it is no big deal... they were his ideas anyway. What I have heard of his music is fine and it enhances the films it is a part of, but people should be made aware that he often stands on the shoulders of giants. I'm going to go back and look at the credits of ST2:TWOK and see if Prokofiev is credited.
In Star Trek II, only a small portion of the Battle on Ice section sounds remotely similar to Horner's score (Kirk's first encounter with Khan on the Reliant, for everyone's reference), and it is by no means plagiarism. It is hardly a significant enough resemblance or long enough to warrant a citation in my opinion.-- 03:06, 25 September 2006 (UTC) Markarian
I added a famously contentious soundtrack of his, and someone (with no user name) promptly deleted it. What is the point of that? Does someone want to revert it? I don't know what the guidelines are about that. Amazinrick 16:58, 4 November 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I want to get involved in this discussion. I am an avid soundtrack fan. I am also about to finish my doctorate in trumpet, with a cognate in romantic/20th century music history. I only say this to provide context to what we all seem to be railing on James Horner for. This has gone on all throughout music history. It ranges from direct lifts of music (which in some cases I believe Horner probably does) to the subtle, subconscious influence of other composers. Does anyone know who James Horner's favorite composers are? I wonder if they are perhaps Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and the like? Horner is not my favorite film score composer, but I will avidly defend him in this case. When you spend your life listening to certain composers, styles, and time periods of music, those sections are going to show up in the music. I know Troy quotes Shostakovich 5 almost note for note for about two measures. That does not make me hate his music or think he is less of a composer. This argument always ends up creating two camps in the end. One side always says he is worthless, he plagiarizes, he is a sellout, etc. If I suggest that he is hugely popular, and he can demand anything he wants in hollywood, the sellout calls grow louder. Let us keep those facts in mind. Whether you like him or not, he is absolutely one of the top talents in the business. As long as there is influence and study of music, there will be this argument. If you don't think John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Thomas Newman, and everyone else have these issues, you are lying by ommission. But I guess that is just my opinion then. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mahler444 (talkcontribs) 22:41, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

The "fanboy stance" here is pitiful indeed - as it usually is when it involves the very obvious, irrefutable acts of plagiarism committed by James Horner in every phase, in (almost) every score of his career. Sure enough, quotations and even rip-offs of classical - or other film music - sources are part and parcel of the film composer's job, as he or she must routinely write too much music too quickly. However, Horner is a special case in that his "thefts" are the most blatant, least creative in all of film music, with the possible exception of Bill Conti. A few examples of note-for-note, bar-for-bar rip-offs may suffice: "Stealing the Enterprise" from STAR TREK II, better known as Prokofiev's "The Death of Tybalt" from ROMEO AND JULIET; Aram Khachaturian's "Adagio" from GAYANEH pops up in at least THEE (count 'em) Horner scores: ALIEN, PATRIOT GAMES and CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER - plagiarizing one's own rip-offs repeatedly is no mean feat! Parts of "The Chase" from COCOON were once known as a section from Benjamin Britten's SINFONIA DA REQUIEM; Sergei Prokofiev tunrs up as a "role model" over and over and over, be it GLORY, or BATTLE BEYOND THE STARS (with whole phrases from ALEXANDER NEWSKY's "Battle on the Ice" intact), or even the opening of AN AMERICAN TAIL, which "just accidentally" opens with the same line as Prokofiev's 1st VIOLIN CONCERTO. And then there is the "Main Title" from RED HEAT, lifted wholesale(!) from Prokofiev's OCTOBER CANTATA! Brittern is also "alluded to" oin a regular basis, his WAR REQUIEM is memorably used in Horner's TESTAMENT. How the main theme from Robert Schumann's RHENISH SYMPHONY made it into WILLOW is anybody's guess. And isn't that a motif from Béla Bartók's THE WOODEN PRINCE right there in the opening cue for THE LAND BEFORE TIME? The list is virtually endless, and I don't even wanna go into Horner's frequent cannibalizing his own music, or his previous thefts. The man is a miracle. He still has written a lot of genuinely thrilling and original film music, let there be no mistake. Thomas Muething —Preceding undated comment was added at 17:41, 22 January 2009 (UTC).


Some needs to note that he has frequently been accused of plagerrizing his scores. This is pretty important.

He's not "plagerrizing". It's called quoting and is done by _all_ composers.
P-L-A-G-I-A-R-I-Z-E & P-L-A-G-I-A-R-I-S-M. And I don't think anybody's accusing him of plagiarism, just monotonous non-variation.
Whether he does plagiarize/recycle is debatable, but I think the fact that there is a debate (and a pretty big one, at that, from what I've seen) is probably worthy of mention. Do people agree? Any sources (forum discussions, reviews, etc.) which could be used to back this up? Nyvhek 17:45, 16 November 2006 (UTC)
A quick Google search did turn up this interesting discussion on film scoring.

I would disagree that ALL composers 'quote' other composers. Yes all composers are influenced by what they hear and particularly by music that inspires them, but to say that ALL COMPOSERS 'quote' is a gross exaggeration. So what does one make of the Adagio from "Gayane" by Armenian composer Aram Khachaturian, used in the deep space sequence of '2001: A Space Odyssey'.......compared to the deep space string music from Aliens......even if one excuses Horner by calling in mere 'quoting' It is much more than is almost exact for whole sections, multiple phrases. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:34, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

=Let me help you[edit]

Listen to Battle Beyond the Stars and tell me entire segments from Patten and Star Trek the Motion Picture weren't plagairzed. There, that good enough for you?


What happened to the "Criticism" section? Why was it removed?

There the section goes again. It's not freakin' vandalism; it's an honest discussion of his style, whatever it may be.

Fanboy vandalism[edit]

I'm watching The Howling for the first time, and the big wolf attack is Khan's attack on the Enterprise/The Rocketeer/ Battle Beyond the Stars unless you're deliberately, willfully blind, deaf or a lawyer. The fanboys repeatedly strike Horner's theft and plagiarism from the article.

Keep in mind that those three movies you mentioned were scored by Horner. You can't plagiarize or "steal" from yourself. Battle Beyond the Stars came out a year before "The Howling" so Horner couldn't have plagiarized the score for this movie for Battle Beyond the Stars, or any of the other films you mention.
I'm not a fanboy, I'm a musician and an avid film score enthisiast who is attempting to defend his favorite composer from accusations of plagiarism and outright theft. I don't know if some of you grasp how grave, damning, and serious an allegation of plagiarism is, whether in art or academia, but as per Wikipedia's Biography policy, and common decency, you'd better have your facts straight before you level those kind of charges against someone. -- 03:06, 25 September 2006 (UTC)Markarian
Copying bars of instrumentation from one's own scores is common practice. If you copy a whole theme from one movie to another, it might make sense if you describe the same thing. (Like copying the French Horn flurries or even the entire theme from Star Trek II's main title to Star Trek III, since it's the continuation of the same story) Sticking to Star Trek, Jerry Goldsmith also reused his signature theme for all of his Star trek scores. Because, of course, it IS always Star Trek.
It is not acceptable (or at least it is notable) if Horner uses a theme for the Klingons in Star Trek III and later uses the very same theme, including orchestration, as the Xenomorph theme in "Aliens". You may not call it plagiarism, but you may call it lack of imagination or of musical instinct, cut-corner attitude, lazyness or disregard for the listeners' intelligence. -- megA 10:22, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Here we go again! Another cretinous fanboy has simply deleted the entire "criticism" passage, although it lists well-documented cases of Horner's plagiarism/self-plagiarism only. Of course, it's one of the many anonymous (i.e. cowardly) non-people who don't even register, "". I though this article was limited to registered-user editing only? Thomas Muething —Preceding undated comment was added at 22:57, 26 January 2009 (UTC).

The main problem with the criticism section is that it is mostly original research. You could really argue the same points with any major film composer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:56, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

I'd like to add my 2 cents that his re-using of his own scores pulls me out of the film, no longer immersed as I'm suddenly thinking of Sneakers when watching the Pelican Brief due to the near identical piano music. Surely this is harmful to a film and undesired by any director. Wonder if any film critic or film expert has mentioned similar in a citable article? unsigned comment —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:22, 29 June 2009 (UTC)

The Pagemaster[edit]

Didn't Horner also score the children's film The Pagemaster? Why hasn't that score been mentioned in the article? I'm kousekouse - I'm going to research this, and mod this article and The Pagemaster article if it turns out that he did do that score. Unless of course someone wants to beat me to it.....


You should add Horner's works with Mel Gibson and Joe Johnston, among others. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:07, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Forgot to sign --Kousekouse 11:34, 20 March 2007 (UTC)

Middle name[edit]

Where can proof of Horner's middle name be found? There is no definitive proof provided that his middle name is "Roy". iMDB is NOT proof, especially considering the biographies on that site can be written by "Anonymous" authors. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nl197 (talkcontribs) 07:27, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

His full name is listed in the California Birth Index - [1], which of course comes from the State of California's records. I'm putting that back now. - DoubleCross (talk) 22:45, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Composer project review[edit]

I've reviewed this article as part of the Composers project review of its B-class articles. This article is B-class, but it has some issues, and some room to grow. My full review is on the comments page; questions and comments should be left here or on my talk page. Magic♪piano 15:31, 8 January 2009 (UTC)

Criticism section[edit]

Just FYI, I've trimmed the criticism section down to an extremely succinct summary of the issues. I'm not trying to deny or censor anything, but rather to apply WP:BLP with full force to legally delicate BLP material. I'm not even trying to deny the criticism's prominence (I've known about the criticism ever since I took an interest in Horner's music over a decade ago), but instead to request that any editors who wish to elaborate on specific critiques bear the WP:BURDEN of proving the WP:PROMINENCE (not just the verifiability) of any of these critiques. Cosmic Latte (talk) 02:55, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

Critical debate?[edit]

I can see why this section was edited, but now it's just too rushed. There are several sources about these plagiarism issues, and I think it is important to add examples. --Surten (talk) 06:37, 3 December 2009 (UTC)Surten

On the issue of self-copying[edit]

Many of the edits - particularly controversial ones - have focused on Horner's alleged tendency to copy motifs from his past works for use in new ones. Just so there are no misconceptions, I am a fan of Horner. This post will address three fundamental questions:

1. Does Horner actually copy himself?

Yes, it appears that there is a degree of similarity both stylistically and melodically between some of his works. I have his scores to Avatar, Apollo 13, Titanic, Deep Impact, Apocalypto, and Perfect Storm, and notice particular similarities between Apollo 13 and Perfect storm (Both mid-90s), and Titanic and Avatar. For example, those who know the Avatar score will know the "three chords" that form the core of many of the melodies, found in nine of the tracks, including "Bioluminescence of the Night", "Climbing Iknimaya", and "Pure Spirits of the Forest". These chords appear copied right out of Titanic. Additionally, the final "I see you" track on the Avatar score appears a direct imitation of "My Heart will go on" from Titanic; both are "commercialized" versions of the melodies found in the "real" score.
So yes, Horner does imitate himself.

2. Is this unique to Horner?

No. I have over ninety scores from Zimmer's Remote Control Productions, and I see a great deal of stylistic (and occasionally melodic) similarity between those scores. Take my favorite score, that to the Transformers film, written by my favorite composer, Steve Jablonsky. Stylistically, it has been said - and I rather agree - to be extremely "Zimmer-like" in its instrumentation and thematic qualities. Melodically, I noticed - in the process of notating one track - a near-identical similarity between the fanfare at the end of "You're a Soldier Now" and one of the signature melodies from the Pirates of the Caribbean score (written by Klaus Badelt, but also Zimmer-like), though the similarity is disguised by instrumentation differences (Strings in POTC, Brass & Percussion in Transformers).
I have also seen more overt copying in unrelated composers' work. For example, one of the signature melodies in David Arnold's score to Independence Day is "C-DEC--F--EDE-C--". Seeing an excerpt from a movie (that I have never heard of) called "Stargate", also scored by Arnold, I happened to notice the exact same melody was used at one point.
So no, Horner is not the only one who copies himself (or others).

3. Is it something to include in the article?

Only with extreme caution. Content such as this is the very reason the policy of WP:BLP exists. Alleging on a site as prominent and ubiquitous as Wikipedia that a composer often plagiarizes oneself, or worse, others, has the potential to be extremely destructive to their reputation, and may damage their future as a composer.
Therefore, the content, if discussed, must be discussed briefly, and only with very reliable sources. Ideally, it should also be juxtaposed with a moderation; eg, "Horner has been accused of copying motifs from other works <citation> , but he is not the only one to have done this. <citation>.

-RadicalOneContact MeChase My Tail 20:05, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

Very well put. Thank you. What you've said (especially #3) is essentially what I had in mind when trimming down that section last year, and I'm glad to see that the section hasn't been allowed to get out-of-hand again. :-) Cosmic Latte (talk) 10:00, 22 February 2010 (UTC)
There have indeed been users trying to add more, this and this being good examples. To be fair, there have also been attempts to remove the section entirely. -RadicalOneContact MeChase My Tail 21:05, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

hi james —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:39, 7 April 2010 (UTC)


Does anybody else think this article needs a major overhaul? I recently dismantled and rewrote the Jerry Goldsmith article into something more sensible and detailed and I think the Horner article is long overdue for the same treatment. He's far too prolific in the film music community to have such a lackluster article. If anyone agrees, please share your thoughts. I would really hate to be the only participant in such a tiring endeavor... Jg2904 (talk) 18:12, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Alright, it's been a year. I'm giving it an overhaul. Thanks for your interest, everybody. Jg2904 (talk) 20:45, 20 May 2012 (UTC)

This article really needs some information on the plagiarism controversy. Horner actually had to pay a settlement to the estate of Raymond Scott because of his use of Powerhouse (song) in Honey I Shrunk the Kids. The section as it presently stands is far too short. (talk) 15:17, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Incorrect, or at least mislabeled source.[edit]

Citation 2 does not lead to the "USA Today Coverage of Horner's Work," but rather to the same article as citation 8. I don't know if this is simply the wrong link or if it is mislabeled, but either way I think it warrants attention. (talk) 22:16, 24 March 2013 (UTC)