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Nocturnal Activities Piano Reduction


The YouTube channel “leibniz154” is back with more piano reductions of classic John Williams cues. (I wrote about some of the Star Wars ones here.)


Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is too mean-spirited for my taste—an opinion that Spielberg shares, considering it his and George Lucas’ “angry divorce movie” (from their wives, not each other)—but it is, of course, a classic, and so is the score.


As a kid I taught myself how to plink out movie themes on our household upright piano. As an adult, I’m a little better at it, but I’ve always been confounded by John Williams’ intricate, playful themes with a lot of chromaticism: Family Plot comes to mind.


“Nocturnal Activities,” for the romantic shenanigans at the palace between Indiana Jones and cabaret singer Willie, is one of those pieces—so I’m delighted to watch and listen to this piano reduction to figure out exactly how it goes.

I read an interview recently with Joseph Williams, John Williams’ son (and musician himself, mostly in pop bands), where he said that his dad’s real genius as a composer was because of how great a pianist he is: he can improvise any mood, any kind of theme, on piano.


Naturally I can’t find this interview now, so I can’t give you any more context. But it makes sense!

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Jim Ware
Jim Ware
Nov 12, 2022

The Joseph Williams interview may have been this one - https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/joseph-williams-toto-john-williams

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Lukas Kendall
Lukas Kendall
Nov 12, 2022
Replying to

Yes! Thank you!

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John Schuermann
John Schuermann
Nov 12, 2022

I listen to this and watch the notes go by and think, holy shit, there's more going on in this one cue than in most other composer's entire scores.

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I heartily suggest you to check the album by Italian pianist Simone Pedroni featuring his own piano solo transcriptions and arrangements of John Williams' music:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_nUhxvmv1RWhrf2y7fkV0h5pmu1jnHnRxc One of the great things of JW's music is that it stands very well on its own even in stripped down versions like these (especially if done with taste and intelligence like in the examples above). You can appreciate even more the great nuances in the melodic structure and the rich harmonic vocabulary.

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