Endings 2 — The Wide Shot

 Isaac Hayes.  Image via  galleryhip.com .

Isaac Hayes.  Image via galleryhip.com.


The final movement of Mozart’s Symphony #41, the Jupiter Symphony, cascades with counterpoint. 


One needn’t understand the mysteries of fugue to hear how Mozart’s melodies answer and wind around each other.  They pull apart and then collide to spectacular effect. By the end of this final movement, one has witnessed a vast fireworks show, a panorama of sorts.   As the symphony’s conclusion, it has the effect of leaving us with the sense that now we’ve seen it all.


The cinematic scope of Isaac Hayes’s “Theme from Shaft” befits its original purpose as a film soundtrack.  In the context of a discussion about endings, consider that the song builds on it self.  Notice how the slow introduction of elements suggest tiers . . .

Guitar note via wah-wah pedal
Low notes on piano
Organ and brass
and so forth until the arrival of the vocals (lead and background). 

All of which takes us to the songs final moments, when the orchestral breaks expose, once again, the hi-hat and wah-wah pedal guitar.   One way to view these breaks is to hear them as highlighting the first elements of the arrangement.  Consider that if it does that, it also highlights all of the other elements, too, because we are jumping down from the highest tier, where all of the instruments play, to the 2nd lowest tier, where the guitar sits atop the hi-hat. 

Or, to rotate from an image of verticality to one of horizontality, the arrangement cuts between wide shots of the whole orchestra to tight shots on the hi-hat and guitar.  That contrast gives us a sense of all that has come before, as if we look back on the knowledge we have accumulated over the past four and a half minutes.

Thank you for reading.