Ahead of Sunday’s trektastic concert at the Royal Albert Hall, we were kindly offered the opportunity to talk to Ron Jones who was the composer on Star Trek The Next Generation on seasons 1-4.
Ron will be appearing as a guest conductor at Star Trek The Ultimate Voyage on Sunday 1st November and we understand there are still some tickets left, but be quick!
TGs: You continued the theme of classical music scores in to TNG, do you know how that decision came about?
RJ: There was a lot of discussion between Gene Roddenberry and Bob Justman. Paramount and the executive side were worried as TNG was so different with a bald British captain, a Klingon on the bridge, a different cast. They were worried that the TOS fans would see this and be in shock. They told us liberally to use weed out the theme from Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage’s themes from the movies.
As the show progressed, we got our legs in the the middle of the second second and defiantly by the third season. Then the music got its own thing.
TGs: So much like how TNG is believed to have come in to its own by season 2/3, you felt the music had also came into its own by then?
RJ: As characters, when they started, they didn’t really know each other then after a while, they would add a sense of humour, become much more relaxed and figure out what they were all about. The writers too had to figure out what the show was all about. It evolved weekly but it hit critical mass about that time.
TGs: How connected were you to the development of the show?
RJ: I can’t tell the story visually so I have tell the listener and inform them as to the emotional content. I would read the script and before I start writing a note I would ask, ‘what is the show about? What is this character about’. If that character was a melodic device, turn it into a musical thing or that feeling, what would it be? What would the feeling of the situation they are in be? So I do a lot of work, I become totally submerged into the emotional content and tried to decipher as much as I can of those emotional queues, those emotional keys. And so those ideas start to collide. If it starts of they’re in adventure mode, They can be in in a scene that is scientific and exciting and then all of a sudden something crazy happens and it all changes. So I have to bat that all out, which is my own personal way. A lot of composers sit down and look at the show and do the first thing that come to their mind and there’s not any thought about it. for me I do so much work, it’s like building a giant structure and so even now when I look back now I have a portfolio of notes where I wrote down all of the characters and I think when people that really listen to the scores they’ll hear that, they’ll hear that jerry goldsmith style, they’ll hear my style. Some of the composers were sensitive to that and other composers have that all unique approach to it and don’t go to all that trouble.