Data, what are you playing?
July 20, 2011 4:44 AM   Subscribe

What is this beautiful violin song (in the first minute or so of the video) featured in Star Trek: The Next Generation?

The episode is "Elementary, Dear Data," which is season 2, episode 3. This song is gorgeous, but despite multiple searches I can't find anyone stating what it is. Even a guess as to the period or composer would be a start.

For the record, it's entirely possible that this piece was written for the show, although given how often the show features classical music, I kind of doubt it.
posted by divisjm to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a violinist, and it doesn't ring any bells for me. If it is an existing piece, I'd guess some romantic violinist-composer... maybe Joachim or Ysaye? More likely it was improvised by some studio guy in LA, or specially composed for the show. I vote improvisation.
posted by violinflu at 5:09 AM on July 20, 2011

I recognize the tune, so it isn't improvised, but I can't place the title, either. I also don't think it is originally an unaccompanied piece (though it likely is a solo), so it's probably from a concerto, quartet, or something where the violin is prominent.
posted by TinWhistle at 7:49 AM on July 20, 2011

In another episode, "Inheritance", Data and Juliana Tainer play a piece by Johan Halvorsen, which was itself based on a piece by Handel (see Memory Alpha entry). Maybe this info might ring some bells for TinWhistle?
posted by likeso at 8:45 AM on July 20, 2011

from the youtube comments: Passacaglia for Violin and Viola, by Johan Halvorsen (late 19th century), based on an earlier work by Handel.
posted by anotherkate at 10:48 AM on July 20, 2011

Response by poster: anotherkate: I can't watch the video right now to confirm, but I think I remember seeing that comment last night when I first started this search, and that referred to a different portion, and thus to a different song. Perhaps I'm mistaken, or the show re-used the piece; I'll check again when I'm home later today. (I'll also search for that specific piece and listen to it fully, just in case.)

Thanks for your thoughts so far, everyone!
posted by divisjm at 11:10 AM on July 20, 2011

It is definitely not from the Handel/Halvorsen passacaglia, which is quite well known. I could believe it is the tune to some other piece by Halvorsen, who is right in that romantic violinist/composer sweet spot... Still strikes me as probably improvised, but I hope you're able to prove me wrong!
posted by violinflu at 4:48 PM on July 20, 2011

Violinflu, that's what I was thinking - that it might be another of Halvorsen's pieces - and hoping you or TinWhistle might know. :)

If all else fails, we could ascribe it to Dennis McCarthy, who was the composer on the "Elementary, Dear Data" episode.
posted by likeso at 5:18 PM on July 20, 2011

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