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Chapter 1 Contents

Anchor 3


Historically film composers have ‘stolen’ from the classical masters.  The orchestration techniques and textural moods have been models for many of the great films made in the 20th century.  When one examines film music today, they discover that film scores have utilized several of these classical languages including the works of Hector Berlioz, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claude Debussy, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Richard Wagner, and Gustav Mahler to mention a few.  In addition, composers have emulated the music of more contemporary composers such a Steve Reich, Phillip Glass, Igor Stravinsky, György Ligeti, Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Boulez, Charles Ives, Lucianno Berio, Samuel Barber, and Aaron Copeland.  Consequently, their collective music has influenced film scores and provided new languages and approaches that have been adopted.  The subsequent chapters will present these languages and provide evidence of their use.  Minimalism, micropolyphony, serialism, aleatory, organic and ethnic approaches are interrogated.  Of note, these languages, both tonal and atonal, provide a variety of psychological ‘imagery’ that in singular or in combination can led to the creation of innovative and effective sound tracks.  They provide a broader range of tension versus release possibilities so common in the storyboards of today’s films.


Exercise 1.0

Conduct a YouTube or Vimeo search to find a music cue that demonstrates one or two of the above.  Present in class and use the following as directed questions:

  1. What category of film music is it?

  2. What stands out about the music?

  3. What language(s) are being used?

  4. What is the medium of expression?

  5. Do you think it works well with the scene?  If so why?

  6. Can you make any suggestions to add to the cue or to use a different approach?


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