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How Music Makes Film and Television

What would happen if John Williams’ theme for Star Wars played in the background of a sensual, romance scene? Or if a whimsical tune from Alice in Wonderland played as characters were being savagely slaughtered in a horror movie?

This piece of writing would deal with why music is so important to a movie or television show and how song selection can make or break the impact of scenes. It would speak about why composers use specific instruments, sounds or techniques over others to portray certain moods.

  • There's a really good Youtube channel called 'Sideways' that discusses media music; check it out! – m-cubed 3 years ago
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  • A fascinating subject for a topic. It might also be relevant to make note of those composers who have deliberately created music for a particular scene that appears contrary to the mood of that scene and yet somehow seems to compliment it. Just one example off the top of my head is the music for the model train chase in Aardman Animation's 'The Wrong Trousers'. – Amyus 3 years ago
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  • Horror films often do this, like at the end of Halloween II when they play Mr Sandman through the credits. Creepy. – AGMacdonald 3 years ago
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  • I would suggest focusing--this is a very old, very broad topic. – IndiLeigh 3 years ago
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  • Accidentally posted before finishing--I suggest talking about different genres and using mostly examples of recent movies (e.g., Atomic Blonde, Darjeeling Limited, Moonlight). – IndiLeigh 3 years ago
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  • In my university major studies I did one subject called Survey of Film Music with Dr James Wierzbicki at USYD, in which we were introduced and discussed through the history of film music and the trends of making film music throughout the long film history. In classic Hollywood era, major studios hire full-time composers (most of them from Germany) and orchestra to compose music after the visual part is finished, whereas in contemporary film music making, there are also avant-garde or experimental films of which the film editing is after the music is written. "Film Music: A History (Routledge, 2009)" might be a good choice if you are looking further for film music history since the pre-cinema era. :) – Chenlei 3 years ago
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  • It's not about Hollywood, but in Bollywood, mostly movies are famous for their music and songs. – Vinita 3 years ago
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  • There is also the element of actually using these songs from one "classic" film in another film. The example that comes to mind is the use of the theme from 2001 in Clueless. – derBruderspielt 3 years ago
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  • An example of this that comes to mind is the use of Joanna Newsom's "The Sprout and the Bean" in The Strangers http://www.westword.com/music/joanna-newsoms-the-sprout-and-the-bean-created-the-perfect-horror-movie-moment-7745761 – midado 3 years ago
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