Film Music: The Importance Of Music In A Film

1308 Words6 Pages
“Music best enhances a film by focusing emotion. It can enhance in other more mechanical ways such as setting pace or creating tension but it is the emotional quality of music which best enhances a film. Music can reach an audience emotionally beyond the ability of picture and sound.” John McNaughton (Film and television director)
In this essay I will be discussing the importance and role music plays in a film. A precursor to films and film music there were operas, this essay will discuss the influence of Wagner’s operas and leitmotifs as well as exploring the introduction of programme music during the nineteenth century and the musical intentions that the composers had during that time and how it has influenced film music of today. It will
…show more content…
He developed Leitmotiv. Leitmotiven were used to create a ‘technical and stylistic fluidity’ (, 2015). Leitmotiven are used for characterisation it is also used to follow characters, ideas and represent objects. A character is given a particular musical passage or theme which was easily recognisable by the audience. Whenever the character is introduced on stage this passage or theme is played, it gives the character an identity. Prokofiev used this technique in many of his works such as ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet’. ’Prokofiev made extensive use of “leitmotif”: expressing the dramatic developments of characters and relationships through symphonic developments of associated musical ideas’ (, 2015). In ‘Peter and the wolf’, Prokofiev gives each character a particular instrument. For example, Peter’s theme is played by a violin and the wolf’s theme is played by French Horns. “The leitmotif has long been a standard technique of how film music is used and was especially popular in the era of classical Hollywood films in the 1930s and 40s with composers like Erich Korngold and Max Steiner.” (Junkie, 2012). Erich Korngold uses this technique in his composition for the movie ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’. The composers of Disney’s ‘Lion King’ and ‘The Great Mouse Detective’ also incorporated this technique into the film score. Here we can see that this technique is…show more content…
They were called Silent Films. Some of the most famous silent films are; Metropolis (1927) and The General (1926). Music was always, from the beginning, essential although it was only added to film after a couple of years. The silent films were often accompanied by the piano, guitar small ensemble or organ. It depended of the size of the theatre or hall being used. The music used for the early silent films were often improvised or the musician(s) classical pieces of the time that worked well with the film. Organists were used even more so than pianists. Some organs were capable of creating unusual sound effects that intensified the effects of film. An example of an unusual sound effect that would have been used is a “galloping horses” which could be used in a dramatic horse pursuit. Some countries like Brazil filmed operas and would have singers perform behind the screen. The very first piece of ‘original’ film music was written by Camille Saint-Saëns, the French composer in 1908 for the film L’Assistant du Duc de Guise (The Assassination of the Duke of Guise). He was asked especially to compose this score. Each part of the score was “carefully cued for the film” (Manvell and Huntley, 1975:22). There was always the argument of whether “Music was to be either a true part of the performance, or merely a polite embellishment to fill the embarrassing vacuum of the silence relieved only by the

More about Film Music: The Importance Of Music In A Film

Open Document