The Importance Of Music In Film

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The Film and Television director, John McNaughton accurately said that “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.” 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 be discussing when and why music was first introduced to film as well as looking at silent films. Richard Wagner was an incredibly influential and important composer. He developed Leitmotiv. Leitmotiven were used to create a ‘technical and stylistic fluidity’ (Umich.edu, 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’.

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