The Role Of Music In Cinema

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Essay on the role of music in cinema. In 1943 Alfred Hitchcock’s new film Lifeboat was in production, much to the chagrin of the composer, Hitchcock decided the film would have no music, for as he put it, where would the music come from on a lifeboat? To which the composer Hugo Friedhofer retorted, “Ask Mr Hitchcock to explain where the camera came from and I’ll tell him where the music comes from.” Music remains the most over-looked and under appreciated aspect of the medium of film. According to composer John Williams “When we watch films, I don’t think we separate one thing from another. When we listen to the dialogue, we hear sound effects and we hear an orchestra or whatever music it is. But I don’t think we take it apart as we listen to it. We can discuss the elements technically or clinically after the fact, but when we experience the film, it’s the totality that moves us or doesn’t move us. I think music’s role is to become part of the living body of the film. We need the music to be there.” (Williams, J.2014) It is often said that music in films in not meant to be heard, instead its function is to communicate the underlying psychological drama of the narrative at a subconscious level with the exception of course of diegetic music which is often used to convey a time or place within the film. Motion picture music was born out of necessity, as Kurt London remarks in (citation), "It began not as a result of any artistic urge, but from the dire need of something

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