What is the Purpose of Film Music?
To enhance dramatic narrative [e.g. chase scenes in adventure movies].
To enhance the emotional impact of a scene [e.g. slushy romantic music in a love scene, or tense edgy music in a horror scene].
To create a sense of place [e.g. Bond movies with scenes in exotic locations].
To add quality and a sense of scale to a movie [a big orchestra gives the impression of a big budget].
What is the Nature of Film Music?
Film Scores can include a vast range of styles of music, depending on the nature of the films for which they are provided.
Many film scores, and especially those of John Williams, are rooted in Western Classical Music, but music for film has also incorporated many other styles such as jazz, rock, pop, blues and modern popular dance styles as well as experimental music:
The earliest film music scores, beginning in the mid-1920s when technological developments made film sound possible, made use of the popular band music style of the time [The Jazz Singer (1927) was the first film with synchronized soundtrack:]
- Erich Korngold’s superb film music for The Sea Hawk (1940) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)
- Max Steiner’s exciting score for King Kong (1933) and his evocative music for the classic Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman wartime movie Casablanca (1942).