4.5 Central coherence and cognitive style
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Author(s): The Open University

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3.3 Savant skills
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Author(s): The Open University

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Digital Image © 2008 Indiana Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.

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1.5.2 Resources

Resources on film music can be difficult to come by. There has been a gradual increase in the range and number of books available, and the bibliography you can get by clicking on the link below should help guide you towards useful texts.

Click 'View document' to open Indicative film music bibliography

Soundtrack albums are now released for many films, and DVDs occasionally include composer i
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence - see http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/ - Original copyright The Open University

1.5.1 Different ways of working

Composing for an entire film is an intense and intensive experience, which must usually be completed in a very short time. Composers are always the last people to work on a film, and cannot begin writing the score until the final edit of the film is ready, often only a few weeks before the film is to be released.

Composers work in many different ways: David Arnold (the current James Bond composer) uses an electronic keyboard and computers to record and manipulate his ideas, which are or
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1 4. Making the music fit the film

It is a huge step from identifying how music can be expressive, to composing music which captures the essence of the visual images, mood and action of a story. Composers such as David Arnold constantly stress how personal their response to the finished film is, but they still manage to guide our expectations and we feel uncomfortable if the music is ‘wrong’ somehow: too loud or quiet, expressing action too explicitly, or not saying enough.

Click on the first link below to watch
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1 3. From experience to interpretation

In almost all films, the visual story is completed first, dialogue and sound effects are then added and music is composed last of all. However, when Disney made the animated film Fantasia in 1940, they reversed the process, producing animations based on pieces of classical music. You may like to look at the Disney archives website, or read some information about the making of Fantasia from the Disney family museum website.

At the time, this was thought of as a way to popularise c
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1.2. Motifs and memorability

One of the reasons that we find film music memorable is that it uses distinctive melodic motifs to ‘catch’ the main characters it describes. The James Bond theme is a good example of this, but a modern composer who has had great success with memorable motifs in all his scores is John Williams (Jaws, Star Wars, Harry Potter). Click here to read an interview with Williams from 1998.

‘[We can] t
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Learning outcomes

By the end of this unit, you will have:

  • an awareness of methods of introducing film music to secondary school pupils;

  • an understanding of how the concept of music accompanying image can be applied to skills of composition;

  • an awareness of how to develop techniques of appraising and analysing film music through classroom activities.

Introduction

There are many approaches to using film music in the classroom, including:

  • a focus on pupil experience;

  • a focus on the structure of composition;

  • a focus on the relationship between music and image;

This unit will explore some of these approaches through various activities.