A Reflection On The Intersection Of Music And Film

An important collision of two art forms that complement each other and exist in harmony is the intersection between music and film. Telling stories in cinema would not be possible without a driving score to enhance and create moments, whether building up suspense or adding a euphoric feeling to project victory.

If the skill and subtleties of placing the camera, finding perfect camera angles and creating shots that portray and convey what the director wants, such as Hitchcock’s impressive repertoire like for example his high shot, is the director’s way of expression, then the film scorer’s attention to detail and exemplifying of scenes with creative music that runs with the theme and the very skeleton of the shot is equally compelling and vital.

Music for a particular scene accentuates and drives the shot which is an aphorism that cannot change. To bring about some feeling in the viewer while he/she is watching the scene unfold is the essence of how the intersection of film and music manages to captivate audiences. There is no feeling in the scene without music and there is no viable way of conveying the scene’s message without the tonality of a score.

The musical score dovetails the running feeling and message of the shot and pieces the film together like the remaining pieces of a jigsaw. Not only is the score important, but also the use of pieces of music created by musicians and bands appropriately adds a significant pulse to the shot on screen.

Having only recently begun making music for film, I have tried my best with limited plugins on my DAW to recreate pieces of film with music that evokes feeling and supplements the on-screen action.

Here is a short piece of wildlife footage made by BBC that depicts an action sequence of Cheetahs attacking and killing an Ostrich to which I have added my own score.

This is my score to one of my favourite franchise films: Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. This particular piece of work is Sean Connery’s most famous scenes playing James Bond 007 to which I have added my own score trying my best to make it come to life.

While conceptualising a film I wanted to make back when I was contemplating going to film school, I always pictured a train sequence with the blues song Rolling Stone by Robert Wilkins to go with the scene. Here, I have taken footage of trains moving and added the song to that to show how well the song goes with the movement of trains.

Music also changes the entire look, feel and mood of a film as explained in this video. It has similar shots but with different music which depicts how the mood changes with sound and how that makes the score all the more important.

This song by Norah Jones from my favourite TV show of all time HBO’s Boardwalk Empire also needed a video so I made my own little series of clips with it playing in the background.

As far as theme songs go, my two favourite gangster shows have brilliant theme songs. Boardwalk Empire’s opening song ‘Straight Up and Down’ by a band I like a lot Brian Jonestown Massacre and Peaky Blinders’ theme song ‘Red Right Hand’ by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are both brilliant.

As far as films go, this opening song from Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs with the song Little Green Bag is a really smooth and cool introduction to a film. Other movies with amazing song soundtracks are Watchmen(The movie, not the TV show) and The Crow.

Another brilliant intro score to a movie is Scarface(1983) by Giorgio Moroder.

Another few Tarantino films with great music include Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained and Inglorious Bastards. This piece by Ennio Morricone for the movie Inglorious Bastards is especially eclectic and is a masterpiece.

My favourite film scorers include Ennio Morricone, Hans Zimmer, Giorgio Moroder, Danny Elfman, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood and India’s AR Rahman and RD Burman.

Music has myriad applications in film and is a vital cog in the movie making machine. To get the right score is paramount for film producers and directors. The intersection of music and film is a tryst with this modern age of story telling and holds ever so much importance in today’s film expression and times. Here’s Hans Zimmer in his Masterclass ad telling it like it is.

If you like my work and blog you can reach out to me on my email: gauravk113@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. Excellent insights into the aesthetics of “sight and sound” ! The technicalities of film making go far beyond the boundaries of acquiring skills. You are born with an innate sense of the divine interplay of Sight and Sound in creating visual impact !

    Like

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