Music in Cinema

Course Description
Music’s unique ability to magnify emotion and create a variety of distinct moods makes it an essential element to the success of a motion picture. This class explores the history of music in cinema, beginning with an examination of how classical music from the nineteenth century foreshadowed the use of music in movies during the twentieth century. The class examines the use of music as an accompaniment for silent films and then moves chronologically through the development of film music from the late-1920s to the present. The class is taught with numerous movie and audio clips containing music from such iconic film composers as Max Steiner, Erich Korngold, Bernard Herrmann, Ennio Morricone, John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and many others.

What are the Greatest Original Film Scores?
The answer to this question should prompt endless discussion, and here's an excellent video from CineFix to get the conversation started.



CineFix's Top Ten
1.
The Sea Hawk (score by Erich Korngold, 1940)
2.
The Empire Strikes Back (score by John Williams, 1980)
3.
There Will Be Blood (score by Johnny Greenwood, 2007)
4.
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (score by Ennio Morricone, 1967)
5.
Alexander Nevsky (score by Sergei Prokofiev, 1939)
6.
Ben-Hur (score by Miklós Rózsa, 1959)
7.
Psycho (score by Bernard Herrmann, 1960)
8.
Dunkirk (score by Hans Zimmer, 2017)
9.
The Godfather (score by Nino Rota, 1972)
10.
Elevator to the Gallows (score by Miles Davis, 1958)

What is the Most Well-Known Movie Music?
There should be little debate about the answer to this question. The most famous music ever composed for the movies was the 20th Century Fox fanfare written by Alfred Newman in 1933.



Just for Fun – A Crossword Puzzle on Music in Cinema
Print the crossword and have fun seeing how much you know. If you have attended Jim's class, you should be able to complete the crossword with no problem.
Music for Cinema Performed in a Concert Hall
Most film music probably makes little sense outside the context of the movie it accompanies. Even so, some film music works well in the concert hall and belongs on the same program with classical masterworks. The list below contains links to movie music performed live in concert. I make no apologies for including so many links to music from the great Ennio Morricone.
Online Articles
Recommended Books and a DVD on Music in Cinema
(Click the icon to see the item on Amazon)





2019 Academy Award Nominees for Best Original Score
(Click on the movie title to hear the soundtrack on Spotify.)

Black Panther (Original Score by Ludwig Goransson)

BlacKkKlansman (Original Score by Terence Blanchard

If Beale Street Could Talk (Original Score by Nicholas Britel)

Isle of Dogs (Original Score by Alexandre Desplat, the only previous winner in this category. Desplat won Oscars for The Shape of Water in 2017 and The Grand Budapest Hotel in 2014)

Mary Poppins Returns (Original Score by Marc Shaiman)


Beyond the Music: A Short Documentary