Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Unlike an original film score, which is composed specifically for the film, the compilation score consists of background music that is assembled entirely from pre-existing material.

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Copyright © 1967 by Embassy Pictures

Using Simon & Garfunkel songs for the score had a big impact on later film music

Compilation scores really took off in the mid-1960s after the 1967 film The Graduate featured a score consisting entirely of Simon & Garfunkel music (including “The Sound of Silence” and “Mrs. Robinson.”).  Compilation scores can also be known as pop scores if the pre-existing music consists of pop songs.

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Another example of the compilation score is 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Most infamously, Stanley Kubrick rejected composer Alex North’s original score at the last minute and retained the film’s temp track (consisting of classical pieces) as the film’s final score.

The advent of compilation scores led older film composers to bemoan the growing belief that the classic film score (as created in the 1930s) was “dead and buried.” While this appeared to be true for a time (as compilation scores became exceptionally popular), original film scores never fully stopped being created, they were merely placed on the back burner for a decade or so until John Williams stepped up with his earth-shattering score for Star Wars (1977).

For more Film Music 101: see here

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