Category Archives: Terms

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.

Graduateposter67

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.

MV5BNDYyMDgxNDQ5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjc1ODg3OA@@._V1_SX640_SY720_

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).

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Mickey Mousing

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Film Music 101: Underscore

In film music, the underscore refers to music that specifically accompanies a scene with dialogue.

The underscore functions in much the same way as underlining a piece of text: it’s meant to emphasize a particular piece of dialogue and tell the audience: THIS is important, you should really pay attention to this scene!

download

A very good example of underscore can be found in Aragorn’s speech at the Black Gate in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (2003).

This moment takes place on the cusp of the final action climax of the trilogy: Sauron’s army is pouring out of Mordor, the Army of the West is outnumbered 100 t0 1, and the men are rightfully scared. But, as Aragorn reassures them, this is no time to break the vows they have sworn, this is the time to stand and fight!

Return of the King: Stand Men of the West!

Drno1

Bond…James Bond.

Another example can be found in the first James Bond film Dr. No (1962) during a calypso party at a restaurant in Jamaica. The scene opens with the party in progress and the music continues while Bond (Sean Connery) talks with Felix Leiter (Jack Lord). In this scene, the music doesn’t so much increase the drama as it provides a contrast with the cheery mood of the crowd (they are talking about the criminal Dr. No and how to get onto his island Crab Key to investigate).

Dr. No: Calypso Party Scene

Thanks again for checking out Film Music Central, have a great day!

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

When a film needs to have a song written for it, the composer (or group of composers) will create what are known as “test” lyrics while the melody is being put together.

As a general rule, test lyrics bear little to no resemblance to the final version, they’re really intended as a tool to help guide the song writers in putting the verses together (in a sense, test lyrics are similar to the temp track created for a film, see The Temp Track for details).

Once the final lyrics are completed, the test lyrics are thrown out and never seen by the public…not usually. There is one notable exception, where the test lyrics became so popular that the writers kept them as the final version.

I’m talking about the song “Gaston” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (1991)

gbzymisjno0x2gvbvqv9

There’s a reason those lyrics are particularly silly…

It turns out that when the writers for this movie were putting the songs together, the song that turned out to be “Gaston” was originally planned to be completely different. What it was supposed to be we will never know, because the writers became so attached to the test lyrics, that they decided to just keep them and thus, “Gaston” was born.

 

“Gaston” – Beauty and the Beast

Please enjoy the wonderful silliness that is this song. It’ll be interesting to see if the live remake contains a song like this one (or if it will have any songs at all!). Enjoy! Thank you for all of the likes and comments, you guys are awesome!

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Film Music 101, see also: Film Music 101

See also:

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Film Music 101: Sidelining

In film music production, sidelining refers to when musicians appear onscreen in a film or television production. They will usually appear with their musical instruments, though they may or may not actually play on them.

Sidelining has occurred a lot over the course of history, so I will only select a few examples to show here.

The_Jazz_Singer_1927_Poster

The Jazz Singer-1927

During the famous scene where Al Jolson sings, a small orchestra is seated behind him. This movie is often considered the first “talkie” (that is, a film with synchronized sound).

Gone_With_The_WindP33P20026

Gone With the Wind– 1939

During the Confederate ball scene, there is a band on stage.

It’s almost not fair to include this movie since it’s about a group of musicians, but I couldn’t resist!

The Blues Brothers-1980

Practically any movie with live music in it is considered an example of sidelining, so there are too many examples to count. Another good example comes from Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015) during the scene in the opera house.

For more Film Music 101, see also: Film Music 101

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

See also:

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Music Editor

In the filmmaking process, the music editor is a person who works closely with the composer and the film’s production company to organize, document and time the music cues for a given film project.

large_image_max_steiner_orchestra_condcut

While the composer/conductor leads the recording, the music editor will be off to the side keeping track of what is being recorded and when.

A music editor is also responsible for compiling the temp track used as the film’s temporary soundtrack (see The Temp Track for details about this feature of film music).

A music editor will, as a general rule, be present during the recording sessions and document (i.e. keep track of) each cue as it is recorded and may also have the responsibility of generating the click track for a particular cue (see The Click Track).

Putting a film’s soundtrack together is definitely a team effort, to say the least.

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

See also:

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: The Click Track

In the process of scoring film music, musicians rely on a click track to help synch the music perfectly with the image on the screen.

A click track is an audible metronome signal that the conductor and musicians hear through a set of headphones while recording is in progress. Some examples below include:

Scoring session for The Incredibles

Frozen Recording Session

Note how all the musician’s are wearing headphones.

The click track was invented in the early 1930s just as the Golden Era of Hollywood began to take off. The invention of the click track is attributed to two people: Max Steiner (1888-1971), one of the three founders of film music and Carl W. Stalling (1891-1972), Warner Bros. house composer for their animated cartoons.

Max_Steiner     220px-Carlstalling

The click track is actually similar to the ear plugs that singers will wear to help them keep the beat, that’s why when a singer goes a cappella, they will take the ear piece out.

120332266_01_376486b

I wondered for years what those ear pieces were for…

Hope you enjoyed this look into film music! Have a great week!

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460
Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook!

See also:

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: Dubbing

David-Prowse-as-Darth-Vader-in-Star-Wars-Episode-IV

Imagine Darth Vader with a thick Welsh accent…

In the world of films and film music, dubbing is the process whereby a new soundtrack is added to an already completed film. This could mean adding dialogue, sound effects or music.

Dialogue might have to be dubbed in if the original recording was deemed unsuitable. Most (in)famously, David Prowse’s performance as Darth Vader was dubbed over by James Earl Jones (allegedly without Prowse’s knowledge, though this has been disputed).
Sound effects can be dubbed in to create a desired mood in a particular scene. Screwball comedies often did this by dubbing in slapstick sound effects to emphasize comedic falls or double takes.

Music, both diegetic and non-diegetic, might have to be dubbed in if the original recording was damaged in some way or the director becomes unsatisfied with the initial result. For example, say a movie originally features a certain diegetic song playing on the radio. If the director changes their mind and wants a different song, the editors would go back and dub in a new song, so that the audience would never be able to tell that a new song was added in.

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

See also:

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

In film music (and classical music, especially opera), a leitmotif is “a short, constantly recurring musical phrase, that is associated with a particular person, place, or idea.”

The most famous user of leitmotif in 21st century Hollywood would have to be composer John Williams in the seven Star Wars scores (1977-ongoing)

(for more on the leitmotifs of Star Wars see: The Empire Strikes Back or, Everyone has a Theme! Part One: Leitmotif and “The Imperial March” and The Empire Strikes Back Part Two!: Han and Leia in Love and Yoda!! )

Leitmotifs can be found in many films, for example, in the Star Trek franchise there is a popular theme known as the “Enterprise motif,” this is the fanfare of rising fourths that occurs almost every time the Enterprise appears on the screen (this is especially true in the original series and in the Next Generation films).

The concept of leitmotif (which roughly translates to “leading motive”) predates the creation of film by several decades and is closely associated with the late-Romantic composer Richard Wagner (though Wagner did NOT invent the concept himself as some have claimed)

RichardWagner

Wagner’s operatic music had a HUGE influence on modern film music

In Wagner’s famous cycle of operas known as Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelungs, aka “The Ring Cycle”), Wagner created an entire series of leitmotifs to represent specific characters or themes in the story.

For example, the hero Siegfried is represented by a leitmotif known as “Siegfried’s Horn Call,” seen here below:

Siegfried_leitmotif

Another important motif represents the god Wotan’s spear:

maxresdefault

Other motifs represent: Fire, The Rhine, The Ring, and Sleep

Whatever the context, leitmotifs are an integral part of a film score (when they are used), and they provide an interesting connection to the world of 19th century opera.

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Mickey Mousing

In the world of film and animation music, “Mickey Mousing” is the affectionate (and occasionally derogatory) nickname given to a technique whereby the music and the action on the screen are completely in sync with each other. The reason this technique is called “Mickey Mousing” is because it first appeared in the 1928 cartoon Steamboat Willie starring Mickey Mouse!

Incidentally, Mickey was originally voiced by Walt Disney himself!
The reason “Mickey Mousing” occurred at all is because, after film studios learned the trick of making sound film, they all wanted to show off the fact that their films had sound. To that end, the soundtracks of many, MANY films, were overly synchronized with the actin on the screen, and this happened a lot in the early Disney cartoons as well.
For instance, the 1929 cartoon Skeleton Dance is a 5 1/2 minute example of “Mickey Mousing.” Take a few minutes to watch it and I believe you’ll see what I mean.

My favorite moment in “Skeleton Dance” comes when the one skeleton is sneaking around, taking first three long strides and then quick stepping (and how the music matches his movement, it’s a trick seen more than once in cartoons).
While “Mickey Mousing” has decreased greatly over the years, it is still being used. A more recent example can be found in the first Spider-Man movie in 2002. In the scene where Peter (Tobey Maguire) discovers he has the ability to climb walls, listen to what the music does when his hand first touches the brick wall and then begins to climb up, it’s mimicking his actions! Pretty cool right? Have a look here below:

Hope you enjoyed another look at the world of film music, have a great day!

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Film Music 101: see here

See also:

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Music Editor

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Film Music 101: Arranger

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: Leitmotif

Film Music 101: Orchestration and cues

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Film Music 101: Arranger

Another individual (or group of individuals) who serve an important function in getting a film score put together is the arranger.

An arranger should not be confused with an orchestrator. An orchestrator takes the composer’s piano score and fleshes it out into a full-bodied orchestral score. Arrangement, by contrast, takes a pre-existing musical work and re-arranges it by adding new musical themes, new transitions or whatever is necessary to make an old work fit in a new context.

Take for example the main theme from the Mission Impossible film series. The title theme (featuring a lighted fuse) was taken from the original theme written for the television series in the 1960s.

The Mission Impossible film series now contains five films: Mission Impossible (1996), Mission Impossible II (2000), Mission Impossible III (2006), Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol (2011) and Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation (2015), with Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018) coming out later this summer. For each film’s title sequence, the music has been arranged to fit the context of the new film, though the core of the music remains intact. Listen to the examples below and you’ll see what I mean (the biggest contrast, in my opinion, comes in the title sequence for Mission Impossible II, it has a definitive 2000-era vibe).

You can thank the arranger for the different sound of the music in each title sequence. So hard to believe that the first Mission Impossible movie opened TWENTY YEARS AGO!! Hope you enjoyed!

You can become a patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more Film Music 101: see here

See also:

Film Music 101: Anempathetic sound

Film Music 101: Empathetic Sound

Film Music 101: Foley

Film Music 101: Montage

Film Music 101: Compilation Score

Film Music 101: “Stinger” Chords

Film Music 101: Dubbing

Film Music 101: Diegetic vs. Non-Diegetic Music

Film Music 101: Underscore

Film Music 101: Sidelining

Film Music 101: “Test” Lyrics

Film Music 101: The First Film Score

Film Music 101: Borrowing

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂