Week 1 Notes
FPA 289 2008
film music

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FPA 289 08-1 Film Music: Resource List


Week 1 F i l m s:







Carmine Coppola

Abel Gance


Example of complete score for silent film

Black Pirate

Mortimer Wilson

Albert Parker


Example of complete score for a silent film


William Wellman


Example of classic silent film acting w/ intertitles and continuous organ music

Ghost Dog


Jim Jarmusch


Hip hop score - note reference to samurai with gong

Jazz Singer

James Monaco, Louis Silvers, Irving berlin (songs)

Alan Crossland


One of the earliest synchronous sound films.

Edward Scissorhands

Danny Elfman

Tim Burton


Overture/opening titles - music of the fantastic

Dances with Wolves

John Barry

Kevin Costner


Overture/opening titles - music of the hero/military

Man on Fire

Harry Gregson-Williams

Tony Scott


Overture/opening titles - music suggests place and narrative arc

Week 2 F i l m s:






Pay It Forward

Thomas Newman

John Lee Hancock


Example of diegetic or source music where the characters are aware of the music.

High Anxiety

John Morris

Mel Brooks


2nd example of diegetic or source music where the characters are aware of the music. Also example of where non-diegetic music humourously transforms to diegetic with the appearance of the bus of symphony musicians.

Mildred Pierce

Max Steiner

Michael Curtiz


Music stopping on action example.

Once Upon a Tme in the West

Ennio Morricone

Sergio Leone


Exploration of the use of Leit Motifs for the main characters.

Pirates of the Caribbean (At Worlds' End)

Hans Zimmer

Gore Verbinski


Music "borrowed" from Morricone's Once Upon a Time in the West.

The Informer

Max Steiner

John Ford


Mickey Mousing & classic Steiner theme and variation.

King Kong

Max Steiner

Marian Cooper


Early example of "Mickey Mousing".

Key Largo

Max Steiner

John Huston


Classic Steiner underscoring of dialogue, cliché of Native American Indian music.

Star Wars: Episode II (The Attack of the Clones)

John Williams

George Lucas


Darth Vader's theme as example of structural use of music.


Maurice Jaubert

Jean Vigo


Early examples of diegetic and non-diegetic music.

Do the Right Thing

Bill Lee

Spike Lee


Music only example - setting of mythic place through music conventions.

The Carnival of Animals - The Aquarium

Camille St. Saens

music work


Influential work - very much in the film music mode.

Week 3 F i l m s:

Casablanca, 1942 Max Steiner, d. Michael Curtiz
Adventures of Robin Hood, 1943, Erich Korngold, Michael Curtiz
Song of Bernadette, 1943, Alfred Newman, Henry King
Laura, 1944, David Raksin, Otto Preminger
(Informer, 1935, Max Steiner, John Ford)
Best Years of Our Lives, 1946, Hugo Friedhofer, Wiliam Wyler
Double Indemnity, Miklos Roszsa, Billy Wilder
The Informer, 1935, Max Steiner, John Ford
Music for the Movies:The Hollywood Sound, 1995

Week 4 F i l m s:

A. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) m. Alex North, d. Elia Kazan,
First substantial use of jazz in film (other than source music). Opened the door for jazz in Hollywood. North’s first score for Kazan.  North had done the incidental music for Death of a Salesman (d. by Kazan) in N.Y. See quote, p.105, Prendergast (P) Note - Kazan had first used jazz and Dixieland in "Panic in the Streets" (1950) with Benny Carter on sax.
Cued to whistling sailor (jazz) in streetcar terminal. Ff to apt. interior as Blanche stubs out cigarette on the bureau. Interrupted by the train passing, the music stops with Stanley.

B. The Man with a Golden Arm (1955) m Elmer Bernstein, d. Otto Preminger. 
Main title music became a popular song.  See quote p 109 (P). 
Important also to note that the success of the Main titles spawned a great number of shoddy imitations (jazz became in for a while...)
Opening on set/street: Source or score?
Note shift to interior of bar and how music changes
Note entry of the theme
Fight with noise takes us to stairs and a solo – underscore of dialogue.
Franky Machine turns on the radio as a source for his drumming (source).

C. On the Waterfront (1954) Leonard Bernstein, d. Elia Kazan
Note how Kazan brought first rate composers to Hollywood.  Important composer, but film music is quite flawed.  This sequence, from the opening begins with orchestral percussion, then other instruments are added.

D. Elevator to the Gallows (1957/58) m. Miles Davis, d Louis Malle
Film scored as an improvisation session: Miles’ group was in Europe touring and Malle brought the film into the studio.  The approach was a quintessential jazz one. In sequence (18' into the film, there is an attempt at suggesting that the music is "source" - the woman turns the radio knob in the car and the volume decreases. This scene may have influenced Godard? In each film, it is virtually the first music cue after the titles.

E. Breathless (A Bout de Souffle) (1959) m. Martial Solal, d. Jean Luc Godard. 
Very influential film (French New Wave).  Quirky score with various idoms, in particular jazz based elements which don’t follow the conventional rules of scoring.  Note character's singing, etc. and the use of the radio again as suggested source.

F. A Touch of Evil (1958) m. Henry Mancini, d. Orson Welles. (CD, Video)
Mancini’s first film score, the elements (congas, jazz idioms, etc.) match the setting and the characters (juvenile deliquents smoking “reefers” the sordid decay of Welle’s Sheriff etc. This scene is extremely influential in film history.  New release has different music placement and the opening theme is removed.

G. Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Duke Ellington, Otto Preminger
Note the use of source (piano playing by Stewart character) at start of sequence.  Much source music in the film: radio, records and club scenes. Of note is Ellington  (called Pie Eye in the film) and Stewart at the piano in a little roadhouse! FF to opening of the office.

H. I Want to Live (1958) Johnny Mandel,  Robert Wise
Gerry Mulligan plays the love interest and the horn.  Note in this sequence how the music moves from source to score. Again, much of the music is scource motivated  throughout

I. Shadows (1959) Charlie Mingus, John Cassavetes
Film and director refer to notion of improvisation. Note the lack of reference in the music to the abandonment of the boyfriend by the girl. [2] 12:35 Horn solo example
              [5] 31:48 “Ain’t love grand?”

J. The Pawnbroker (1965) m. Quincy Jones, d. Sydney Lumet
Strong use of both jazz & contemporary writing. Start of Jone’s career,

N. Naked Lunch (1992) Howard Shore & Ornette Coleman, David Cronenberg
Quote from Howard Shore p. 338 (Brown) cue video @ 31:32 for music.

Contemporary Styles

O. On the Beach (1959) m. Ernest Gold, d. Stanely Kramer
            Use of 12 tone (atonal) writing to signify the “other” of the devastation of nuclear radiation.

P. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) m. Elmer Bernstein, d. Robert Mulligan
Opening music has child’s voice and piano, suggesting poignancy of the story and memory and innocence.  Excellent opening title sequence. Bernstein referred to the music as “child-adult music”. It needed to reference Atticus and his daughter as well as the place and time and the daughter as grown woman and narrator. Music contains harmonic sophistication of adult world with some child-like charm and simplicity. Small, intimate ensemble