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finn_wild

Is a score integral to a film to evoke emotion?

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Yo

For my dissertation I will be looking at scores used in film. Often films largely rely on a score to evoke emotion and there are many memorable examples which remain in the audience consciousness, becoming a cultural classic. Films such as Jaws, which features an iconic sound phrase in the opening scene, takes away the need for a visual scene.

Martin Williams writes that even today, "at the crudest level, one might say that the music is there simply to keep the audience from becoming distracted" (Williams, 1974).

Having set this scene, I’m going to prove Martin Williams wrong. I’ll do this by thoroughly investigating how people they react to a score and there attitude towards then by conducting questionnaires, surveys, talking to professionals and an experiment. Whether or not a score is integral to a film in my mind is yet to be proved but in my opinion it enhances, creates and evokes emotion. Or can in fact a film deliver the emotion without the use of a score.

I will be looking at scores used in a range of films. A lot of work goes into making of a soundtrack for a film but your average audience doesn’t have any idea how much work or how complex a score is. I’m specifically going to look at the composer and whether or not a film can evoke emotion without the use of a score. Personally I don’t think it can in the same way, but several very famous films have done it, I’m going to investigate how they did it and if it works.

I was just wondering what people thought and if anyone could possibly give me an interview for my piece?

Thanks for reading.

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It's not integral.

But in the same sense that a beautiful or scary sight or a complex character or a specific editing tecnique might be unnecesary. It's all narrative devices, you can do the same thing in a broad variety of ways. Some filmmakers feel more comfortable with one set of tools or another. I also think that some filmmakers tend to put a score there just because. Maybe because that's what everubody does. I'd rather not to put a score that to use a boring or uninteresting score.

In my case I enjoy that music in film has a strong voice, like other elements in the film.

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For a lot of films, it does the heavy lifting. And for some, it can detract when seen in the context of the film. Scores like War Horse and Skinwalkers lose that emotional grasp when the scores are seen in context.

But the score shouldn't lose its punch or quality if the music is well-composed and performed. I haven't seen The Wind and the Lion, but the score itself is a powerhouse. Just breathtaking.

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For a lot of films, it does the heavy lifting. And for some, it can detract when seen in the context of the film. Scores like War Horse and Skinwalkers lose that emotional grasp when the scores are seen in context.

But the score shouldn't lose its punch or quality if the music is well-composed and performed. I haven't seen The Wind and the Lion, but the score itself is a powerhouse. Just breathtaking.

--- Me too. I haven't seen TWaTL but men, the main title is like, awesome. In fact most of Goldsmith's music that I've come to enjoy, (Leviathan, The Swarm, The Blue Max, Wild Rovers, Lionheart, The Sand Pebbles, Rudy, to name a select few) I hadn't even still watched their original films!

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Not all films require scores to evoke emotion, but yes (duh!), if can obviously have that effect.

Interestingly, I did my own thesis on the cognitive functions of film music, especially related to emotions, mood and symbolism. It's not available in English, but you can read the abstract here:

http://www.duo.uio.no/sok/work.html?WORKID=21987

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Well, I think it depends on the person and the film.

It certainly depends on the film. If the director is able to achieve the perfect effect he wants without music, then adding music would be a waste of time, and the music would be meaningless noise. Hitchcock's The Birds is a good example. So is the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Also, some of the most effective scenes in motion pictures are unscored. In Brazil, a very emotionally gutting moment is when Sam finds out Jill has been shot dead. The matter-of-fact way in which he is told, completely unscored (if my memory serves me correctly) really adds to the emotional punch of the scene.

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the Bird is a film that needs a score. It's the one thing lacking in the movie that keeps it from popping off the screen.

the Birds is the best example of a film failing to reach it's full potential. It's a good film without a score but it is in no way a great film as it is.

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I think a film really benefits from a well-crafted score (whether orchestral or non-orchestral) but it takes a highly skilled composer to let go of his/her ego and place no score at all. Take for instance the original Planet of the Apes final scene in which Goldsmith wisely did not place music in it because, according to Goldsmith: Heston was a bit over the top himself and didn't need any score to accompany him."

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There are lots of films that you guys would probably label 'art films' that have no or minimal non-diegetic score, but that are still very engrossing nonetheless. I saw several at a film festival last week, among them the very beautiful and emotionally riveting JEAN GENTIL from the Dominican Republic (co-produced with Mexico and Germany).

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