When someone mentions Star Wars, the sound of its most famous score likely pops in to your head, The Imperial March. But if I asked you to remember music from a Marvel movie, or a movie like Arrival, could you recall a song. Many movies used to have memorable scores, think Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, James Bond, Mission Impossible, Jaws, and many more. But now, many movies don’t have these memorable tracks. The most recent one that comes to mind may be the Hunger Games, which only uses a short little whistle sequence. But this begs the question, what makes music memorable, especially in movies. And why isn’t the music so memorable anymore. Back when several major studios ruled Hollywood, composers were employees of the company. They also worked on music after the first edited version of the movie. While the directors did ask them to set tones for the movies, they often worked on their own, producing several drafts of music. (HowStuffWorks). Nowadays, composers work independently. They are hired by movie studios during production and make the music to fit the script while the movie is being produced. Also, the director and production team is much more involved in directing the music. Instead of seeing the movie after its finished. Composers start work often before filming even starts, in order to help a movie move along more quickly.

Several composers are lamenting the loss of their work, seeing the search for unique and exciting melodies fade. According the to an article in the Globe &Mail, a Canadian publication, a movie composer Randy Newman, who has won 10 oscars for his music, sees the film industry moving toward song oriented trends, along with more standard music, music that matches and while amplifies feelings on the screen, it doesn’t stick in memory.


Everett-Green, Robert. “Sounds off track: whatever happened to movie music?” Globe & Mail [Toronto, Canada], 31 July 1999. Opposing Viewpoints in Context, link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A30545610/OVIC?u=salt89600&xid=3242be71. Accessed 9 Feb. 2017.

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November 9, 2018 6:58 pm

some salient comments in that article. I agree with Randy Newman’s synopsis on the basic functions of music in Film. Music can be an amplifier of movements and moods. It can also be about songs capturing feelings that the film wants to get across to its audience. Its worth pointing out that some film composers like myself work in tandem with writers and directors. In short, a developing film score can sometimes influence the film makers decisions on plot and mood and character development.

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