View Full Version : Trying To Find Musical Analysis of FIlms!


OneMansNoise
08-25-2010, 07:44 PM
Hello!
I have been trying to do my own research on the relation of film and music and have been reading some books which also have some small examples from movies.But I don't know where I can find a full musical analysis for specific films.Because the only way to learn and understand is from the movies themselves and not by some specific theory.So I am trying to find a book or something that analyses the music of a film in deep!
anyone can help me?

Zensteve
08-26-2010, 03:26 AM
I can't think of any books right now, but I'm sure it's a pretty involved process.

What are your influences? Maybe find some books on (or by) particular composers?

OneMansNoise
08-26-2010, 05:27 AM
Well, I have some favorite composers that have done some great work in films such as Nino Rota, Enio Moriccone, Sergei Prokovief but I believe there are many composers and movies worth to study on from the time of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keyton, Orson Welles also from the 70' such as movies of Jusepe Tornatore, Federico Felini and the present eg Roman polanski, Tim Burton and many others.So I would be interested to find a musical analisis for any of these type of movies.. :)

harpsichoid
08-30-2010, 07:26 AM
Well, I have some favorite composers that have done some great work in films such as Nino Rota, Enio Moriccone, Sergei Prokovief but I believe there are many composers and movies worth to study on from the time of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keyton, Orson Welles also from the 70' such as movies of Jusepe Tornatore, Federico Felini and the present eg Roman polanski, Tim Burton and many others.So I would be interested to find a musical analisis for any of these type of movies.. :)
You mentioned Tim Burton, you should probably check this out:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Danny-Elfmans-Batman-Score-Guide/dp/0810851261/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1283167483&sr=8-2

It was a pretty amazing soundtrack, it's just unfortunate Burton made a shit job of the actual film.

OneMansNoise
08-30-2010, 09:27 AM
Its a great score indeed!this looks very interesting Ill check it out!thank you very much harpsichoid :)

Hammerstone
08-31-2010, 06:34 PM
I picked up a copy of this book (http://www.amazon.com/Film-Music-Neglected-Roy-Prendergast/dp/039330874X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283293459&sr=1-2) at Half Price Books, and it was invaluable. It's kind of old (mid-1960's I think?) and contains mostly examples (not full score analyses) from golden age composers, but you'll learn a lot.

It also might be worth it to read an autobiography (http://www.amazon.com/Double-Life-Miklos-Rozsa/dp/0922066175/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1283293667&sr=1-1) or two to get a bit the composers' views, though the ones I've read aren't usually very in-depth.

DVD special features are amazing. Besides documentaries, sometimes there will be an isolated score, and very occasionally a composers' commentary with it. Basil Poledouris's commentary/isolated score on the 2-disc edition of Starship Troopers is excellent. *edit* Of course, I'm talking about the region 1 dvd...I have no idea about the others...

Cracker Funk
08-31-2010, 06:44 PM
If I understand what it is you're looking for, this isn't really something that can be talked about in layman's terms. This is the kind of stuff fourth-year musical composition college students talk about.

OneMansNoise
09-01-2010, 10:47 AM
Hammerstone thank you very much!Ill probably order this one!
And indeed what might be most useful and easy to understand would be the composers themselves talking about their scores!So I will check this out too.

Cracker Funk No Im not looking for something in laymans terms:p
I study music and Ive read a lot about cinema,
and I just believe that you don't have to wait to be on the fourth year of film studies to do these things,
instead I think that if you have the interest to do it yourself you can learn and understand many things..!
Many composers for the cinema hadn't studied the specific it specifically and just wrote the music in a way the had learned themselves :)

Hammerstone
09-01-2010, 10:59 PM
Something else just occurred to me. The 2-disc dvd of Battle of Britain has both Ron Goodwin's score and William Walton's (mostly) rejected score. It's the only instance I can think where you can compare and contrast two composers' scores for the same movie. Again, I have the Region 1 dvd, and don't know if this particular feature is available outside of the US.

Cracker Funk
09-01-2010, 11:19 PM
Cracker Funk No Im not looking for something in laymans terms:p
I study music and Ive read a lot about cinema,
and I just believe that you don't have to wait to be on the fourth year of film studies to do these things,
instead I think that if you have the interest to do it yourself you can learn and understand many things..!
Many composers for the cinema hadn't studied the specific it specifically and just wrote the music in a way the had learned themselves :)

Sweet, man. I'm with you all the way, I like your logic.

However, I think you can only analyze so deeply, without that deep knowledge and understanding of musical composition. Look, I was a music major for a year-and-a-half, before changing programs, so I've got a few basic understandings that I assume you share. Let's compare how a beginning student of music (maybe sophomore-level) compares to just your "Average Joe".

Your normal everyday schmuck can easily recognize a melody, but they couldn't tell you what it is. Your normal everyday schmuck can feel the difference between a major and minor key, but they can't pinpoint the difference when you play one. The average everyday schmuck knows when a song is ending, but they don't recognize a dominant-7th chord resolving to the tonic. Your normal everyday schmuck would be able to tell you that something changed halfway through a song, but they wouldn't recognize that you had just tonicized the dominant. Your average everyday schmuck could tell you that just didn't feel like it was over yet, but they wouldn't be able to tell you that it's because you resolved to the vi chord.

Now, think about how much more you would know and hear with a couple more years of training, even if it's self-training. All I'm saying is that a fourth-year composition student (or the self-taught equivalent) would be miles and miles ahead of the examples I just mentioned. Being able to listen to a piece and instantly recognize the type of chord, the instrumentation, etc., is far more valuable than anything written about it. What I'm saying is that reading about what's happening is pointless if you can't hear and regognize what it is you're analyzing.

Scoopicman
09-02-2010, 03:49 AM
Speaking generally about my own experiences. I always got sucked into movie themes. This started with a lot of TV shows featuring the music of John Williams - GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, LOST IN SPACE, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, etc.

It was no wonder that when I bought the soundtracks to JAWS and STAR WARS that I was very familiar with his musical style.

Something else was happening at this time (70's - 80's). Repeated melodies in horror movie scores were very catchy. Of course these included HALLOWEEN (John Carpenter), PHANTASM (Myrow and Seagrave), SUSPIRIA (Goblin), A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET (Charles Bernstein) EXORCIST's Tubular Bells (Mike Oldfield), etc.

These horror scores usually didn't have the budget for an orchestra, so they used synthesizers. The "catchy" ones usually had a bell melody at the top end and a synth/string progression at the low end. So simple - a really high part (melody) and a really low part. Not much to muddy up the theme.

HALLOWEEN theme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWTD-nXadaI)

PHANTASM theme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTSkELbCUbw&feature=related)







Then there are those directors who work with composers and gear scenes for the music. I've always loved this clip from CAT PEOPLE. Paul Schrader previously worked with Giorgio Moroder on AMERICAN GIGOLO. This is just magic - fast forward to the 1 minute mark and watch.

Irena's Dream (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf8QNcYilRA)



Recently, outside of Danny Elfman, I've noticed a shift from catchy themes to more atonal soundscapes. 30 DAYS OF NIGHT has a score that is a good example of that. I've noticed this with videogames, as well - SILENT HILL and RESIDENT EVIL are full of alien wind noises and slow metallic scrapings - or sounds that modern VAs (virtual analogue synths), like the Access Virus excell at. There is even a "Fear" setting that can be assigned to the Virus' control knobs.


I love good soundscapes and depending on the movie (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN), you might not even need that much. Sometimes, the best music is no music.


After hearing a lot of forgetable scores, I'm finding myself quite drawn to the effective moods of John Murphy's music (SUNSHINE, 28 DAYS LATER). His music works in a pretty subtle way that seems to call to your primal emotions. In fact, the themes to those two movies were reused for the movie, KICK-ASS (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=It7-lEig3os) and several commercials. His more recent 28 WEEKS LATER music was used for the first AVATAR trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1_JBMrrYw8&feature=related)

Just like the simplicity of the HALLOWEEN theme, Murphy uses a mix of guitar and synth. He doesn't jump around with a lot of themes, but he does suck you in with what he does use.


28 WEEKS LATER theme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST2H8FWDvEA)


And, the same theme as used here in the movie, KICK-ASS, which I really like. Nicolas Cage kicking some...ass! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lG7HQXSOV0&feature=related)


The uplifting SUNSHINE music (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4qb6YbCQk0&feature=related)



I also like how it was used in KICK-ASS. Spoilers, if you haven't seen that movie! Theme kicks in 1 minute in.

Hit Girl To The Rescue (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EcbjwxsETKE&feature=related)




That's speaking as a soundtrack fan. I've also composed many of my own (http://www.midnightsunent.com/OASYSsetup.jpg) scores. I often go with a hybrid of synths and orchestral tones. (http://www.midnightsunent.com/breakout.mp3) When I have time with a project, I will usually spend a week or two just putting together a palette of sounds together. Sometimes the bad guy gets his own sound, like a rolling hollow styo tube that I used for an old score.

I made one teaser, where I programmed a low bass sweep, (http://www.midnightsunent.com/CoolTrailer2.mov) which broke up the orchestral sounds and it worked well to establish mood. I think sounds can be as important as the composing, such as Steve Jablonski's synth sounds that come in and out of his TRANSFORMERS score. The movies may be so so, but the music and sounds are awesome to the point that they can "make" the movie, for someone like myself.


The first thing to decide is what scenes need music and which don't. Often, a director/producer will ask you to take a weak movie and amp it up. So many times, the composer is asked to save the movie. That's a tall order. (John Carpenter admitted this was the case with HALLOWEEN and it did in fact work!) Other filmmakers are more confident and meticulous.

Once you decide which scenes, you must decide on style and sounds. Is it going to sound pop/rock, orchestral, synthesized, minimalist, etc? Are you going for an organic background approach, where the music mirrors pace and actions; or is it going to be more in your face, Quentin Tarantino style? Again, a lot of this depends on the producer's preferences.

Is the main theme going to be a motif that is heard in other songs? Does each character get a theme - hero's theme, love theme, bad guy's theme, etc.? You really need to just watch the movie several times and feel your way through it.