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The Role of Music in Movies

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Often in a good movie, people will look first at the directors and writers, and then the actors. At the Academy Awards, all spotlights are concentrated on the best movie and the best actor/actress. Nobody mentions the importance of soundtracks but in a good movie, the music is nearly everything.

The functions of film music consists of many things, and they are essential in a film to help the story come together. The best known function of soundtrack in films is to set the atmosphere in the movie. This is one of the most important and strongest functions of soundtracks in films. Creating an atmosphere is a key factor in a movie, as it gives the audience a hint about the overall tone of the movie. If you match a bright and playful tune to a supernatural scene in a horror movie, it will immediately seem less intimidating and more silly and comedic. Another example would be using heavy metal music in a fantasy film like Narnia. It would not be the best choice.

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However, soundtracks have more functions than that. For example, the music conveys emotion. Even when a character has a neutral expression, you can literally hear his or her emotion in the background music. Charlie Chaplin films and the very first Mickey Mouse episodes are representative of this category. Since there are no dialogues in the film, the music is everything the film has to lead the emotional flow. Music is also used to psychologically unite the audience as one. One example could be using a majestic tune for the climax. Another specific example could be using the national anthem. Music can make social, culture, geographic and periodic references as well. In particular, pseudo authenticity is often used, which means music that feels like a certain location to western ears as opposed to actual music that can be heard at that location is used (which sometimes differs greatly). This function can be seen in movies that are set in areas other than where the movie is being produced. Examples can be found in many Disney films like Mulan and Aladdin. Historical references can also be made by using the style of music representing the era. These functions make the story flawless and create dynamics essential in the storyline of these moving pictures.

If you still cannot recognize the importance of music in movies, you must remember that every iconic movie has instantly recognizable themes. Take, for example, the Star Wars series. Star Wars has been consistently named the greatest scored movie of all time. Its unmistakeable soundtrack has been famous for over three decades, and remains the highest selling orchestral soundtrack of all time. However, one particular song stands out in particular – the “Main Title”. One bar into the song, and you immediately connect it with the film and imagine the world of jedis, lightsabers and stormtroopers. Consequently, you can find good themes in parodies of the films as the soundtrack becomes the representative image of the original films. Also, these kinds of good theme tunes can supersede a movie into an iconic statue-Jaws and Psycho are a good example. Other examples of a good theme are all linked to a unique character that represents each genre of films: The first of the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Indiana Jones, Rocky and the James Bond series.

Since the beginning of film, movie soundtrack and score have been directly linked to the success of a film, creating an important symbiotic relationship. The underrated movie soundtrack heightens tension, creates humor, and evokes emotion. A movie soundtrack can make the difference between becoming a dust collecting DVD in the corner of the shelves to being forever engraved in the history of film. One cannot thrive without the other; the visual drives the aural, and the aural encourages the visual, giving it deeper meaning. Many underestimate the importance of the humble movie soundtrack, shrugging it off and assuming that it does not add much to the films, how mistaken they are.

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The Role of Music in Movies. (2020, February 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 11, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-role-of-music-in-movies/
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The Role of Music in Movies [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Feb 26 [cited 2021 May 11]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-role-of-music-in-movies/
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