Knowing The Score: How Film Music Came To Be

While a film’s music and stylistic choices are often an afterthought, contemporary films prove that the film’s musical score can have such a substantial impact on how the film is received. However, during the days of silent cinema, a film’s music wasn’t a part of the movie. The individual theatre was required to provide the accompanying sound, usually by a live band or a phonograph.

In 1929, all this changed when music was able to be synchronized with celluloid. The next twenty years were the golden age of film scoring, in which composers from concert music backgrounds would write orchestral pieces designed for film. Max Steiner, regarded as “The Father of Film Music” was a pioneer in this field.

The 1950s was a period of experimentation, where film scores found new ground by blending traditional styles with new sounds. The 1960s saw the rise of Jazz, Pop and Western-based film scores, with Western films like “The Magnificent Seven” paving the way forward.

The 1970s can be summed up in one name – John Williams. Williams ushered in a new wave of innovation with his score for “Star Wars”, and synthesizers grew in popularity. The world of film music hasn’t looked back since.

 

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