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Film scores play a significant part in the storytelling of a movie. They encompass a large variety of music styles dependent on the nature of the film.
See the fact file below for more information on the film scores or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Film Scores worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Film scores are original music that is written to accompany an specific film.
- They often include dialogue, pre-existing music and sound effects, which form a part of the soundtrack of the film.
- Film scores also comprise choral, instrumental, and orchestral pieces that enhance the narrative and emotional impact of a scene.
- One or more composers write the score for a film in collaboration with or under the guidance of the director or the producer of the film.
- Rock songs and pop songs are commonly not considered as part of the score but a part of the film’s soundtrack. However, a few songs, especially those in musicals, are based on the theme of the score.
- Often, scores do not have lyrics, except for when choirs or soloists sing them as part of a cue.
- Composers also occasionally write an original pop song based on the theme of the score, such as My Heart will Go On written by James Horner and sung by Celine Dion.
- Many modern films are able to rely on digital samples that can imitate the sound produced by live instruments.
- Using music composition software, samplers, MIDI controllers, and synthesizers, composers can create and perform scores entirely by themselves.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT
- It is thought that music was added to silent films to neutralize the noise that film projectors made and to add depth to the 2D images on the screen.
- An in-house organist or pianist, and sometimes entire orchestras, used to provide music to the film, using guide cue sheets.
- Most musical accompaniments during this time were often cataloged into photoplay music, with subsections that depend on the “mood” and genre of the piece: action, chase, dark, sad, suspense, etc.
- The Birth of a Nation, released in 1915, was the first movie to have an orchestral musical score written specifically for the film.
- The 1930s to 1950s was the golden age of film scoring. Composers during this period wrote creative music that was consistently matched to the artistry of the movies themselves.
- Max Steiner’s score for the 1933 movie King Kong was the first to synchronize music to action movements in a film.
- Max Steiner became regarded as “The Father of Film Music”.
- Film music had been exclusively symphonic until the 1950s. Jazz was then incorporated into mainstream genre films. It opened up the industry into an immense new world of possibilities.
- The 1960s was a decade during which new music genres were accepted as scores, including rock.
- The 1970s were marked by the return of classical scoring and incorporation of synthesizers in film music.
- In 1977, John Williams’ score for Star Wars revived the golden age Hollywood sounds. The soundtrack he wrote for the film became one of the best-selling non-pop records of all time.
- John Williams continued using traditional scores with Superman in 1978, E.T. in 1982, and the Indiana Jones series released between 1981 and 1989.
- Sampling, computer-based sequencing, and other innovations in digital technology made scores that are heavily synthesized flourish during the 1980s, such as The Terminator (1984).
- Film scoring became an art of its own, and movies continue to integrate almost every music genre available.
CREATION OF A FILM SCORE
- The composer typically enters towards the end of the filming at around the same time as the film’s editing starts.
- The composer is given an unpolished “rough cut” of the film and talks to the filmmaker to know what kind of music they want in terms of tone and style.
- The composer takes precise timing notes to know where each cue begins and ends, and the duration for each cue. This is known as “spotting”.
- Some filmmakers also edit their film to make it flow and fit the music, instead of having the composer edit their score.
- A composer can also be asked to make music based solely on their impressions of the storyboards or script of the movie. Directors often take this approach when they want music that can be inserted into the film at any point during the post-production.
- Another goal of composers when writing music for a film is to sync musical events to dramatic events of the film.
- Sequencing software are one of the methods used to sync music and picture. These software use mathematical formulas and free timing with timing references to correctly calculate the timing of the music.
- Composers use SMPTE timecode when working on synchronization.
Once the spotting and syncing of each cue are done, the composer writes the score.
- Depending on the composer, he may prefer to write scores using a pencil and paper, handwriting notes on a staff, and performing on the piano. He may also prefer using music composition software to create MIDI-based cue demos, which can be reviewed by the filmmaker before the final recording.
- The composer may be given two weeks to three months to write a score depending on the project and its post-production schedule.
- The actual writing process typically lasts around six weeks.
- The type of film and the emotions that the director wants to be conveyed by the music affect the musical content of a score.
- A film score can have various combinations of instruments, along with a multitude of world and ethnic music influences, electronic textures, soloists, vocalists, and choirs.
- The style of music can also be influenced by the time setting of the film, its geographic location, and even the characters’ musical preferences.
- Composers often research a variety of music genres and techniques they deem appropriate for the project.
- The next step in making a score is to orchestrate it for it to be performed by an ensemble.
- The orchestrator takes single-line music and turns it into sheet music specified by instruments for each orchestra member.
- Some composers do the orchestration themselves, providing intricate details outlining which instruments perform which notes, leaving the orchestrator the task of re-notating the music as appropriate.
- Other composers give less detail and usually ask orchestrators to provide their own creative idea to enhance the score.
- Some orchestrators and composers have linked with each other over the years, typically to the point where one will not work if it’s not for a specific composer.
- After orchestration, the ensemble or orchestra performs the music, with the composer conducting.
- Members of the ensembles are often not given credit at the end of the film or on the film’s soundtrack album and are often contracted individually.
- After discussions with the American Federation of Musicians, some films have recently started to credit musicians on their albums under the name Hollywood Studio Symphony.
- The musicians and the conductor routinely wear headphones that sound “click-tracks” that changes with tempo and meter, helping them synchronize with the film.
- Recording is done with the orchestra performing while the film is presented on a large screen.
Film Scores Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the film Scores across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Film Scores worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the film scores which play a significant part in the storytelling of a movie. They encompass a large variety of music styles dependent on the nature of the film.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Scoring Time
- Score Terms
- Movie Music
- Scorer’s Name
- Hit Pop!
- Poppin’ Pops
- Scoring Elements
- Searching for Max
- Composer Background
- Songs, Movies, Jams
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Link will appear as Film Scores Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, June 3, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.