/Musical Scores and the Movies

Musical Scores and the Movies

 Without the aid of an accompanying score, we would barely be able to make sense, or enjoy movies as much as we do. Music scores throughout films bring the art work together as a whole piece, which finishes off the product, adds touches of emotion as well as giving the film a forward moving momentum in terms of bridging space gaps.

Film soundtracks can definitely be what makes the film iconic – who can possibly forget Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter? Or The Star Wars theme song? These are just two instances of the piece of music sometimes surpassing the fame of the story originally being told. Naturally, these themes have been well composed and arranged by famous composers – all of which play with an orchestra, the calibre of which is definitely not just an intermediate level.

Typically, a film soundtrack or score is produced in conjunction with the storyline. Avoiding contrapuntal sound (the act of having clashing sound to film, I.e: Happy music on a funeral scene) and adapting the music to be appropriate can be an arduous task at times. Some instruments come with an inbuilt history that requires them to be used. For example, in a triumphant victory war scene, you’re going to feel more inclined to put in loud major trumpet and brass parts to signify joy and victory. If you’re composing for a sad scene, you’re going to be more inclined to use a minor violin part, embellishing on minor thirds and using interesting intervals throughout the piece.

This history of music instruments tends to attach itself to a feeling, or genre. Which is how the base for a music score in a film generally begins.

Take for example again, Hedwig’s Theme from Harry Potter. The music intervals in that song have become so well known, they grace mobile phones and instant messaging systems as the alert sound world wide. The minor violin parts, combined with the chimes and woodwind instruments lends itself to a mystical feeling, through the instruments timbre, tonality, and pace.

What would a famous scene be without its music that glues it together? Can you imagine a romantic final kiss scene at the end of the movie. The two characters gaze at each other and the music swells as they kiss to perfectly resemble the moment. Without this musical exemplification, you could just as well be watching an odd couple kissing on the streets. Which, I think comes into the pervert category. I digress, with this musical addition, the emotion is experimented with and translated into a score which creates the moment.


This fascination with music scores has become somewhat of a passtime for some people. With several internet communities set up across the world, there is often trading of scores, with forums encouraging people to discuss their favourite moments in film in conjunction with the music that perfectly adapts to the moment.

Music scores are often produced on an album, and distributed in normal cd stores. Music from Slumdog Millionaire has been the latest craze. Not only for having two hit songs on the track (the dark horses in the music billboard charts), the emotions experienced throughout the film are perfectly matched to their music scores which allows people to remember and enjoy the film experience, in their own homes, without the physical film.

Music scores from film allow us to use our memories and re-experience the emotions we felt throughout the film that we watched. With this experience, we create new memories as well as indulge in a well put together piece of art. Music scores are highly regarded throughout the music community as a well constructed art form, as well as an integral part to any film.