When Warner Bros. Studios screened ‘The Jazz Singer’ in 1927 it “opened a new era for the film industry” (P. 26, Davis, R. (1999) Complete Guide to Film Scoring, Berklee Press). Although the potential of films set with music had been realised since 1895, “the first documented incidents.
.. of musical accompaniments to film” (P. 17, Davis, R. (1999) Complete Guide to Film Scoring, Berklee Press), by the Lumiere family in Paris, it was to be some years before technological advancements allowed music to be recorded, synchronised and distributed with the film.In 1931 re-recording, and the process known as dubbing were developed, “making the process of including music in films much more flexible and less expensive, and [through] the early 1930s, directors and producers began to accept that the film’s underscore was a critical component.
” (P. 27, Davis, R. (1999) Complete Guide to Film Scoring, Berklee Press).
Film composers are often under enormous pressure to complete their work in a set time. While some composers can allow their creativity to flow naturally, film composers must jump start the creative process, and to do this it is important to “[have] a foundation of craft and knowledge…[know] what you want to say dramatically, emotionally, and psychologically; and [to know] your own strengths, weaknesses and capacity to produce” (P. 131, Davis, R.
(1999) Complete Guide to Film Scoring, Berklee Press). In film music has many aspects. It can be used physically to set the location and time period by using appropriate instruments and styles, and to intensify the on screen action.
It can be used psychologically to create a mood; or reveal some unspoken thoughts or feelings, or unseen implications.It can also be used technically for creating continuity, over scene transitions, and over the whole film by returning themes and texture. A good example of this is in the score to ‘E. T. , The Extra-Terrestrial’, where John Williams “presents fragments of a particular theme throughout the film in various scenes. It is not until the climactic ‘flying scene’ that the fragments come together as a complete musical statement. ” (P.
145, Davis, R. (1999) Complete Guide to Film Scoring, Berklee Press). The music that I composed makes three distinct musical statements, with transitions and an introduction.
The first section sets a happy mood, and would be well set to a romantic or fun showing scene; the second section represents a ‘bad’ characters theme; and the third is for a victory scene. The Introduction has a very ambient feel. It begins with a thick texture becomes thicker as more instruments blend in, and wider as the range used increases. The chords are made up of ‘stacked 4ths’, a technique that gives no indication of chord harmony.
At the last moment the chord forms as an E major, creating a perfect cadence to the opening chord of section 1, A minor.The happy feeling of section one is generated by the change of key from minor, with a sad feel, to major; and the flowing melody line on the solo flute. When writing the melody I considered that “stepwise motion forms a base around which skips provide necessary variation” (P.
29, Cope, D. (1997) Techniques of the Contemporary Composer, Thompson Learning), and that it should “approach a high point or climax through a series of intermediate lesser high points, interrupted by recessions. ” (P. 16, Schoenberg, A. (1967) Fundamentals of Modern Composition, Faber & Faber Ltd).