For a second, think of your favorite movie EVER. Now, think of that movie without any background music. Think of it without any sound at all. Now, you’re probably picking a new favorite movie because your old one isn’t so great anymore without music. Think about Star Wars, Gone with the Wind, Jaws, or E.T. Any epic battle scene without a heavy orchestra, the intimate romantic scene without some cliché violins, and a horror don’t-go-in-the-closet scene without a suspenseful, stabbing composition all become suddenly lifeless. The speed of sound denotes something more powerful than just the physical speed it takes to travel – it represents the communication and expression every note in any composition carries to the audience’s ears in order to convey elation, sadness, tension, romance, and trepidation. It’s the very fundamental medium through which all aspects which are open to interpretation in a film are transmitted to viewers. A background score can foreshadow and perhaps determine the reception of a movie, simply because its contribution to all factors of a film is so significant. A score gives a film personality, depth, and a rhythm. It allows scenes to flow, magnifies the power of a moment, and strengthens the clarity of emotion. The reason you probably don’t tend to actively think about and separate a score from a movie is because a good background score merely becomes an integral part of a film.
Even though the classic movie lovers can recite every line of this scene – unarguably one of the most powerful scenes in filmmaking – watch it again, and this time, really listen to each and every note. Music can make the emotions of a scene seen.
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