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Functions of Music in Film

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by

Michelle Higham

on 26 November 2015

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Transcript of Functions of Music in Film

SUPPORT THE CREDITS OF THE FILM
This is an obvious use of music in film. The themes used can set the scene for the rest of the movie and help keep the audience from being bored while they are watching the credits. The music ranges in style from popular music to classical art and the music in the end credits can sometimes have nothing at all to do with the film!
ESTABLISH, MAINTAIN and
CHANGE MOOD/ATMOSPHERE
This is the most obvious and traditional use of music. Since music is based on the communication of emotions through sound, music is an ideal way to heighten, maintain and change mood and atmosphere in a film.
HEIGHTEN THE DRAMATIC EFFECT
A piece of ‘musical commentary’ is often used to complement a scene. Often themes are used in many different versions and tempos to vary mood and attract a specific audience reaction.
GIVE A SENSE OF LOCALE
Music is also used to give a sense of where the action is taking place. This is especially true in locations that are not everyday places. Popular locations that have a ‘type’ of music are westerns, ethnic locations, nightclubs, carnivals etc.
IDENTIFY CHARACTER
EMOTIONS/QUALITIES
This music provides the audience with clues as to ‘who’s who’ in the movie. In early films of the 1930s and ‘40s, music was used to announce a character – eg. the villain in a minor key with low pitched notes. Music is still used in this way but it is a lot more subtle.
The Function of Music in Film
SUPPORT PACE AND MOVEMENT
Here is where the music is established first and the scene moves to the rhythm and tempo of the music. A fast moving piece of music is often used to accompany chase scenes.
FORESHADOW (PREDICT) THINGS TO COME
Important in the traditional use of film music, is the ‘subtle’ musical announcement of what lies ahead. Here we can have events like death foreshadowed through the use of ‘deathly’ music – eg. the ‘Jaws’ theme.
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