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The Evolution of Music in Film

Why Music is important an important aspect in Film?
The perception of film as a whole is that it is purely a visual experience. Not at all. We undoubtedly watch films with our eyes, but we also undoubtedly hear them with our ears. Particularly now, with cutting-edge home and theatre sound systems that provide multi-channel sound and high fidelity.


Typically, movies are fantasies. Furthermore, imaginations by nature defy reason and reality. They plan things in the mind. Music has an unconscious mind-affecting effect. Consequently, music complements movies nicely since it supports illusion. We experience emotional effects from music. Typically, it is a non-intellectual kind of communication. The only thing that matters to the listener is how the music makes him feel, not what it signifies. Thus, the musical experience in film one is seen by listeners as being less knowing and more emotion. Naturally, the visuals on the screen provide indications and hints as to how the related music affects or is meant to affect us.

Development of Film Music in Film History
Old silent comedies and melodramas serve as a reminder of how music was once employed in movies simply as an accompaniment to the action or to heighten mood. Music made an effort to compensate for the lack of speech.

The voids left by silence were filled with music, which gave the young film medium life. Live piano was used as the primary musical accompaniment; eventually, entire orchestras took over.

Additionally, music served as a physical sound effect and a buffer against the audience's fear of quiet. 

Additionally, it attempted to cover up the projector's noise. To accompany lengthy passages on the silent screen, the audio component was frequently necessary. It had to take the place of life's organic noises.

However, the early soundtrack music for silent movies frequently had little to do with the action on screen. It only needed to create a pleasant mood, similar to music in a restaurant, and most of the time it was a solo piano.

The musical score developed along with the length of the flicks. The orchestra began with a violin, then added a cello and additional instrument, and as cinema theatres expanded, so did its size and calibre. With the help of film industry magnate William Fox, movie orchestras grew to the scale of symphony orchestras by the end of the silent era, with top-notch conductors and musicians providing the music.

Initially, the psychologically straightforward musical accompaniment formula was: a. The pianist would play a reduced minor chord progression whenever the villain appeared on screen.
This was done to create a spooky atmosphere.
A. The pianist performed an upbeat anthem whenever a hero appeared on the screen.

B. The pianist followed this with a fast-paced tempo piece to give the audience the impression that they were running in a fast-paced situation, such as a chase.

C. As long as the music matched what was displayed on the screen, the pianist performed songs off the top of his head (much like organists at sporting events).

D. Later, full orchestras in enormous movie theatres began to replace the lone pianist, and exact musical notations began to replace the pianist's spontaneous method.

(Interestingly, some cinema historians have restored a vintage print of Able France's silent 1927 French epic Napoleon. Francis Ford's father Carmine Coppola was brought in to conduct the entire orchestra that attended the screening in Los Angeles. It was a very Hollywood-like occasion!

However, it wasn't the most meticulous or fluid conducting and orchestration because the orchestral accompaniment to on-screen action must suit the pace of the screenplay rather than the other way around. Changing the speed and entire musical parts is typically required to accommodate movie reality)
 

E. Conductors were hired to orchestrate well-known works or even write original music for motion pictures. Additionally, it was designed to give pictures CLASS in order to legitimise them rather than serving as a crude substitute for the vulgar burlesque, vaudeville, and poor cultural repute the cinema medium had already developed.

After the invention of sound, the real compositions of the traditional European composers were no longer used as film scores. Instead, a new generation of film music creators emerged, including Max Steiner (who scored King Kong (1933), Gone with The Wind (1939), and Casablanca (1942), Wolfgang Korngold (whose works include The Seahawk (1940), Captain Blood (1935), and Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), and Alfred Newman (whose works include The Robe (1970), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and Airport (2004). They were all writers who were deeply influenced by the music of Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Wagner, Strauss, and Mahler in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Thomas, 1991).

However, it quickly became clear that pre-existing music, such as the William Tell Overture, didn't work for a love scene. There was also a lot of other music that had tempos that had nothing to do with the action on the screen.

When the music fit the scene, it was an accident (as in Luis Bunuel's 1932 documentary Land Without Bread). Conductors started to match the chosen music with the onscreen motions and rhythms in response to requests from viewers, critics, and studio executives. In Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet, for instance, the themes of love predominated.

Because of this, there was a transition from background music to general-purpose classical pieces to existing music that was picked and eventually grew to be linked with typical circumstances or character emotions to, finally, music that was specifically created for the screen.. At the end of the 1920s, this happened.

When Warner Bros. released The Jazz Singer in 1927 with Al Jolson and Vitaphone sound (remade in 1953 with Danny Thomas and Peggy Lee and in 1980 with Neil Diamond, Lawrence Olivier, and Lucy Arnaz),The universe changed forever, and so did cinematic sound.. WB's profit margin increased by 745 percent in a single year (Barrios, 1995). Because the live music overshadowed or even distracted from the words on the screen, live orchestration became less appealing.The orchestrations of music were more in control later, with recorded music. Editing, loudness control, and dubbing all helped to create a highly specialised art form of musical soundtracks as the score became increasingly more advanced.

The majority of the first sound movies were musicals. It was a veritable deluge of motion picture musicals, beginning with the first true musical film, The Broadway Melody (not Jolson's 1927 The Jazz Singer, as some believe), some of which were good (such as 1942nd Street [1933]), most of which were derivative, and some of which were downright terrible (such as Jolson's The Singing Fool). They didn't add anything fresh to the screen, save from some technical advances. They were essentially musical comedies, operettas, or operas that had been photographed.

The addition of a pianist playing chase music, love music, music symbolising the mystique, or any other mood, sensation, or emotion aided the picture, highlighting or underscoring the visual information, the on-screen action, even in the early days, the Nickelodeon days, the silent film days.

It keeps doing so. And if it's done effectively, it has just as much significance as any actor, director, or writer. It actually has the most lines of any movie, even if they are in the form of music rather than dialogue. However, it's odd how much audiences enjoy the soundtrack to a dramatic movie.

People can't tell if they heard music or not until five minutes after the movie has ended. Yet, the Subconsciously, they were hearing music.
The sentiment of the majority of films, according to Tony Thomas, a historian of film music creation (1991), Composers claim that by its very nature, concert music is more difficult than film music or song. It simply serves various masters Scoring needs to be accurate and rapid.
Contrary to performance music, there is no second hearing. Contrary to coming to a concert expressly to listen to music, people watch movies to hear the conversation and see the action. Because an actor can only say so much with his face, body, and conversation, music intensifies, accentuates, and completes psychological effects. But it isn't why someone goes to the movies. Music needs to understand its role.

"In my opinion, the soundtrack to a movie can delve inside the characters' minds and amplify them. It can give a scene a sense of dread, grandeur, joy, or suffering. It can speed up or slow down a story's progression. Simple speech is regularly elevated to the status of poetry in this way. Last but not least, according to cinema composer Bernard Herrmann, it acts as a channel for communication between the audience and the screen, extending to encompass everyone in a single experience.


By-
Sriparna Mukherjee
Amity University, Kolkata


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