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Saturday, November 7, 2015


There is a magic and psychology to 
movie music.

The soundtrack cues the audience as to their emotional reaction, of course.

John Williams score makes the Millennium Falcon's flight through the asteroids much more exciting than viewing the scene without it.

Have you noticed how much the Darth Vader theme resembles the traditional Death March?  

The psychological impact was intended by John Williams.

And it worked, didn't it?

Consider the foley and sound effects.  

We all know what breaking glass sounds like, how tires sound when a car careens around a tight corner, and so forth.  

This is also the reason for the huge, rumbling explosions in space -

 as unrealistic as it is to hear an explosion in space, we're so accustomed to hearing them in real life 

that the lack of Big Boom would violate our necessary suspension of disbelief.

The Halloween theme sends shivers down the spine the second it begins; mysticism, frenzy, impending doom. 

Something about the fast-paced percussive nature of the music creeps into your brain, thumps around in your heart. This is fear.

Another Soundtrack Master is Hans Zimmer.  Just listen to his evocative "Time" and feel what his music does to you.

Do you have any favorite musical moments in movies or favorite soundtrack composers?



  1. Thus Spoke Zarathustra - 2001 : A Space Odyssey. I first heard the classical piece when I worked in a music library on campus. It's the first one that comes to mind. Music speaks to us and our emotions are triggered.

    1. Thus Spoke Zarathustra - 2001 : A Space Odyssey! How could I have overlooked that one? Music is the skeleton that holds many movies together. What would FORREST GUMP be without the music?

  2. Hi Roland - music is so important isn't it ... we sit there just lapping it up with the visuals ahead - I always think of Out of Africa ... and then the Silent Movie I watched when Neil Brand played to the acting ... I was caught up in the Silent Movie as it was extraordinary (Joan of Arc) .. but Neil's organ playing took us along into the Inquisitors prison where Joan was held.

    You are so right the emotion is brought to the fore through the music used in conjunction with film, or tv programmes ... Neil Brand had a programme on all the great music makers in the film industry, filmed mostly in CA I think: it was fascinating.

    Cheers Hilary

    1. Yes, John Barry's OUT OF AFRICA is so sweeping, yet evocative, it stays with you for years. He conducted the score as well, did you know that?

      Silent movies depended so much on the music played for them. I would have liked to listen to Neil Brand play. :-)

  3. John Williams is a true musical genius. Recently I saw E.T. again (first time in many years), and his music was especially brilliant because it was so unobtrusive and quiet in some scenes--at one point, simply a harp. How he captures emotions, the heart of a scene, and the theme of the entire flick is simply mysterious to me.

    But my all-time fave rave movie music is for Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    1. His work in RAIDERS certainly is stirring, isn't it? He caught the spirit of vintage serials with his score for it. I am in awe of his talent and that of other composers like James Horner, Hans Zimmer, and John Barry.

      007 would not be the same without his theme, would he? :-)