When we watch a movie, we often do not pay much attention to the music in the background. But something interesting is that we do not always recognize that the music in the background lends more to the scene than we could ever imagine. Without that film score, we would lose a very important part of the story, for instance, what are the Lord of the Rings movies, without that distinct score in the background letting you know that it is a tense or tranquil scene?
A film score helps to convey the emotion in a scene in the most subtle way possible. If you have soft piano and strings sounds in the background, it is often going to be a tranquil scene, one that is usually full of emotion. The score needs to be soft and light enough to help convey this, without drowning out the scene itself.
On the contrary, when you have an action scene, fast-paced music is often used to move the fighting scenes along. The fight scene scores are often punchy and staccato to mimic the fighting and punches on screen. To draw more upon our Lord of the Rings example, sweeping wide-angle camera scenes of a beautiful landscape or an intense battle would not be the same without a dynamic, epic strings-based musical progression. The score somehow gives depth to a scene that could be pretty generic.
For someone who creates the film scores for movies, they must take the time to think about the kind of emotion that they want to convey from a certain scene. They must consider what instruments will be best used to create the score that they are looking to do, and how they want to compose the music to fit the scene. It has to fit in order to make sense in the film and help to tell an underlying story, within a story.
Many movies are known for their scores. In fact, some well-composed scores are so iconic you can simply hear a song from a movie and immediately be able to identify the film. When something is memorable enough for you to know just what movie it comes from, you will be rest assured that that score – and consequently, that film – will not be forgotten anytime soon. For example, how many of us can immediately recognize something from Titanic, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, or Star Wars?
It also can make for a pretty fun and interesting orchestral performance. Check out this video on the Prague Film Orchestra.
While the film’s score composer is not the most celebrated cog in the film machine, it certainly can leave the greatest legacy.