Fall 2016 – Notes and Frames: The Neglected Art of Film Music

Bob Bryden, Music in the MoviesPresenter – Bob Bryden

October 13     Notes and Frames: What is the Film Score?

An examination of what a film score is and what its value is to a motion picture. By looking at clips from a range of pictures, including Citizen Kane, The Black Stallion, Dressed to Kill and Besieged, we’ll discover the vast range of emotions invoked by music.

October 20     Sound and Vision: The Silent Era

Before movies could talk, there was the live piano player in front of a screen of a silent film. In time, recorded orchestral scores would accompany the pictures. We’ll look at films like Battleship Potemkin, Napoleon, Sunrise and Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Modern Times.

October 27     Operatic Leitmotifs: The Early Talkies

The coming of sound with The Jazz Singer changed the role of music in film. Composers were soon hired by the studios to compose original music. Many of those artists, immigrants from Europe like Max Steiner (King Kong), Franz Waxman (The Bride of Frankenstein) and Erich Wolfgang Korngold (The Adventures of Robin Hood), brought the musical model of 19th century romantic opera to the creation of the dramatic movie score.

November 3     Americana

While many of the early composers were Europeans who brought a European musical sensibility to American movies, American composers felt that some stories should be reflected by contemporary American music. As a result, composers such as Aaron Copland (Of Mice and Men), Bernard Herrmann (Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons) and Hugo Friedhofer (The Best Years of Our Lives) signalled that change.

November 10     As Time Goes By: Jazz and Popular Music

If American classical music became a new component in motion pictures, so did jazz and the popular American songbook. We’ll explore the influence of these forms on pictures like Casablanca (Max Steiner), A Streetcar Named Desire (Alex North) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Henry Mancini).

November 17     To Other Lands: The Foreign Language Film

We examine the composers who worked in film from other lands, including Maurice Jaubert (L’Atalante), Masaru Sato (Yojimbo), Georges Delerue (Jules et Jim) and Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and the movie 1900).

November 24   From Beethoven to Strauss: Classical Music and Film

Many “serious” classical composers refused to do film scores since they considered it “hack work.” But that didn’t stop movies like 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, Manhattan, Raging Bull and The King’s Speech from using classical music instead of an original score.

December 1  Roll Over Beethoven: Rock Music and the New Future of Film Music

From 1955 when Bill Haley & His Comets’ Rock Around the Clock announced The Blackboard Jungle and Simon & Garfunkel a decade later ushered in The Graduate, rock music became part of the texture of film scoring. To conclude, we examine the roll of rock and the technological changes that have altered film scoring.

LLM Audience 1 December 2016