Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Film score

A film score is the background music in a film, generally specially written for the film and often used to heighten emotions provoked by the imagery on the screen or by the dialogue. In some cases, film themes have become accepted into the canon of classical music.

In many instances, film scores are performed by orchestras, which vary in size, from a small ensemble to a huge number of musicians, perhaps including a choir. The orchestra is either a studio orchestra, employed by the studio, or a performing orchestra such as the London Symphony Orchestra. For films with even smaller budgets, however, and possibly for TV or video games (although these, too, frequently have orchestral scores), a synthesiser can be used to re-create the sound of an orchestra. This is generally much cheaper, although the results are thought by many to be inferior.

A film composer is usually contacted after the film has been shot, and is shown an unpolished 'rough cut' of the film, and talks to the director about what sort of music should be used. He will then work on creating this music. Films often have different themes for important characters, events, ideas or objects, taking the idea from Wagner's use of leitmotif. These may be played in different variations depending on the situation they represent, scattered amongst incidental music.

When the music has been composed and orchestrated, it is then performed by the orchestra or ensemble, often with the composer conducting. The orchestra performs in front of a large screen depicting the movie, and sometimes a 'click-track' is used--a series of clicks which help the conductor to synchronise the orchestra's playing to the film.

A film's music might also include songs or other music not written specifically for the film (see Soundtrack)

Film score composers include:

External links