Senior Lecturer in Music
Anglia Ruskin University
Music and Performing Arts
Anatomy of the
overview: Things you
need to know.
Soundtracks are used
Music for Live Action: From narration to reﬂection.
Music for Animation: Mickey Mousing and beyond.
Branding: identity through sonic and musical association.
Music in commercials: the miniature narration. Where every musical
element has a precise comunicational meaning.
• The Sound of Painting: Imagining movement. possible implied
‘vectorisations’ of the static image.
Images are permeated by sound in so
far as there is…
• Synchresis: creating meaning through synchronizing
audio elements to visual elements. Vectorized
elements in ﬁlm.
• Empathetic and Anempathetic Music.
• A presence or absence of rhythm, harmony or
melody that ‘direct’ the ﬂow of images or distort our
perception of time.
Approaches to ‘musical sound’
• In Music for ﬁlm: music is tailor made to support or
contradict the narrative.
• In terms of Sound Design: electroacoustic
techniques are applied to creating sound effects and to the
general organization of sound fx and auxiliary sound
Technical details of how the soundtrack
1. measuring duration in ﬁlms:
Frame rates: 24, 25, 29.97
2. Music synchrony: Spotting the ﬁlm.
Cues vs. scenes;
The Cue Sheet and author’s/performer’s rights.
Sound that aids the narrative of the visuals and
the ﬂow of the story is said to be ‘diegetic’
Some other diegetic audio elements within the
sound track are: Room Tones, Atmosphere,
FX and source music. (ex. From Brazil:the small room/noises/clues of
size, reverb, etc. the frozen room, ‘false’ wind fx…))
A Summary of the main functions of Film Music
From Polish musicologist Zoﬁa Lissa, in her Asthetik der Filmmusik (1959: pp115-256).
1. Emphasis of movement (mickey mousing)
2. Emphasis of real sounds (illustration, adding character)
3. Representation of location: physical, ethnic,social, historical.
4. Source music (diegetic).
6. Expression of actor's emotions
7. Basis for audience's emotions
8. Symbol (one leitmotiv to illustrate a different scene))
9. Anticipation of subsequent action (preparing or misleading)
10. Enhancement and demarcation of the ﬁlm's formal structure.
-leitmotifs, serving to (re-)identify characters, moods, environments, etc., thereby helping to
make the ﬁlm emotionally more comprehensible and to glue the narrative together across
-openings, i.e. 'something new starts now, folks'.
-links and bridges. Music bridges two scenes, often of quite disparate character, across a cut (or
fade-out plus fade-in, etc.)
tails. Snippets of music, often after a change of scene, that set the mood of the new scene
and tail off, often on an unresolved chord demanding that the narrative (musical or
otherwise) continue, thereby leaving the acoustic space open for dialogue or sound effects.
-endings, i.e. 'that's the end of that bit, folks'.
(summary by P. Tagg, http://www.tagg.org/teaching/mmi/ﬁlmfunx.html)