Listening to Movies: The Film Lover’s Guide to Film Music

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9780028733159: Listening to Movies: The Film Lover’s Guide to Film Music
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Music has been an essential part of virtually every movie ever made. In the words of the great director D. W. Griffith, "The music sets the mood for what your eye sees; it guides your emotions; it is the emotional framework for visual pictures." Or, as composer Bernard Herrmann said, "Movies need the cement of music."
Listening to Movies is the lay person's guide to the exciting world of film music. Featuring 100 photographs, including stills from classic films as well as portraits and candid shots of the creators of film music, this book tells how music for the movies is written, performed, recorded, and mixed; how composers work with directors and producers; and how the whole process evolved. Fred Karlin surveys the history of this very special kind of music, from the era when pianists and live orchestras accompanied silent films, through the great days of the Hollywood studio orchestras and the ground-breaking work of composers like Korngold, Herrmann, and Rozsa, on to the present, when electronic scores, crafted through a dizzying array of high-tech hardware and software, exist side by side with symphonic scores. Throughout, Karlin draws on his interviews with key figures in the industry to personalize the world of film music.
Listening to Movies reveals not only how film music is made but how it can be crucial in establishing tone, setting a pace, and involving the audience. Through numerous examples, Karlin helps the reader to understand and appreciate exactly how the music on the soundtrack enhances the movies we see. Here are just a few of the other perspectives this book provides: a unique cue-by-cue breakdown of the music for eight classic movies, from The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) to The Untouchables (1987), demonstrating in detail how the music works with the action; a revealing chapter on the Academy Awards that takes the reader behind the scenes for an inside look at the Oscars telecast and untangles the complicated rules that govern the awards for songs and scores; a selective Filmography listing composers for 1,500 movies; and a complete listing of Oscar winners for Best Original Score and a guide to help the reader locate soundtrack recordings.
Designed to appeal to everyone interested in film or film music - from the casual viewer of television movies and videotapes to the dedicated film student and the professional filmmaker - Listening to Movies is the most comprehensive and readable book on the subject ever written for a general audience. Both a fascinating narrative and a valuable reference, it provides a complete picture of the world of movie music.

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About the Author:

Fred Karlin teaches film music at the University of Southern California.

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There are few books about movie music, but most of them are good. Ditto Karlin's, which, striving for comprehensiveness, covers how film music is composed, recorded, and mixed into a soundtrack; how to listen to it appreciatively; how it actually functions in eight movies famous for their music (including such classics as The Adventures of Robin Hood [1938] and North by Northwest); how it has been reviewed by intelligent critics; and how it was and is used in silent and nondramatic sound films. And after all that, it's only half over! Karlin now puts on a business-chronicler's hat to discuss movie musicmaking under the Hollywood studio system and subsequently as a freelance occupation, the Oscars for music and how they're awarded, and the commercial importance of songs and soundtrack recordings. The book's last two sections are a short chronology of film-music history and, prefaced by some comments on "How They Got Started," a listing of selected film composers and (only) some of their credits. Appendixes include a list of soundtrack shops and vendors and a worthy annotated bibliography. Ray Olson

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