This text is a lay person's guide to the world of film music, from the silent era to the present day. Oscar-winning film composer Fred Karlin describes how music is written and recorded for the movies; who the composers are and how they work with film makers; and the music itself - what to listen for in a film score, and what makes one score better than another.
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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  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 OlsonFrom Library Journal:
During the course of a lifetime, the average moviegoer will hear thousands of film scores, of which only a handful will register strongly. Karlin, concentrating here on instrumental scores rather than songs, targets the lay reader with no prior musical training. First, he explains the technical means by which a film's music is composed, recorded, and mixed. Next, he discusses what to listen for and how to evaluate a film score, using the music of eight popular films as examples. Karlin also includes an overview of the composer's role, from the era of silent films to the present, as well as personal profiles of the composers. Appendixes covering a list of soundtrack shops and vendors, a filmography, and a list of Academy Award winners and nominees add to his guide's usefulness as a resource. Informative but far from dry, this book should be in any serious film collection.
- Marianne Cawley, Kingwood Branch Lib., Tex.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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