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 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 6:28 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

It's a question I've wondered about other film music fans. For myself, it depends on why I'm watching the film. Sometimes I watch purely because I want to know a score in its context.

Other times though I want to experience the movie without focusing on one aspect, so I can to some extent tone down my attention to the music, a bit like a motion detector set to "low" - yes, there will be some moments that grasp my attention because they stand out with a big statement of a theme, or there's no dialogue or sound to compete with, or little happening in the narrative. But for the most part, I try not to focus on the music, which does work to a degree.

What's your experience with film music while watching the film? I don't want to give multiple choices here because I imagine everyone's a bit different. But do share your thoughts. I'm curious.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

well to tell you the truth I do everything at least twice. No film in the movie houses did I ever see once, First time I see a film I concentrate on the actors, story etc etc which obviously most people do. On second viewing my concentration is on the background score. If I find it over the years to my liking then I bought the LP [in years past] in recent years the cd.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 6:39 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

delete.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 6:59 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

So do you mean you listen to scores many times via the film before buying the soundtrack? Is that what you mean by "over the years"?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 7:12 PM   
 By:   dan the man   (Member)

Oh no I would buy the soundtrack pretty soon after I saw the film in the theatres, sometimes the same night since I was from NEW YORK. Out of the theatre I would go and right to SAM GOODY or another record store near the theatre I saw the film. Of course in recent history I would order it soon after if I liked the score. Since as you know finding then in stores is becoming a dying art.Yes and if not the same night the next day at my lunch break from work I would scoot down and pick it up.

 
 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 7:34 PM   
 By:   The REAL BJBien   (Member)

I've always liked cues I've heard in the films and then seek out the soundtrack so I guess I listen as closely as anyone else.

I never however listen to a score without seeing the film first unless I stumble across a track or a recommendation from a trusted friend [especially if the film is rubbish] or the composer is among my top 10 and even then...

However if nothing jumps at me, I don't waste time seeking a stand alone listen anymore because I have better things to do and there are far more better scores for me to seek out. This is a hobby and I can't really give it as much time as I used to.

Two prime examples are JACK RYAN and THE MONUMENTS MEN; everyone on these boards seems to have nothing but good things to say about them but as in the films, RYAN's score from the always great Doyle not once peak my interested in seeking out one cue let alone the entire score [and the movie was beyond average to the point of feeling like a pilot for a TV show with movie stars] and MONUMENTS' score was so damn jarring that it really lowered the movie experience for me and I couldn't help but think that while I see that the film was clearly going for a strong theme like THE GREAT ESCAPE, it lands somewhere between CHICKEN RUN, HOGAN'S HEROES and GOMER PYLE all of which don't match the film on screen.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 7, 2014 - 7:56 PM   
 By:   jkannry   (Member)

Oh no I would buy the soundtrack pretty soon after I saw the film in the theatres, sometimes the same night since I was from NEW YORK. Out of the theatre I would go and right to SAM GOODY or another record store near the theatre I saw the film. Of course in recent history I would order it soon after if I liked the score. Since as you know finding then in stores is becoming a dying art.Yes and if not the same night the next day at my lunch break from work I would scoot down and pick it up.

I always felt scores should be sold in movie theaters. Broadway does with shows.But they stopped selling souvenirs. I find the longer I get away from some movies the less my interest.

 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 12:06 AM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

I pay a lot of attention to a film's score, and a good score can often rescue a so-so film for me. I didn't 100% love the original "Twilight," so Carter Burwell's beautiful music elevated it several notches for me. The soundtrack is a critical part of most movies for me.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 5:53 AM   
 By:   Graham S. Watt   (Member)

I've got a kind of "plot dyslexia" at the best of times. Pretty often I'll find myself more engrossed in the overall feel of the film than in how the actual story progresses. Which is why I love a lot of films that others find totally far-fetched storywise. It's no help at all when I'm consciously listening to the score behind dialogue scenes etc, and therefore end up having absolutely zero clue as to what the whole thing was about.

So nowadays I'll generally make an effort to follow the plot and dialogue, even consciously tuning-out the score, and trying to watch the film like "a normal person" does. If within ten minutes however I deem the the film as not worth the effort, but it has a good score, I'll shut out everything EXCEPT the music! Some of my greatest memories are from tuning out bad dialogue and rotten acting, and just enjoying the music.

These days, with "modern" cinema (that's a pretty enormous umbrella, I know), I find the often discreet monotony of ambient scoring (or no score at all) a help when appreciating really good films - of which there are still many.

 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 8:20 AM   
 By:   Josh "Swashbuckler" Gizelt   (Member)

I always keep an ear open for the music when watching a film. It's something I've always done, storytelling through images and music is just part of what I really like about cinema. I've been able to enjoy many a not-so-great film because the score happened to be quite good (much of Jerry Goldsmith and most of John Scott's output might fall into this category).

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 8:29 AM   
 By:   John B. Archibald   (Member)

Well, unlike practically everyone else in the theatre, I always sit through the end credits, just to hear the music, which often starts with some pop rendition of the song, then, when the credit roll gets into all the myriad lists of names, the music will often segue to orchestral score.

(Curiously, on many films, but by no means all, there's a little sequence at the very end of the end credit roll, just a few moments, which can be telling. First noticed this in THE MISSION, then YOUNG SHERLOCK HOLMES. Nowadays, a lot of movies have them. FROZEN has a funny bit.)

I also used to be aware of main titles, but they have for the most part disappeared off the face of the earth, unless it's some fancy rendering of the actual title of the film, itself, which gradually coalesces, until you can make it out, then usually jumps to the first scene. That's often accompanied by something to listen to.

As for "love themes," well, good luck. They don't exist any more. Maybe in John Williams. (Or Michael Giacchino's work for JOHN CARTER, which may have seemed more wonderful, simply because it was a love theme, something no one seems to be interested in.)

Film music more and more seems to be wall-to-wall noise, without themes, let alone development.

 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 8:37 AM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

Quite closely.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 12:56 PM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Depends.

 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 1:10 PM   
 By:   Sirusjr   (Member)

I listen pretty closely so unless it is totally buried in the background (read, no point for having score) then I will hear it. I also tend to frequently listen to scores before I see the film if possible. Sometimes I will enjoy a score in the film and then later hate it on its own. Rarely do I hate a score in film that I love elsewhere though i haven't seen Monuments Men yet.

And unlike Dan the Man, I almost never watch movies twice.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 1:17 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

I have two options, actually.

If I'm in an analytical mind (if I'm writing about the film and/or music, for example), I pay attention to all the filmatic tools, including music. Maybe even make notes.

On the other hand, I also have the ability to 'turn off' the scholarly eye and just enjoy it as a story or as an expression.

However, sometimes the analytical eye will seep through a bit -- if it's a scene with marvelous photography, or a scene with strong audiovisual symbolism, or if it's a scene where music is pushed to the fore (like a transportation sequence, for example). I guess that's inevitable when you've analyzed film for a living over a period of time.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 1:17 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

Of course, none of this has any bearing on my feeling towards or acquisition of soundtrack albums. That's based on different things altogether.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 2:08 PM   
 By:   Traveling Matt   (Member)

I never listen for the music. It has to stand out enough to grab me - that's how I know it's a good score.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 2:24 PM   
 By:   Ludwig van   (Member)

I also tend to frequently listen to scores before I see the film if possible. Sometimes I will enjoy a score in the film and then later hate it on its own.

Interesting, Sirusjr. Do you find that this can detract from what's happening in the narrative while viewing the film? I'm just thinking of my own experience and when I know a score before going in, I'm always saying to myself, oh there's track 2, there's track 3, and so on...

Thor, that's pretty much how I am with listening. I like being able to turn off the active ear for the most part.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 3:06 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

I try to listen to the score behind the film, especially if it scored by a composer that I really love.
However, at times I have become so ABSORBED into the movie, I can't really recall much of the score. For instance, I was totally hooked into Dances With Wolves, and I sensed that I heard some good music. This was in the theater. As soon as it came out on DVD, I rented it and paid loser attention to the music and found it stunning. That has happened to me a few times.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 8, 2014 - 4:23 PM   
 By:   RonBurbella   (Member)

I've developed my own "listening and watching technique" over the years to try to appreciate
the score while watching the film.

I don't see a film twice.

I used to try not to buy the score before I saw the film, but in recent years I've made more exceptions to the rule. I say "buy" (but not "play") in that respect. That way I can pop the CD right into the dashboard on the way home and start focusing, analyzing, and appreciating.
As to my favorite composers, well......Sorry, I just can't help myself. As soon as the CD arrives, in it goes. I just gotta know.

I do sit through the end credits with perhaps a half-dozen other fans, including my usually impatient wife.

Like Joan, there have been many completely absorbing, well-written and well-acted scenes that
demanded such concentrated attention on the dialogue and the action that I found myself wondering if there was actual underscore and I "missed" it.

I do miss the regular occurrence of an official "Main Title" as the picture opens, where the composer has a chance to make his statement and perhaps "set the mood" for the film, while giving you a taste of the best of the score. Now we usually have to wait until the end for that, with some exceptions, of course.

I don't think we'll ever go back to the venerable "roadshow" exhibits, with music for a "Prelude", "Intermission", "Entr'Acte", and "Exit Music." Now them thar wuz tha days!

Ron Burbella


 
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