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Paths of Fantastic Film Music: Examining

Film Scoring Techniques in Films that

Alter Space, Time and Death

Matthew V. Skelton


Since primitive times, music has accompanied dances, rituals, ceremonies and plays because of music's ability to characterize certain settings and enhance the audience's emotional experience. Filmmakers also use music to accompany their works for several reasons, both practical and aesthetic.

The job of creating the musical accompaniment for film has taken various forms, but as film production and technology has evolved, the process of scoring music for films has been refined into a standard process. This process creates a set of parameters a composer must work within in order to create new music for a film. In the midst of those parameters, composers rediscover and invent new forms of musical expression unique to the specific musical medium of film music.

To do this, the film composer, through years of experience has acquired specific compositional techniques, that allows work within these production parameters while still composing new, artistically revealing music that enhances the overall film.

This project examines films that make use of altered space, time and death, analyzing the scores for compositional techniques and discussing the relative value of these techniques in the films in which they occur and across films of the same type.



Music created for use with another artistic medium is not a new subject. Since primitive times, music has accompanied dances, rituals, ceremonies and plays because of music's ability to characterize certain settings and enhance the audience's emotional experience. This relationship between music and mood or emotional context has been observed for centuries, and has been validated scientifically in the medium of film music. Claudia Bullerjahn and Markus Guldenring recently conducted an investigation of the effects of film music using qualitative content analysis and found that "film music polarizes the emotional atmosphere and influenced the understanding of the plot," thus confirming by scientific means the existence of a psychological connection between music and emotion (99).

But before this relationship between music and emotion was empirically observed, filmmakers used music in connection with their films for several reasons, both practical and aesthetic. As Kurt London points out in Film Music, during the era of silent films, film music "began, not as a result of any artistic urge, but from the dire need to drown out the sound of the projector," but later, "Musical accompaniment was needed for the silent film, to bring out that intangible element which had, in the absence of speech and the noises of everyday life, to work on the mind and should through a combination of ear and eye" (27, 36).

The job of musically accompanying film took on various forms, shapes and sizes through the years, as the task was entrusted to a pianist, followed by live orchestras, and briefly, according to London, gramophone records (85). Eventually, technology allowed sound to be recorded to the same film that showed the picture, which effectively restandardized the presentation of film. Filmmakers then delivered the whole package. Up to then, the original composition of music for film existed, but was severely limited because of the "amateurism" of the local cinema orchestra (London 84). But in 1929 with the new standard of the sound-movie, the original composition of music for a specific film became standard procedure. About a decade later, composer Aaron Copland observed new ways that music and film interacted, listing them in his book What to Listen for in Music as:

    1. Creating a more convincing atmosphere of space and time,
    2. Underlining psychological refinements -- the unspoken thoughts of a character, or the unseen implications of a situation,
    3. Serving as a kind of neutral background filler,
    4. Building a sense of continuity, and
    5. Underpinning the theatrical build-up of a scene, and rounding it off with a sense of finality (256-58).

Over the years through various prevailing processes of film production within the film industry, the process of composing original music for film has also undergone changes, but in recent years has conceptually been refined into a recognized, standard process. In 1990, Fred Karlin and Rayburn Wright, with the help of dozens of film composers, outlined a specific, chronological, nine-step process for the completion of a film score in their landmark text, On The Track (11). This outlined process, the influential parties, and other extra-musical constraints, create a set of parameters a composer must work within in order to create new music for a film. Yet in the midst of those parameters, composers rediscover and invent new forms of musical expression unique to the specific musical medium of film music.

In order to create the desired musical effect, the film composer, through years of experience has acquired specific compositional techniques, a "creative arsenal," that allows him or her to work within the parameters of the film scoring process, yet still create new music that enhances emotion in a supporting way. And like artists of other mediums, in order to keep getting work, film composers must stay current with creative trends within their medium, and in doing so, they often find in studying other composers that certain creative aspects (harmonic language, instrumentation, and orchestration for example) work well within the emotional and dramatic parameters of certain types of films. If this is the case, then it follows that certain aspects of composition should appear regularly across films of a certain genre or of similar type. This project examines the film scoring process in films that make use of altered space or time, analyzing the scores for compositional techniques and discussing the relative value of these techniques in the films in which they occur and across films of the same type.

Film Scoring Basics

For the sake of clarity, basic terminology, expressions and concepts from the world of film music should be explained so that concepts developed throughout the project are readily understandable to those unfamiliar with the process of scoring for film.

Screening is a term for the actual viewing process. Before any concepts can be formed, before any music can be composed, the composer must screen the film, making note of their instinctive, primary reactions to the film.

The smallest individual moment of music in a film is known as a cue. A cue can be relatively long or short, depending on the needs of the scene in a film. Each cue in a film has a calculated purpose determined by many people including but not limited to the composer, director, producer, editor, music editor and so forth. Additionally, these people decide when music will occur during a film and exactly when the music will enter and exit. These decisions to include music at certain places in a film are made for reasons. Often a cue will enhance the emotional content of a conversation or intensify the suspense of a chase, but regardless of the reason, successful musical is a scene in a film performs a specific function.

The process of deciding when music will occur in a film is called spotting. Prior to the actual composition of film music, the composer and other figures important in the process of film production will meet for a spotting session during which these parties will decide when and where music will occur in the film.

Important figures in film production should also be described for the sake of understanding the environment of extra-musical constraints film composers must work within. These figures include the producer, director, editor, executive producer, and in some cases the music editor and the music supervisor. Though not all of these figures may be involved in a production, the presence of all of these figures would in some cases represent the ideal creative team. And though many people famous for performing the of roles in the production of a film are non-musicians, any one of the figures may have reasons for steering the creative direction of film music during the spotting session or during the composer's actual production of the music. From the composer's perspective, basically, the situation at hand regarding which figures are involved and what their roles will be must be understood throughout the scoring process.

The person figure with the most authority in the end on virtually all films in production today is the producer. The simple fact of the matter is that the producer role is to provide the financial resources for the film's production. The general rule is that whoever pays has the last word. Generally speaking, it is the producer who hires the director and may or may not hire the composer or lead actors for a particular film.

The director is the figure ultimately responsible for all creative decisions in film. Often the relationship between the director and composer will cause the pair to work together on many films and projects. Examples of well-known, highly successful "director-composer" teams are Alfred Hitchcock-Bernard Hermann (North By Northwest, Vertigo, others), Steven Spielberg-John Williams (Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, others), Tim Burton-Danny Elfman (Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, others), and Robert Zemeckis-Alan Silvestri (Forrest Gump, Contact, Death Becomes Her, Back to the Future, others). This creative relationship between director and composer is usually established not just by mutual satisfaction with each party's ability to produce the final product, but also similar creative vision, compatible creative processes and similar levels of professionalism.

The editor (and in some cases the director) determines which scenes actually appear in the finished film, which camera angles and shots will make up the body of a scene, and also the actual length of each scene. The composer must work closely with the editor (and with the music editor on projects) in order to determine exact timings for cues.

The executive producer works on behalf of the producer to manage budgets and production timelines. Often budgetary issues will cause the composer to work very closely with the executive producer to iron out financial issues in order to keep the project moving forward.

Another key figure whose function is important but not central in the creative process is the orchestrator. Because of very tight production timelines, the composer will often hire the orchestrator to complete the time-consuming task of expanding the musical ideas into realizations for a full orchestra or other ensemble as dictated by the composer. The process of orchestration is also a very creative process depending on how specific the composer's instructions and notes are recorded on sketch scores. Scores that require very full orchestration and a large percentage of music throughout the whole picture may make use of a whole staff of orchestrators who will adapt the composers sketches.

Knowing now a general idea of the team of people most directly involved in the process of producing film music we can examine the whole process of composing a film score from start to finish. Fred Karlin and Rayburn Wright in On The Track give a working model of this process as follows:

    1. Meeting filmmakers, reading script, screening the film
    2. Spotting the film
    3. Planning budgets and recording schedules
    4. Conceptualizing
    5. Working out timings/synchronization
    6. Composing
    7. Orchestrating
    8. Recording
    9. Dubbing (11).

When the composer reaches the "Conceptualizing" step in the scoring process, the composer must begin to make the must crucial musical decisions of all. During this process, the composer establishes the foundational element of any good score, the score concept. The score concept is "the primary idea that functions as a foundation upon which the score is built." (Karlin and Wright 81). The score concept often revolves around characters or ideas central to the film, and involves representing characters, places or ideas with music. Some scores make use of methods stemming from the19th century musical concept of "idee fixe" in which an idea is represented by a recurring motive or melody throughout a composition. Berlioz made use of this technique in Symphonie Fantastique. Similarly, scores make use of the compositional building block of a "leitmotif" where a recurring theme indicates a certain person, attribute or idea. Richard Wagner is famous for incorporating themes in such fashion to ascribe super-human attributes to characters in many of his works including Die Valkyrie and others. Other methods may be developed and will incorporate repeated usage of various combinations of melody, harmony, rhythm and instrumentation. Regardless of the material and the method used, a good working conceptual model makes a connection between characters and music and will lead the composer to formulate a musical style appropriate for the film they are scoring.

In many cases, before the composer formulates the score concept, the director already has an idea of the style of music for the film. In such cases the director may have filmed certain scenes with a particular music in mind. When communicating with the composer about the appropriate style of music for these scenes, the director will refer to existing music and that music is known as a role model. A role model could be one or several types of music including:

    1. a specific film score or cue,
    2. a specific style of film score,
    3. a specific classical piece, or
    4. a specific song (Karlin and Wright 33-34).

In some cases, the director, editor, or other influential party has gone so far as to pair the role model with a scene in order to experience the effectiveness of the music with the scene. When the pairing of film and role model has occurred, the music is then considered a temp track. According to Karlin and Wright:

There are basically four reasons why filmmakers use temp tracks:

    1. to help them finish editing the film;
    2. to help them screen their film or the producer(s), studio, and/or network executives and preview audiences during various stages of postproduction;
    3. to establish a concept for the score; and
    4. to demonstrate that concept to the composer (39).

From a composer's perspective, the worst case scenario is that the filmmaker will end up using a temp track in the final version of the film as was the case in the well-known example of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. For this film, a composer was hired to score the picture, but Kubrick wished to include scenes accompanied by Richard Strauss' symphonic poem Also Sprach Zarathustra and Johann Strauss' famous waltz The Blue Danube. The final results of these pieces in the film were spectacular and ultimately appropriate for the film, but from the perspective of the composer and those involved in the scoring process, it most likely was disconcerting to see the final version of the film having invested so much time and money preparing and recording other music in vain. But such cases are extremely rare and role models and temp tracks have become vital elements of communication between the director and composer. As such, these devices become extremely important and influential in the scoring of a picture.

In some cases, all musical elements of film are not always left to the discretion of the composer. Additional musical parties include the music editor and the music supervisor. The music editor often deals with sources of music in film other than the music written specifically to underscore the film. When music emanates from a particular source in a film such as a radio or live players, the music heard is called source music. Karlin and Wright define source music as "music that the people on the screen can hear, while underscoring is the music that they can't hear but we in the audience can." (510). Karlin and Wright divide source music into three types, saying:

The music that seems to be coming from the screen can originate from

    1. a known visual source such as a Mariachi Band, car radio or a jukebox,
    2. a nonvisual (off-screen) source like a marching band pr stereo,
    3. an imaginary source (something that probably would be believable in a scene, such as a car radio or cassette player).

No matter what the originating source, it should always be as authentic as possible (510).

Karlin and Wright also classify the interaction between source music and score into five different categories, all of which require deft craftsmanship of the composer and music editor:

    1. source music function as score,
    2. source music changing into score,
    3. source music cross-fading into score,
    4. source music and score used simultaneously,
    5. source music playing an underscoring theme (511-12).

Dealing with source music can be very challenging for a composer. Scenes involving source music must be handled delicately, especially when the composer is asked to create music that interacts with source music in one of the five ways mentioned. Interchanging the two must be done seamlessly with utmost attention to detail so that the transfer from source music to score is not noticeable or distracting to the audience.

Another important musical element in films usually supervised by the music supervisor is the incorporation of songs where sung lyrical content enhances the meaning and experience of the film. According to Karlin and Wright, "a vocal will humanize the score, and give the soundtrack either wit...or warmth. The lyric can speak for the character...or reflect and overview of the film, and the right performance can give authenticity to a film's statement" (524). In order for a film to make use of songs, the film must leave a hole where the song will later be inserted and edited to fit, and there must be a reason why the song is included. Creating a score that directly interacts with songs also requires a great deal of skill by the composer, music editor and music supervisor.

Formulating an Analysis Method

A specific analysis of each film's music must be performed in order to properly examine and understand the music theory involved in film scoring. Such an endeavor is problematic because in comparison with more traditional forms of composition (such as the sonata form of the symphony or string quartet for example), relatively very little formal, objective musical study examines the compositional techniques of film scoring. Because no widespread agreement acknowledging an ideal format for the theoretical analysis of a film score exists, a project that seeks to do so faces a problem from the beginning. Without a lengthy examination of why this disparity between the amount of literature available on traditional forms and newer forms exists, understanding a few circumstances will broadly address the situation and help clarify this project's format for analysis.

First, the medium of film music in its present form has only existed for about 70 years. It was not until 1929 when technology allowed audio and visual streams to be recorded on to the same strip of film that our present medium of film music was born. Because of such a relatively young age in comparison with other classical forms that precede film music by hundreds of years, the simple time differential explains why so little examination of film music exists.

Secondly, in the musical world there seems to be a current of thought that does not hold film music with the same sort of regard that compositions generated from strictly musical considerations are held, the implication being that music so heavily influenced by extra-musical considerations is not as valid. This debate is part of a larger issue in musical circles about the nature of music where absolute music and program music are pitted against each other. Absolute music can be thought of as music for music's sake alone while program music is defined as music that depicts some extra-musical idea or story.

This discussion about these two seemingly opposed concepts of music is not new. The concept of program music comes from a movement during the 19th century, when composers like Liszt, Mussorgsky, Borodin, Rimsky-Korsakov, Strauss, and others based their compositions on poetry, folklore, nationalistic mythology or other programs. The concept of absolute music implies a certain ideal -- that there is purity in the creation of music for music's sake alone. Though such aspirations are commendable, the observable history of music is that an idealistic approach to composition, as implied by the concept of absolute music, is rarely attained. Even among composers regarded as masters (Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, etc.) it is widely understood that certain musical features of their works were included or omitted because of extra-musical considerations. Many composers would attest that almost inevitably in the creation of a piece, the composer must make choices about what musical ideas to include and what to remove and that in reaching these decisions, non-musical considerations often affect the final form of the work. Such decisions about what music to remove or include are extraordinarily common and should not cause the music that benefits from such decisions to be regarded as less valid.

Regardless of the reasons for a lack of examples that analytically discuss film music in an academic fashion, this project required an analysis model for the purposes of clear identification of each film, for consistent examination of each film, for clear objective analysis, for specific reference to musical examples and observations, and to report findings in a systematic, logical format. The primary template for the formulation of this analysis model was developed by Fred Karlin for a section of his text, Listening to movies: the film lover's guide to film music. This section of text, identified as "A Closer Look at Eight Films," serves as a very basic model for analysis of a film score, especially if access to original manuscripts and scores is not available (92-144). This project makes use of Karlin's basic analysis model, as well as Karlin's format of identification.

Per Karlin, analysis of each film begins with an identification section that identifies each film with the following information in the format, which follows:

Title (Year Released)

Music by: (Composer)

Orchestrated by: (Orchestrator, if different than composer)

Directed by: (Director)

Starring: (Principal actors)

A thorough analysis should account for the creative climate during the time that a film was released, in so far that such information is directly related to the film's success and the film's music. Also per Karlin, the next analysis portion titled Introductory Comments will briefly discuss the history of the film to point out information about how the film was influenced by prevailing issues when it was made, or other such information that may directly or indirectly relate to the score's development.

The Synopsis section of each analysis will outline the plot, as well as discuss the assumptions each film makes about the nature of the universe, and how each film establishes its cinematic landscape.

Because of the fundamental importance that the score concept plays in the successfulness of a score, a thorough analysis of a film score should adequately account for the conceptual model from which the composer most likely worked. This can be difficult because without the benefit of a composer's own words and thoughts, it is impossible to state with great certainty what conceptual model he was working from. However, careful observation of the music's role in a film and an understanding of a film's overall conceptual and dramatic goals can be juxtaposed to create an observable interaction between certain musical and plot features from which we may infer certain concepts the composer may have been working from. On occasion music from a film will bear similarity to existing pieces, suggesting the use of a role model or a temp track in the scoring process. Per Karlin, this project records observations and insights about the nature of the score concept and any usage of role models and/or temp tracks in the section of the analysis titled "Style and Concept."

A thorough analysis should include an accurate list of all cues in a film, their timings and when the music enters so other viewers of the film can observe the cues. Such a detailed account of cues will also facilitate discussion of specific musical passages within the score itself. This project records a specific cue in the same manner as Karlin, listing cues in the section of analysis called "Spotting."

Because occasionally, films make use of songs and source music to various extents, the usage of each should be discussed in a thorough analysis of music's role in a film. While these musical elements in film are usually not considered part of the score, they often play influential roles in establishing the authenticity or character of film, and will be accounted for in a section called "Source Music and Songs."

Karlin also includes a section titled "Themes" which comments on specific recurring melodies throughout a picture. However, many scores included in this project do not directly use linear melodies and because the words "theme" and "melody" in non-musical (and some musical) circles are often interchangeable, this project will title this section "Compositional Techniques." Also unlike Karlin, this project will include musical transcriptions in this section in addition to commentary on specific musical selections. The format for these transcriptions and commentaries follows that of Doug Adams who in various articles appearing in issues of Film Score Monthly analyzed Franz Waxman's highly developed "leitmotif" score for Prince Valiant as well as John William's scores for the films of the Star Wars trilogy, citing numerous transcribed motives with commentary (28-29). Unfortunately, actual transcriptions of full scores are not always available, however occasionally cue, medley or sequence from a score is available and will appear in this section of analysis when available for the specific film.

For the purposes of objectively evaluating the successfulness of each score in the contexts of its own film, films similar in type, and all films included in this project, an evaluation tool is used. This tool is a set of questions posed to each film. The questions were derived from issues surrounding the evaluation of film music as suggested by Karlin, including how a score distinguishes itself, how a score makes use of established film music styles, the extent to which a score serves the purposes of a film, the extent to which the score interacts with the drama to elicits emotional involvement, the traditional structural concepts of form and development as they occur in film music and originality. The "Evaluation" section of each analysis is comprised of the answers of each film to the analysis tool, which follows:

    1. What compositional elements distinguish this score?
    2. What compositional elements are similar to other scores in this film genre? How frequently do these elements occur in the other selected films, scenes and scores?
    3. To what extent does the score serve the film?
    4. How is the level of emotional involvement between music and drama appropriate for the film?
    5. How does the score form make use of the film form? To what extent is that appropriate for the film?
    6. How is the level of score originality appropriate for the film?

The specific type of film this project examines is one that requires sophisticated scoring techniques because of the nature and characteristics of its plot. Since its inception, the film medium has allowed for a realization of fictional concepts and ideas and in doing so has sought to create alternate realities through the use of striking visual image and musical scoring. Kerry J. Byrnes recently cataloged many of these films along with critiques of scores from these films in an article title "Next Stop...Willoughby: Film Music Voyages in The Soundtrack Zone 1998" which appeared at, the outlet of the magazine Film Score Monthly. Byrnes groups films and television shows of this type into three categories: 1. Sojourn Across Space, 2. Sojourn Across Time and , 3. Sojourn Across Death. This project will address only films of the types, "Altered Space," "Altered Time," and "Altered Death," making similar use of Byrnes' categories for the sake of comparison and organization. The films selected all appeared in Byrnes' article and were chosen because of the quality of the film overall, the reputation and experience of the composer for the purposes of comparison, the film's historical significance, and access to the film itself as well as other media related to the picture such as recordings of the score and other available peripherally related materials. A brief discussion of observed characteristics and similarities between films of each type will open the section on each film group.

Altered Space

The term "space" should be defined for the context in which it was used to group these films. In this context, "space" is not just the popular setting of so many blockbuster pictures in outer space, but rather space in a more general sense as reality. Though three pictures from this group, Planet of the Apes, Superman: The Movie, and Contact involve characters who traverse across outer space, two films, Field of Dreams and The Matrix involve travel to and from strange spaces of existence. In Field of Dreams, the baseball players exist in the limited hallowed space of the baseball diamond, and the even more mysterious corn field; and in The Matrix, characters exist in two different realities simultaneously, one physical, the other, computer generated and neurologically projected. But all of the films' scores incorporate scoring techniques that prove very valuable in a study such as this.


Planet of the Apes (1968)

Music by Jerry Goldsmith

Orchestrated by Arthur Morton

Directed by Franklin J. Schaffner

Starring Charlton Heston, Roddy McDowell, Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, James Whitmore, James Daly

Introductory Comments

Planet of the Apes spawned a number of sequel films, television episodes and specials, and a very definite following among science fiction fans. The release of Planet of the Apes coincided with the later half of the turbulent decade of the 1960's, which may account for much of the film's anti-war rhetoric.

It should be noted that the Goldsmith's approach to this score is very much an avant-garde method. While the music for the picture is extremely appropriate, specific detailed analysis simply by listening is extremely difficult and in some cases impossible, simply because of the newness, inventiveness and originality of Goldsmith's technique. Specific musical analysis for this picture represents the best estimations of the author, but this analysis is performed without the benefit of a score.


Charlton Heston and two other astronauts come out of deep hibernation to find that their ship has crashed. Escaping with little more than clothes they find that they have landed on a planet where men are pre-lingual and uncivilized while apes have learned speech and technology. Heston is captured and taken to the city of the apes after damaging his throat so that he is silent and cannot communicate with the apes (Vogel, Planet of the Apes 1).

Style & Concept

Planet of the Apes makes use of the concept of an altered reality made possible by travel through space for an extended period of time. Jerry Goldsmith's score combines with askew camera angles and with special visual effects to set the mood for this altered reality. The primary driving concept of the score is to make unconventional use of conventional instruments. One of the first sounds in cue #1. Main Title is the repetition of a single pitch on what is typically referred to as "prepared" piano. In this context, "prepared" simply means that the typical piano instrument has been altered to sound differently. Perhaps a muffler of some sort has been placed inside the piano to keep the strings from vibrating fully or properly in the normal sense, or perhaps the string itself is being plucked with a tool instead of being struck by a hammer in the conventional way. Almost every other instrument (with a few exceptions) heard in this cue is used in an unconventional way.

Another key concept in the score that contributes to the altered reality of the film is the single sounding note is repeated by convention and especially unconventional means by adding the audio effect of echo. Jerry Goldsmith also employed this technique of applying echo to trumpet passages in the film Patton during sequences when General Patton talks about how he was present at all of the ancient battles of history. In both contexts it suggests a reality that is altered or strangely recalls the past.

The score also makes use of a sparse atonal style that also acts as a vehicle to establish the altered reality of Planet of the Apes. Very quick iterations of tone rows can be heard throughout the film. When necessary, the score makes use of fast tempos for the purpose of underscoring the action on screen, but does not depart from an atonal stylistic approach.

A final element of the film that helps to create the relationship of the score to the picture occurs in the final minute of the film. The revelation of that minute is the most dramatic moment of the picture, and while there is no music, the strangeness of the score throughout the picture is justified because of what Taylor discovers. Essentially, what the score has been trying to tell Taylor and the audience all along is finally revealed.


Running time: 112 minutes

Running time of music: 46 minutes, 24 seconds

Percentage scored: 41%

#1. Main Title (2:09) Music begins as Taylor (Heston) enters deep sleep.

#2. Crash Landing (1:05) Begins during the landing sequence after the ship enters the water.

#3. Abandon Ship (1:30) Starts as the ships metal shrieks as the crew realizes Stewart is dead.

#4. "Here To Stay" (1:37) Follows Taylor's observation that the crew is marooned on the planet.

#5. Wasteland (2:27) Begins as crew begins wandering through the desert on foot.

#6. Searching For Life (4:27) After the crew finds a small plant, music begins as the crew searches for more signs of life.

#7. Others (3:03) Music starts as strange beings steal the crew's clothes.

#8. The Hunt (5:08) Begins as the apes begin to corral the herds of humans.

#9. A Present for Bright Eyes (0:48) Begins as Dr. Zira places Nova in the cage with Taylor.

#10. Disturbance in the Cage (1:24) Music starts as a man attacks Taylor in an outdoor cage.

#11. Trusting Dr. Zira (1:49) After returning inside, the music begins as Dr. Zira seeks to establish trust with Taylor.

#12. Escape attempt (5:35) Music starts as a guard attempts to harness Taylor.

#13. The Hearing (1:42) Starts as Taylor is escorted into the Tribunal courtroom.

#14. Examining the Crew (2:21) Begins as the Tribunal exits the courtroom to examine Taylor's companions.

#15. The Abduction (2:35) Begins as Lucious assaults a guard and frees Taylor.

#16. Return to the Forbidden Zone (3:18) Music starts as Taylor and party set out for the forbidden zone and ends as Taylor yells to Cornelius across a deep chasm.

#17. Standoff (1:05) Music begins as Cornelius and Taylor begin to enter the cave and troops begin to ambush the beach.

#18. The Cave (1:13) Begins as Taylor suggests that they all enter the cave to determine Cornelius' and Zira's fate and ends as the group enters the cave and has a look around.

#19. The Answer (3:08) Music begins as Taylor and Nova ride off to a new life and ends as Taylor finds that he has been on Earth the whole time.

Source Music and Songs

With the exception of a blaring horn resembling a masculine scream at the begging of the hunt scene, there is no source music in the film to discuss. Songs are not used in this picture.

Compositional Techniques

In #1. Main Title, the use of prepared piano can be observed. Without the actual instructions for its preparation and the directions to the performer, it is almost impossible to speculate the exact nature of how the instrument is altered.

Throughout the film, a repeated idea is the use of instruments repeating a single note many times, and also the repetition of some sort of tone row. Without an written example of the score, analysis of the row can be observed, but demonstration of recurrence and affectations of the row (inversion, retrograde, and retrograde inversion) are almost impossible.


The unconventional use of instruments, special application of electronic effects and atonal style clearly set this score apart from the majority of films that existed before this score was completed. In comparison with scores that followed, it set a new trend in the application of unconventional instrumentation and use of electronic effects.

As mentioned previously, Goldsmith applies similar electronic techniques in cues from the film Patton, but other than usage in that picture, such techniques were so unique at the time and so appropriately employed, that any other usage of similar instead would have been blatantly plagiarized from Goldsmith.

Among the score examined in this project, Planet of the Apes is the only score consistently atonal in style with such developed use of unconventional instruments.

In most cues, the score benefits from such refined craftsmanship, that the individual entrances and exits of cues are so subtle that even when consciously listening for these entrances and exists, it is difficult to exactly determine these moments. Such concentrated effort to make the score inconspicuous attests to

score's function of a supporting role.

The film primarily scientific and socio-philosophical in nature where two sides of an argument are pitted against each other. The main emotion that stems from the plot then is anger and when appropriate, the music underscores and reflects that tension. The small sub-plot of the relationship between Taylor and Dr. Zira is not explored very much in the film and consequently, there is not much space to underscore this relationship with music. It seems that an attempt to do so would distract and break the continuity of the score.

The form of the score closely follows the form of the film. From the opening crash scene, as the picture climaxes visually in the chase scenes, the music also expands its texture and tempo to support these moments.

The originality of the film's premise needed an adequately original score to successfully communicate issues the film deals with. Goldsmith's reality is equally as original as the originality of the film. Consequently, the score works with the film to establish a consistent believable reality.


Superman: The Movie (1978)

Music by John Williams

Orchestrated by Andrew Morton and Arthur Morton

Directed by Richard Donner

Starring Christopher Reeve, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder, Ned Beatty

Introductory Comments

Dubbed "The Best Comic-Book Film Ever" by film music writer Jeff Bond in a recent edition of Film Score Monthly, the phenomenon of Superman: The Movie generated 3 sequels, of which, none compared in size, scope or quality to the first incarnation of the heroic character (27). According to Bond:

Richard Donner's 1978 Superman: The Movie was the first blockbuster to take full advantage of the public appetite for fantasy adventures ignited by the previous year's release of Star Wars [also scored by John Williams]. While Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind [also scored by Williams] had launched an immediate wave of cheap and cheesy imitators, Superman's sufficient development time and unique subject matter allowed it to avoid the stigma of being another Star Wars poseur and to emerge as a super-production all its own (27).

Superman eventually would gross $134 million in the United States which laid the groundwork for the sequels that followed, all of which included music from the original, but none of which were exclusively fully scored by Williams.


Unable to convince the ruling council of Krypton that their world will destroy itself soon, scientist Jor-El takes drastic measures to preserve the Kryptonian race: He sends his infant son Kal-El to Earth. There, gaining great powers under Earth's yellow sun, he will become a champion of truth and justice. Raised by the Kents, an elderly farm couple, Clark Kent learns that his abilities must be used for good. The adult Clark travels to Metropolis, where he becomes a mild-mannered reporter for the Daily Planet...and a caped wonder whose amazing feats stun the city: Superman! Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, the world's greatest criminal mind, is plotting the greatest real estate swindle of all time. Can't even the Man of Steel stop this nefarious scheme? This movie begins on Krypton, where Superman's father sends him off to Earth as a young child. He grows up to be a perfectly normal newspaper reporter named Clark Kent. At least, he appears perfectly normal, until he transforms into Superman - flying around with his underpants over his tights, saving the day. When the evil Lex Luthor plans to take over the world, Superman is the only one who can stop him (Sheets 1).

Style & Concept

Superman is a leitmotif score. Not every character has their own theme, but there are enough themes stated so that for each scene that requires music, an appropriate leitmotif theme can be attached.

Williams' style for Superman is orchestrally romantic, incorporating according to Bond, "...the lush, soaring Max Steineresque [composer of Gone With the Wind] Hollywood love theme" (28). Drawing on the influences of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner, most cues make use of fully orchestrated strings and brass. As each leitmotif theme returns, Williams uses the proper instrumentation to connote the appropriate mood for the specific scene. Williams' harmonic language is not as chromatic as romantic orchestral works and not as strenuous on the ear, but rightfully so because excessively chromatic music in the greater context of a film would distract from the plot and images on screen. Instead, Williams uses chromaticism as a tool to negotiate through a variety of tonal centers for the purposes of emphasizing thematic material as it returns throughout the film.


Total Picture Running Time: 143 minutes

Total Music Time: 86 minutes, 59 seconds

Percentage scored: 61%

#1. Prologue and Main Title (5:00) Music begins as the first scene opens with the drawing back of a curtain in black and white and ends as the opening credits end.

#2. The Planet Krypton (1:26) Begins in slight elision with the Main Title cue and ends as the camera zooms into the dome structure on the planet surface.

#3. The Criminals (3:24) Begins as Jor-El starts his description of Ursa and ends as the "Phantom Zone" flies away from the planet surface into space.

#4. Decision of the Council (1:24) Music enters as a key member of the council pronounces the council's decision as final and ends as the audience sees an interior view of Jor-El's home.

#5. Saying Goodbye (2:19) Begins as Jor-El lifts and places crystal into the space pod and ends with a shot of Krypton's approaching red sun.

#6. The Pod Leaves (0:23) Begins as the pod breaks through the glass ceiling of Jor-El's home and ends as a column of rock erupts through the floor of Jor-El's home.

#7. Destruction of Krypton and Space Travel (2:36) Begins with the massive explosion of Krypton and ends as the pod enters Earth's atmosphere.

#8. Meeting New Parents (0:30) Begins as Jonathan and Martha Kent realize there was a crash and ends as the two realize there is a child in the crater.

#9. First Impressions (0:16) Begins as little Kalel lifts up the truck and ends with a quick cut to the football field.

#10. Jogging Home (1:10) Begins as Clark punts a ball and ends as Clark darts over a hill.

#11. Talking with Dad (3:15) Music begins as Clark and Jonathan walk up the drive way and ends with the transition from the cemetery to Clark's bedroom.

#12. The Shard and Self-Discovery (13:29) Begins with the transition to Clark's Bedroom and continues until Superman leaves the fortress of solitude.

#13. Pulled into an Alley (1:33) Begins as a voice and a gun motion for Lois and Clark to come into an alley and ends as Lois picks up her purse as the two leave the alley.

#14. Meeting Otis (1:06) Begins as Otis walks down the sidewalk and ends Otis as blends into the crowd at the train station.

#15. Lex Luthor deals with the Police (1:01) Begins as a detective discovers the secret entrance to Luthor's hideout and ends as Luthor deals with the curious detective.

#16. First Night in Metropolis (7:59) Begins as the helicopter shuttling Lois to the airprt has trouble taking off and ends as a crowbar hammers Superman's shoulder.

#17. Cat in the Tree (0:43) Begins with a calm shot of Superman flying above the city and ends as the little girl walks back into her house.

#18. Air Force One (0:43) Music enters as Superman takes up position under the wing of the plane and ends as the pilot and crewman on the same side peer out the window.

#19. The Interview (1:22) Begins as Superman flies above the city and ends as Superman and Lois sit down for an interview.

#20. Flying Lesson (7:33) Begins as Superman admits that he likes the color pink and ends as Lois realizes that she has just given Superman his name.

#21. Tell her about Clark? (0:39) Begins as Clark removes his glasses to confide the truth in Lois and ends as the two leave Lois' apartment.

#22. The Convoy (1:40) Music enters with a shot of the convoy approaching the feigned accident and ends as Luthor and team pick up Otis and drive away in the pretend ambulance.

#23. Another Sabotage (1:21) Begins with a shot of the Navy missile convoy and ends as Miss Tessmacher accomplishes her task.

#24. Finding Luthor (2:10) Begins as Luthor broadcasts his high frequency message and ends as Superman makes his impression on Luthor's door.

#25. Target Zero (0:56) Begins as Luthor points out the precise missile target on his floor map and ends as the missiles rocket across the countries at low levels.

#26. Kryptonite (2:01) Begins as Superman opens the case containing the Krypton and ends as Superman struggles to get the Kryptonite chain off his neck while underwater.

#27. Chasing the Missile (3:04) Begins as Miss Tessmacher decides to help Superman and ends as Luthor realizes that Miss Tessmacher helped Superman.

#28. Saving California (0:50) Begins as a school bus teeters on the edge of the golden gate bridge and ends as the Hoover Dam begins to crack.

#29. Jimmy Olson and Hoover Dam (0:50) Music begins as Jimmy dangles on the ledge above the Hoover Dam and ends as the river flows through the collapsed dam.

#30. Lois and Diverting the River (4:59) Begins as a crack in the road threatens Lois' car and ends as Superman lays Lois' lifeless body on the ground.

#31. Interfering with Human History (1:59) Begins as in anger Superman flies into the sky and ends as he returns to her car after having changed the circumstances.

#32. Something I have to Do and End Credits (9:48) Begins as Lois and Superman lean together to kiss but are interrupted by Jimmy Olson and ends as the final credits finish rolling.

Source Music and Songs

In three scenes Superman uses source music, but not for the purposes of advancing the plot. Instead of actively participating in moving the story along, the source music is passive in these scenes, Clark's jog home from school, Luau at Lex Luthor's hideout, and Lois' drive through the desert, helping make the scene theatrically convincing. The music in the first scene, the popular song "Rock Around the Clock" can be heard from Brad's car and last scene of the three, radio music comes from Lois' automobile. In the second of the three scenes, background Hawaiian music from a stereo or hi-fi system can be heard in the Luthor palace.

Compositional Techniques

#1. Prologue and Main Title pronounces the grandiose, heroic "Main Theme," the basis of which is demonstrated by the melody notated in Figure 1.


The next recurring motive, "The Planet Krypton," is demonstrated in #2. The Planet Krypton and is identified with images or concepts surrounding Krypton and is shown in Figure 2. In cue #12. The Shard and Self-discovery this motive returns many times, in some cases in a minor mode.

The main motive used for the actual character of Superman, the "Superman Motive," is heard first in cue #6. The Pod Leaves, briefly referenced in #8. Meeting New Parents, stated fully at the close end of #12. The Shard and Self-Discovery, is repeated throughout the course of the film, and is notated as follows in Figure 3.

Another theme, the "Rural Theme," used in cue #11. Talking With Dad occurs during action that takes place in the setting of Superman's rural upbringing and is demonstrated in Figure 4.

A motive briefly used in #12. The Shard and Self-discovery is most closely associated with the shard because of its mysterious qualities and serves to reference mysterious reminders of Krypton. This motive is seen in Figure 5.

A final theme the score makes use of in #16. First Night in Metropolis and extensively in cue #20. Flying Lesson is the film's "Love Theme." Figure 6. notates the full realization of the theme in these cues, although a motive from the cue is first heard in cue #13. Pulled Into an Alley.


Williams superbly works within the construct of the leitmotif approach to scoring. With a thorough knowledge of the sounds a symphony orchestra is capable of producing, Williams tailors extremely appropriate instrumental passages throughout the score, but especially in cues #1. Prologue and Main Title, #13. The Shard and Self-Discovery, and #20. Flying Lesson. The variety with which Williams restates themes certainly distinguishes this score from leitmotif scores of others and his own.

While leitmotif scores have been present in the world of film music since its inception, few composers in recent years have used this approach as successfully as Williams. His scores throughout the late 19070's and early 1980's evidence his experience in using this approach to efficiently and successfully score a film and still meet the dramatic needs of each picture. Other Williams' scores that make use of the leitmotif approach include the Star Wars trilogy, the Indiana Jones trilogy, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and others.

While audiences of the late 1970's and 1980's became very familiar with this sort of approach because of the popularity of these films, few other composers matched Williams' skill at using this technique of scoring. The result of the phenomena status to which some of Williams' scores rose is that while extremely appropriate for the films in which the leitmotif technique is used, the method is conceptually very predictable. Consequently, not many other films make use of this technique in spite of its effectiveness when employed properly.

Each restatement of a leitmotif is done to help characterize the image on screen with which it is identified. The film benefits greatly from Williams' understanding of how to read the drama to determine what its needs are and his ability to create the correspondingly appropriate musical material.

Because the human issues and relationships the film explores, the film lends itself to be scored in a style that can highlight the presence of those emotions. Immediately, the plot makes use of the circumstances in which Jor-El finds himself to generate drama. Quickly his relationship to Kal-El and his actions to save Kal-El create the foundation for the film at the very outset. The score interacts with these issues in an extremely active and significant way to magnify the on-screen drama. The first 24 minutes and 20 seconds of the film contain 17 minutes and 2 seconds worth of music, meaning that 70% of the time during those 24 minutes, the score is interacting with the drama. Later in the picture, the love interest between Superman and Lois is the primary vehicle for eliciting emotional involvement from the audience

The score mirrors the development of the picture. In keeping with the film's climax, the musical climax -- that is, one of the most musically complex cues -- occurs during the moment of Superman's strongest emotion. In this moment, Superman literally turns back time in order to alter the course of human events that leads to Lois' death. In the case of this film which makes use of very successful plot development and form, the approach of allowing the film form to dictate the score form works in favor of both the film and the score.

While Williams' style is not new in the world of film music, it certainly had not been done as well for a number of years. The successfulness with which Williams makes use of the leitmotif technique endows the score with a freshness that more than makes up for any perceived lack of originality. Indeed, as Jeff Bond mentions of the whole film, "It remains the yardstick against which all the comic book adaptations are measures, just as Williams' score represented the blue-print for all comic book film scores until Danny Elfman's [Bernard] Herrmannesque Batman arrived on the scene" (31).


Field of Dreams (1989)

Music by James Horner

Directed by Phil Alden Robinson

Starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta, Burt Lancaster

Introductory Comments

Set on a corn farm in Iowa, Field of Dreams is a tribute to baseball, to those who love the game, and to those whose lives are richer because of how the game brought them together.


After hearing a voice that said "If you build it, he will come" while working one day in the field, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), an Iowa farmer, plows under his corn crop to build a baseball diamond for Shoeless Joe Jackson and other baseball players from the early 1900's. Thinking the voice has been appeased, life continues as normal until Ray Hears the voice again. Facing the prospect of losing his farm because he plowed under his major crop to build the field, Ray must decide what to do.

Style & Concept

Horner's musical concept can be described as a straightforward use of simple themes and triadic harmonies in the fashion of Aaron Copland. This score however is somewhat unique in that the realization of this musical approach makes use of traditional orchestral instruments accented by synthetic timbres and sounds. The incorporation of these electronic instruments, chiefly in scenes where some unusual action that makes use of altered space takes place, enhances the mystery and quality of the story element that makes use of the altered space.


Total Picture Running Time: 106 minutes

Total Music Time: 53 minutes, 22 seconds

Percentage scored: 50%

#1. Main Title & Introduction (3:37) Begins with fade into titles and continues through the narrative preface and introduction.

#2. The Voice (1:58) Starts as camera sweeps across the corn field and live action begins with the whispery voice calling to Ray: "If you build it, he will come."

#3. Night Visit (0:39) Begins as the voice awakens Ray with its whispered call.

#4. Revelation of the Field (1:18) Music begins with a shot of Ray crouching in the field.

#5. Decision to build the Field (2:14) Starts as camera shifts from shot of the Moon to Ray and Annie's conversation in bed.

#6. Building the Field and Waiting (3:27) Music begins as Ray and Karen begin plowing under the corn.

#7. Shoeless Joe Appears (2:35) Begins as Karen reports to Ray that a man is outside on the lawn.

#8. Joe Reminisces (2:59) Begins after Joe takes batting practice and begins to remember playing.

#9. The Ball Game is On (1:59) Begins as the players Joe was suspended with visit the field for the first time.

#10. End of the Day and Return of the Voice (2:21) Music enters as Ray chats with ball players and ends as Ray leaves the field after another confusion message from the voice.

#11. Researching Terrance Mann (2:23) Begins as Annie asks Ray what Terrance man has to do with baseball and ends as the two walk into the house after returning from the library.

#12. Traveling to Boston (2:07) Begins as Annie and Ray realize they had the same dream and ends as Ray finds the staircase that leads to Mann's apartment.

#13. The Final Voice (1:55) Begins as Ray hears the voice and sees the scoreboard at Fenway Park change and ends as Terrance exits Ray's van.

#14. Terrance's Realization and Leaving (1:36) Begins as Terrance steps in front of Ray's van and ends as Terrance and Ray leave for Minnesota

#15. On The Highway (2:31) Begins as Ray and Terrance hit the highway and ends as Ray explains to Annie that he and Terrance are going to Minnesota.

#16. Moonlight Graham (0:45) Begins as Ray sees strange signs that the time has changed and ends as Ray and Doc Graham head for his office.

#17. Remembering harsh words (2:05) Begins as night settles and Terrance asks Ray what he said to his father and ends as Annie and ends as Karen and Annie run out to meet Ray.

#18. Archie up to bat (3:13) Begins as Joe tells Archie there is a place for him on the team and ends as Archie and Ray acknowledge each other.

#19. People will come (2:25) Begins as Terrance begins to explain why people will come and ends as Ray explains that he will not sell the farm.

#20. Emergency (2:13) Begins as Karen falls off of the back of the bleachers and ends as Doc Graham walks into the corn.

#21. The Place Where Dreams Come True (9:02) Begins as Terrance explains that his experience will make a great story and ends as the people come.

Source Music and Songs

The score for Field of Dreams incorporates music that would seem like source music upon the first viewing of film. These cues are up-tempo, in a popular style, and occur during some sort of action to help bridge the scenes before and after the action sequences. This music is not actually source music however, as the music that occurs during these sequences does not appear to emanate from a source within the film.

Compositional Techniques

Throughout Field of Dreams, the score uses a recurring theme heard in the voice of a french horn to accompany mysterious shots of baseball oriented moments. The nature of this theme is very solitary but with the accompaniment of electronic effects and sounds, the theme takes on a timeless quality. The melody is heard only in the horn with accompaniment of electronic effects, a sustained chord in the string section, and an strategically placed accentuations heard in the low register of the piano with select percussion instruments. Figure 7. shows the first eight bars of this baseball theme as heard in cue #1. Main Title and Introduction.

Another recurring motive serves as development material for individual cues throughout the score. This motive is made of two voices, the higher voice of which is an inversion of the lower voice, heard simultaneously at a fifth above the original. The character of the harmonies generated by these two voices in a subtle way helps identify the unusual nature of the space of the field and the story in general. This motive is demonstrated in Figure 8.

A third major compositional technique employed by Horner is the use of figures that outline a natural minor scale in the lower voice of a piano against the backdrop of a synthetically generated texture to help create the misty, evening sound of some of the scenes in the film. Figure 9. shows a transcription of the piano parts in these cues.

The score culminates in the juxtaposition of two of the previously mentioned compositional techniques. The baseball theme seen in Figure 7. and the and the unusual theme seen in Figure 8. are heard in the same cue and subsequently developed into the material that comprises cue #21. The Place Where Dreams Come True. The combination of these ideas for this cure works well because the development of these ideas culminates the direction of the score while the climax of the film is happens simultaneously on screen.

A last theme that occurs in the film is also heard in cue #21. The Place Where Dreams Come True. This theme is set in a minor mode which allows the theme to characterize the bittersweet nature of the relationship between Ray and his father, John. Though the theme is heard in places throughout the picture, Figure 10. Below notates this theme as heard played by an oboe, then later by a french horn in cue #21. The Place Where Dreams Come True.


Field of Dreams showcases Horner's feel for incorporating synthetic textures into traditional approaches to scoring for orchestra. While the thematic and harmonic material used for the bulk of the score is largely simple and accessible, the quality of Horner's incorporation of synthetic textures makes this score somewhat unique.

Though Horner is clearly one of the best film composers at incorporating electronic instruments into the score, clearly this technique alone used to musically characterize the altered space of a film is not a unique approach to achieving an appropriate characterization. Horner's simplistic style though does not overwhelm the picture. Rather, it leaves plenty of room for the film to take center stage and breathe.

Primarily, the score serves the film by drawing its approach to texture and instrumentation from the film. The orchestration for the large majority of the score appropriate for the on screen images. A place where there may be room for a different approach to instrumentation would be during the scenes that make use of the up-tempo, popular rock style of music as heard in cues #6. Building the Field and Waiting, #11. Researching Terrance Mann, and #15. On the Highway. But, these cues serve the film as well -- they represent the scores drastic stylistic adaptation when necessary for the action on screen.

The presence of the score at key dramatic moments during the film is very appropriate. The variety with which these moments are scored and left unscored is also satisfying as well. It would have been easy to over score the scene where Ray and Annie realize they had the same dream, but Horner's choice to simply score a sustained synthesizer at a very low volume appropriately interacts with the drama on screen.

As previously mentioned, the climaxes of the film and the score occur simultaneously in cue #21. The Place Where Dreams Come True. In this cue, thematic material from various cues earlier in the film come together to accentuate the interaction between Ray and his father. Through the rest of the film, various cues highlight the drama as necessary.

The concept of the score directly relates to the character of the film. Though the techniques Horner uses (incorporation of electronic instruments with traditional orchestra, and so on) to achieve a musical characterization for the film are not new, these same techniques have not been employed to the same level of effectiveness across a wide number of films. But simply the frequency with which this approach is used does not correlate directly to the originality of the film's plot. However, Horner's skill in the employment of these techniques allows the music to adequately match the needs of the picture.


Contact (1997)

Music by Alan Silvestri

Orchestrated by William Ross

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt

Introductory Comments

Based on the work by astronomer and scientist Carl Sagan, the film version of Contact deals with the centuries-old issues between science and faith and how these issues interact when an alien intelligence in the universe makes itself know people on earth. An interesting side note to the picture is that director Robert Zemeckis makes use of special effects in Contact that originally were developed for use in the Oscar winning picture he also directed, Forrest Gump. In both films, this visual technique allows lead characters to appear in close proximity with important non-fictional figures that were not actually photographed during the principal photography of the film. In Forrest Gump, this special effect is used to place the lead actor Tom Hanks in interviews with past Presidents Johnson, Nixon and Ford and in this picture. In Contact, the technique places lead characters in close proximity to living officials such as President Bill Clinton.

Additionally, Contact's remarkable introduction also helps set director Robert Zemeckis apart from other film makers once again. As in Back to the Future, the opening sequence purposefully provides the audience with a huge amount of information pertinent to the plot of the film, however the audience has no way of knowing how that information will prove to be important at that time. It is not until later in the film, or even upon a second viewing, that the audience becomes aware of the significance of the material in the introduction.

Synopsis the story of a free thinking radio astronomer (Jodie Foster) who discovers an intelligent signal broadcast from deep space. She and her fellow scientists are able to decipher the Message and discover detailed instructions for building a mysterious Machine. Will the Machine spell the end of our world, or the end of our superstitions? Will we take our place among the races of the Galaxy, or are we just an upstart species with a long way to go (Howell 1)?

Style & Concept

Alan Silvestri's score could be considered the tasteful dramatic shading on a largely musically independent film. Though 42% of the film is accompanied by music, the large percentage of the time when the music accompanies the action, the music is not largely noticeable. Rather, more so than films to this point in the project, it's involvement in the film is limited to highlighting moments of dramatic importance. While a simple, childlike theme recurs throughout the course of the score, and also the occasional repetition of a swelling chord progression, the large body of music is underscoring and does not interact dramatically with the drama. His style is conventionally orchestral while making some extensive use of percussion in limited cues.


Total Picture Running Time: 150 minutes

Total Music Time: 62 minutes, 17 seconds

Percentage scored: 42%

#1. Introduction (1:48) Musical Collage begins immediately as film opens and ends as the camera passes a star and nebula on it's trek out from Earth.

#2. Pensacola (1:13) Begins as a young Ellie looks at the map of places she has reached and ends as Ellie asks if there would be big enough radio to reach to her Mom.

#3. A Bigger Antenna (1:41) Begins as Ellie begins searching on the radio late at night and ends as Ellie listens during her first night of dish time.

#4. The Planet Venus (1:31) Begins as Ellie explains when she knew she wanted to be an astronomer and ends as Palmer finishes a story.

#5. The Meteor Shower (1:09) Music enters as Ellie finds her father in an emergency and ends as the audience sees Ellie on the day of the funeral.

#6. Searching for Dad (0:52) Begins as Ellie walks up the stairs to the radio and ends as Ellie spends another night at the observatory.

#7. Ellie's Frustration (0:26) Begins as Ellie sits at the edge of a cliff after finding out that they will no longer have the funding they need and ends as a TV program featuring Palmer Joss begins.

#8. The Message (4:17) Begins as Ellie hears a strange signal and heads for the control room and ends as Willie patches in the signal to a speaker system.

#9. Tracking Vega (0:29) Begins as Ellie wraps up a conversation with an observatory in Australia and ends as Ellie makes the decision to go public with their findings.

#10. The Image From Vega (1:21) Begins as the scientists begin to decipher the image contained in the message and ends as the Kitz asks to be put in touch with the White House.

#11. The Data (0:40) Begins as Kent sends images of the data to Ellie and ends as Ellie begins to explain the nature of data to White House advisors.

#12. The Crowd (1:48) Musical montage begins as Ellie returns from the VLA from Washington and fades as Ellie sees a preacher lecturing outside the VLA.

#13. Hadden (6:44) Begins as Ellie boards Hadden's private jet and ends as Ellie explains the primer to White House officials.

#14. Meeting with Palmer (1:22) Begins as Ellie explains to Palmer why she personally wants to be the one to go and ends as the selecting committed wraps up their examination of Ellie.

#15. Palmer's Question (1:09) Begins as the importance of Palmer's question begins to sink in and ends as Palmer comes to console Ellie.

#16. The Machine (1:22) Music enters as Ellie gives the compass back to Palmer and ends as a reporter explains the situation at Cape Kennedy.

#17. Testing the Machine (4:14) Begins as the testing process begins and ends with the explosion during the test procedure.

#18. Systems Integration Site (2:41) Begins as Ellie presses a button to initiate a call to Mr. Hadden and ends as Hadden asks Ellie if she wants to take a ride.

#19. Ellie Prepares (0:43) Music enters as Palmer returns the compass to Ellie and ends as a jet flies Ellie out to the machine for the trip.

#20. Buttoning Up The IPV (1:11) Music begins as control notifies Ellie that they are going to close the pod and ends as the pod door seals itself.

#21. OK to Go (4:49) Begins as Kent lets Ellie know that he is there and ends as the gantry arm drops the pod into the core.

#22. Arrival (7:32) Begins as light within the pod goes out and Ellie realizes that she has arrived and ends as Ellie's travel back to Earth begins.

#23. The Facts Mount (1:02) Begins as control notifies Ellie that there was some mistake and ends as Ellie admits that she has no explanation for what happened.

#24. Not Alone (2:26) Music begins as Ellie emerges from the hearing to find Palmer and a throng have appeared in her support and ends as Ellie Mr. Kitz and ...Ms. Constantine discuss Ellie's Fate.

#25. A Big Place (9:47) Begins as Ellie explains the size of the universe to a group of kids and ends as the closing credits end.

Source Music and Songs

While songs comprise the musical accompaniment for the montage of crazy demonstrators that greets Dr. Arraway in cue #12. The Crowd, because the evident purposefulness of song choice, order, and placement, the music obviously serves an active role, helping the plot proceed in a significant way. Because these songs function so actively, this sequence has been designated as an actual cue for the purposes of this analysis. Throughout selected films directed by Robert Zemeckis, such as Back to the Future and Forrest Gump for example, he has demonstrated a propensity to incorporate songs at strategic moments in his films for the purposes of advancing the plot.

Apart from this sequence, other source music includes a string quartet heard at the Ellie, Palmer and Drumlin all attend.

Compositional Techniques

The first musical signature Silvestri uses throughout the picture is a single recurring theme. This theme captures the innocence of the young Ellie and simplicity of the drive and scientific curiosity that motivates Ellie through the whole film. Figure 11. As follows notates this theme as first heard in the voice of a piano in cue #2. Pensacola.

Throughout the picture, another theme recurs at various moments when Ellie specifically demonstrates her own scientific curiosity. This theme is based on a simple motive that occurs quickly, but in a manner that like the main theme, characterizes the purity and simplicity of the spark of wonder it represents. When heard in #3. A Bigger Antenna, a piccolo plays this theme as transcribed as follows in Figure 12.

Silvestri employs a third musical figure that recurs during moments of Ellie's emotional contact with other characters. This figure is simply a sequence of four chords, heard most often in an orchestrated string section. Though the entire section plays this progression, the attacks and general interpretation are noticeably very gentle, drawing its interpretation from the tender moments that occur in the action.


While Silvestri's conceptual approach is very conventional -- that is, the use of a main recurring theme, which is then further developed by similar, closely related motives -- Silvestri's skill at employing this tried and true scoring model is exemplary.

Like other films in this genre, Silvestri makes use of a familiar harmonic language. Silvestri's also demonstrates a talent incumbent upon a film composer: the ability to use music to characterize emotional moments and non-musical elements of drama and plot.

Though Silvestri could easily have made the more than 60 minutes of music he composed for this picture more noticeable, Silvestri's skill at using silence, as well as music that does not call attention to itself highlights a cinematic characteristic the plot makes use of and that is the characteristic of silence. Indeed, the picture is based on the literal and metaphorical silence that Ellie observes from the universe and the corresponding relative silence, subtlety and inconspicuousness of the score help communicate this element of the picture.

Though the spiritual component of Ellie's character are somewhat detached from her active, operative philosophy, the moments when she exhibits an emotional dimension are appropriately scored with tender, delicate figures.

As the intensity of the drama builds, the score corresponds in like manner, highlighting the development of the plot and accentuating the important scenes with more significant figures of music.

While the subject for the film, the hope of intelligent life in the universe, is not incredibly original, especially in Hollywood, the detailed, scientific manner in which Contact deals with this subject is an extremely realistic approach that logically deals with fictional elements inherent in the subject. And while a correspondingly original conceptual approach to scoring such a picture is desirable, one cannot deny the appropriateness of Silvestri's approach and final product when viewing Contact.


The Matrix (1999)

Music by Don Davis

Directed by Andy and Larry Wachowski

Starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburn, Carrie-Anne Moss

Introductory Comments

Already famous for its Oscar-winning visual effects, The Matrix also captured an Oscar for sound effects editing, and though Don Davis' score for The Matrix was not nominated for an Oscar, the quality of the score shows that Don Davis will be a notable film composer in years to come.


In the near future, a computer hacker named Neo (Keanu Reeves) discovers that all life on Earth may be nothing more than an elaborate facade created by a malevolent cyber-intelligence, for the purpose of placating us while our life essence is "farmed" to fuel the Matrix's campaign of domination in the "real" world. He joins like-minded Rebel warriors Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) and Trinity (Carrie Ann Moss) in their struggle to overthrow the Matrix.Computer hacker Thomas Anderson has lived a relatively ordinary life--in what he thinks is the year 1999--until he is contacted by the enigmatic Morpheus who leads him into the real world. In reality, it is 200 years later, and the world has been laid waste and taken over by advanced artificial intelligence machines. The computers have created a false version of 20th-century life--the "Matrix"--to keep the human slaves satisfied, while the AI machines draw power from the humans. Anderson, pursued constantly by "Agents" (computers who take on human form and infiltrate the Matrix), is hailed as "The One" who will lead the humans to overthrow the machines and reclaim the Earth.Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a computer hacker who discovers that the world around him is a computer simulation called the Matrix. He learns this from Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who also tells him that the Matrix uses humans as fuel for his quest of total domination. Morpheus has been searching his entire life for a "chosen one" to destroy the Matrix, and he believes Neo is it. Neo has his doubts, but through all his adventures with Morpheus and his crew, he starts to believe, and is ready to destroy the Matrix (Gittes 1).

Style & Concept

Fortunately the public release of The Matrix on DVD format includes a special feature that allows the film to be viewed with a lower volume of dialogue and sound effects and a raised volume of the musical score with commentary by the composer, Don Davis. Such a feature makes this particular version of the film invaluable for a student of film music. Not only is the quality of the film and audio increased dramatically because of the technology of the DVD format, but to hear the composer's motivations and intentions in a play-by-play manner allows students of film music the incredible experience of first-hand conversation with the composer about his own compositions.

The style of Don Davis' score for The Matrix can best be described as a synthesis of 20th century compositional ideas including minimalism, the avante garde school of the 1950's and 60's, as well as texture driven sequences, all realized by a full orchestra. Davis classifies his approach as a "post-modern style" which he characterizes as "an outgrowth of minimalism." Though not at length, Davis describes this "post-modern style" as "all-encompassing" and related to more abstract music. Davis also specifically mentions compositional concepts of Penderecki, in which a musical idea repeats itself in different ways. Such an approach can be heard in throughout the film, but Davis mentions that he specifically used this technique in cue #5. Unable to Speak.

Davis also alludes to the collaborative element of composing for films when discussing the composition of cue #6. Getting the Bug Out. Originally, Davis presented a "first draft" of music he had prepared for this cue, but the directors, the Wachowski Brothers, felt that it needed "less motion" at the beginning. The music that eventually made the film is observably static, similar to the texture of a churning sort of undercurrent that though it has motion, is not overtly present in the context of the film. This sequence according to Davis embodies the collaborative nature of the scoring process in that the music is the result of a compromise of creative considerations.

Additionally, Davis comments on the deliberate use of choir in sequences in cue #7. Morpheus' Proposal and #8. Neo's Rehab to personify the "fate of humanity" as the film presents that fate. Davis' choral technique involves current trends in choral writing similar to his overall approach to scoring for the orchestra, where the musical material is propelled primarily by textural considerations rather than traditional melodic and harmonic considerations.

A final concept from the film that Davis makes use of is the deliberate use of mirror imagery throughout the film. Davis discusses the feeling of the Wachowski Brothers that a mirror helped symbolize the nature of how film characters perceive reality -- that is, the belief that reality is really how we perceive it. Davis draws on the concept frequently for thematic material. In many cues, such as #4. Package for Mr. Anderson, as one musical idea enters, it is repeated, like a mirror image. Davis however takes the concept one step further by altering the way the idea is repeated, which suggests that somehow the repetition is not the same as the original.


Total Picture Running Time: 136 minutes

Total Music Time: 50 minutes, 38 seconds

Percentage scored: 37%

#1. Introduction (6:37) Begins with the opening sequence and continues through the first shot time the audience sees Neo.

#2. Computer Message (0:26) This cue begins as Neo wakes up to see that he has a message on his computer and ends as a knock on the door is heard as predicted by the message on the computer.

#3. Follow the White Rabbit (0:10) Begins as Neo realizes he should follow the instructions from the message on the computer and follow the girl at the door who has displayed the white rabbit tattoo on her back.

#4. Package for Mr. Anderson (4:03) Begins as Neo opens a strange package to find a ringing phone and ends as the audience sees Agents entering an interrogation room.

#5. Unable to Speak (1:07) Begins as Neo asks for his phone call, and Agent Smith comments that a phone call is useless if he is Unable to speak. The cue ends as Neo wakes up in his own apartment after some time has passed.

#6. Getting the Bug Out (3:09) Begins as the audience sees Neo waiting beneath a bridge in the rain and ends as Neo meets Morpheus.

#7. Morpheus' Proposal (7:29) Begins as Morpheus gives Neo the choice between the blue pill and the red pill and ends after Neo's discovery, as a crane raises Neo into Morpehus' ship, "The Nebachudnezzar."

#8. Neo's Rehab (1:59) Begins as a flash of light indicates Neo's awakening and ends as Morpheus enters Neo's room to find him curious and full of questions.

#9. The Nebachudnezzar and Crew (1:33) Begins as Morpheus begins the grand tour of the ship and ends as Morpheus and Neo enter the "construct."

#10. The Real World (3:53) The music enters as Morpheus catches Neo up on how history in the real world has developed and ends as Neo "pops."

#11. The Search is over (1:30) Begins as Morpheus explains why he freed Neo and ends as Morpheus explains that Neo will need his rest.

#12. Training Begins (3:48) Music enters as Tank hops into the operator chair and Neo begins his training, then ends as Morpheus and Neo begin a sparring program.

#13. Neo's Speed (0:57) Begins during the Kung Fu sequence as Neo begins to demonstrate his speed and ends as Morpheus is nearly nailed.

#14. The Jump Program (1:22) Begins as the Jump program is loaded and ends when Neo hits bottom.

#15. A Gift from Trinity (0:33) Music starts Trinity enters Neo's room, bringing in food and ends as Trinity and Cypher end their discussion.

#16. The Agent Program (4:36) Begins as Morpheus and Neo take a walk in what appears to be the real world and ends as a would be attack on The Nebachudnezzar is averted.

#17. Cypher's Perspective (0:55) Begins as Neo and Cypher poses a question to Neo while they share a drink and ends as Neo leaves Cypher alone.

#18. Cypher Deals (0:29) Begins as Cypher and the agent discuss terms of a deal and ends as the audience sees the rest of the crew at a yummy breakfast.

#19. Pirating In (0:48) Begins Morpheus informs the crew that they are going in and ends as Morpheus informs the operator that everyone is in.

#20. Residual Memories (2:54) Music begins as the squad exits a building into an alley and ends as Neo opens the door to the Oracle's apartment.

#21. There is no spoon (1:00) Begins as Neo observes a child performing mind exercises and ends as Neo is notified that the Oracle will see him.

#22. The Oracle (1:20) Begins as the Oracle begins to tell Neo about the truth of Morpheus and ends as Neo's visit winds down to a close.

#23. A Glitch (8:51) Begins as the audience sees mouse with a picture of the woman in the red dress ans ends as Neo realizes the phone is dead.

#24. Unplugged (4:39) Begins as the audience sees that Cypher has done in Dozer and ends as Agent smith begins to describe his perspective on The Matrix.

#25. Holding Morpheus (6:59) Begins as the audience sees the Agents' tools of torture and ends as Agent Smith pulls up a chair for a chat with Morpheus.

#26. Going After Morpheus (3:53) Begins as Agent Smith leans in to tell Morpheus how he has classified humans and ends as Neo reveals to the officer that he is packing heat.

#27. The Lobby (1:49) Begins as Neo and Trinity run to each wall in the lobby and ends as Neo finishes off the last soldier.

#28. The Bomb (0:58) Begins as the other agents enter Morpheus' holding room and ends as Neo and Trinity take a ride on the elevator wire.

#29. Under Attack (1:02) Begins as a helicopter pilot informs the agents that the crew on the roof is under attack and ends as Trinity says, "Dodge this."

#30. The Helicopter (0:37) Begins as Neo asks if Trinity can fly the helicopter and ends as Neo opens fire on the agents.

#31. The Rescue (4:12) Music enters as the audience sees Morpheus alone in the room and ends as Agent Smith comments, "They're not out yet."

#32. The Subway (5:31) Begins as Agent smith realizes that the bum in the subway station sees Neo and Trinity and ends as Neo runs out of the subway station.

#33. Agent Chase (3:46) Begins as a monitor on The Nebachudnezzar warns that sentinels are approaching and ends as Neo runs into a waiting Agent.

#34. The One (6:05) Begins Agent smith continues to shoot Neo and ends as Neo hangs up the phone.

#35. Closing Songs (5:43) Begins as Neo hangs up the phone and end as songs run out during the end credits.

#36. End Credits (0:38) Begins where songs run out and ends as the end credits finish rolling.

Source Music and Songs

The Matrix deliberately uses songs throughout for two purposes. In some cases, music helps create the noir sub-culture environment in which the film is set. In other places, the music sets the attitude for a cue and actually underscores the images. The listing that follows cites the songs that actually occur in the film or credits, rather than those that only appear on the soundtrack, along with the artists who recorded them for The Matrix, and the scene in which each occurs.

"Dragula" by Rob Zombie: heard in the club where Neo meets Trinity for the first time.

"Leave You Far Behind" by Lunatic Calm: heard in combination with aleatoric scoring for five Asian percussion instruments and scoring for orchestra during the kung fu sequences.

"Clubbed To Death" by Rob D: heard with accessory scoring in the agent training program scene.
"Prime Audio Soup" by Meat Beat Manifesto: heard while the whole crew of fighters pirates into the Matrix for Neo's visit to the Oracle.

"Spybreak!" by Propellerheads: heard as Neo and Trinity mount their assault on the forces in the lobby while trying to rescue Morpheus.

"Wake Up" by Rage Against The Machine: heard as the film ends and the end credits begin.

"Rock is Dead" by Marilyn Manson: heard also during the end credits.

Compositional Techniques

As previously mentioned, Davis makes use of a variety of 20th century compositional techniques. From a historical perspective, the earliest of these techniques would be Davis' occasionally polychordal harmonic language. According to Davis, in cue #29. Under Attack for example, his approach to scoring the brass parts was to "experiment" by giving different brass sections different chords, and to letting each section vary their volume so that as one chord entered, the other would exit, and vice versa. Another example of this technique is heard at the outset of the film, in cue #1. Introduction and could appear on a score as follows in Figure 13.

Another 20th century technique is Davis' approach to writing for strings. Borrowed from the avante garde school, this approach makes heavy use of sul ponticello (playing very close to the bridge) markings creates a nasal, brittle effect, along with slides and other devices create the eerie effects of certain cues.

Concepts of minimalistic composition evidence themselves in #14. The Jump Program and #29. Under Attack where chords voiced throughout the orchestra are repeated in quick succession in a manner similar to John Adams' minimalistic work, Short Ride in a Fast Machine.


Davis' skill at combining so many different developments of composition from the 20th century (such as string techniques and concepts of the avante garde school, texturally driven passages, polychordal harmonic language, use of electronic instruments, and so on) into a cohesive unit with a great deal of continuity, along with brilliant interaction between score and songs, all combine to make The Matrix one of the most distinguishing scores of late.

While other similar films from the 1990's and earlier made use of electronic instruments, few combined electronic and acoustic orchestral textures as well as The Matrix. While string techniques such as those explored by Davis in this score have been used in similar films before, probably the last score to use these approaches so successfully was James Horner's score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982). Because these techniques are difficult to grasp from a compositional standpoint, they are not frequently employed.

Davis' score completes The Matrix in a way most composers would not have been able to accomplish. A simply good score would have demanded tremendous compositional facility in a variety of mediums from orchestral to electronic. The extent of Davis' grasp of these and other forms is obvious. Davis comments that from the beginning of his talks with the Wachowski Brothers, what the film needed was a score just as new and inventive as the visual images developed and captured for The Matrix. For those who enjoy

In scenes where the drama highlights Neo's confusion, such as in cue #7. Morpheus' Proposal in which Neo awakens, the score is present, functioning in a very active role to contribute to the feeling of disorientation. Throughout the film, the score takes on a variety of colors and textures to actively communicate mood and setting to the audience in appropriate manners.

During the climax of the film, when Neo realizes that he is "The One," cue #34. The One incorporates full brass voicing as well as the biggest compliment of voices to generate its own climax. Until that point, other cues shadow the dramatic contour of the film as the plot unfolds with a gradually increasing interest.

Davis' originality is extremely appropriate for The Matrix. As the film deals with issues of reality and technology, Davis' score is right there using combinations of techniques to generate a style of merged acoustic and electronic timbres that wonderfully compliment the film overall.

Altered Time

With just one exception, the films in this section all alter time in the most common, traditional sense (in so far as altered time is traditional) -- that is, the old tried and true method of time travel where because of theoretical ideas not really understood or proven in reality, the technology of a machine is used by the protagonist for a journey to a time in the past or the future. The only exception to this plot occurs in Somewhere in Time, where the protagonist, Richard (Christopher Reeve), travels across time by the power of suggestion. In the case of this picture, the film actually benefits from the lack of a machine and the technological issues that would tie up at least a part of the film. By avoiding that particular method of time travel, Somewhere in Time maintains the romantic aura that in part makes the film so successful.

An almost overdone characteristic of films in this category is the predictable significance of a clock within each plot. With the exception of The Terminator, each film makes use of this symbolic device at some point during the film, some more heavily than others.


The Time Machine (1960)

Music by Russell Garcia

Directed by George Pal

Starring Rod Taylor, Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux

Introductory Comments

While Russell Garcia is now known as a relatively obscure film composer, his work on The Time Machine proved to be a significant contribution to the world of film music will be noted because of the stature of the film The Time Machine has become. If for no other reason than the subject matter it addresses, The Time Machine has become a reference for other films that seek to make use of a time travel plot.


From the book by H.G. Wells, a scientist and tinkerer builds a time machine and uses it to explore the distant future where there are two races, a mild gentle race, and a cannibalistic one living underground. His machine is stolen by the underground race and he must risk capture himself (and being eaten) to return to his own time (Vogel, Time Machine 1).

Style & Concept

Russell Garcia's conceptual approach to scoring The Time Machine is very conventional. Making use of standard orchestral techniques, the model for The Time Machine score is a basic thematic representation of the most influential characters and objects. Though not truly a leitmotif score because the themes used are used in an extremely strict fashion, and because these the themes are not thoroughly developed, the Garcia makes use of the associative power of recurring themes that the leitmotif approach is famous for exploiting.


Total Picture Running Time: 103 minutes

Total Music Time: 49 minutes, 32 seconds

Percentage scored: 48%

#1. Introduction (0:21) Begins with the opening studio logo and ends as clocks of various sorts and sizes traverse the screen as a prelude to the film.

#2. Main Title and Gathering of Dinner Guests (2:08) Begins with the opening film title and ends as Filby is seated with the other guests waiting for their host.

#3. George Arrives (0:16) Begins as Mrs. Watson opens the door to see a haggard George at the door and ends as George is seated at the table with his dinner guests.

#4. The Story Begins (0:28) Music enters as George begins his story and ends as the first part of the story, the flashback to the invention of his prototype machine.

#5. Prototype Machine Revealed (0:58) Begins as George asserts the possibility of movement within the fourth dimension and ends as George asserts that the miniature device he has revealed is actually a real time machine.

#6. The Experiment Begins (0:50) Music enters a George begins to reach for the activation lever inside and ends as the prototype machine disappears.

#7. Frustration and Finding Filby (0:49) Music begins as George retires inside after a few guests have left and ends as he finds that one guest remains.

#8. Saying Goodbye to Filby (2:28) Music begins as Filby looks over to see the empty box that contained the prototype machine and ends as Mrs. Mrs. Watchett talks with George.

#9. The Machine (1:55) Music enters as George enters his lab and the machine is revealed and ends as George pauses to begin his journey.

#10. The Journey Begins (0:18) Music enters as George pushes the lever forward and ends as George pulls the lever back.

#11. The Journey Resumes (2:55) Begins as George looks around to see how the time progresses and ends George stops his travel to investigate why there was no light in his laboratory.

#13. Stop in 1917 (1:05) Begins as George emerges from his dilapidated house to explore the year and ends as George recognizes a familiar face.

#14. Conversation with Filby and Pressing On (3:32) Begins as James Filby tells George of Filby's death and ends as George pushes the lever forward once again.

#15. Resuming travel after Another War (1:00) Begins as George resumes time travel after realizing that the war he observed in 1940 was a new war and ends as he stops to investigate a peculiar screeching.

#16. Enclosed for centuries (1:51) Begins as George speeds away from the explosions and ends George stops his machine very quickly.

#17. Strange Time (2:52) Begins as George leaves his machine to wonder about and ends George enters the great hall of the Eloi.

#18. Anybody Here? (1:27) Begins as George emerges from the great hall to continue his search for humans and ends as George stops running through the jungle to hear people recreating.

#19. Rescue (1:40) Begins as a young girl swimming in the river screams and ends as the girl and the others all inexplicably leave George.

#20. Weena (1:47) Begins a Weena sits to begin a chat with George and ends as the two enter the great hall for a meal.

#21. Mysterious Tracks (3:05) Begins as George returns to his machine in the dark and ends as George finds Weena waiting for George in the bushes.

#22. Setting Up Camp (1:40) Begins as George explains his origins to Weena and ends as George likens pulls Weena's hand from the fire.

#23. Fireside with Weena (2:22) Begins as George explains that he has no right to be angry with her people and ends as George discovers an entrance to the underground caverns the next morning.

#24. The Moorlock Cavern (8:39) Begins as George discovers the nature of the relationship between the Eloi and the Moorlocks and ends as the cavern explodes and collapses.

#25. A Way Home (3:07) Music enters as George begins to show Weena how her hair would be held up if she lived in his time and ends as George escapes the Moorlocks realizes that he has been traveling through time the wrong way.

#26. A New World (1:59) Begins as Filby explains the scratches on the floor and why George left and ends as the final title fades.

Source Music and Songs

Music in The Time Machine is strictly limited to that which was composed for the film. Because the film is set around the turn of the 20th Century, some of the technologies that allow for source music in films (radios, stereos, etc.) were not invented yet. Though the phonograph and certainly orchestras and bands were around at the time, because of the relatively brief duration of action limited to George's house, the lead characters do not interact with live instruments that would necessitate the presence of source music or songs.

Compositional Techniques

The first recurring theme heard in a variation at the outset of the film and adapted in various forms and lengths throughout the picture. This is the main theme, which in a romantic orchestral style characterizes the drama of George's story as well as romanticizes the adventurous idea of time travel. Figure 14. notates the full version of this theme as it occurs in cue #2. Main Title and Dinner Guests.

Another theme helps draws on the melodic and orchestral style of English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams to help establish the setting, and also characterize George's confidant and friend, David Filby. Played by the oboe in the later portion of cue #2. Main Title and Dinner Guests, this English theme is set in the Dorian mode and has two parts. Part A is soft, lyrical, and subtle and seen in Figure 15a.

The second portion of this them is a bit more dramatic, calling on the first violins and expanding the range of its melody to a full octave to express itself. Figure 15b notates this second portion of the English theme.

As George begins the flashback, which facilitates the telling of his story within the greater story of the film, a motive that suggests an altering of time is occurring is heard. This time motive cues the audience throughout the film of alterations of time the normal sense. The time motive implies a whole-tone scale though it is only comprised of three notes repeated in sequence several times and sustained across several measures as demonstrated in Figure 16.

A final convention used by Garcia during the sequences where George actually travels through time is an unconventional articulation of a traditional instrument. During these sequences such as in cue #10. The Journey Begins flutes can be heard playing repeated chromatic scales using what is called a flutter-tongue technique. Figure 17 as follows demonstrates a possible notation for these passages.


While the conceptual approach of using multiple themes, in essence a less complex leitmotif approach, is not new, for a relatively obscure composer, Garcia's musical figures are particularly appropriate for the needs of the film. The main theme for The Time Machine is somewhat conventional, and though some of Garcia's musical characterizations are predictable, and if used today would seem somewhat cliché, for the time in which the film was released, these figures were perfectly acceptable and adequate for achieving the desired characterization.

As previously mentioned, some of Garcia's techniques, such as the use of a whole-tone vocabulary and a very romantic main theme, would most likely not be used as frequently in a film that were produced today.

A primary way the score serves the film is by adding an element of romance and exoticism in the form of the main theme. The main theme captures not just the adventurous, idealistic spirit of George, but also his relationship to Weena. Additionally, the score, more than most, adds excitement and in places interest to what otherwise would by today's standards seem a feeble realization of this novel in terms of its special effects.

Garcia's score adds more to the romance of the picture than it needed to be an adequate score, but the film is better because of Garcia's music. Each return of material from the main theme enhances the audience's perception of the drama on screen, as it should. The recurrence of other themes guides the emotional response of the audience as well. For example, in the scene where George stops in 1917 and confuses David Filby and James Filby, the entrance of the second part of the English theme instead of merely characterizing Filby now serves as a gentle reminder of the man and his character.

Aside from a somewhat strict recurrence of thematic material that directly corresponds to the recurrence of certain images on screen, or certain plot sequences, the score does not strongly demonstrate a broader form, such as a different approach to scoring the scenes that occur in the future. But perhaps this approach was employed deliberately in order to maintain continuity through the picture.

The subject of time travel has obviously been a topic of discussion and film exploration for a number of years, thus in 1960 when The Time Machine was released, the subject was not truly an original perspective on the subject. In a corresponding way, Garcia's score, though an especially adequate score for an obscure composer, exhibits a similar level of originality in its compositional approach to creating a film score. While most of the techniques Garcia employs are not new, his realization and scoring of select passages while somewhat predictable from present perspectives are unique and appropriate in their own right.


Somewhere in Time (1980)

Original Music by John Barry

Additional Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc

Starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer

Introductory Comments

John Barry made marks in film music long before and long after the release of Somewhere in Time. Though Monty Norman is credited with the composition of the original James Bond Theme as first heard in Dr. No and in subsequent Bond pictures, in the world of film music, it is widely known that John Barry composed this theme. As the story goes, at the last minute when the film's creators struggled to find music that properly and effectively described the character of James Bond, John Barry was called in and in a very short period of time composed what became one of the most successful songs ever to emerge from the world of film music. In the end, Barry composed scores for numerous Bond pictures after winning the vote of confidence because of the success of the James Bond Theme.

Barry won an Oscars for his work in scoring Out of Africa and the Kevin Costner directed picture, Dances with Wolves. Other Barry credits include Chaplin for which he earned an Oscar nomination, and also recently Mercury Rising, The Scarlet Letter and Indecent Proposal.


Young writer Richard Collier is met on the opening night of his first play by an old lady who begs him to "Come back to me". Mystified, he tries to find out about her, and learns that she is a famous stage actress from the early 1900s, Elise McKenna. Becoming more and more obsessed with her, he manages, by self-hypnosis, to travel back in time where he meets her. They fall in love -- a matching that is not appreciated by her manager (Rhino 1).

Style & Concept

Barry's approach to scoring this picture is the use of a several thematic ideas, realized in the stylistic vehicle of an orchestra that relies heavily on the influence of the master orchestrator and composer of the late romantic period, Gustav Mahler. Such an approach is perfectly suited for this picture, which relies heavily on music to help convince the audience of the nature of the attraction between the lead characters, Elise McKenna and Richard Collier, and also the plausibility of time travel.


Total Picture Running Time: 104 minutes

Total Music Time: 37 minutes, 29 seconds

Percentage scored: 36%

#1. The Watch (0:46) Begins as Richard opens the watch for the first time and ends as McKenna enters her room upon returning from Richard's play.

#2. The Rhapsody (2:17) Begins as McKenna retires to her room after returning from Richard's play and ends as Richard switches off the record player later in his apartment in Chicago.

#3. Northern Drive (1:08) Begins as Richard drives through downtown Chicago and ends as Richard pulls into the Grand Hotel.

#4. The Photograph (1:43) Music enters as Richard suspects another presence in the Hotel's museum and ends as Richard exits the front of the Hotel to find Arthur.

#5. Infatuation (1:27) Music enters as Richard stares at McKenna's photo and ends as Richard decides to stay at the Hotel and drives off into town.

#6. Research at the Library (1:07) Begins as the librarian brings Richard a few extra items of research material and ends as Richard goes to McKenna's house to ask questions about McKenna.

#7. Taped Hypnosis (3:02) Begins as Richard tapes the message that will be repeated to himself and ends as Richard returns to the Hotel museum to look at McKenna's picture again.

#8. The Attic and Journey (4:16) Begins as Richard makes his way into the attic and ends as Richard awakes to find that he has journeyed to 1912.

#9. Walking by the Lake (2:17) Begins as Richard walks out of the theater to catch up to McKenna walking by the lake and ends as Robinson calls for McKenna to return back to the Hotel.

#10. Late Night Thoughts (0:50) Begins as Robinson walks in to talk with McKenna and ends as Richard wakes up on the porch of the Hotel.

#11. The Afternoon Together (2:23) Begins as Richard and McKenna take off for the afternoon in a carriage and ends as the two talk by the lake at the lighthouse.

#12. Carriage Ride (0:38) Begins as Richard and McKenna discuss a piece by Rachmaninoff and ends as the two sit to relax in a gazebo.

#13. McKenna's Improvisation (1:32) Begins as McKenna makes a departure from the script during her performance and ends with the ovation of the audience at the end of the scene.

#14. The Smile (0:31) Begins as a photographer is searching for a particular pose for McKenna and ends as Richard is given a message later during the play.

#15. Robinson's Jealousy (0:59) Begins as Robinson exits McKenna's dressing room and ends as Richard wakens the next morning.

#16. Together (3:15) Music begins as a dejected Richards walks out of the Hotel and ends as the McKenna and Richard share a meal together.

#17. The Penny (0:24) Begins as Richard pulls a 1979 coin from his pocket and ends as Richard wakens the next morning to find that he has returned to his own time.

#18. Richard's Return (4:03) Begins as Richard tries to return himself to McKenna's time and ends as Richard has settled into his chair.

#19. Reunion (4:51) Begins as Richard's spirit emerges from his body and ends as the end credits finish.

Source Music and Songs

Source music in Somewhere in Time is very sparse. The first occurrence of source music is jazz music heard from the radio in Richard's car as he drives through downtown Chicago. The next example of source music is the music box version of Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini that emanates from the Grand Hotel replica at McKenna's home. Another example of source music is heard as the dance music in the dining room at the as Richard walks in to dance with McKenna. The final example of source music is heard as the orchestra at the beginning of McKenna's play introduces the play with a half-hearted attempt at an overture. These examples assist in establishing the setting in the various scenes in which they occur.

Compositional Techniques

The first original thematic material Barry makes use of characterizes the warmth and charm of the Grand Hotel. Material from this theme and is heard in two cues, #1. The Watch and #3. Northern Drive, in which the lead characters pull up the drive into the Grand Hotel. Figure 18. as follows notates this them as it occurs in the string voices in cue #3. Northern Drive.

A second theme the film makes use of is not original music scored for this motion picture. As heard in cue #2. The Rhapsody, this selection is from the piece by the noted Russian composer, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini by Sergei Rachmaninoff. This theme actually becomes the center of a discussion between the two characters in the film, and ultimately enhances not just the romantic chemistry between the two leads, but also lends validity to the premise of the film, by simply referencing a work that the two both could know in spite of the years of difference between them.

Barry also makes use of an original love theme composed for the picture which in a way characterizes the intensity of the passion shared by the leads more effectively than the Rachmaninoff piece. As seen in Figure 19. this theme is rather long, making use of a very lyric, legato style very similar to that of romantic era composer Gustav Mahler.

Barry also accompanies the sequence when the actual time travel occurs very carefully, using a style that is very similar to the other cues in the body of the score, but using a harmonic language that implies the alteration of time. Two specific recurring motives during these cues, #7. Taped Hypnosis and #8. The Attic and Journey, make use of unconventional harmonies and chromatic inflections that suggest tension as well as characterize an altering of time. Figure 20a. notates the first of these two recurring motives.

Figure 20b. as follows shows the second of these two recurring motives.

A final theme Barry uses characterizes the stately, yet playful recreation of an afternoon at play during the Victorian era. This theme is heard in cue #11. The Afternoon Together and is distinguished by its relatively syncopated rhythm as shown in Figure 21.




Barry's facility with the romantic orchestral style wonderfully makes his approach to scoring Somewhere in Time a perfect fit. Such skill at characterizing a love so intense that it bridges the gap of time with a melody as expressive as the Love Theme from this film is rare in the world of film music. This expressive quality in Barry's compositional style is evident in many of his scores.

The basic building materials of this score, a collection of themes, is conceptually the most common approach to other scores examined in this project. Use of a conventional orchestra, and primary dependence on the string section of the orchestra is also extremely common.

In the case of Somewhere in Time, the film is incredibly dependent on the score to help establish a romantic mood and contribute to the believability of a major premise of the film -- that travel across time is possible. This score, though conventional in concept and style, does support the greater goals of the film though, because of these conventionalities.

The plot of Somewhere in Time revolves around emotion. A score that elicits an emotional response from the audience is essential in establishing the success of the film. Barry's score certainly adds to the emotional experience of the audience in a tried and true, very conventional manner. In scores of films, a single theme that captures many facets of the main characters when strategically placed in a film does not need to be altered for it to suggest a different meaning or elicit the proper response from the audience. The occurrence of the theme at a particular point in the plot dictates the meaning of the theme at that point. Somewhere in Time is simply another example where this frequent recurrence of a theme is very appropriate.

Though no drastic musical changes correspond with different sections of the film, the score's intensity and expressiveness, while basically uniform throughout are adequate for the needs of the film in each scene. This is achieved by constantly expressive realizations of the themes by the instrumentalists that perform it.

The originality of Barry's score appropriately matches the needs of the film. Though the premise of the film and the method of altering time used in the film are relatively original, a drastically unconventional approach to scoring the film would have distracted from the romance at the heart of the story and the picture.


The Terminator (1984)

Music by Brad Fiedel

Directed by James Cameron

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton

Introductory Comments

Though Arnold Schwarzenegger played other roles before he played the role of the Terminator, namely, Conan in Conan the Barbarian and the series of films it spawned, Schwarzenegger is probably most famous for his performance in The Terminator. This role led to many other jobs for Schwarzenegger who undoubtedly will forever be haunted by his famous line from this film, "I'll be back."

The Terminator also helped put director James Cameron on the map, and perhaps led to his chances to direct other science-fiction films such as The Abyss, and also the sequel to The Terminator, T2: Judgement Day. Cameron also directed the 1997 release of Titanic which accumulated an unprecedented 15 Oscar nominations, and went on to capture 12 Oscars including best picture and best directing.

Additionally, composer Brad Fiedel, though not very well known, is a film composer with more than 80 films to his credit. His career began in 1971 and largely has been in the realm of television where he has scored music for numerous movies and show including episodes from "Amazing Stories." ( Fiedel also went on to score T2, Judgement Day, and other features such as The Big Easy, another Schwarzenegger film True Lies and a portion of the award-winning documentary series, "From the Earth to the Moon."


A cyborg is sent from the future on a deadly mission. He has to kill Sarah Connor, a young woman whose life will have a great significance in years to come. Sarah has only one protector, Kyle Reese, also sent from the future. The Terminator uses his exceptional intelligence and strength to find Sarah, but is there any way to stop the seemingly indestructible cyborg (Tinto 1)?

Style & Concept

Unlike any other picture examined in this project, Fiedel's approach to instrumentation is almost exclusively electronic. This instrumentation supports the overwhelming majority of the film's cues that are largely driven by a dissonant, texturally motivated style. Fiedel's use of melody is limited to one main theme, and supporting motives which recur in strategically placed moments.


Total Picture Running Time: 108 minutes

Total Music Time: 67 minutes, 19 seconds

Percentage scored: 62%

#1. Introduction and Main Title (2:26) Begins as a robotic plane flies over a desolate landscape and ends as the main title fades into the horizon.

#2. Strange Arrivals (7:08) Begins with an electrical disturbance and the appearance of a strange muscular figure and ends as another strange figure eludes the police.

#3. Sarah (0:31) Begins as Sarah drives to work and ends as Sarah enters the work place.

#4. Transportation (0:30) Begins as the Terminator breaks into a car and ends as he drives off in the stolen transportation.

#5. Weapons Store (1:00) Begins as the Terminator walks in to the gun store and ends as the store clerk is taken care of.

#6. Reese gets ready (0:22) Begins as Reese saws off the base of a shotgun and blends into pedestrian traffic.

#7. Sarah Connor #1 (1:08) Begins a The Terminator uses the phone book to find addresses and ends as Sarah Connor #1 is killed.

#8. Memories of the Future (1:18) Begins as machinery causes Kyle a flashback to the future and ends as Kyle and a partner assault a robotic attack machine.

#9. Memories of the Future (Part Two) (0:20) Music resumes as another robot is destroyed and ends as Kyle wrecks a car while being pursued by a robot.

#10. Parking Garage (0:57) Music begins as Sarah unlocks her scooter in a parking garage and ends as Kyle follows her out of the garage.

#11. Sarah Makes the Connection (1:12) Music begins as Sarah reels from news reports of the murders of the other Sarah Connors and ends as Sarah enters a dance club.

#12. Sarah's Apartment (0:14) Begins and cuts away quickly as The Terminator approaches Sarah's apartment building.

#13. Sarah's Apartment Part Two (0:22) Begins and ends quickly as the Terminator enters the bedroom of Sarah's roommate.

#14. Sarah's Apartment Part Three (1:36) Begins as Sarah's roommate finishes making her sandwich and ends as the Terminator finds photo of the last Sarah.

#15. Tech-Noir (6:36) Begins as the Terminator locates Sarah and makes an attack.

#16. Another Car (1:01) Begins as the Terminator scans visually and on the radio for Sarah and ends as Kyle and Sarah get into another car.

#17. The War Explained and Chase (4:15) Begins as Police search the garage for Kyle and Sarah and ends as the police examine the Terminator's vehicle to find no one there.

#18. Terminator Repairs (0:26) Music enters as the Terminator climbs into a room through a window and ends as a police psychiatrist examines Kyle.

#19. Terminator Repairs Part Two (1:57) Begins as the Terminator turns on the tap water in the sink and ends as the police review the tape of Kyle's examination.

#20. Reese Explains to the Camera (0:27) Begins as Kyle explains that he must see Sarah and ends as the psychiatrist pauses the tape.

#21. "I'll Be Back" (4:40) Begins as the Terminator enters the Police precinct and ends as The Terminator exits the building to the back.

#22. Future Terminator Attack (2:55) Music begins as soldiers zoom in on robotic targets and ends as the Terminator attacks.

#23. Future Terminator Attack Part Two (0:28) Music resumes as a fire throws Kyle forward and a fire melts Sarah's picture and ends as Sarah wakes up in Kyle's arms.

#24. Terminator on the Move (0:52) Begins as the Terminator thumbs through Sarah's address book and ends as Kyle and Sarah hop off a truck.

#25. Telling Mom About the Tiki Motel (0:33) Begins as the audience sees that The Terminator made it to Mom's cabin and ends as Kyle returns from the store.

#26. Why Reese Came (1:13) Begins as Kyle tells Sarah about the picture he had of her and ends after he tells Sarah that he loves her.

#27. Why Reese Came Part Two (1:07) Music resumes as Sarah Kisses Kyle and ends as The Terminator approaches.

#28. Attack at the Tiki Motel (6:01) Begins as Sarah and Kyle finish dressing and ends as Kyle's bomb creates a huge explosion.

#29. Emergence from the Truck (6:11) Music begins as the Terminator emerges from the exploded truck and falls and ends as the last bomb explodes from The Terminator's hip.

#30. Sarah Alone (3:46) Begins as Sarah pulls a piece of metal from her leg and ends as she finally destroys The Terminator.

#31. Sarah Survives (0:23) Begins as Sarah is loaded into an ambulance and ends as the ambulance doors are closed.

#32. There's A Storm Coming (5:24) Begins as Sarah records information about John's father and ends as the end credits finish.

Source Music and Songs

Examples of source music from The Terminator include the car radio switched on by Reese as he near the beginning of the film, Ginger's headphones which she cannot be without, and the dance music heard as Sarah enters the Tech-Noir club to escape someone she thinks is following her.

Compositional Techniques

The main theme that recurs throughout the picture is first heard played by a synthesizer in cue #1. Introduction and Main Title, and later heard cue #11. Sarah Makes the Connection and also in #27. Why Reese came part two. Figure 22. As follows notates this them as it is heard in cue #1. Main Title and Introduction.

The score also characterizes the character of the Terminator with a sustained electronic pedal that does not stop in the first seven minutes of the film. The technique is calculated to sound more like a low hum than music, but the effect helps establish the importance of an electronic presence in the film.

Almost simultaneously, a more obvious and musical percussion motive characterizes the robotic, unstopping disposition of the Terminator. Figure 23. demonstrates this particular motive heard first in cue #2. Strange Arrivals.


The primary distinguishing feature of this score is the extent to which it relies on electronic instrumentation. As previously mentioned, the majority of the music in the film is scored with electronic instruments, to the extent that acoustic instruments are the exception.

In 1984 when The Terminator was released, a very limited number of composers, primarily led by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos and Vangelis, had explored the possibilities of scoring a film exclusively with electronic textures. Examples of films that incorporated these techniques are A Clockwork Orange, Tron, Blade Runner, and Chariots of Fire, for which Vangelis won an Oscar in the music category. But though other scores had explored the possibilities and techniques of exclusively electronic scores, such scores are extremely uncommon, in spite of the number of films that make use of futuristic subject matter.

Though The Terminator may not be classified strictly as a horror film, Fiedel makes use of a number of classic scoring techniques from this genre, such as highlighting (allowing the music to follow the dramatic rise and fall through a scene) and red herrings (building the music in a scene to a particular moment when something does or does not happen). These scoring techniques are extremely common, regardless of the genre of a particular film.

Fiedel's music for The Terminator is extremely important in establishing the characterization of the Terminator and also in characterizing the setting for Reese's flashbacks to the future.

Though the film briefly addresses the love relationship between Sarah and Kyle, the film primarily is not concerned with eliciting positive emotions as much as it is interested in creating action and suspense. To the ends of generating suspense, the Terminator Motive as depicted in Figure 23. is the key musical element that generates suspense in the film because it frequently is heard before some action on screen, alluding to an upcoming event for which the audience must wait.

Like the overwhelming majority of scores, Fiedel's score relies completely on the film for determining when certain musical devices will enter and recur. This approach is more than appropriate in this case because the film form follows the logical path of the story line.

The originality of Fiedel's approach to instrumentation is extremely original in the context of the vast majority of approaches to instrumentation. This approach his highly appropriate for The Terminator which makes use of electronic and robotic subjects throughout the length of the picture. With regard to other conceptual devices, namely the use of a main theme and a primary recurring motive, Fiedel's technique is not incredibly original, but is an appropriate vehicle for meeting the needs of the film.


Back to the Future (1985)

Music by Alan Silvestri

Orchestrated by James Campbell

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson

Introductory Comments

Drawing on the strength of the lead, a young Michael J. Fox during a time which could be considered the height of his popularity because of his roles as Alex Keaton on television's Family Ties and as Scotty/The Wolf in the popular film Teenwolf, Back to the Future spawned two sequels, which were in the minds of the writers as the first Back to the Future was in production. This is evidenced by the title seen at the end of the film: To Be Continued... Fox and Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) returned for both sequels which were not as popular as the first, but like the first, demonstrated the superior writing and directing talents of writer and director, Robert Zemeckis.

The score for Back to the Future would enhance the director-composer relationship between Zemeckis and composer, Alan Silvestri. Silvestri later received an Oscar nomination for his score to Best Picture Winner, Forrest Gump, another Zemeckis picture.

Style & Concept

Silvestri's style is a straightforward orchestral style that while it makes use of recurring thematic material, does not do so to the extent of other similar scores. However, because the film relies heavily on songs for musical material, a thoroughly developed leitmotif score would be in the end be the wrong size for the picture. Instead, Silvestri wisely makes use of just a few recurring themes which are developed occasionally in cues throughout the film.


The future for teenager Marty McFly is not shaping up well. His family is dysfunctional, his schoolteacher, Mr Strickland, is out to get him, his music is just too loud and the rest of the world doesn't care. Only with his girlfriend, Jennifer Parker and local eccentric scientist, Dr Emmet Brown does he find the encouragement and excitement that he needs. Then, one of Doc Brown's experiments goes slightly wrong and Marty gets caught up in a race to set it and his future right again (Janson 1).


Total Picture Running Time: 116 minutes

Total Music Time: 37 minutes, 52 seconds

Percentage scored: 33%

#1. The Time Machine (0:50) Begins as Marty rolls up to Einstein on his skateboard and ends as Doc Brown exits the time machine on the driver's side to Marty's surprise.

#2. 88 mph (1:48) Begins as the time machine vanishes and ends as Doc's timer goes off and he and Marty barely get out of the way of the time machine.

#3. The First Trip (4:30) Begins as Doc begins to take the first human journey and ends as Marty approaches 88 miles per hour.

#4. First Encounters (0:44) Music enters as the Peabody's open the barn door to discover a strange machine and ends as Marty trips over a bail of hay.

#5. A Very Intense Dream (1:30) Begins as the time machine emerges from the barn door and ends as Marty has some difficulty restarting the time machine.

#6. Hill Valley: 1955 (1:02) Begins as Marty strolls through the 1955 town square and ends as Marty picks up a newspaper to realize that the year is 1955.

#7. Nightmare (0:42) Begins as Marty's grandfather yells for help to carry Marty into the house and ends as Marty realizes the year and that his mother is there.

#8. Showing Doc The Machine (1:10) Begins as Doc and Marty drive up to the sign where Marty hid the time machine and ends as Doc realizes that the two can get Marty home.

#9. The Plan (1:33) Begins as Doc comments that one cannot predict a lightning strike and ends as Marty's brother begins to disappear from the photo.

#10. Science Fiction Theater (0:12) Begins and ends quickly as Marty checks the photo again to see if his brother and sister still exist.

#11. Chasing Calvin Klein (1:33) Begins as Marty runs to get away from Biff and ends as Biff and his pals slam into the rear of the manure truck.

#12. About the Future (1:13) Begins as Doc and Marty discuss the nature of their friendship and ends as Marty encloses his warning letter to Doc.

#13. Biff Interrupts (0:53) Begins as Biff pulls Marty out of the car and ends as Biff's toadies throw Marty in the trunk of the band's car.

#14. George Makes a Stand (2:38) Begins as George runs out to the parking lot and ends as George and Lorraine walk back into the dance together.

#15. The Kiss (1:19) Begins as George reaches to Kiss Lorraine and ends as the band finishes the song.

#16. Saying Goodbye and Final Preparations (10:24) Begins as Doc gets paranoid waiting for Marty and ends as the time machine vanishes into the future.

#17. Success (0:12) Begins as Doc celebrates that the machine vanished and ends as he looks back up at the now-frozen clock.

#18. Catching Up (3:43) Begins as Marty sees the Libyans drive by and ends as Doc drops off Marty at his home.

#19. The New Present (1:56) Begins as Marty opens the garage to see that he now owns a black truck and ends as the he Jennifer and Doc jump to the future.

Source Music and Songs

Zemeckis' use of songs to propel the plot forward in Back to the Future matches the skill of any director to do the same. At the time Back to the Future was made, the song score as a device of the director had not yet been exploited in this way, with the exception of a few noteworthy pictures such as The Graduate.

Songs almost exclusively make up the source music in Back to the Future. Especially prominent is the contribution of the group "Huey Lewis and The News," which contributed two songs to the film. The listing that follows lists the songs from Back to the Future in the order in which they occur in the film, the artists who recorded them, and the scene in which they occur during the picture.

"The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News: heard early in the film as Marty leaves Doc's house on his way to school, and later as Marty makes his way home at the end of the day.

"Time Bomb Town" by Lindsay Buckingham: heard from Marty's radio clock as Doc calls to ask Marty to bring his video camera for their meeting at the mall that night.

"Mr. Sandman" by The Chordettes: heard as Marty strolls into the town square of Hill Valley upon returning to 1955.

"The Wallflower (Dance With Me Henry)" by Etta James: heard as George McFly enters the coffee shop to ask Lorraine to the dance.

"Night Train" by Marvin Berry and the Starlighters: heard as George is seen alone at the dance.

"Earth Angel (Will You be Mine)" by Marvin Berry and the Starlightes: heard as Marty accompanies George and Lorraine's first dance together on the guitar.

"Johnny B. Goode" by Marty McFly with the Starlighters: heard as Marty stays at the dance to play one more tune before leaving.

"Heaven is One Step Away" by Eric Clapton: heard as Marty wakes up the morning after returning to the new present.

"Back In Time" by Huey Lewis and The News: heard as Doc takes Marty and Jennifer to the future and the film ends.

Other source music includes guitar solos performed by Eddie Van Halen specifically for Back to the Future at the request of Zemeckis.

Compositional Techniques

Perhaps the most notable theme from Back to the Future is the main title theme. While heroic in its second half, the character of the first half makes use of a prominently placed tri-tone interval that is repeated, and wonderfully captures the quirky, almost eccentric nature of the film. A noteworthy feature, the first three pitches recur throughout the picture and become a motive that references this main theme. Figure 24. as follows shows the first seven measures of the theme which are repeated throughout the film.

Another theme Silvestri makes use of recurs with the warm timbre of a french horn and is used occasionally to underscore the more delicate moments of dialogue where the spoken words are important, but benefit from some gentle music subtly incorporated. The motivic portion of this theme is similar to that of the main theme and is demonstrated in Figure 25. as follows.

Where these themes are not being restated, Silvestri makes use of a slightly more sophisticated musical language that most notably makes frequent use of meter changes as well as very creative writing for percussion instruments. In these sections, Silvestri often develops the themes in inconspicuous ways, by augmenting portions of the original main theme across full measures as in Figure 26. which is played by a flute and heard in cue #12. About the Future.


While Silvestri's approach is straightforward, is thus because the needs of the film dictated that it should be. Distinguishing among the material used is the extremely appropriate Back to the Future theme which though it relies on the tri-tone interval like much of the film music from this period, it is a great representation of the character of the film and the orchestration and latter portions of this theme merit its recurrence.

As previously mentioned, the use of the tri-tone interval or lydian mode is very common in scores and main themes from the late 1970's and throughout the 1980's. Other scores that make use of this harmonic characteristic include Star Wars, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and others. Yet though this prominent characteristic is common among many films from this time period, not many films in this study make similar use of this technique.

The primary way in which the score serves the film is its size. Because of the nature of this film, the score could have been much larger. But wisely, Silvestri and Zemeckis allowed the score to yield to well placed, active songs that help propel the plot forward, and consequently, the other music is only where it needs to be. When particular scenes needed dramatic underscoring, the score does a fine job of maintaining its stylistic approach, while providing appropriate material for these scenes. In these moments, it takes a supporting role, but can be heard actively changing as the direction of the scenes change.

The film's biggest climactic moment is most likely Marty's return to his present from 1955. The most involved scoring occurs during the buildup to this moment. It is important that the score does this rather than a song because though the film relies on quite a few songs, only the original score could provide the musical under girding for this scene.


Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Music by Leonard Rosenman

Orchestrated by Ralph Ferraro

Directed by Leonard Nimoy

Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley

Introductory Comments

This picture was the second directed by long-time Star trek cast member Leonard Nimoy. Famous for his role as Captain Spock, Nimoy also directed Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. The fourth full-length film installment of the Star Trek series, according to Nimoy, The Voyage Home is purposefully lighthearted, as the cast wished to explore the comedic possibilities of the Star Trek series in another film.

While Leonard Rosenman was no newcomer to the world of film music, Star Trek IV has been the only installment for which he has scored. A challenge for any composer coming in to a project after a good precedent has been set, Rosenman delivers the content audiences expect from Star Trek, while creating his own style of scoring for a Star Trek picture.


While returning to Earth from a rescue mission and trip to Spock's home planet of Vulcan, the crew of the Enterprise discovers that Earth has been neutralized by the message of a mysterious probe. Directed at Earth's oceans, the crew determines that the probe has been communicating with humpback whales, which are now extinct on Earth. Realizing this, Captain Kirk and crew, travel back in time to San Francisco of 1986 in an attempt to capture two humpback whales and bring them forward in time to answer the call of the probe before it is too late.

Style & Concept

Almost exclusively orchestral, Rosenman finds a good style for enhancing the lighter themes of this film in the Star Trek sequence. This style makes use of classical techniques, but Rosenman makes use of a variety themes that keep the music in the same lighthearted style as the plot of the picture.


Total Picture Running Time: 136 minutes

Total Music Time: 28 minutes, 16 seconds

Percentage scored: 21%

#1. Main Title (2:45) Begins with studio logo and ends as the main titles end.

#2. Charges Mount Against Kirk (0:20) Begins as the audience sees Starfleet Headquarters and ends as video footage from the explosion of the Enterprise is reviewed.

#3. Recovering On Vulcan (0:34) Begins as the Vulcan Ambassador exits the council room and ends as Kirk polls his crew for their opinions regarding their return home.

#4. The Retraining Spock (0:20) Begins as Kirk looks up to the cliff to see Spock and ends as Spock enters a chamber to resume his testing.

#5. The Approaching Probe (0:07) Music enters and exits quickly as a computer analyzes the oncoming probe.

#6. Saratoga Neutralized (0:09) Music begins as the probe passes over the Saratoga and ends with a brief shot of Starfleet Headquarters.

#7. Ready for Takeoff (0:21) Begins with a brief shot of the approaching probe and ends as Kirk conducts a systems check with the officers aboard the Klingon vessel.

#8. The Probe Reaches Earth (2:45) Begins as the crew of the Enterprise takes off from Vulcan and ends as the crew continues its course to Earth.

#9. The Probe Neutralizes Earth (0:26) Begins as the probe looms closer to Earth and ends as Federation executives assess the damage to the planet.

#10. The Federation Distress Signal (0:22) Begins as Kirk reacts to the Federations message and ends as Uhura plays the transmission of the probe.

#11. Time Warp (0:34) Begins as Sulu fires breakaway thrusters and ends as Kirk enters a dream sequence depicting the time travel.

#12. San Francisco: 1986 (1:05) Begins as the crew is seen in downtown San Francisco and ends as Kirk and Spock enter an antique store.

#14. Chekov's Escape (1:08) Begins as Chekov runs out a door to escape authorities on the U.S.S. Enterprise and ends as soldiers move in to examine the fallen Chekov.

#15. The Whales' Departure (1:04) Begins as Jillian walks out to see that the whales have been taken and ends as Sulu experiments with switches on board the helicopter.

#16. Strange Events In The Park (1:24) Begins as Jillian Drives into the park and ends as she is beamed aboard the vessel.

#17. Hospital Chase (1:07) Music enters as Kirk and crew realize they are being chased through the hospital and ends as the party is beamed out of the hospital to Golden Gate Park.

#18. The Whaling Ship (1:57) Begins as a whaling ship closes in on the whales and ends as a weapon is deflected by the Klingon ship which de-cloaks right above the water in front of the whaler.

#19. Abandon Ship (1:54) Begins as the Klingon vessel sets down in the water and ends as Kirk swims into the payload bay to release the whales.

#20. Opening Bay Doors (1:53) Begins as the cargo doors open to release the whales and ends as the whales and probe begin their discussion.

#21. The Probe Departs (1:56) Begins as the probe departs and the whales resurface and ends as discussion in the Federation council resume.

#22. The Decision of the Council (0:38) Music enters as the council's decision is completed and ends as the crew is congratulated by members of the Federation council.

#23. Live Long and Prosper and Closing Credits (5:27) Begins as the traditional Vulcan greeting is exchanged between father and son and ends with the ending credits.

Source Music and Songs

The single example of source music from this film occurs as Jim and Spock encounter a punk rocker listening to his own style of music from a blaring radio while the two ride the bus across the bay to the Cetacean institute where they will find the whales.

Compositional Techniques

Unlike any other score addressed by this project, before Rosenman began to score the first cue, he had material to work with. Star Trek IV is the fourth film in a series of Star Trek pictures, all of which make some use of a theme that originated with the first incarnation of these characters on the television show. Especially interesting in examining Rosenman's work is his incorporation of existing Star Trek themes and motives. Figure 27. demonstrates the Star Trek fanfare composed for the original Star Trek television series that has gone on to become synonymous with almost the entire Star Trek universe, including film adaptations, as well as multiple television series.

Rosenman incorporates this fanfare at the very outset of the picture by using it to introduce the main theme. Then, after a brief variation of the theme and a reference to music from the original Star Trek television series, like most of the composers examined in this project, Rosenman states a main theme at the outset to characterize the attitude of the whole film. And like other main themes studied in this project, the theme recurs with a similar level of regularity and a similar level of variation throughout the picture. The main theme developed for this picture bears some similarity to other main themes in the series of Star Trek pictures in its stateliness and scope. This main theme is heard in cue #1. Main Title, and Figure 28. demonstrates the first portion of this theme.

Later in the film, Rosenman introduces a baroque, fugato style to accompany Chekov's attempt to escape from the CIA while still aboard the aircraft carrier Enterprise. Figure 29. as follows shows the melody for cue #14. Chekov's Escape.

Perhaps the most comical scene in Star Trek IV is Kirk and company's escape from the hospital. Rosenman circus chase melody for this scene contributes to the comedic quality that fits so well into the story. This music is heard in cue #17. Hospital chase and the melody is seen as follows in Figure 30.

Given the seafaring nature of two stars of the film, namely the whales George and Gracie, Rosenman chose to score select scenes with a lyric, sea chantey style. This music can be heard in cues #21. The Probe Departs and also in #23. Live Long and Prosper and Closing Credits and the melody from this section is demonstrated as follows in Figure 31.


Rosenman seems to find a new theme for every cue, especially in the later half of the picture, yet each theme feels as though it belongs to the rest of the score. The consistency that Rosenman achieves in spite of so many themes sets this score apart. The consistency is achieved through a uniform approach to orchestration and instrumentation throughout the score. If the score made use of many different ensembles, the continuity would be lost -- especially with such a variety of thematic material.

During cues that occur in outer space, or where visual images specifically reference other Star Trek films, Rosenman uses musical devices and harmonic language that characterizes these extra-musical elements in a manner similar to other scores from the Star Trek series and from heavily space oriented pictures. Aside from those occasional moments, the majority of the films to which Rosenman's score is similar encompass a variety of types, all of which make use of different techniques.

A convincing score is a key element in establishing the plausibility of any picture set in outer space. During the outer space sequences, the score serves the picture tremendously by contributing to that plausibility by referencing other scores that have successfully established such a setting in previous films, and by incorporating other musical devices from other scores and works which also help characterize that setting. Additionally, the quick tempo of most of the cues in the score helps maintain the light feel for the majority of the film. Specific examples of this contribution to the picture would be cues #14. Chekov's Escape and #17. Hospital Chase.

The score does not significantly seek to elicit a complex and deep emotional involvement with the picture from the audience. Rather, the whole approach to telling the story of this film is lighter than the wide range of dramatic content in previous Star Trek pictures such as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Appropriately, the score then matches this approach and though tempos and sonorities in some sections of cues may for a moment seem weighty, these moments it seems are more for variety's sake and not to deliberate communicate extremely dramatic moments.

In the later half of the film, when the Kirk and company find themselves in situations that seem peculiar, it is in these places that the score comes unhinged to a certain extent and helps communicate the humor of these moment. In that regard, the score basically mirrors the dramatic contour of the picture -- that is, as the film become more comic, the score correspondingly become more comic.

The originality of Rosenman's score is very appropriate. Just as the primary characters in Star Trek IV are primarily not new characters to the series, the approach to scoring this picture is not a new approach. The approach like the film is well thought-out and very well executed.

Altered Death

The plots for the films selected for the Altered Death section of this project bear similarity. It seems that to justify a plot that alters something as inevitable and unavoidable as death, the vehicle that will bridge that gap must be strong enough to make the film seem be plausible, or at least to assist the audience in their suspension of disbelief. To do this, each of the five films selected make use of a love story to bridge this gap, and to propel the motion of the film forward. And though the settings for each of these films are different, the characters in these love stories bear similarity to each other. For example, both lead males in Always (Richard Dreyfuss as Pete) and in Ghost (Patrick Swayze as Sam) have trouble saying "I Love You" to their partners. Of course, the lack of their ability to say this adds significance to the moments when they do say it later in the film.

Another similar example of how these films are similar is the title. Each film has a simple, one-word title. The author has no explanation as to why these films make use of a simple straightforward title.

These films bear resemblance compositionally as well in several ways. For most of these films, a single recurring theme is the concept of choice for characterizing the love relationship between the characters in the film. These films for the most part all benefit from a more extensive use of blending between source music and score, especially Laura in which the source music was actually composed by the score composer, but also Brainstorm and Ghost.


Laura (1944)

Music by David Raksin

Directed by Otto Preminger

Starring Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb

Introductory Comments

The famous jazz tune "Laura" traces its roots back to this film and composer David Raksin. Raksin frequently tells the story of how he came to write the tune, which forms the foundation for the entire score for Laura. At the time, Raksin was a staff composer for the 20th Century Fox Studio in Los Angeles and his wife was pursuing a career as a vocalist and living in New York City. One day Raksin received a letter from his wife and without the time to open and read it as he hurriedly left his house for work, he put the letter in his inside coat pocket, and rushed to work. After arriving at work, he opened letter and proceeded to read. Apparently the strain of a long-distance relationship had become too much for Raksin's wife, as she told him in the letter that she wanted a divorce. After finishing the letter, Raksin's first response was to set the letter down in front of him at the piano and to compose the tune for the film, Laura. This story explains in part the strong emotional bond of the composer to the tune and in part the why Raksin was able to make this tune so dramatic.


Detective Mark McPherson investigates the killing of Laura, found dead on her apartment floor before the movie starts. McPherson builds a mental picture of the dead girl from the suspects whom he interviews. The striking painting of the late lamented Laura hanging on her apartment wall helps him. But who would have wanted to kill a girl with whom every man she met seemed to fall in love? To make matters worse, McPherson finds himself falling under her spell too. Then one night, halfway through his investigations, something seriously bizarre happens to make him re-think the whole case (Hosgood 1).

Style & Concept

The Laura Theme as composed by Raksin is the derivative material for the whole score for Laura. The tune functions as a main recurring theme and is adapted to be sued as source music for the picture as well.


Total Picture Running Time: 88 minutes

Total Music Time: 26 minutes, 17 seconds

Percentage scored: 30%

#1. Main Title and Introduction (2:12) Music enters as opening titles begin and ends as Waldo warns Detective McPherson to be careful with valuables in a display case.

#2. Laura and Waldo (6:31) Begins as Waldo's story about his history with Laura begins with his pen endorsement and ends as Waldo and Laura return back into a party leaving Shelby out on a balcony.

#3. Laura, Shelby and Waldo's Dissapproval (4:08) Begins as Laura and Shelby dine at a restaurant and ends as Laura and Waldo leave Laura's apartment to find Shelby.

#4. Laura Leaves for a few Days (0:51) Begins as Laura and Waldo leave Shelby and ends as Laura hangs up the phone after a conversation with Waldo.

#5. Laura's Apartment (3:16) Begins as McPherson walks back to Laura's apartment through the rain and ends as McPherson calls downstairs to a colleague who is listening to phone calls to Laura's apartment.

#6. Dreaming of Laura (1:09) Begins as Waldo leaves after insinuating that McPherson is falling in love with Laura and ends as Laura returns home through the door.

#7. Tailing (1:09) Begins as Shelby picks up Laura outside her apartment and ends as a McPherson poses a question to Shelby at Laura's cabin.

#8. The Clock (1:21) Begins as McPherson lets himself into Waldo's apartment and ends after McPherson discovers an interesting feature of the clocks in Laura and Waldo's apartments.

#9. The Crime Uncovered (4:26) Begins as Waldo leaves Laura's apartment and ends as Laura retires to her bedroom for the night.

#10. End Struggle (1:14) Begins as Laura tried to reason with Waldo and ends as the final title closes.

Source Music and Songs

Numerous examples of source music exist in Laura, including restaurant players, dance music players, and music that emanates from a phonograph in Laura's apartment. The unique feature of the source music in Laura is that the source music is itself the same material as the underscoring music. Raksin deftly weaves a variety of instrumentations at the necessary moments to establish the change of the music from score to source music, which shows his skill at working in the medium.

Compositional Techniques

The primary melody, the Laura Theme is an ultra-romantic, very jazzy tune that captures the essence of Laura as well as characterizes the high society depicted in the film. As seen in Figure 32., the melody of first half of the Laura Theme is very chromatic, weaving in and out of tonal areas by the measure.


The Laura theme has survived and has become a jazz standard for several reasons, but primarily because this melody has the ability to characterize many different aspects of the film simultaneously. Such aspects include the character of Laura, the culture of the time, and the romance between Laura and McPherson. The unique ability of one melody to do this sets this music apart from other main themes that fall short of accomplishing so much so efficiently.

The film scoring process of the 1940's in some ways different than the recognized process used today. During this time, the primary entity of employment in Hollywood was the major studio which housed its own staff of composers. The film music style of this era was heavily influenced by the late romantic orchestral style of classical music, as well as the emerging influence of jazz in a number of musical mediums. Musical characteristics from Laura that resemble other scores from this era include a very lyric but chromatic melody, style and approach to harmony. The orchestra of this period was fully staffed and used on virtually every picture, and Laura is no exception. Raksin's scoring throughout uses the full orchestra in a style prototypical of this era.

The music in Laura, because of the main theme's ability to communicate so many ideas at the same time, is of invaluable service to the picture overall. In some scenes, it establishes the mood of the party, in another is hints at McPherson's attraction to Laura, in spite of condition at the time.

As McPherson begins to fall in love with Laura, perhaps the first clue that he is doing so comes from the underscoring music. As McPherson stares at the picture above Laura's mantle, the music has the effect of wafting in the distance between the two. Because at first the music is the only device that suggests this relationship, the film benefits greatly from the presence of the music.

Later in the film, as Laura begins to reciprocate McPherson's affection, the score is right there to enhance this emerging relationship, interacting with the drama in an incredibly appropriate way.

Because of the particularly unique nature of the relationship between source music and score in Laura, as the transitions from scene to scene occur, the music transforms from source to score and back, drawing on the form of the film in an especially notable way to form its own structure.

While the romantic, jazzy style from which the main theme from Laura emerges was extremely common for this period of film making, the way this theme so closely and appropriately characterizes the culture of the film qualifies it as one of the most successful, if not original of the jazzy main themes from this period.


Vertigo (1958)

Music by Bernard Herrmann

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Starring James Stewart, Kim Novak

Introductory Comments

The remastered and restored version of Vertigo now available was viewed for the purposes of this project. This particular release benefits from enhanced color and sound digitally mastered in the THX format for superior quality. Such an enhanced viewing experience makes for what may be overall better than the cinematic experience when the film was released and also an increased ability to analyze the score because of the sound enhancements


A private investigator is hired by an old college friend to follow his wife whom he suspects suffers from some sort of obsession -- a fixation on a woman who died an untimely death. The investigator eventually falls in love with his subject and the romance between the two develops until her obsession with the figure carries her too far.

Style & Concept

Ever the skilled composer and orchestrator, Bernard Herrmann brings his characteristically dark, rich, complex and ultra-romantic scoring style to bear in the music for Vertigo. The film makes use of a a harmonic bed awash with special effects that characterize the alteredness of the picture. Herrmann employs a love theme, very similar in style and harmony to the main theme, to help characterize the odd and obsessive nature of the character relationships during the film's climactic scenes.

Additionally, Herrmann developed music specifically to be used for shots that filmed with a new camera technique developed by Hitchcock especially for Vertigo. Like so many elements of Hitchcock's direction (and also Herrmann's scoring), this camera technique that creates the visual "vertigo" effect has been overused. But such a widespread employment of similar technique qualifies these techniques as successful in the context in which they were first used.


Total Picture Running Time: 128 minutes

Total Music Time: 73 minutes, 51 seconds

Percentage scored: 58%

#1. Main Title and Rooftop Chase (4:36) Begins as the main titles roll and ends as Johnny hangs from the gutter, having seen a policeman fall to his death.

#2. The Top Step (0:14) Begins and ends quickly as John nearly faints and falls from the top level of a step stool.

#3. First Impressions (8:07) Begins as John notices Madeleine at the restaurant and ends John leave the cemetery Madeleine just visited.

#4. Portrait of Carlotta (1:52) Begins as John walks into the museum following Madeline and ends as John leaves the museum.

#5. The McKittrick Hotel (1:23) Begins as Madeleine walks up the walk to the McKitrick hotel and ends as the receptionist begins a conversation with John.

#6. Disappearance from the Hotel (1:17) Begins as the hotel receptionist walks upstairs and ends as John returns to Madeleine's building to find her car already there.

#7. Dropping Off Midge (0:29) Begins as Midge exits the car and ends as Johnny updates Elster on his progress in the case.

#8. Second Day of Tailing (4:18) Music enters as John tails Madeleine to the museum once again and ends as the phone rings at John's apartment.

#9. John's Apartment (2:50) Begins as John closes the bedroom door to allow Madeleine to dress and ends as John hands Madeleine a cup coffee.

#10. Madeline Leaves and More Tailing (3:02) Begins as John returns to the living room to find that Madeleine has left and ends as John exits his car to speak with Madeleine who has returned to his apartment.

#11. Wandering About (8:34) Begins as Madeleine leaves John apartment and ends as the two embrace and kiss by the shore.

#12. Back to John's Apartment (0:21) Begins as Midge calls herself stupid and ends as the audience sees John sits in his apartment.

#13. The Dream Returns and The Mission (9:26) Begins as John opens the door to see Madeleine there and ends as the judge in John trial sums up the facts in the case against John.

#14. John's Dream (2:00) Begins as John returns to the cemetery and ends as Midge comforts John in the hospital with a little Mozart.

#15. Picking Up the Trail Again (1:24) Begins as Midge leaves the hospital and ends as John asks how the woman approaching the Madeleine's old car got the car.

#16. Sentimental Places (1:24) Begins as John abruptly ends his conversation with the new owner of Madeleine's car and ends as John views the flowers in the window at the florist.

#17. The Right Profile (1:43) Begins as John observes the profile of a woman in green outside the florist shop and ends as John knocks on the door of the woman in green.

#18. Judy Remembers (4:12) Begins as John leaves Judy's apartment and ends as the two enjoy dinner together on their date.

#19. Reaching an Understanding (2:57) Begins as the two return to Judy's apartment building and ends as the two dance at a dinner club.

#20. Finishing Touches (1:18) Begins as Judy pleads with John to like her for her and ends as Judy sits down by the fir in John's apartment.

#21. Transformation Complete (5:09) Begins as the beauticians work on the details of Judy's transformation and ends as the two discuss dinner arrangements.

#22. The Necklace (2:10) Begins as John notices the necklace he just helped Judy put on was the same necklace Carlotta wore and ends as John gets out of the car at the mission.

#23. Reenactment (2:43) Begins as John begins to reenact the story and ends as John continues the story of the reenactment.

#24. The Top of the Tower (2:22) Begins as John goes to the scene of the crime and ends as Johnny looks down from the top of the tower.

Source Music and Songs

Limited occurrences of source music present themselves in Vertigo. The first of two examples from the film occurs as Midge plays a Mozart for record for the benefit of John's therapy, while the second example is a band playing dance music at a club visited by John and Judy.

Compositional Techniques

Notable for its reliance on the strange quality of the fourth scale degree in the lydian mode, Herrmann's sequence of harmonic changes that opens Vertigo set the stage for an extremely widespread over usage of a the fourth scale degree raised by a half-step. Additionally, this opening sequence is bathed in instrumental techniques designed to characterize the film with a certain oddity that is very effective.

The film also makes use of the same pitch in alternating voices registers, combined with a chromatically descending line to characterize the almost supernatural nature of the "Carlotta" figure in the picture. Almost literally suggesting a downward descent into the grave as John peers into the open whole during a dream sequence in which this music is used, this approach to scoring these fascinating scenes appropriately characterizes the odd influence of Carlotta on the living.

Essentially the treatment of the fourth scale degree in the opening sequence alludes to the film's love theme which represents a developmental culmination of music set forth in other cues in the film. In a very chromatic style, Herrmann captures the dramatic climax of the film in a very appropriate musical style with the love theme. As heard in cue #21. Transformation Complete, which in some ways represents the climax of the film, the love theme occurs as follows in Figure 33.


Herrmann's use of instrumental and harmonic effects, extremely chromatic, romantic melodies, and Herrmann's uniquely dark, yet appropriate harmonic vocabulary all combine to make the score for Vertigo especially notable among films in this study.

Hitchcock and Herrmann had a way of creating film devices to advance their art in particularly appropriate ways. These devices were so incredibly appropriate and even ingenious that they became copied and eventually were worn out or became cliché to reuse in a film, such as Herrmann's piercing music for the stabbing scene in Psycho. Though not tedious or overdone in this context, Herrmann's use of the raised fourth scale degree in this score does not resemble other uses of the device as much as other usage resemble Herrmann's employment of the technique.

In addition to Hitchcock's camera techniques and use of color, the score helps create the strangest moments in the film by exerting its power to characterize scenes in strange and odd ways. In this respect, the score serves the film's needs for the establishment of this weird context. Also, more than any other film device, Vertigo relies on the score to characterize and enhance the love story of the film.

Herrmann's score interacts with this love story throughout the picture and generates the needed characterization of this story in numerous scenes to propel the plot forward in very appropriate ways.

Though the plot of the film divides itself into two major sections, the score remains consistent and does not differ in musical style in the different sections of the film. However, as the drama of the love story climaxes towards the end, the score also culminates with the fullest, strongest statement of the love theme.

Bernard Herrmann's originality quickly became other film composers' forgery. So ingenious were many of Herrmann's musical devices in films that they were adapted by other composers for there own purposes, and eventually exploited in films of lesser quality. But needless to say, that if these devices were used by others so extensively, when these devices were originally presented, they had to have been extremely appropriate for the films in which they occurred and also original as approaches to film music.


Brainstorm (1983)

Music by James Horner

Directed by Douglas Trumbull

Starring Christopher Walken, Natalie Wood, Louise Fletcher

Introductory Comments

Writer Bruce Joel Rubin authored the story for Brainstorm, and later won an Oscar for his writing on Ghost, another score examined in this project. Suffice it to say, Rubin has experience writing for films where death is altered in some way that the film explores extensively.

At the time Brainstorm was in production, James Horner was still a relatively new film composer as far as feature films were concerned. Coming off of the strength of his score for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, because of his skill at composing for films that made special use of elements like space, time and death, Horner's success in such films solidified his place among the finest feature film composers at the time.


After a team of scientists invents a device to record and replay brain images, thoughts and emotions, the key inventor records her own thoughts and brain activity as she dies. After discovering what she recorded, her partner fights military authorities that have taken over the project for access to the information in her recording.

Style & Concept

James Horner's approach to scoring Brainstorm combines many different ensembles and techniques of writing into one style appropriate for the film. Horner uses each ensemble as an instrument, purposefully incorporating each into different cues because of the unique properties of each. Some cues benefit from the haunting texture of a choral sound, while other cues are appropriate for synthesizers and electronic timbres. Each of these ensembles are applicable and very appropriate in this film, especially the way in which Horner uses them.


Total Picture Running Time: 106 minutes

Total Music Time: 40 minutes, 35 seconds

Percentage scored: 38%

#1. Main Title (2:14) Begins as the main titles open and ends as Mike sees a spinning image of the lab.

#2. Division Head Demonstration (0:23) Music enters during the demonstration as the viewer flies above a statue and ends as the demonstration ends.

#3. A Splice (0:40) Begins as Hal views a tape and ends as Mike and son come to work the next morning.

#4. Furious Emotions (1:52) Begins as Mike begins to playback Karen's thoughts and ends as Karen described what she was thinking.

#5. Exploring Memories (6:36) Begins as Mike begins to playback Karen's thoughts once again and ends as Mike and Karen share time together in a makeshift tent.

#6. Abusing the Machine (1:09) Begins as Mike turns the machine off of Hal and ends as Hal asks for help from Mike.

#7. Lillian (3:32) Begins as Lillian has a sharp pain in the chest and shoulder and ends as Lillian's heart monitor flatlines.

#8. Playing back Lillian's Recording (3:18) Begins as Mike reacts in shock to the effects of Lillian's recording and ends as Mike experience the first of several memories Lillian recorded.

#9. Hacking In (4:33) Music enters as Mike begins to talk with Hal about being locked out and ends as Mike begins to view the contents of the tape he loaded.

#10. Trauma (0:23) Begins and ends quickly as the warning expires on the tape Mike plays.

#11. Chris (0:48) Begins as Chris plays the trauma file and ends as Mike embraces Chris having taken the viewer off of his head.

#12. Hacking Again (2:40) Begins as Karen drives up to Hal's in a taxi and ends as the automated factory machines go crazy.

#13. Loading the tape (1:06) Begins as Mike remotely load's Lillian's tape and ends as Mike begins to playback the recording.

#14. Mike gets away (4:00) Begins as Mike continues to playback Lillian's recording and ends as Mike resumes playback from the payphone at the Wright Brothers memorial.

#15. The Wright Memorial (0:36) Begins as Karen drives up to where Mike is standing and ends as Mike laughs at what he is experiencing in the recording.

#16. End of the Recording and End Credits (6:45) Begins as Mike tells Karen he is finished and ends as the end credits finish rolling.

Source Music and Songs

Brainstorm makes use of several instances of source music. The first is a semi-classical music ensemble led by Karen and their rehearsal together at the home of Michael and Karen. This music occurs later in cue #5. Exploring Memories and actually transforms from underscoring to source music and back to underscoring.

Another example of source music comes from Lillian's desk as she listens to an opera performance, presumably emanating from a radio or portable stereo device.

A final brief example of source music is the organ and church choir performing the Doxology at the service for Lillian

Compositional Techniques

Right at the outset, Horner uses a choir to introduce the film and set the stage for the film and the music to come. The timbre and harmonic quality of the music while the chorus sings prepares the viewer for an almost religious tone, suggesting the purity or sanctity of the mind. This music performed by the choir recurs later in the film as Michael watches images from Lillian's recording.

A device Horner also uses derives directly from on-screen action during Lillian's death. Horner uses a full orchestra during this sequence to characterize the pain of her heart attack. The effect of the music in this section is powerful as the sharp attacks in this particular section help the audience to identify with Lillian.

Later in the picture, Horner underscores with musical material derived from source music in the film. This music comes across as very classical and very precise. Interestingly, this music returns on occasion with Karen, who actually plays this music on the piano at the beginning of the film, and also later as she performs while wearing the mind device for the benefit of her husband who has no concept of what it is like to play the piano.

As Micheal views the recorded material Lillian left behind, he and the audience begin to see Lillian enter the realm of the after-life, and this out-of-body state of being is in places cued by tone clusters of brass instruments as well as by synthetic, electronic instruments.


Horner's ability to incorporate so many different textures and ensembles, but still generate a consistent score in spite of the variance of a musical medium distinguishes this score from others. Most scores struggle with maintaining consistency between musical cues while using the same ensemble for each cue, to say nothing of changing ensembles or major instruments for each cue.

Compositionally, this score with so much instrumental variety and original material that uses of choral sounds, brass tone clusters as well as electronic instruments and sounds, while maintaining a uniform style and approach sets this score apart from others.

Predictably, Horner uses instruments with particular qualities and sounds to characterize the altered nature of the cinematic landscape in this picture, which is common in films of this type. But to incorporate all of these styles into a cohesive score while still characterizing the altered state of the film's reality shows the composer's skill at working within the medium.

Along with extremely interesting visual images, the music helps establish the world that Lillian enters into and that Michael is able to witness. In this way, the score serves a major need of the film, which, in order to explore the nature of experiences surrounding death, must establish these issues as interesting enough to deal with.

Except in the scenes where a character on screen is making use of the brain device and the brief section when the love between Mike and Karen is rekindled, the film does not rely heavily on the score for the characterization of many characters, and thus not many cues are designed to emotionally engage the audience. But this lack of a large quantity of cues that function in this way is appropriate for the film because most of the interest is in the imagination behind the technology and the depiction of these recorded brain signals rather than in the dynamics of relationships between the characters.

The film does not lend itself to a specific identification of specific sections, but correspondingly, neither does the score. In a manner appropriate for the film, the score follows the dramatic curve of individual scenes, and reaches a natural climax during the scene in which Mike finishes Lillian's tape, which is a natural climax of the film.

Horner's use of a variety of instruments works well for Brainstorm. While few other scores make use of all of these different ensembles and instruments in a combined method for their conceptual approach, many films rely on one or two of the instruments used by Horner for their particular needs in a film. But such a well-done incorporation of so many different instruments is relatively uncommon.


Always (1989)

Music by John Williams

Orchestrated by Herbert W. Spencer

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Holly Hunter, John Goodman

Introductory Comments

A unique interpretation of the concept of purgatory and the concept of some sort of penance for those who remain around the living after their own deaths, Always benefits from solid performances by the leads, as well as very appropriate music to generate a very tangible, charming love story.


Pete is a pilot who drops water on forest fires at very low heights. His intended Dorinda is also a pilot who doubles as a radio controller for the pilots who do this work. Pete always takes chances, confident that his skill will bring him through. One day it doesn't and he is killed. He finds himself returning as an invisible ghost who's presence is barely felt giving advice to his successor. Pete then finds that his successor is also falling in love with Dorinda (Vogel, Always 1).

Style & Concept

Particularly unique to this story of altered death is its notion of the nature of interaction between the living and the not-living. The concept used in this film, that in the moments when they need it most, the living benefit from a breath of spirit or inspiration which comes from the not-living who are simply passing on the same gift which they received when they were alive. Williams uses this concept as a vehicle for creating a musical concept which drives the score. Williams allows the different states of being to have themes which compliment each other, and though they exist simultaneously and interact unknowingly with each other, they are separate, independent and distinct.


Total Picture Running Time: 123 minutes

Total Music Time: 37 minutes, 26 seconds

Percentage scored: 30%

#1. Pete and Dorinda Walk Home (0:32) Music Begins as Dorinda and Pete walk home by the airfield ends as the two lay together by the fire.

#2. Precious Talk (0:20) Begins as Pete opens the refrigerator door for a snack and ends as Pete sits down with Dorinda by the fire.

#3. Saying Good-bye (2:46) Begins as Pete is on the phone and ends as Pete tries to yell that he loves her over the roar of his engines.

#4. Hap (7:01) Begins as Al looks out his window to see Pete's plane and ends as Pete turns around to find the person who he will help.

#5. Catching up with Al (0:20) Begins as Pete walks into Al's office and begins Ted walks into Al's office behind Pete.

#6. Landing in Flat Rock (0:54) Begins as Al and Dorinda approach the strip at Flat Rock for landing and ends as Ted takes off.

#7. Abandoned Airfield (2:36) Music enters as Ted creeps into an abandoned shelter and ends as Ted lands at Flat Rock.

#8. Follow Me (1:08) Begins as Rachel sees Ted landing and ends as the Follow Me tractor plows into Dorinda's porch.

#9. Strange Presence (3:14) Begins as Pete senses that Dorinda is near and ends as Ted introduces himself to Dorinda.

#10. Saving Frank (1:06) Begins as Dorinda wonders how Ted can do what he is doing and ends as Dorinda screeches to a halt in front of her house.

#11. Breaking the wishbone (1:38) Begins as Dorinda tells a story about Pete and ends as Ted brags about how he'll land an A-26 with no fuel.

#12. Shopping in her Sleep (1:47) Begins as Dorinda recites her shopping list in her sleep as before and ends as Dorinda tells Pete goodnight.

#13. Talking With Hap Again (2:06) Begins as Pete finds himself waking up in the woods again and ends as Hap reminds Pete that he has to give in order to gain his freedom.

#14. Handling the Rescue (4:50) Begins as Ted realizes that he should handle the rescue from their base and ends as Dorinda cruises to the drop zone.

#15. Pete Tells Dorinda Everything (7:08) Begins as Dorinda enjoys the peace of flying at night and ends as Pete walks down the runway into the night.

Source Music and Songs

Always makes use of many example of source music. Some are songs while others are sounds that emanate from various sources on screen. Because the extent to which songs are used is not extremely significant, this analysis will not account for songs in the same manner as the other films in this project which do make extensive use of songs.

The first example of source music heard is a very poor recording of an instrumental version of "Happy Birthday to You" that come from a loudspeaker on the flying telegram plane flown by Ted, "A Wing and a Prayer." The next example of source music is heard in the bar as simply background music that conceivably comes

The next example of source music is a song that recurs on a few occasions in the film. The first time it is heard is when Pete motions to the band in the bar to play "our song," which it turns out is the song "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."

Later in the film, as Al gets set to observe his pilots dropping water on fires, he has his assistant tune a radio from which the audience and characters hear music. Not long after, another example of source music is heard as background music at another bar as the film begins to delineate Ted's character.

A final example of source music is heard as Ted and Dorinda dance in Dorinda dance to the slow sound of "Crazy Love" by Van Morrison.

The single example of a song that may not be heard by characters on screen but that is used to characterize a particular scene is the song "Yakety Yak" by the Coasters heard as Dorinda prepares dinner and her house for Ted.

Compositional Techniques

Specific compositional techniques employed by Williams include a harmonic technique calculated to contribute to the dream-state mood of select scenes combined with instruments such as the vibraphone that exhibit interesting timbral properties that contribute to the effect of this particular harmonic vocabulary.

The two melodies heard simultaneously, make use of this harmonic vocabulary and are also heard in several of the dream state cues including cue #12. Shopping in her Sleep and are demonstrated in Figure 34 as follows.


As seen in Figure 34. and heard throughout the film, the detail and skill with which Williams executes the score concept allows the score to fully compliment the film. Also, Williams' instrumentation in select cues clearly sets apart his ability to characterize settings with an unparalleled measure of musical clarity and specificity.

Williams harmonic style and instrumentation for this score is similar to compositional elements from other scores in the genre, but the level of execution and artistry Williams exhibits is exceptional.

The film relies on three primary devices to establish its unique setting and mood. The first two devices, the lighting and cinematography, are visually oriented. The third, music in the form of underscoring, is similar to the film's premise about the nature of those who have past on, in that while they are not always at the forefront of our attention and cognizance, they are working to affect the attitudes, perceptions and emotions. Any film that has been underscored well benefits from the affect of music with film, and in the case of Always, Williams musical characterization of the mood and the nature of interaction between the living and dead serves the film's setting probably more than any other device.

After Pete has passed on, the music characterizes the interaction between he and Dorinda in an incredibly appropriate way. The tone and instrumentation chosen for cue #12. Shopping in her Sleep are extremely effective in communicating the unique quality of the moment, as well as its peacefulness and intimacy.

If one considers the climax of the film to be the sequence of Dorinda's flight into the fire and then into the lake as the film's climax, then the music basically mirrors the dramatic contour of the film, by climaxing as Pete lifts Dorinda out of the water. Otherwise, the score does not intensify or climax other than as appropriate within the context of each individual cue.

While Williams' harmonic style and instrumentation are basically standard for a film of this type and for his approach to composition in general as evidenced by other film scores, the originality with which he characterizes the film and the appropriateness of that characterization are fresh and extremely appropriate.


Ghost (1990)

Music and Orchestration by Maurice Jarre

Directed by Jerry Zucker

Starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Whoopi Goldberg

Introductory Comments

Directed by parody film veteran Jerry Zucker, in 1990 Ghost was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Original Score for Maurice Jarre. The film eventually captured two awards for Whoopi Goldberg in the Actress in a Supporting Role category and for Bruce Joel Rubin in the writing category. Jerry Zucker also achieved a personal victory with the film, proving that his range as a director was not limited to the comedy films for which he became known.

Maurice Jarre began study at the Paris Conservatory in 1940 and in various positions and capacities prepared himself for a superb career as a film composer. Nominated for Academy Awards on nine separate occasions, Jarre won the Academy Award in music three times for the epic films Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago and A Passage to India.


Sam and Molly are a very happy couple and deeply in love. Walking back to their new apartment after a night out at the theatre, they encounter a thief in a dark alley, and Sam is murdered. He finds himself trapped as a ghost and realizes that his death was no accident. He must warn Molly about the danger that she is in. But as a ghost he can not be seen or heard by the living, and so he tries to communicate with Molly through Oda Mae Brown, a psychic who didn't even realize that her powers were real (Al-Taher 1).

Style & Concept

Jarre's approach primarily distinguishes itself because of extensive use of electronic instruments. Throughout the picture's 29 cues, synthesized sound effect combine with traditional symphonic realizations of lush, romantic orchestrations to create a cohesive style appropriate for the film's subject matter.

The film's music can be conceptually organized into two categories which account for the majority of cues within the film; 1. Romantic Music, and 2. "Ghostly" Music. With regard to the romantic music, the picture makes use of two core musical elements. The first is the song "Unchained Melody" as recorded by the Righteous Brothers. The film makes use of the song's rhythm and lyrics to enhance the emotional connection and pain of the lead characters, Sam and Molly. According to Daniel Schweiger who prepared liner notes for a re-release of Jarre's score, director Jerry Zucker recalls:

Lisa Weinstein, the producer of Ghost, brought "Unchained Melody" into my office and said "You've got to hear this"...she played it ["Unchained Melody"], and I knew instantly that this was the song for the movie. I had only vague memories of "Unchained Melody," and had forgotten how incredibly romantic and sexy it was. But what really amazed me were its lyrics "Longing for your touch." It was as if they were written for our movie, describing a ghost who could no longer touch his lover, but desperately wanted to" (7).

The second core component of the romantic cues in the film evidences Jarre's skills as a melodist and is heard in cue #1. Main Title, the film's love theme. Schweiger points out:

Zucker saw Ghost's opening music as an overture that would establish the direction of the film's story..."I didn't want to keep bringing back the same song ["Unchained Melody"] every time Sam and Molly were on screen," Zucker remarks. "I asked Maurice to compose a different but equally effective love theme that we could reprise throughout the movie. It needed to be romantic, without having the emotional pain of ŽUnchained Melody' " (8).

Jarre chiefly relies on synthetic instruments and textures to establish the "Ghostly" character of the score.


Total Picture Running Time: 127 minutes

Total Music Time: 40 minutes, 1 second

Percentage scored: 32%

#1. Main Title (2:29) Begins as opening titles begin and ends as Sam, Molly, and Carl pound through sheet rock while renovating the new apartment.

#2. A Struggle (2:07) Music begins as Sam says asserts what he feels should matter to Molly and ends with a gun shot.

#3. Strange Realization (2:42) Begins as Sam walks back to Molly and ends as the audience sees the hospital.

#4. The Passage (0:30) Begins as a light from above opens above a dying man and ends as Sam sees the light disappear above him.

#5. Getting Oriented (0:25) Begins as Sam adjusts to going through matter and ends as mourners stand around Sam's grave at his funeral.

#6. Strange Ceremony (1:17) Begins as Sam walks among the mourners and ends as Molly finds herself frustrated with her work.

#7. Feline Senses (0:31) Begins the cat reacts to Sam's presence and ends as Molly comments on her cat.

#8. Intruder (3:40) Begins as Sam tries to follow Molly and Carl through the door and ends as Sam follows the intruder onto a subway train.

#9. Following the Suspect (0:46) Begins as Sam follows the intruder off of the subway car and ends as the intruder gets home to his apartment.

#10. Stay Away (0:28) Begins as the intruder hangs up the phone and ends as Sam warns the intruder to stay away from Molly.

#11. Ditto in the Diner (0:29) Music begins as Molly turns around realizing that Oda-Mae may be for real and ends as Oda-Mae and Molly talk in Molly's apartment.

#12. Carl and Willie (1:54) Begins as Willie opens the door to his apartment for Carl and ends as Sam tries to take out his anger on Carl.

#13. Carl in the Apartment (0:25) Begins as Carl routes around in a closet in Molly's apartment and ends as a detective places Oda-Mae's criminal file on his desk.

#14. It was real (1:01) Begins as Molly justifies Oda-Mae's testimony about Sam and ends as Molly leaves the police station.

#15. Sam Sees Carl (0:10) Begins and ends quickly as Sam sees what Carl has been doing.

#16. Looking for the Man (1:35) Begins as Sam runs out to find the man from the Subway car and ends as Sam gets his first anger lesson.

#17. Orlando and Oda Mae (0:25) Begins as Orlando's Ghost hops into Oda-Mae's body and ends as Orlando's voice comes out of Oda-Mae's mouth.

#18. Willie and Oda Mae (0:28) Begins as Willie comes to visit Oda-Mae and ends as Oda-Mae's helpers check on her after the gun shots.

#19. Carl Gets Ready (0:16) Begins and ends quickly as Carl picks up the phone to transfer the funds.

#20. Molly Sees Oda Mae (0:54) Music begins as Lyle notifies Molly what Oda-Mae was doing at the bank and ends as Oda-Mae celebrates having her money.

#21. Sam Tinkers Around (0:54) Begins as Carl looks up to see a chair move across the room and ends as Carl pushes everything off of his desk.

#22. Stomach Problems (1:56) Begins as Molly tells Carl that Oda-Mae was at the bank and ends as Carl leaves Molly's apartment.

#23. On the Run (3:00) Begins as Oda-Mae and her entourage escape her apartment and ends as the van slams into Willie.

#24. The Shadows (1:27) Begins as the dead Willie gets up to see his body and ends as Willie disappears into the shadows.

#25. A Penny for Luck (1:09) Begins as Sam lifts the penny up the side of the door and ends as Molly ends a phone call to the police.

#26. Desperation (3:52) Begins as Carl bangs on the door and ends as a window slams down into Carl.

#27. Carl's Fate (1:11) Begins as the dead Carl steps out of his body to see Sam and ends as Carl disappears into the shadows.

#28. Sam's Fate (4:00) Begins as a light from above opens above Sam and ends as Sam joins those waiting for him.

#29. End Credits (4:17) Begins as the end credits begin to roll and ends as the end credits finish rolling.

Source Music and Songs

Use of source music includes music from the jukebox in the apartment and the record player in Oda-Mae's waiting room. Additional source music that dissolves into underscoring includes Oda-Mae's séance music which is heard the first time Sam contacts her and intensifies according to the action on screen. Additional examples of source music include gospel music that emanates presumably from a turntable in Oda-Mae's shop.

Probably the film's most famous example of source music is a song that qualifies as source music at one point in the film, then recurs as an underscoring song. That song, "Unchained Melody" performed by the Righteous Brothers, is heard presumably from the jukebox in Sam and Molly's apartment early in the film.

Compositional Techniques

The first readily noticeable technique of Ghost is it's electro-acoustic orchestration. At the beginning of #1. Main Title, a pedal tone on D1 is sustained by an electronic bass sound while the whole cue makes use of other electronic timbres to characterize the fantastic nature of the film's premise of interaction between the living and the dead.

The "Ghost" motive that recurs throughout the picture is also heard in cue #1. Main Title. Possibly derived from the whole-tone scale, this two-chord motive uses two notes at the tri-tone interval (or augmented fourth or diminished fifth) for the first chord, and follows with another tri-tone interval a major second lower than the first, as in Figure 35. The tri-tone interval is later developed by literal usage of the whole tone scale and also by sustained major-minor seventh chords.

Ghost also makes use of a love theme secondary to "Unchained Melody." Which is also briefly referenced in #1. Main Title and is later developed in other cues. Generally, the love theme makes use of a four-measure phrase, followed by repetition of material from that four-measure phrase in the key a minor third above the original key. Different cues utilize this model to various extents. At one place, the theme is realized by a fully orchestrated string section; at another by, a simple piano. Figure 36. shows the essential four measures that comprise this theme.




As previously mentioned, probably the most distinguishing aspect of this score the extent of Jarre's development of electronic ideas, and his extensive incorporation of those ideas into various cues, combined with standard acoustic and orchestral instruments.

Jarre's decision to use electronic instruments for this score is similar to other scores in this project and even within the subcategory of Altered Death in this project. But unlike Horner's limited incorporation of electronic sounds in Brainstorm, Jarre's score heavly relies on the employment of electronic sounds regularly throughout the body of the film.

Though probably before Jarre was asked to score Ghost the film's producers knew they wanted the film to rely heavily "Unchained Melody" as a love theme, the film benefits greatly from Jarre's additional love theme, which characterizes the relationship between Sam and Molly in an appropriate way. Unlike "Unchained Melody," the love theme can subtly enter in a scene, such as cue #11. Ditto in the Diner and bring just the right amount of musical enhancement for a brief moment. Additionally, the film benefits from Jarre's electronic textures that so adequately characterize the setting and in a way premise of the film right from the outset.

Though the love theme would be an obvious musical element of the score that would elicit emotional involvement from the audience, another example of such a device used by Jarre is his bombastic electronic approach to scoring scenes where Sam frantically runs through the city. On more than one occasion, this music help characterize Sam's frustration, anger, and thirst for revenge.

If the climax of the film is considered to be the scene where Carl is killed and gets what he deserves, and then suddenly Molly is able to hear Sam's voice, then Jarre chooses to score Sam's culminating walk into eternity with one of the most conceptually interesting cues. This scene is accompanied by Jarre's instrumental version of "Unchained Melody" which gives this last scene not only one last interesting musical enhancement, but also the musical flexibility to accommodate dialogue and transitions necessary for this last scene that perhaps would be difficult to achieve if the literal version of "Unchained Melody" were used again.

The extent of originality in Jarre's score for Ghost is incredibly appropriate, especially given the context of his own previous scores which though equally dramatic in places, do not seek to make use of such a sophisticated development of electronic textures.

Works Cited

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