Movie soundtracks have been an integral part of the cinematic experience since the birth of cinema itself. Whether it is an epic orchestral score or a catchy pop song, a great soundtrack can make a movie or television show stand out. But why does music play such a significant role in visual storytelling?
In this article, we will explore how music enhances our viewing experience and why filmmakers must consider their musical choices carefully.
From setting the tone, creating emotional depth, or heightening suspense, film music can immerse us in a story and leave a lasting impact on our memories.
What is TV and Movie Music?
TV or movie music is fundamentally music that accompanies a film, TV show, or video game. This term encompasses two types of film music:
Film score is the music that accompanies a movie from start to finish. It’s composed specifically for the movie, often by well-known composers specializing in this type of work.
The goal of a film score is to enhance the emotions and themes present in the story while also helping create suspense or tension where needed.
Movie soundtracks feature popular songs that filmmakers have chosen to enhance particular scenes or moments. Soundtracks can include both original compositions explicitly created for the movie as well as existing songs that are licensed for use.
For instance, the soundtrack album for the 2021 Marvel superhero film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, by this producer and record label owner, featured original songs performed by various artists.
How Does Music Impact TV and Movies?
Music significantly impacts our emotional state, whether it’s happy or sad, calm or intense. It enhances emotions and adds depth to a scene, making us feel more invested in the story.
For example, suspenseful music can create tension and make us anxious during high-stakes or dangerous moments in a movie.
On the other hand, upbeat music can set the tone for cheerful scenes, such as romantic moments or uplifting endings. Music can also help build character development by creating themes associated with specific characters.
Moreover, music plays a vital role in setting the mood for different genres of films, such as horror movies, where eerie soundtracks are used to create an unsettling atmosphere.
Producers can let audiences connect with their settings through music. Music can transport the audience to a different time or place. It can evoke a sense of nostalgia, making us reminisce about past experiences.
For instance, classic rock songs in the 2014 film Guardians of the Galaxy set the movie’s tone in the 70s and added a distinct flavor to its intergalactic setting.
Besides setting the tone and transporting the audience, music can also provide hints about what’s to come in the story. Through musical cues, we can anticipate twists and turns in the plot, creating an extra layer of suspense.
A good example is the iconic soundtrack of Jaws, which is now synonymous with impending danger and fear. The simple yet effective melody of the shark’s theme is enough to send chills down the spine of even the bravest viewers.
Without music, TV and movies lack depth.
Music is integral to the film-watching experience, and its importance cannot be overstated. It can make us laugh, cry, and even feel scared, adding depth and emotion to the story. It has the power to transport, evoke, and enhance, making it a valuable tool for viewers and creators alike.