Composing for the Cinema: The Theory and Praxis of Music in Film
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With nearly 400 scores to his credit, Ennio Morricone is one of the most prolific and influential film composers working today. He has collaborated with many significant directors, and his scores for such films as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; Once Upon a Time in America; Days of Heaven; The Mission; The Untouchables; Malèna; and Cinema Paradiso leave moviegoers with the conviction that something special was achieved—a conviction shared by composers, scholars, and fans alike.
In Composing for the Cinema: The Theory and Praxis of Music in Film, Morricone and musicologist Sergio Miceli present a series of lectures on the composition and analysis of film music. Adapted from several lectures and seminars, these lessons show how sound design can be analyzed and offer a variety of musical solutions to many different kinds of film. Though aimed at composers, Morricone’s expositions are easy to understand and fascinating even to those without any musical training. Drawing upon scores by himself and others, the composer also provides insight into his relationships with many of the directors with whom he has collaborated, including Sergio Leone, Giuseppe Tornatore, Franco Zeffirelli, Warren Beatty, Ridley Scott, Roland Joffé, the Taviani Brothers, and others.
Translated and edited by Gillian B. Anderson, an orchestral conductor and musicologist, these lessons reveal Morricone’s passion about musical expression. Delivered in a conversational mode that is both comprehensible and interesting, this groundbreaking work intertwines analysis with practical details of film music composition. Aimed at a wide audience of composers, musicians, film historians, and fans, Composing for the Cinema contains a treasure trove of practical information and observations from a distinguished musicologist and one of the most accomplished composers on the international film scene.
the first cue, come from the epoch in which the film develops. I remember that when I was a young boy I listened to Appassionatamente by Rulli. 66 It was a little like this, nostalgic, antique, and modern. . . . Those waltzes were the typical musical artifacts of an epoch. From the associations that come from the scenery design and the costumes, one needs to work not so much to resolve the situation with a predominant theme but rather, if necessary, to try to give the music a background
a partial mobility and then could take over and thicken at approximately the moment the car reaches the sidewalk (23″). If it were necessary to confer on the musical composition a didactic or more tritely allusive role (hypothesize a specific request from the director), this could be realized (always with a light hand) with an implicit sync point 29 on the ultimate shot of the automobile, which is shown to be a police car. One ought to treat it only as a rhythmic rippling or contraction, a
a landing (mechanical tracking shot, then optical) and taking his time, he goes along the corridor until he reaches the door of a bedroom. Reverse shot of the interior of the bedroom (medium full shot), which the man observes cautiously. The man extends his left hand toward the door. Interior 4—bedroom (subjective)—1′25″. Medium shot on a feminine figure who is sleeping in a double bed. The door is half-closed slowly. 28 Chapter 2 Medium full shot—interior 4—new reverse shot. The man closes
superficial, even if understandable, judgment. In reality, a composer who dedicates himself to the cinema ought to be able to write the music for a comic film, for a dramatic film, for a war film . . . in other words, for a film of any genre. In short, the director has every right to think what he wants, but this “labelling” derives from a not-very-profound knowledge of the quality of his potential collaborator. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE COMPOSER, PRODUCER, AND MUSIC EDITOR Sometimes the producer
correspondence to its diminishing (2:35.8), it grows in track 2. The point of insertion—the subtle vertical line that intersects the spectrum and that runs during the hearing—one finds a little after 2:36, and it corresponds to the point of reduction in track 2. The dynamic difference between the two channels, to which we owe the effect of transfer, is very evident in the window located at the bottom in the center (labelled “Levels”), even though the images have been “frozen” immediately after