Today WooInfo cannot conceive of a film without a soundtrack. All movies now have cinematic music that plays throughout the scenes, linking sequences of scenes and helping us understand and interpret how a character might be feeling at a given moment or recognize a moment of suspense, terror, or romance. , among others.
What is a soundtrack?
Film music composed especially for the cinema is called a soundtrack. This type of music performs a double function: to reinforce the meaning of the ideas that, by themselves, the images are not capable of expressing and, in turn, to establish a continuous narrative link in the cinematographic discourse, helping to give credibility to the action.
The soundtracks “sound” the images and with this it is possible to transmit to the viewer the sound landscape that gives credibility to a scene. It is very common for the term original soundtrack (OST) to be used to refer only to the music used in a film, since it is the most interesting sound part.
Do you know what the origin of soundtracks in the cinema was?
In 1908, the first original soundtrack in the history of cinema was born. It was born especially to reinforce the expressiveness of certain passages of a film.
In 1914, four films are produced with a musical background created for them with the participation of the musician JK Breil. A year later, there are already ten films that have specific music for them created by him. It is from these moments when film music compositions are generalized, with each studio having its own composers.
This would be consolidated in the following decades. Starting in the 1930s, the big movie studios had entire music departments. In 1933, with the film King Kong, Max Steiner showed what could be done with an original score fully synchronized with the images.
In the 1930s and 1940s, composers began to create music for films that came from different areas of musical composition. From Broadway musical comedy to opera. Numerous classical music composers such as Malcom Arnold or Aaron Copland would make important contributions in this field.
The 1950s saw the absolute dominance of Alfred Newman and Bernard Hermann along with Orson Welles. Other authors from light music and jazz also emerged.
In the middle of the decade, the general public began to take more into account the music of the films. A change in attitude that the studios made profitable by encouraging their composers to write salable themes, melodies and songs that could be released on disc. For example, one of them was the song Moon River by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini for Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961.
To all this, a technical improvement of the sound recording systems would contribute, which would become evident in the great epic films of those years.
Elements that are part of a film soundtrack.
The opening theme corresponds to the music that accompanies the opening credits titles, so if these titles are preceded by images and music, this music would not, in principle, be an opening theme unless it began before the credits and develop within them.
Background or indicental music is music that, by definition, is not diegetic. It does not come from natural sources, but abstract ones. The viewer cannot recognize her place of origin and the characters do not listen to her. It makes no realistic sense and is located in places as vague as the environment, the psychology or the emotions of the characters. Its duration does not respond to exact criteria, but rather it is prolonged depending on the needs of each scene, being able to be interrupted and resumed much later.
The closing music corresponds to the music that accompanies the end credits titles. Therefore, if no music was inserted in these titles, the last music played in the film would not be considered an ending theme. Of course, the final theme can begin before the end credits and develop in them. It can be different, identical or a variation of the initial theme.
Musical reference in the form of short notes, known as Leitmotiv, which can be independent, derived or derivational and which consists of a musical motif or fragment related to something specific and exclusive.
The dialogue is the communicative body of the film and television script and they serve for the characters to interact with each other unless it is an internal dialogue. In it, special emphasis is placed on the colloquial aspect of everyday speech. The main function of the cinematographic dialogue is to provide the information that cannot be shown with the action itself.
External sounds that are recorded independently of the film and added in the post-production process. They add volume and intensity so that, for example, the impact of an action is greater.
What are the functions of a good soundtrack in movies?
It serves as reinforcement or intensification of different moments. It can replace unnecessary dialogue and acts as a counterpoint to the images. It is integrated into the general, dramatic and aesthetic tone of the cinematographic work.
It supports the structure of the narrative giving a sense of continuity to the film. It also serves as a neutral background on many occasions to fill in empty passages and unify the montage of the different scenes.
It helps to influence the feelings and emotions that the viewer experiences throughout the film, modifying the meaning of the image or anticipating a certain situation. They create a certain psychological effect. The music reinforces the action on the screen, charging a scene of tension, joy or sadness to bring the emotion of the characters closer to the viewer.
The music expands and explains the image in the most emotional sense. It helps to create and reinforce certain atmospheres to give the viewer a sense of reality in certain scenes and situations. The soundtracks also help create the right atmosphere for the development of the action. The composers adapt the music to the time and context of the film.