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Thread: How will film music be remembered?

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    Senior Member Gordontrek's Avatar
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    Default How will film music be remembered?

    Debates have taken place on this site in the past regarding to what extent film music and classical music intersect. Many believe that film music simply can't be concert music, since it is designed for a given on-screen context, and is usually made to be appealing to the masses. Divorced from the screen, much of it doesn't make much sense as concert music. Others think that its wide popularity and accessibility, when compared to the classical "canon," will make it the classical music of the far future. What can't be denied, though, is that film music is capable of standing alone on its own merits as a form of art, and that its composers are often among the most brilliant musical minds alive.
    I'm not here to try and convince anyone of either side. What I want to know is, how do YOU think that film music will be remembered? Will the best and most popular scores survive the centuries or fall by the wayside? Will it still be divided into its own genre, or will people see Dmitri Shostakovich and John Barry on the same program?

    Personally I think its appeal will grow once television and film is replaced with another entertainment medium. What that medium will be, and when it replaces film, is anyone's guess, but once the silver screen becomes outdated, film music from our times may start to creep into concert halls, suitably transcribed as needed anyway. It won't make a large-scale migration into the classical canon, but the most memorable works, a select few by people like Williams/Goldsmith et al., could very well become well-known parts of the orchestral repertoire.
    That's just MY opinion. Share yours!
    "May God have mercy on my enemies, because I won't." - George S. Patton

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    Senior Member tdc's Avatar
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    An interesting topic that would likely get more replies in the main forum, though I can see why one might put it here. I am a classical music listener that spends less than 1% of my listening time listening to film score music, but that being said I think it is quite possible that you are correct. Its hard to say but I think that certainly some of the music scored for films could make it into the classical canon in some form or another.

    I agree some of it is very good music and many of the film score composers are certainly highly skilled musicians able to improvise in a range of different styles.
    Last edited by tdc; Jan-30-2017 at 22:39.

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    Senior Member Bellinilover's Avatar
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    This certainly is an interesting topic! I'm mainly an opera and Broadway fan but do spend a considerable amount of time listening to film and TV soundtracks (I'm stuck on SCHINDLER'S LIST at the moment). While I don't know about the future, I have often thought that movie music is in many ways the "classical music" of our time, and that some of the best of current, instrumental music is written for film and television. What I find to be a shame is the fact that it's not really all that common to do entire concerts of movie music; some scores I feel are magnificent have not even been arranged for concert performance. Richard Harvey's score for the movie LUTHER, for example, would be great played in by a smallish ensemble in a church or a smallish concert hall. I also wish more orchestras would perform Bernard Herrmann's film music (besides just the PSYCHO suite he arranged) or John Williams' SCHINDLER'S LIST score beyond just the theme, "Jewish Town," and "Remembrances (the three most commonly excerpted pieces).

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    Senior Member pcnog11's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordontrek View Post
    Debates have taken place on this site in the past regarding to what extent film music and classical music intersect. Many believe that film music simply can't be concert music, since it is designed for a given on-screen context, and is usually made to be appealing to the masses. Divorced from the screen, much of it doesn't make much sense as concert music. Others think that its wide popularity and accessibility, when compared to the classical "canon," will make it the classical music of the far future. What can't be denied, though, is that film music is capable of standing alone on its own merits as a form of art, and that its composers are often among the most brilliant musical minds alive.
    I'm not here to try and convince anyone of either side. What I want to know is, how do YOU think that film music will be remembered? Will the best and most popular scores survive the centuries or fall by the wayside? Will it still be divided into its own genre, or will people see Dmitri Shostakovich and John Barry on the same program?

    Personally I think its appeal will grow once television and film is replaced with another entertainment medium. What that medium will be, and when it replaces film, is anyone's guess, but once the silver screen becomes outdated, film music from our times may start to creep into concert halls, suitably transcribed as needed anyway. It won't make a large-scale migration into the classical canon, but the most memorable works, a select few by people like Williams/Goldsmith et al., could very well become well-known parts of the orchestral repertoire.
    That's just MY opinion. Share yours!
    I read your post several days ago and did not reply until now. I think the question is very though provoking. I agree that film music alone is an art by itself. There are so many examples that they can become a standalone piece and can be performed in a concert setting.

    Consider for a moment, before movie/film was developed. Many composer wrote music to tell stories, there were different forms such as opera, symphonic suite, symphonic poems etc. While film has changed the media of telling stories from an audio and imaginary to a visual and more realistic form. So the music role has changed, film music helped to tell the story and add a high emotional dimension to the visuals. The Indiana Jones theme added much emphasis on the courage and bravery of Indiana Jones without saying a word while the theme of Godfather added so much Italian flair to the story, you can almost feel the heat of Tuscany by listening to the music. Another example is Star Trek, the main theme added so much mystery and curiosity to the exploration of the universal and at the same time tie the audience/viewers emotions with the main characters' journey of boldly going to no one has gone before.

    Many classical pieces have survived the test to time to become classics of today. I think the examples form above will have the same fate to become classic of the future. I do not know if or how the media will change in the future, but the trend of movie music has been more 'center stage' today as compare to 30 years ago. Often "main theme" of a movie made its way to the pop culture, some could be more popular than the movie itself. In a way, there is a "symbiosis" relationship between movie and its music, one cannot survive without the other. I think as long as both media flourish to higher forms, the value of music is undeniably taking the audience/viewer to a new fronts of movie watching experience. If you have seen 'La La Land', you will understand what I mean here.

    IMHO, movie music will be remember as added emotional value to a movie to enhance the watching experience, at the same time could survive as standalone music pieces. I think the latter is a question of how well the music is put together by the composer. The musicality trumps anything if a certain piece survives and made its way to a classic music repertoire in the future. Schindler's List, Gabriel's Oboe from the Mission, Never An Absolution from Titanic and Main Theme from Love Story are great examples of musicality alone can carry this piece to the concert hall. I am sure there are many, many fine examples we can list.

    I think I wrote enough, it is time for me to listen to some of the best movie music! Cheers!
    "Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." - Ludwig van Beethoven

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