2 The 5 Functions of Film Music Source music (diegetic music).Sense of time or place.Paralleling the action (“Mickey-Mousing”).Emphasising the emotion.Themes for characters / places (leitmotif).
3 Source Music (Diegetic) This is music that is created within the scene that characters would be able to hear.It might come, for example, from a radio in the corner of a room, a band playing at a gig, somebody playing a piano.Example 1 – School of Rock (the band are playing so that all characters can hear)Example 2 – The Matrix (Neo & Trinity are in a club so they can hear the music playing in the background.)
6 Music to give a sense of Time or Place This is music that is written to give a sense of authenticity to a scene either for its location and country, or its place in time. It is achieved by:using traditional instruments (e.g. bagpipes for Scotland, Sitar for India).Using traditional musical forms (e.g. a waltz for Vienna in the 17th Century).Example 1 – Braveheart (Uilleann pipes being a traditional instrument)Example 2 – Hero (traditional Chinese instruments)Example 3 – Titanic (The Hills of Connemara – traditional Irish folk tune).
10 Paralleling the action (‘Mickey-Mousing’) This is where musical events are synchronised so that they carefully match any physical actions that happen on screen.Whilst originally a comedic device used in numerous cartoons (hence the name), it is also a technique used in action films to make the scene more exciting.Example 1 – The Picnic (a 1930 Mickey Mouse cartoon)Example 2 – King Kong (the music matches Kong’s actions)Example 3 – Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade (video analysis of the scene)
14 Emphasising the Emotion This is where the music in the scene is written to have an emotional effect on the audience.It could be used to:Create tension in a horror film or a thriller.Emphasise the romantic or love aspect to a scene.Accompany an action scene to make it more exciting.Example 1 – Psycho (dissonant strings used to create tension)Example 2 – Gone With The Wind (music swells with character’s emotions)Example 3 – Rocky (triumphant music to accompany training montage)Example 4 – Titanic (string trio playing ‘Nearer My God To Thee’ as they face certain death)
19 Themes for character or places (Leitmotif) This is where the composer will create a melodic musical theme for a particular character or place in the film.Example 1 – Doctor No (leitmotif for James Bond)Example 2 – Superman The Movie (leitmotif for Superman’s heroism)Example 3 – Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (leitmotif for the Galactic Empire)