Saturday, 27 September 2014

The Hollywood Sound

Konstantin Mishchenko is a prolific provider of interesting movie-related videos. This one gives us the history of Hollywood sound.

John Mauceri, conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, explores the music behind such classics as Gone with the Wind, Laura, Bride of Frankenstein, Casablanca, Adventures of Robin Hood, The Song of Bernadette, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Johnny Belinda, How Green Was My Valley, and Red River.

Music For The Movies: The Hollywood Sound (1995) is part of a 4-DVD documentary series chronicling the influence music has had on the making of movies. The series explores the complex relationship between image and music in cinema, takes us behind the scenes, onto the sound stages and mixing rooms, to bring the story of movie music to life.

 


1 comment:

Kathy Smart said...

This skilfully made movie is a tribute to “Hollywood Sound”. It follows a modern day composer and conductor, John Mauceri, as he reconstructs music from pivotal Hollywood movies and talks about the three main movie composers of the era: Max Steiner, Erich Korngold, and Alfred Newman as well as speaking to a later composer David Raksin who discusses movie music and watches his piece performed.

“Hollywood Sound” is the classical style of music from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

If you try to say a girl is charismatic, the audience will be sceptical. So you do it with music.

Music can seduce nearly anyone, even Frankenstein’s monster. It works on a subliminal level.

David Raksin says Hollywood movies were embraced by the entire world because of their music.

Movie music was not invented for cinema, but for ballet, opera and tone poems which tell stories. Silent film composers mostly used music from nineteenth century melodrama:
• punctuation music
• entrance music (e.g. the villain arrives)
• exit music
A stinger chord is used to force the attention to something that’s going to happen on the screen.

The twentieth century was a period of romantic excess, great emotion, greatly expressive music. Emotional beautiful loving music is now seen as over the top. Sentiment and feeling is not acceptable.

People were taught that film music was second rate. Melody was abhorrent to critics. Easily accessible music did not belong in concert halls. However the composers who set the style were classically trained and could have fit in the concert hall with any other twentieth century composer. Their music was often thrown out by studios and up to 50% of film music needs restoration.

The audience sees a romantic image and they hear the tune. There is a visual image or story implied by all Western music. Visual image goes to the heart of Western music.

The music does not allow for intellectual ambiguity, but it does allow for emotional ambiguity. It calls up resonances of other times. We hear the theme, see a scene, and recall it when it is shown again.

Music for the cinema must fit with the film. It must be stylistically diverse to match different scenes.

Movie music is a concise representation of
• mood
• character
• reminiscence of a theme
Its structure must interact with the story.

This film shows the excruciating care which had to be taken to synchronise the music to the action, using holes and lines (streamers) punched in actual film stock which was played while the orchestra played.

Movie studio employees involved in creating music:
• orchestra on staff
• composers
• orchestrators
• arrangers
• copyists (to extract the parts for each musician)
• music director
• music editors
Then to adjust the music to the spot cues:
• composer
• music editor
• film editor
• director