The Role of Music in Movies

Film music: from magical soundtracks that accompany your favorite major motion pictures, to popular songs played on the radio countless times, to original songs made especially for movies where cinema goes music follows. Now it’s film week here at The City Voice and as you know I love music! When you put ‘em both together, you get film music! So find your seats,  bring your popcorn, and enjoy the show as I take you through a journey in the film industry and music industry, working together to create something revolutionary. 

Music and cinema have worked side by side almost as long as there have been movies. There is evidence that music was used in the Greek Dramas and even in Shakespear’s plays! Once silent films started popping up, it would be unthinkable that there would be no music to them. Take the Chaplin films for example, where there is always music playing in the background to set the mood. Most of these film scores were classical pieces, however, and mostly instrumental. It was not until the late 1900’s and 2000s  that artists started releasing actual singles  for movie soundtracks. 

The most notable composer in the modern film industry, and arguably the most famous composer in the field of film scores, is John Williams. Williams single handedly wrote the soundtracks for Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Tintin, and countless other movies. For this reason he is widely regarded as THE film composer, not only because his soundtracks are just so good but also because his music is so well crafted that it has merit apart from its role in film! His work, however, is on the classical side, which doesn’t appear until the early 2000’s and late 1900’s.  

Now that we’re getting into the early 2000’s, you’ll find that movies will sample songs by various artists and have artists make singles for movies. Now, one quick fun fact, for all of you Fall Out Boy fans out there (myself included), Pete Wentz did confirm that they had written a song for the Shrek movie! Which song you ask? Well, it was Bang The Doldrums from Fall Out Boy’s third studio album, Infinity on High. Now those of you who have listened to it (I highly recommend you do if you haven’t already), it definitely does not fit the style of Shrek. Long story short, Disney didn’t like the song and as you now know, they used All Star as the opening song. “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor was made specifically for Rocky III and “You’ve got a friend in me” by Randy Newman was commissioned by the Toy Story franchise. 

Film Music has certainly changed drastically over the years, shifting from the classical tunes of John Williams to singles written by various pop and rock artists. Due to this change, the role of film music has changed as well. In the past, music was meant to set the mood in movies and to really add that extra element to the suspense. Now for modern film music, it’s usually just used to fill sound and give the audience something to tap along to. Film music has changed, for better or worse, and it’s up to all of us to accept that change. Music and movies are always  changing and evolving, but that’s what makes them beautiful. They’ll grow, evolve, and transform into greater ideas!

Hey there! My name is Sparsh Aiyar and I'm the editor in chief of The City Voice. I also make videos on our YouTube channel, so please make sure to check that out! I'm a huge music nerd and I play a lot of guitar so if you also like guitar, feel free to reach out. If you have any questions about the City Voice, please feel free to contact me via gmail, I would be more than happy to help!