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MUL 2010 Music and Film

Music and film

Part I: Inside the Score: "How John Williams Composes a Theme"

According to the author, which five elements of John Williams's Star Wars compositions make them so effective?

Use of rich characteristic leitmotifs

Mastery of musical tension and climax

Unique musical language distinctly recognizable as Star Wars

Creation of different musical subcultures within the Star Wars universe

Use of advanced filmic techniques such as musical onomatopoeia

Which previous composers and their works inspired Williams's Star Wars scores?

Gustav Holst

Igor Stravinsky

Richard Wagner

Name an example of Williams's use of motive in the new Star Wars films.

Rey's Theme: It is motivic, made up of tiny cells of notes rather than thematic, consisting of long strains of melody.

What are the elements of John Williams' musical tension and climax technique, and how do they create compelling music? Name two examples from the video.

Williams structures his subjects with an assertion and answer structure, where the assertion uncovers the center melodic material, and the response takes it to a profound high point, trailed by a goal. This strategy helps make a recurring melodic strain and peak pattern, making the music sincerely significant.


The Force Theme: Builds tension through its initial statement and reaches a climax in its answer, providing emotional weight and significance.

Love Theme: Its answer tails off in various directions, allowing for dramatic flexibility and eventual resolution in different scenes.

Part II: "Rachel Portman Broke Barriers with Her Music"

According to the video, how often has a woman been nominated for an Academy Award for composing a film score?

Rachel Portman has been nominated three times.

Is Rachel Portman known for a particular style of composition? Briefly explain.

Indeed, Rachel Portman is known for her melodic, warm, and genuinely thunderous style, frequently consolidating symphonic and traditional components that create a feeling of closeness and warmth in her scores.

What is notable about how Rachel Portman's music transitions in movies? List two examples.

Portman's music is notable for its seamless transitions that enhance the narrative flow and emotional impact of scenes.

In "Emma," her music gently shifts to underscore the changing moods and nuances of the characters.

In "The Cider House Rules," her score transitions smoothly to reflect the evolving emotional landscape of the film.

Describe the difference between the two musical examples from the movie "Ratcatcher." How does it reflect the main character, according to the YouTube video?

The principal model is a quiet, practically extraordinary piece that reflects the primary person's feeling of departure and yearning for a superior world. The subsequent model is more grounded and graver, reflecting the cruel fundamental factors and difficulties the person faces in his current circumstance. These melodic differentiations feature the person's internal world and outside battles.

Part III: Analysis and Further Listening

Option 1: Major Differences between the Compositional Sounds of Williams and Portman

John Williams and Rachel Portman have unmistakable compositional styles reflecting their exciting ways of dealing with film scoring. Williams' syntheses are portrayed by their excellent musical scale and his capable utilization of themes. He frequently utilizes a traditional, operatic methodology impacted by writers like Wagner, making epic and paramount topics that upgrade the story's superiority. For example, his scores for the Star Wars adventure utilize complex coordination and topical improvement to fabricate a rich, sweeping, melodic universe.

Conversely, Rachel Portman's music is more private and melodic, frequently focusing on making a warm, close-to-home air. Her scores are less about topical superiority and more about improving the profound profundity and nuance of the characters and story. Portman's utilization of expressive tunes and her capacity to consistently incorporate her music into the account stream make her organization particular. For instance, in "Emma," her music gently highlights the film's heartfelt and happy tone, mixing easily with the story's close-to-home delicacies.

These distinctions feature Williams' attention to legendary, topical turn of events and harmonious complexity. At the same time, Portman succeeds in making genuinely total, private scores that help and improve the story's scene.


Inside the Score: "How John Williams Composes a Theme." YouTube. 

Rachel Portman Broke Barriers with Her Music. YouTube. 

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