Soundtracks for the Films - The Importance of Movie Soundtracks and the Composers Who Create Them
Soundtracks bring films to life. Without them, we would be little further than the silent films of the early twentieth century. Dialogue alone cannot convey the intricate sound landscapes that musical accompaniment can. Imagine your favourite film without its soundtrack, iconic film themes and orchestral movements never written.
It’s in that spirit of necessity to films as we know them that we wanted to discuss the importance of film scores, and some of the people who create them. There are countless marvellous film composers working today, but we’ll be highlighting three of them.
Why do we need music?
Music is the language of emotion. It can tell you precisely the mood a filmmaker is trying to convey without a single line of dialogue, without even a visual. If you close your eyes, you can still imagine the setting through many film scores.
It’s that unspoken language that makes soundtracks so vital to film as we know it. Without that ability to convey emotion and tone, film wouldn’t be the same.
Many powerful scenes would be very different without its musical direction. Take for example a scene composed by one of the individuals we’ll be discussing below: Binary sunset. For those of you who may not have seen it, check it out below.
The swelling orchestra in this scene makes it one of the most powerful scenes in cinema. Notice, not a single word of dialogue is spoken. We see simply two suns on an alien world, setting as a boy stares ahead.
The music is what gives it the power. To highlight some composers of film soundtracks, we’ll start with the man responsible for this scene, and countless others from modern cinema.
John Williams is perhaps the most iconic film score composer in the history of cinema. If you have perhaps not heard his name, you have heard his compositions.
The slow crawl of the introduction of every Star Wars film, the iconic “welcome to Jurassic Park,” Superman’s iconic theme. These are all Williams compositions. The list goes on, but he truly has an impressive filmography, that’s quite unmatched by anyone alive.
For a favourite piece, and for one we haven’t mentioned, the driving and iconic theme for Indiana Jones.
Zimmer is what many have called John Williams’ modern counterpart. For if you have seen many of the award winning films of the last couple of decades, you have heard Hans Zimmer’s work.
See for example, the Lion King, Inception, the Dark Knight, Pirates of the Caribbean. Many famous films of recent days have been composed by Zimmer. Although his themes are not yet as iconic as Williams’, he has become ubiquitous with modern film composition.
As for a favourite, see the sweeping main theme from 2014’s Interstellar.
Less of a household name, but Goldsmith has perhaps one of the most dense filmographies of any film composer. With eighteen Academy Award nominations, six Grammy nominations, and nine Golden Globe nominations, the man spent his fifty year career in composition very busy.
Like the two others above, you have hard Goldsmith’s music before. A short list of his work includes: Star Trek, Alien, Poltergeist, Gremlins, Total Recall, Air Force One, Rambo, Chinatown, the Omen, and Planet of the Apes.
As for a favourite (coincidentally, from our favourite film of all time,) check out the iconic and terrifying theme from Ridley Scott’s Alien.
As we said at the beginning, music is essential to creating mood and soundscapes that bring films to life. Without it, much like life, film would not be the same. Music brings emotion to sound, it conveys feelings in a way that words cannot.