Trends in Music Supervision for film industry

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 3 October 2016

Trends in Music Supervision for film industry

Music can be defined as a rare combination of sounds that are able to project specific rhythms and melodies, which have the power to convey a message that words cannot express (Fleser, 2000). Music has the unique power to bring out the true emotions of people and touch their souls. Being such a powerful aspect of human nature and life, people involved in the profession of music have always tried to present it in the best possible manner that will be soothing to every soul who listens to it, as the saying goes that “Music is food for the soul.

” Music is now one of the largest industries of the world which embraces with itself millions of individuals who work in this field. The growing success of the music industry has made people think that making a reputation in this industry just a piece of cake, but indeed making music is the toughest job for an individual. Music has always had the power to influence its listeners, that is why music is now widely used in almost every cultural and performing arts activities.

The global film industry also happens to be one of these branches of the performing arts which have made great use of music not only for its promotion but also as a medium in which music can always be utilized to convey the story to the audience in a much more effective manner. Film as a medium is a great platform for conveying different stories and messages to its audiences and when it is incorporated with music than the goal to convey the message becomes much easier. Film music is now considered to be a necessity without which the success of any film can be put into doubts.

Body Film music was probably introduced as a means to cover the sounds of projectors which presented the films in the late 1800s and early 1900’s (Passman, 2006). But the question that rises over here is that what allowed the film music to survive? The simple answer is that film music made it easier to convey the message in a much realistic form. Therefore the true introduction of music in the films came from the reason of covering clanking sounds of projectors. Before the addition of color into motion picture music was also a definite part of black and white movies.

Even you take a look at movies not just from the West but also from the East than you will notice that music had great influence in movies on both sides of the globe. Introduction of music in films was indeed considered as an innovation, one which later had progressed into vast fields of soundtracks and background scores. In the late 1900’s the cinema industry was going through a crisis as he number of theatres had increased tremendously but the producers found themselves to be short of films.

At first music was introduced in the films through a live orchestra or piano that played along the projection of the film but later on in the 1900s theatre goers were introduced to a new technique which included a much more classified form of music through which competent musicians performed along with the orchestra. The regular trend of music accompanying the films was introduced much later and before that the owners of different theaters tried to make the sound of the cinema somewhat close to live theaters.

At that time all film projections were accompanied by human voice that is to say that dialogues were spoken live and music was also included as a live orchestra. To omit this non-satisfactory and at times irritating mechanism of sound from the films a lot of experimentations were carried out by converting the sound on disc and synchronizing it. A lot of experiments were carried out in this regard so that a better sound can be achieved. After a lot of failures the experiment proved to be a successful one through Camera phone.

The camera phone was a device which merged the sound and pictures at an inexpensive cost which made it easy to be distributed amongst the theater owners. It would right to say that the camera phone was the breakthrough in the field of merging music and sound with motion picture. The camera phone paved way for a lot of other devices which resulted because of various experiments based on the camera phone itself. These experimentations included the phonoscope, picture phone, etc.

But all these experimentations were mainly focused on producing a synchronized form of the human sound that before was spoken live in the theater so as such these innovations were not a major breakthrough but they definitely provided the room for improvement and further experimentation. Later a campaign was introduced by producers through which the synchronized disc system was considered outdated and producers encouraged the theater owners to actually include the titles within the film only which sort of decreased the work assigned to the narrator.

This step can be witnessed as a gradual change for omitting live narrations completely from the film. Music became an important part of the films when the audience had started demanding music in between inter-titles or other parts of the movie. This led the theater owners to play separate discs which contained music at the time of the presentation of the titles. At that time Vita-phone was also introduced which was an advanced form for the synchronized disc systems but it proved a little more successful because it lead to an innovating idea to project sound within the theater.

In the late 1926 the vita-phone was used in a meaning full manner by placing one speaker behind the other, one in the narrative podium and another where the orchestra played. The films produced with Vita-phone at that time led many renowned production companies including Warner’s to give a further thought to disc synchronization and the importance that it holds for the progress of the theater sound and music industry. They even found the vita-phone appropriate to serve as speakers for public addresses. The Vita-phone was a source for the main entry of music into films.

Its first use included a major portion of incorporating music in films. Vita-phone also proved to be a source for amplifying whatever sound is passed through it. But like every invention its use also had to come to an end with other inventions. Music in films was deeply felt by the audiences for the first time in a movie called the e Jazz Singer which was introduced in October 1927. The reason for this reaction of the audience was simply the fact that a new kind of sound was presented in front of them, one which was completely different especially from the projected sounds and one which provided them with a refreshing change of sound.

In many scenes of some movies the producers tried to develop a relationship between the actors who perform and the amplification system. By 1929 a lot of changes had been improvised in the style of filmmaking especially in the sound and music department. These changes were brought forth by revising a lot of configurations of the loudspeaker. The 1926 music in films found the orchestra to be the only and the main source through which the audience were entertained with some kind of music within the film. But after this a gradual diversion of the film music towards the screen was witnessed.

This means that the speakers were placed exactly behind the screen so that it appeared to be completely well coordinated with the scenes it was to play along with. This idea was used by Hollywood a lot in its beginning days. If looked at closely than it might seem to be a completely illogical idea but this technique was brought into practice so that the real source of sound can be hidden and brought along with the attributes of whatever is being played on the screen. The technique of placing the speakers behind the image on the screen was also appreciated as a move to create identification between the sound or music and the picture.

But this proved to be a difficult task for technicians. The technicians had to more mobile compared to as before placing the speaker carefully so that perfect correspondence between the sound and picture would be visible to the audience. The year 1933 brought with it the major breakthrough in the American Industry in terms of sound system. The Bell Labs had experimented with the sound stereo and in 1940 a major electronic company demonstrated a four-track-stereo system. This stereo system was adopted by cinema owners in the early 1950’s.

The stereo was expected to fulfill the tasks of both the technicians as well as what a sound system should fulfill. That is to say it completely leveled the needs of accuracy and of providing well coordinated sound to the audience. But the surround sound also held its disadvantage. The surround sound system could be used to reinforce only specific visual effects. And it was difficult to coordinate the picture with 3 directional speakers. For this sole reason the major production companies of Hollywood including WarnerBros, Columbia Pictures and even M-G-M. \

If we look at the last forty years than we can witness a lot of progress in terms of stereo system in the movie department. This has only enhanced the performance and importance of music in Movies. But today’s position in movie sounds could never had been reached if Dolby had not introduced its optical stereo in the late 1970’s, which had an outstanding and improved nature in terms of noise reduction. The Dolby speakers were pretty popular. Most production companies tried to use these speakers especially after the success of the super hit fiction Star Wars. Conclusion

For the past 40 years we have witnessed a lot of innovations in terms of sounds and music in the film m industry. At first different orchestras were brought into sing for the films but over the gradual period of time we have observed that the pop and rock culture of different individual music industries has paved a way for itself into this field. We now see artists from different music genres and industries singing for movies and their soundtracks. The quality of music has improved and is still improving. This is due to the digital age that we have entered in.

But in today’s competitive world the movies demand a lot from the soundtracks. What we can expect in future is a global competition between different industries and what would really set everyone apart is not only their creativity but also their ability to market and promote themselves. No doubt music has contributed immensely in this field and will continue to do so if music composers keep on coming up with heart felt and innovative tunes for each generation especially the generation next. References Book Fleser, J. (2000). The Chord Wheel. UK. JSK Passman, D. S. (2006). All You Need To Know About Music Business. USA.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 3 October 2016

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