Aggie's Music

I usually blab about film scores on this blog, but I don't mind the occasional tangent towards other interests. :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Listening to Movies: The Film Lover's Guide to Film Music

Listening to Movies: The Film Lover's Guide to Film Music.
Written by Fred Karlin, Foreword by Leonard Maltin
I bought this book in late '05/early '06 in a second-hand bookstore. The price was sweetly cut in half. I finished reading it during my cottage trip a few weeks ago... I'm pretty impatient when it comes to reading... it actually takes a bit of effort now. Maybe if people wrote better novels/stories...
If you're looking for an in-depth analysis on film scoring, this isn't the book you're looking for. Wait until my review for Complete Guide to Film Scoring (by Richard Davis). This is more of a 'jolly good' read for film lovers... anybody, even if you're not musically trained, can understand it. The book deals with a lot of issues when making a score, such as the planning, recording, and mixing.
I'll stress it out now that this book was published in 1994, so it's not up to date with the technology used in studios today. However, I did have a nice time reading the 'flashbacks' of the scoring timeline. Some film composers are more highlighted than others (examples include John Williams, Miklos Rozsa, and Bernard Herrmann) and while that's not necessarily a bad thing, I was hoping to get more info on those who aren't as well-known.
The book is filled with so many examples involving what the great film composers went through, that it makes you feel like you haven't watched enough movies or listened to enough film scores. There's an entire chapter dedicated to analysing eight specific films. I haven't seen a single one of those films, so I had to skip the chapter. They're on the 'to watch' list now.
The book's around 400 pages, but you won't be reading that much. The last half of it holds a short chronology of films (basically quotes and reviews), personal profiles (not that many), and a long list of credits that including many film composers and their films (a star beside a film means it was nominated for an Oscar/Emmy, two stars means it won). I like looking up the list in order to find certain scores, and am currently highlightning the ones I have and putting a dot next to the ones I need to buy eventually.
For the most part, I enjoyed reading it. I'll most likely take quotes from it (like the Herrmann one from the Vertigo post) because they're funny. If you're a film lover and are curious about the process a film composer goes through, maybe you won't mind spending 10 bucks on it. It's pretty old, but covers a lot of basic things. Here's the Amazon link:
"It is almost impossible to make movies without music. Movies need the cement of music. I've never seen a movie better without it. Music is as important as the photography."
-Bernard Herrmann, composer


  • At 8:43 PM, Blogger Kevin Langley said…

    Sounds like a good book, I'm going to have to check and see if my local library has it. I used to play in bands but my interest waned as I wasn't into Rock anymore and not good enough to play the jazz that I love, my tastes have certainly changed over the years. I'm more inclined to listen to a film score than any pop music. Though most of the music I enjoy these days is 40's and 50's stock music. I got hours upon hours of that stuff. Hell, I even have a soundtrack Man In Space which was from the 1967 (I think) World's Fair. Interesting stuff. I'm looking forward to learning more about film score through your blog.

  • At 10:10 PM, Blogger Aggie said…

    Cool! My musical interest has been changing as well, over the years. While I've always had an interest in film scores and classical music, I'm starting to enjoy jazz a lot more.. and bits of contemporary music. Thanks for dropping by! :)


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