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216 × 138 × 17 mm
256 pages
25 illustrations
01 Sep 2007
  • £24.00

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Film Music Peter Larsen

Film and music belong together; classics like Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and Mike Nichols’ The Graduate (1967) are renowned for their brilliant soundtracks. But what exactly is ‘film music?’ Does music act as an accompaniment to the ‘film’, or is film an illustration of the music, or are the two inseparable?

In Film Music Peter Larsen traces the history of music in film and discusses central theoretical questions concerning its narrative and psychological functions. He looks in depth at classics such as Howard Hawks’ The Big Sleep (1946) and Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959), as well as later international blockbusters and cult films including American Grafitti (1973), Star Wars (1977) and Blade Runner (1982). These case studies explore the role of music in the history of film, and also show how other films can be discussed in relationship to their music.

Film Music offers a much-needed overview of how music functions in film and serves as a fascinating, accessible introduction to the analysis of film music. The book will serve as an important text for students of film, music and cultural disciplines, as well as the general reader with an interest in film and popular music.

‘. . . contains some salient points about the function of film music and its development, from the silent period (when films had live accompaniment) through to the present. It will certainly be a must for Bernard Herrmann fans, given its thorough examination of his score for Hitchcocks North by Northwest. On this count alone the book is worth its while.’ — Film Review

‘Spanning the silent, classical, post-classical and popular stages of Hollywoods music accompaniments, Film Music is ambitious yet accessible. It should be compulsory reading for anyone interested in how musical soundtracks can enhance the viewing experience.’ — Media/Culture Reviews

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Peter Larsen is Professor in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway.

1    Silent Films, Talking Music
2    Analysing Film Music
3    Back to the Future: Metropolis, 1927
4    Musical Meanings
5    Enter the Sound Film
6    Film Music from the Golden Age: The Big Sleep, 1946
7    Other Ways: North by Northwest, 1959
8    Striking a New Note: Film Music after the Golden Age
9    Necessity or Possibility?  The Psychology of Film Music
10  Musical Functions