Context Throughout the course of the term we have explored a variety of films that explore many different themes and styles of film composition. These films have ranged from animation classics such as Toy Story and Up, whimsical comedies such as ‘The Holiday’ and hard hitting action films like Gladiator and Jaws.
Task –Analytical-Argumentative (Essay) Your task is to write an extended analytical essay to support or refute the given quote.
“It is the film composer’s job to read the film for its intentions and make what the film’s about enjoyable, thrilling accessible and touching. The composer must understand the emotion, portray a character and often incorporate a setting/time with the musical elements at his/her disposal. Failure in this area of film production if often overlooked but a key ingredient to a successful final production.(George Fenton film composer for Cry Freedom, Gandhi, Dangerous Liaisons and the Fisher King)
You are required to refer to the quote in the construction of an analytical essay that demonstrates the success or failure of a film composer. During the task, refer to the original score and soundtrack as part of your analysis. Evidence to support your chosen position should be clearly outlined throughout the essay by identifying musical elements and demonstrating well communicated and substantiated judgements.
Possible movies of seen-heard repertoire throughout the Term:
Jaws, E.T, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List,
Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Superman (John Williams)
Psycho (Bernard Herrmann)
Meet Joe Black, Shawshank Redemption (Thomas Newman)
Toy Story’s- Monsters Inc (Randy Newman)
Lord of the Rings- (Howard Shore)
Titanic, Avatar, Legends of the Fall (James Horner)
discerning synthesis of findings, well-supported justification of music viewpoints, and convincing communication of music ideas.
effective synthesis of findings, valid justification of music viewpoints, and logical communication of music ideas.
synthesis of findings, justification of music viewpoints, and communication of music ideas.
statements of findings with simple justification of music viewpoints and presentation of music ideas.
statements of opinion related to music ideas.
Criterion for Essay
Tips for Success/ Frameworks Be sure to answer the following questions as part of your analysis: 1. Consider the film being studied: Has the composer(s) fulfilled their responsibility to the film? 2. Does the score accurately reflect the setting? 3. Has the manipulation of musical elements been successful in supporting characterisation and reflecting mood? Use your deconstruction of musical elements to support your discussion and substantiate your judgements. (see attached table, you may submit this as an appendix) Task Structure Outline: What is the task asking me to do?
How you are going to support your statement?State chronologically what you are going to talk about in your essay
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Track Listing: Include the track listing here before discussion.
Body/Evaluation This is the section where you:
identify each of the musical elements
What compositional elements distinguish this score?
Place segments of the score here if they support your statement.
Discuss how they have been manipulated within the film and continue to with your position (support of refute)
To what extent does the score serve the film?
How is the level of emotional involvement between music and drama appropriate for the film?
Draw conclusions about the effect this has on evoking and emotional response from the audience
Relate this information back to the action taking place in the film and the characters.
Relate any evaluative statements back to your original point stated in the opening of the task.
Whatever you do- DO NOT JUST REGURGITATE WHAT YOU HAVE ALREADY SAID!!! BIG NO NO!
Some hints for the wise:
Spend some time before the writing your essay expanding your vocabulary of adjectives. Don’t describe the musical elements in terms of happy, sad, good or bad. THIS IS NO GOOD!
Make sure you deconstruct in detail your film. Be really familiar and knowledgeable about the relationship between the film (time, place, setting, characters, emotional themes etc) the musical elements manipulated by the composer and the effect this has in relation to the action.
Be very explicit and descriptive with your statements regarding the musical elements used and how they are used. For example it really isn’t enough to say that a melody is simple. What makes it simple? Is it repetitive? Does it have a limited pitch range? Does it fit any scale forms? Refer to the dot points on the first two pages. They will give some points to talk about or look for when you are deconstructing your film music.
Spend some time drafting statements, paragraphs, thoughts. Write it down then type it out and then say it out loud. Then ask yourself What I’ve written? Mmm … Does it makes sense? Is it grammatically correct? Is it academically appropriate? If the answer is no then TRY AGAIN!!!
Perceptively evaluates music by thoroughly deconstructing repertoire, and determining the manipulation of, and relationships between, identified musical elements and compositional devices, communicating detailed and substantiated judgements about how these relate to context and genre and the expressed style.
Effectively evaluates music by deconstructing repertoire, and determining the manipulation of, and relationships between, identified musical elements and compositional devices, communicating substantiated judgements about how these relate to context and genre and the expressed style.
Evaluates music by deconstructing repertoire, and determining some of the uses of identified musical elements and compositional devices, communicating partially substantiated judgements about how these relate to context, and genre and the expressed style.
Recognises some uses of identified musical elements and/or compositional devices and states opinions which may relate to context, genre and the expressed style.
States opinions that may relate to musical elements and/or compositional devices.