Music is very important in the film industry and often we as the audience focus on the actors and action scenes and tend not to realize that the reason a movie is exciting or sad or scary is because of the music. The music acts to reinforce what the actors are portraying and can thus be used to emphasize a particular moment and to help create the atmosphere. Even the music at the end of a movie can have a dramatic impact for who can forget the music at the end of the movie “Titanic”, which served to frame a love story, but at the same time was very sad, stressing the tragedy of the situation.
We all know to expect something scary in a thriller as soon as the music changes to dark or sinister sounds that might not seem to match what you are seeing. You start to anticipate that something is not right because of this and therefore the music is critical in not only creating atmosphere but actually helping to direct the course of the action. This technique is perfect for use in thrillers and really sets the tone for something unexpected to happen.
The timing and type of music is critical, and much effort is spent on composing music scores. The music gives the movie emotion and helps to convey the story that is being told, creating suspense, atmosphere and plot relationships.
In addition, music helps to emphasize the time period or era of a movie. For example, you could expect to hear music of the 1940s while watching a movie about World War II and this time period may be further emphasized by the presence of a singer that is from or emulates that period. It’s also useful where there are flashbacks to earlier times, to distinguish the event by playing music typical of those time periods. For example, in the movie “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” the character revisits his past, the 1980s and you hear music from that time being played during that scene. This clever use of music really helps to show that there is a time change and the setting takes place in another era.
The tempo of music can give a sense of timing within an actual scene, regardless of the time period. In other words, music with a fast tempo or beat will convey restless energy and action while music with a slow, calm tempo will convey a time of contemplation and rest. Music can be used to accentuate the movement of a character. If you think of cartoons, this becomes evident. As a cartoon character moves, so the music changes to illustrate the action. Music is so often overlooked in movies, yet it is one of the most important parts for without music to help create the scene and emphasize the mood and plot of the story, the characters and story would simply fall flat.