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197 Con­ clu­ sion It seems ap­ pro­ pri­ ate at this point to offer some con­ cise re­ flec­ tions on and ques­ tions about ­ present Hol­ ly­ wood film ­ scores. How Has Neo­ clas­ si­ cism In­ flu­ enced the Music Style in Con­ tem­ po­ rary Cin­ ema? As pre­ vi­ ously ex­ plained, the im­ pact of neo­ clas­ si­ cism was quite lim­ ited. Jeff Smith ­ stated: “And de­ spite a major re­ vi­ val in the ­ Korngold-styled ­ scores of John ­ Williams, ­ Romanticism’s hold on film scor­ ing was fur­ ther weak­ ened by the in­ cor­ po­ ra­ tion of rock, folk, and soul ele­ ments in the 1960s and 1970s, and elec­ tron­ ics, mini­ mal­ ism, and even New Age ele­ ments in the 1980s. By the 1990s, ­ Romantic-styled film music was still being com­ posed, but it was ­ merely one sty­ lis­ tic op­ tion among many.”1 Laur­ ent Jul­ lier iden­ tifies in what he calls “film-concert” a pre­ dom­ i­ nant char­ ac­ ter­ is­ tic of con­ tem­ po­ rary cin­ ema, which con­ sists in “the pre­ vail­ ing of the sound di­ men­ sion over the vis­ ual one: the sound track em­ braces the ­ viewer and oc­ cu­ pies the fre­ quency spec­ trum al­ most en­ tirely; com­ ing out from loud­ speak­ ers, the sound track ­ plunges the au­ di­ ence into a sound at­ mos­ phere from which it is im­ pos­ sible to es­ cape.”2­ Contrary to what could be ex­ pected, ­ though, the role of music in the con­ tem­ po­ rary Hol­ ly­ wood “film-concert” is any­ thing but dom­ i­ nant. Music is un­ doubt­ edly found in large quan­ tities, but it is given a minor role,­ mostly used as a mere kind of ­ binder of or sup­ ple­ ment to the ­ sound-effect track. Dur­ ing the clas­ si­ cal pe­ riod, the ­ sound-effect track was the third ele­ ment of the sound track, less im­ por­ tant than di­ alogue and music, since mo­ nau­ ral 198 • Conclusion tech­ nol­ ogy and an­ a­ log­ i­ cal ­ systems made it in­ fea­ sible to have many ­ tracks si­ mul­ ta­ ne­ ously in the sound mix.3 In con­ tem­ po­ rary cin­ ema, how­ ever, the ­ soundeffect track holds a prom­ i­ nent po­ si­ tion in the sound de­ sign. This su­ pre­ macy is en­ cour­ aged by the huge po­ ten­ tial of dig­ i­ tal pro­ cess­ ing and the many tech­ nol­ o­ gies of sound dif­ fu­ sion that can ­ create a sur­ round­ ing and ­ hyper-realistic aural “super-field” not only in the­ a­ ters but also in home the­ a­ ters.4 There­ fore, music it­ self has ­ mostly been ­ pushed down to the third, low­ est po­ si­ tion in the sound track. The com­ poser Danny Elf­ man, whose ­ scores for Bat­ man (Tim Bur­ ton, 1989) and Dick Tracy (War­ ren ­ Beatty, 1990) fol­ low a neo­ clas­ si­ cal ap­ proach, is one of those who have com­ plained about this phe­ nom­ e­ non: “Con­ tem­ po­ rary dubs to my ears are get­ ting ­ busier and more ­ shrill every year. The dub­ bers ac­ tu­ ally think ­ they’re doing a great job for the music if a cres­ cendo or a horn blast oc­ ca­ sion­ ally pops ­ through the wall of sound.”5 What Are the Con­ se­ quences of Music Being ­ Placed Lower Down on the ­ Agenda in Terms of Film Music Style? Con­ tem­ po­ rary film music is typ­ i­ cally lack­ ing in hues and de­ tails; its form has be­ come less struc­ tu­ rally solid and less mu­ si­ cally inter­ est­ ing, and has lost some of the for­ mal func­ tions of the pre­ vi­ ous ­ styles. In un­ even com­ pe­ ti­ tion with the­ sound-effect track and strug­ gling to re­ sist its heg­ e­ mony, now music con­ cen­ trates on the ­ micro-emotive func­ tion (e.g., creat­ ing sen­ ti­ men­ tal­ ism in love ­ scenes or anx­ iety in hor­ ror films) and on the tem­ po­ ral per­ cep­ tive func­ tion (e.g., in­ creas­ ing the per­ cep­ tion of fast pace in ac­ tion ­ scenes ­ through the use of loud...


Subject Headings

  • Williams, John, 1932- -- Criticism and interpretation.
  • Motion picture music -- History and criticism.
  • Jaws (Motion picture).
  • Star wars (Motion picture).
  • Raiders of the lost ark (Motion picture).
  • Boston Pops Orchestra.
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