The Sound of Cinema

Hollywood Film Music from the Silents to the Present


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About the Book

While some film scores crash through theater speakers to claim their place in memory, others are more unassuming. Either way, a film’s score is integral to successful world building. This book lifts the curtain on the elusive yet thrilling art form, examining the birth of the Hollywood film score, its turbulent evolution throughout the decades and the multidimensional challenges to musicians that lie ahead.  The history of the film score is illuminated by extraordinary talents (like John Williams, Hans Zimmer and countless others). Beginning with vaudeville and silent cinema, chapters explore the wonders of early pioneers like Max Steiner and Bernard Herrmann, and continue through the careers of other soundtrack titans. Leading Hollywood film composers offer in this book fascinating perspectives on the art of film music composition, its ongoing relevance and its astonishing ability to enhance a filmmaker’s vision.

About the Author(s)

Sean Wilson is a digital soundtrack journalist with extensive experience writing for Cineworld Cinemas, Composer Magazine, Den of Geek, Flickering Myth and HeyUGuys. Based in Bristol, southwest UK, he has conducted numerous interviews with many of Hollywood’s most accomplished film composers.

Forewordist Amon Warmann is a contributing editor and monthly columnist for Empire Magazine and is a regular contributor to Talk Sport, NM and Composer Magazine.

Bibliographic Details

Sean Wilson

Foreword by Amon Warmann
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 275
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8757-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4648-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi
Foreword: What Constitutes a Great Film Score? by Amon Warmann 1
Preface 3
One. Tremolo: The Onset of Film Music 5
Two. Forte: The Romantic Era Takes Shape 28
Three. Glissando: Jazz, Rock and Roll and the Slide Towards Experimentalism 69
Four. Allegro: Star Wars and the Resurgence of the Symphonic Score 109
Five. Atonal: The Role of Film Music in the Era of Franchising 156
Six. Dissonance: Gender Disparity, Temp Scores and Rejected Scores 200
Coda: The Future of Hollywood Film Scoring 223
Chapter Notes 235
Bibliography 251
Index 259

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Accessible…vivid…ambitious in its scope…Sean Wilson is a trusted guide with an obvious passion for (and knowledge of) the subject…the detail here is pretty extraordinary, with fascinating asides and valuable insights”—BBC Music Magazine

• “This book lifts the curtain on the elusive yet thrilling art form.”—Randall D. Larson Soundtrax