MUSI 404 (01) - An Introduction to Music, Media, and the Moving Image

Intro Music,Media,Moving Image

Durham   Liberal Arts :: Music
Credits: 4.0
Term: Spring 2024 - Full Term (01/23/2024 - 05/06/2024)
Grade Mode: Letter Grading
Class Size:   120  
CRN: 54520
Through selected readings, attentive listening, viewing, and discussion of a variety of films and multi-media productions, students develop a common vocabulary for analyzing music accompanying moving images. Students develop an understanding of the western and non-western musical conventions that work, often at a subconscious level, in conjunction with images to shape and cue audience responses to, and interaction with, visual cues. Media includes canonic Hollywood films, independent and foreign cinema, with explorations of non-Western films, video game scoring, television, and animation. This course does not fulfill a music major program requirement nor does it satisfy the Fine and Performing Arts Discovery requirement for any music major program.
Registration Approval Required. Contact Instructor or Academic Department for permission then register through Webcat.
Attributes: Fine&PerformingArts(Discovery)
Instructors: Rose Pruiksma

Times & Locations

Start Date End Date Days Time Location
1/23/2024 5/6/2024 TR 11:10am - 12:30pm PCAC M223
Final Exam 5/14/2024 5/14/2024 T 1:00pm - 3:00pm PCAC M223
Additional Course Details: 

What does film/television/game music do? How does a director work with a composer? What kinds of musics are used in film/television/game  soundtracks, and how does music interact with the visual elements to make a film scene more memorable, whether or not the viewer is fully conscious of the musical accompaniment?  Can the type of music in a scene change how the viewer responds to it? What are some of the ways that directors, film composers, and music supervisors collaborate?

An introductory course for students from all majors except for music, this class spends the first segment of the class covering basic concepts that provide the vocabulary and foundation for students to begin to describe and discuss different aspects of film music and film and the ways composers work with musical conventions —whether reinforcing older conventions or inventing new ones—to convey non-verbal, and often subconscious information to a viewing audience.  For the majority of the course we study a range of films—some classic works that are part of the American film canon and noteworthy for both film and narrative techniques and music (The Searchers , Man with the Golden Arm, Vertigo, Breakfast at Tiffany's, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Do the Right Thing) —along with some more recent films—Grand Budapest Hotel, La La Land, Get Out, Black Panther, Selma, Interstellar, Dunkirk—and a small taste of Bollywood film.

(Below is a short segment from an interview with film composer Brian Tyler in which he discusses what he does.)

Television series & film composer, Ramin Djawadi discusses his work for the Game of Thrones series.

While the majority of the course focuses on film soundtracks, concepts will be equally applicable and relevant to television and game soundtracks, and we will explore game soundtracks broadly in the last week of the semester.

Note: The attached syllabus is from Fall 2023.  This syllabus has had some significant changes that have reduced the required work / assignments section from previous years (F 2014–SP 2021). I also may make some content changes over the summer, but the basic structure will be quite similar.


The Kalinak book, Film Music: A Very Short Introduction, is also available as an e-reserve item via the Dimond Library website. You will need to log in using your unh username and id to the proxy server if you are not on the campus network. For the second day of class, you will need to have read the first two chapters of the Kalinak (pages 1–21). The Kalinak book is relatively inexpensive & it's a useful, concise introduction to the topic; you should not pay more than 12.00 for this text. You should also budget in ca. $ 12.00 (3.99 each) in rental fees for watching the three required films for the semester: Vertigo, 1958 (to be watched by a Tuesday in Week 6 or 7 ), Selma, (to be watched by a Thursday in Weeks 10 or 11), and Gully Boy (to be watched for one of the days in Week 12 or 13; can be watched at no extra charge with an Amazon Prime subscription). The first two films can also be watched using DVDs in the library. Gully Boy has only been released via streaming media or on an unsubtitled DVD with an option for a German-dubbed audio track.