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.