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Adventures in Restorative Listening

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Film Music: A Very Short Introduction VERIFIED

I've been a fan of film music all my life. I grew up in the heyday of the collaborations between John Williams, Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas. As a kid, I thought film music must've begun with John Williams, and for most of my growing-up years he was my gold standard. In high school, I branched out to Danny Elfman, and from there the branching-out has never stopped. I've always wanted to delve into film score as an area of study and research, and I've used Kalinak's short introduction as a doorway into more sources and scores.

Film Music: A Very Short Introduction

Her book is indeed a "very short introduction," but she paces herself well and includes a lot of information that I'm eager to continue pursuing. In particular, I really enjoyed how much attention Kalinak gives to non-Hollywood film music. Of course there's not space in this small book to cover any of the world's cinema traditions in any depth, but her inclusion of more than just Hollywood affirms that there is more to the world than just America. I found her surveying sensitive and intriguing. As an ethnomusicologist, I prepare myself to cringe when I read something about music that I know ought to be international but probably won't be; but Kalinak receives the ethnomusicologist's seal of approval, as far as I'm concerned.

One odd detail in the book is Kalinak's introductory section which focuses on the use of "Stuck in the Middle With You" in the torture sequence from Reservoir Dogs. Though the example illustrates her points and provides a decent entry into her book, I wouldn't assume that every "general reader" has seen that film, nor would I recommend it to just anyone.

The Very Short Introductions Podcast offers a concise and original introduction to a selection of our VSI titles from the authors themselves. From Homer to film music, the Gothic to American business history, listen to season two of the podcast and see where your curiosity takes you!

Film music is as old as cinema itself. Years before synchronized sound became the norm, projected moving images were shown to musical accompaniment, whether performed by a lone piano player or a hundred-piece orchestra. Today film music has become its own industry, indispensable to the marketability of movies around the world. Film Music: A Very Short Introduction is a compact, lucid, and thoroughly engaging overview written by one of the leading authorities on the subject. After opening with a fascinating analysis of the music from a key sequence in Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, Kathryn Kalinak introduces readers not only to important composers and musical styles but also to modern theoretical concepts about how and why film music works. Throughout the book she embraces a global perspective, examining film music in Asia and the Middle East as well as in Europe and the United States. Key collaborations between directors and composers--Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, Akira Kurosawa and Fumio Hayasaka, Federico Fellini and Nino Rota, to name only a few--come under scrutiny, as do the oft-neglected practices of the silent film era. She also explores differences between original film scores and compilation soundtracks that cull music from pre-existing sources. As Kalinak points out, film music can do many things, from establishing mood and setting to clarifying plot points and creating emotions that are only dimly realized in the images. This book illuminates the many ways it accomplishes those tasks and will have its readers thinking a bit more deeply and critically the next time they sit in a darkened movie theater and music suddenly swells as the action unfolds onscreen. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

An introduction to the discipline of film music, Film Music: A Very Short Introduction is an overview of the history, theory, and practice of film music. It embraces a global perspective examining film music in Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East, as well as the US and western Europe.

At first, films were very short, sometimes only a few minutes or less. They were shown at fairgrounds, music halls, or anywhere a screen could be set up and a room darkened. Subjects included local scenes and activities, views of foreign lands, short comedies and newsworthy events.

The History of Cinema provides an international overview of 120 years of cinema. The book opens with an engaging introduction that probes the concepts of both history and cinema, with Nowell-Smith explaining that the latter is no one thing: "Cinema is films, the machinery that makes them, and the places where people go to see them. It is a technology, an industry, an art form, a way of viewing the world--or of creating worlds to be viewed" (1). This introduction clearly sets up the rationale for the book's thematic structure. 'Technology' and 'Industry,' the first two of the four body chapters, cover a wide range of subjects from the introduction of sound and colour, to the studio system. The former chapter is particularly brief, but the latter does an excellent job of exploring how the industry developed in Europe and Asia as well as... 041b061a72


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