GE Course: Film Music

Man working with projector in movie theater 1958

GE: Visual and Performing Arts

Instructor: Arved Ashby

Prerequisites: English 1110 (110) or 1111 (111), or equivalent; no music prerequisites


Course Description

Movies have become all-subsuming in importance, integrating the visual with the aural, elevating star culture and redefining prices for public entertainment. They have also been a major vehicle for musical interest and popularity.

This course will give you a detailed understanding of how music has functioned in film across its century-long history, as produced in Hollywood and in other countries, and by filmmakers independent of the studio system. You will gain familiarity with film theory and musical style, learning to recognize the elements that have defined the styles of prominent filmmakers and composers; in the process you will acquire tools and concepts that you can use in moviegoing.

We will analyze more than a dozen movies and film scores, from D.W. Griffith to Quentin Tarantino to Wes Anderson. Musicians will include Ryuichi Sakamoto, Hans Zimmer, John Williams, Danny Elfman, Bernard Herrmann, and Erich Korngold.  

Evaluation will be through three tests, one eight-page term paper, and class participation.