If you attend a talk by an experienced Hollywood composer sometime, you might hear an opinion that film scoring is currently in a “cool” period.

In film after film, the basic rule seems to be that composers avoid displaying any trace of enthusiasm in their music. A certain detachment from the material is essential.

Take a 70s TV scene, such as Fonzie jumping the shark, and you hear the difference right away (notice, by the way, the cute homage to John William’s famous 2-note motive from “Jaws”, in the lower brass):

Audiences today have been so overexposed to media that they’re hyper-sensitized to storytelling conventions. So if you make the mistake of saying too much in the music, you’re insulting them, so they just think you’re corny.

That’s not a bad thing by any means…I myself feel distracted by hyperactivity in old film scores, even ones where the music is clearly a masterpiece.

(Ironically, the music from Jaws, also from the 70s, doesn’t sound the least bit dated at all…)

Posted 10 years ago by John Piscitello

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