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There is a lot of work to do in the unit.  It is all very important.  Consider working on some of this outside of class.  Self - impose homework.    -NF




Class 1 Assignment 1


Class 2 Assignment 2


Class 3 Assignment 3


Class 4 Assignment 4


Class 5 Assignment 4 and Quiz


5 Drama and Music


Today, more than ever, music fulfills a vital role in feature films, documentaries, and television shows. Many films are almost as well known for their musical components as they are for their visual content.   This Film Scoring class will guide you through the process of creating original music to accompany a visual medium. We begin by focusing on the aesthetics, terminology, procedures, and technical aspects of film scoring.   By using a broad range of techniques including click tracks, spotting, scoring under dialogue, free timing, and the creative use of overlap cues, you'll learn how to develop a dramatic concept for your score and how to synchronize it seamlessly to visual events.  

Assignment 1:



Read and take notes on Absolute Music vs. Functional Music then complete the assignment as instructed.

Assignment 2:



Read and take notes on Early Film and Sound Technology  then complete the assignment as instructed.

Assignment 3:



Reserach  Scoring Terminology:

  • Act in

  • Act out

  • ADR

  • Ambience

  • Click track

  • Click Book

  • Cue 

  • Cue sheet

  • Diegetic sound  

  • Framerate

  • Foley

  • Hard Out

  • Hit point 

  • Library music 

  • Music editor  

  • NTSC  

  • Orchestrator  

  • Overdub

  • PAL 

  • PRO – Performing Rights Organization - Function?

  • SMPTE (simp-tee) –  

  • Source music  

  • Spotting  

  • Spotting notes  

  • Temp music  

  • Theme 

  • Underscore  


See if you can find examples of the following types of sounds in film:


Empathetic sound - music or sound effects whose mood matches the mood of the action  


Sound can directly express its participation in the feeling of the scene, by taking on the scene's rhythm, tone and phrasing.  


In a film's diegetic narrative the soundscape is anthropocentric. Sound effects in the environment reflects the overall mood of the scene - sometimes it even shows the characters inner feelings.  


In Jonathan Demme´s Silence of the lambs when Judie Foster visits Lecter in the dungeon the ambience are made of animal screams and noises. The room tone is a lunatic kind of screaming processed, slowed down and played in reverse. 


In Demme´s Philadelphia a bus with ugly brakes comments the scene when Tom Hanks tries to talk Denzel Washington into taking the case. The bus is never seen but it constantly hangs in and fills in the gap in the conversation with ugly squeals.  



Anempathetic sound - usually diegetic music - that seems to exhibit conspicuous indifference to what is going on in the film's plot, creating a strong sense of the tragic. For example, a radio continues o to play a happy tune even as the character who first turned it on ha died  


Anempathetic effects can occur with sound effects - in a very violent scene after the death of a character some sonic process continues like the noise of a machine, the hum of a fan, a shower running as if nothing had happened. (In Antonioni´s The passenger - the electric fan, in Hitchcock's Psycho - the running shower)  



Acousmatic sound is sound one hears without seeing their originating cause - a invisible sound source. Radio, phonograph and telephone, all which transmit sounds without showing their emitter are acousmatic media. 


Offscreen sound in film is sound that is acousmatic, relative to what is shown in the shot. In a film an acousmatic situation can develop along two different scenarios: either a sound is visualised first, and subsequently acousmatized, or it is a acousmatic to start with, and is visualized only afterward.  


  • The first cause associates a sound with a precise image from the outset. This Image can the reappear in the audience mind each time the sound is heard off screen

  • The second case, common to moody mystery films, keeps the sound´s cause a secret before revealing all. (De-acousmatization)


Opposite of Acousmatic sound is Visualized sound - a sound accompanied by the sight of its source or cause. In film a onscreen sound whose source appears in the image, and belongs to the reality represented therein

(Edited excerpt: Michel Chion, Audio-Vision)  




Assignment 4:



Types of Film Music


Titles Music:  Plays at the beginning of the film, underscoring all the titles.  Establishes the mood and expectations for the audience.  May also indicate place, location, period,time, style or character recognition.

Mood Underscore: The predominant use of music in film. Music can powerfully establish or support the mood of a scene. It can also be used to ‘play against’ the mood and comment ironically on the scene (eg childlike music in horror genre). Musical motifs and themes can also contribute to (or ‘comment on’) the action or narrative.  Check out this resource.... you can pick a mood and buy a loop with that feeling.   This is interesting way to see how music and emotion fit together.

Dramatic Underscore: Similar to mood underscore with the additional quality of being closely matched to the action. Commonly used in action and horror genres and in cartoons (where the technique of matching action to music is called ‘Mickey Mousing’).


Character theme: A musical theme connected to a character and reflecting aspects of the character (eg Indiana Jonestheme is ‘heroic’ and plays when Jones is involved in an action sequence).  Once the link with the character is established, the theme can replace or suggest the presence of the character (eg shark theme in Jaws, Darth Vader theme in Star Wars etc).  This was traditionally known as a leitmotif.


Source music: Where the source of the music is visible on screen or understood by the audience (eg a character sings, a jukebox is playing, a band plays a bar)  Monty Python satirizes this when a man walking through a field with a string orchestra underscore suddenly bumps into the orchestra sitting in the field.  This is also known as Diegetic Music.



Additional Considerations:

·  Music can play more than one role at any time, eg character theme used as titles music, source music used to set mood etc.

·  Music is often used as a transitional device between scenes (eg to establish the mood of the coming scene or suggest a change of location).

·  The use of sound effects (SFX) in modern films is often closely married to the use of music and is often inseparable (eg Batman Forever   opening titles). The sound editor mixes dialogue, music and sound effects to create the final sound edit on the film’s soundtrack.





Find an example of each type of scoring shown above.  Place the example in your portfolio.  

Take this quiz... check your results.  If you did poorly, study a bit and try again.

Once you have completed all of the assignments, please post the URL of your Jimdo work on OnCampus.  Remember to put your Jimdo into view mode before copying the URL.  Thanks

Note on Absolute and Functional Music 

Early Film  Notes 

Scoring Terms 

Sound Examples 

Types of Film Music Examples 


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