Musical Score Analysis

1584 Words 7 Pages
Compare and Contrast
Goldfinger (1964); Musical Score by John Barry vs Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981); Musical Score by John Williams

During the 1960s, popular music played an important role in filmmaking, garnering larger audiences due to the appeal of this genre but also due to the fact that psychologically, people tend to associate the music they are hearing with real life events or emotions. From 1960-1967, film scores began to change. No longer would we see the traditions of the 50s, where epics or musicals stood prominently among the Academy nominees. Although the beginning of this period brought us Ben Hur, Sparticus, and others, with beautiful color cinematography and “musical scores composed by some of Hollywood’s finest composers”
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This Postmodernism era “can be traced back to the 1950s and came into prominence in the late 1970s” (Hickman). This transition incorporates three basic principles: dismissing the “modernistic need for continual change and originality”, “embraces the entire spectrum of artistic styles, including the popular arts”, and lastly, it “recognizes the importance of emotional appeal and has been linked with neoromanticism” (Hickman). Heroes become a major theme in the movies of this time period and the making of ‘sequels’ has an impact on the era. In looking at the sequel phenomenon one must consider Raiders of the Lost Ark, which made its debut in 1981. John Williams brings us one of his finest film scores in which, during the opening credits, we hear a full synopsis of the themes from the film. Unlike Goldfinger, we do not have a vocal overlay and the music presents an obvious return to full orchestration and symphonic scoring. The music, masterfully woven into the film as strings waver in the background, flutes flurry as Indy leaps over a chasm or pizzicato strings play as spiders scurry about, dominates the film with few moments where there is dialogue without underscoring or sound effects. In contrast, Goldfinger includes more scenes with no underscoring. Although we find Williams makes no use of contemporary music, instead returning to a full orchestration of the score and providing multiple themes that, like Barry’s score for Goldfinger, also have the main characters theme interwoven into

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