I am sure you have heard someone say that in film scoring, silence can be more effective than music.
While this is true, it only represents part of the picture to consider.
It’s all about CONTRAST.
If you have a dramatic moment and there is a lot of score before and after, then silence can be very effective because it provides contrast. That silence would not be as effective if there was silence leading up to it and following it.
Pacing of a score has a lot to do with how one manipulates contrast.
Contrast relies on juxtaposition, or elements being next to each other, in case of music cues (or lack thereof) they must follow or precede one another.
I was thinking of this because I have reached an important point in the film I am scoring, and leading up to it the music has had elements of “moto perpetuo” – you know; a constant rhythmic idea as events are put into motion.
I had planned to use this melodic and rhythmic material during this scene but it didn’t play well. I spent the afternoon and part of the evening on it yesterday and had to stop. It wasn’t working. I hate days like that.
After some time laying in bed thinking about it this morning, it occurred to me that for many story reasons I won’t discuss, contrast was necessary. Contrast of instrumentation, tempo and that ostinato element being dropped. I came down to work and it’s working great.
And there you, the word of the days is: contrast.