Sound vs Score IV: Should music be heard?
In the DVD featurette about the music of Spider Man 1, Tobey McGuire says that Danny Elfman’s music is good because it is “not noticed” and that this is the best compliment you can give the composer of a film score.
I forget which great golden age composer it was who said something like “if music is not meant to be noticed, then why do we bother writing it?”
What I think Tobey meant was this; film music is great when it fits the film so perfectly that it feels completely natural.
This is a very important distinction.
When music is the perfect fit for a scene it becomes part of the whole film experience, which is there to support the story. Just like the sets, set dressing, costumes, lighting and acting.
None of these other elements “disappear” or are not “seen” by the audience. Actually if they are not seen or relegated too much to the background, then they cannot serve their purpose, which is to support the story!
The danger with Tobey’s statement is to think that a good score should not be noticed, and to take that at face value, which can negatively influence the presence of the score in the mix.
The bottom line is this; in order for film music to be effective and support the story, it should be noticed!!!