When does music come in?
During the spotting session it is time to decide where music cues start and end. There are many reasons to bring in music, many points of entry.
From on “The Track: a guide to contemporary film scoring.” by Fred Karlin and Rayburn Wright.
In general, music starts most effectively at a moment of shifting emphasis. This might be expressed as
- A new emotional emphasis or subject in the dialogue.
- A new visual emphasis with the camera
- A camera move, which almost always is conceived for emphasis
- A new action, such as a car driving off, a person leaving the room, a cop ducking behind a barrier
- A reaction to something that has been said or has occurred.
So remember, the action or emphasis is a good place to start a cue, and this does not always coincide with a cut.
Let the drama, not the editing, be the motivation to start the music.
I was watching the original Star Wars yesterday and noticed a very interesting musical point of entry. (I was showing the film to a friend of my son’s, an 8 year old who has never seen Star Wars!)
When Luke walks off with C3-PO and the red droid, the red one blows up and R2-D2 takes its place. Light, bouncy music comes in when R2 rolls towards Luke and C3-PO.
The cue begins when the group is finally together, the music signaling the coming together of these three characters as an arrival point.
Furthermore, the music acts as a bookend to the scene. Music is a strong help in establishing structure in films, an important use often overlooked and not mentioned in the “On the Track” list above.
More on this next week.