Orchestrating film : the contrasting orchestral-compositional approaches of Bernard Herrmann and John Williams and their modern legacy

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Authors
Everingham, Matthew
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Date
2017-12-21
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Journal Article
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
Herrmann, Bernard (1911-1975)
Williams, John (1932-)
film scores
composers of film music
The Day The Earth Stood Still (Film - 1951)
Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (Film - 1977)
orchestration in film
Citation
Everingham, M. (2017). Orchestrating Film: The contrasting orchestral-compositional approaches of Bernard Herrmann and John Williams and their modern legacy. Pūrātoke: Journal of Undergraduate Research in the Creative Arts and Industries, 1(1), 110-138. ISSN: 2538-0133. Unitec Institute of Technology. Unitec ePress. Retrieved from: http://www.unitec.ac.nz/epress
Abstract
Music is one of the most powerful forces in film, and composers’ varied use of orchestration and sound is fundamental to the impact of music in this medium. From the live accompaniments of the earliest silent film, to the lush orchestrations of the ‘golden age’, to the electronic and experimental scores of the twenty-first century, the role of orchestration, timbre and sound has been pivotal to the function of music in film and its ability to shape and inform narrative, character and theme (Gorbman, 1987). In an increasingly vast and constantly evolving body of film music, two figures stand out as proponents of contrasting compositional approaches to orchestration in film: Bernard Herrmann and John Williams (Cooke, 2004). Their work reveals orchestration and compositional considerations as powerful tools that contribute to dramatic elements of narrative, character and theme. To understand these approaches their influences and contexts must be discussed (Part I). Analysing the contrasting orchestral approaches of Herrmann and Williams in their respective films The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951) and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) sheds light on the contrasting ways orchestration is approached to influence dramatic elements in film (Part II). It is important to examine the legacy of Herrmann and Williams’ contrasting approaches in more recent film music such as the representative scores of Thomas Newman (Wall-E (Stanton, 2008)) and Stephen Price (Gravity, (Cuarun, 2013)) to fully examine the role of orchestration in film today (Part III).
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Unitec ePress
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Unitec ePress
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Orchestrating Film: The contrasting orchestral-compositional approaches of Bernard Herrmann and John Williams and their modern legacy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 New Zealand
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