1) Describe the three basic types of music heard in original scores during the silent film era and cites specific examples from The Birth of a Nation. (10 points)
Music is an important form of art; it has always been utilized by each and every culture for entertainment purpose. Earlier in the silent film era, music was generally not included in the films but played in the beginning or at the end to entertain the audience. Later music was used in the form of background score to provide strength to the scenes of the film. There were three types of original scores of music during the silent film era, improvised score, compiled scores and composed scores.
Improvise score refer to the created-off-the cuff by the musician which is played by the soloist on the piano or organ during the film to entertain the audience. Compiled music refers to the collection from the previously written music. Composed music refers to the music specifically and freshly made for the film The music in the Birth of a Nation by Max Steiner is a composed music because it is specifically composed to represent the theme of the story. Like Flag of confederacy, The Battle between the States are some examples which made the film look more real and efficient in involving the audience in the film. Max Steiner utilized the orchestra to make the music more interesting.
From the above discussion it can be concluded that with the advancement in the films and the requirements of the audience necessary intervention were made to make the films more interesting for which the musicians worked very hard. Since the silent film do not includes any dialogue so in order to maintain the interest of the audience in the film music was must. That is why earlier the music was played in the beginning but later it was played for the film to drag the attention of the audience.
2) What is the role of source music in Casablanca? (10 points)
The film Casablanca is an American romantic film in which war between the Nazis and Casablanca is also included. So according to the film romantic as well as encouraging music was required. The music was given by Max Steiner who was very famous for his music scores in the silent films.
In the film the songs are actually telling the story. Like the first song, “La Marseillaise” which is a French national anthem has been transformed a cording to the demand of the story. It was actually written during the French Revolution era in which the people were fighting for freedom from political repression. The song represents France which free and liberal, in the film it was played several times to represent patriotism. The song was successful in reflecting the patriotism of the French countrymen. The second song “As the time goes” represents the love story between the lead characters. It was successful in overcoming the effect of wars in the film. The music is soothing and very emotional.
This song was very much praised in Paris and it is considered as a symbol of love. It represents the romantic feeling of Rick and IIsa for each other. Both the songs were beautiful and fulfil the demand of the story of the film. Since during the war it was necessary to reflect the patriotism of the people for their country, so according the music score of the national anthem was followed. So here we can suggest that it was a compiled music score. And since the film was a romantic drama so to reflect the feeling of the characters in the film a romantic track was needed which was composed so beautifully that it became a symbol of love for the romantic couples. The music was pleasing and played a successful role in telling the story of the film.
3) Discuss the effect of genres on the amount and type of music in a film. Describe a number of different film genres from 1935-1939 and the typical qualities of their music. Mention specific films during this period to illustrate your generalities. (20 points)
During the period 1935 to 1939, the films were influenced by patriotism, wars etc. Apart from this romantic drama was also included in these films. So according to this music was required.For the patriotic film represents the action genre of the film which represents battles, fights, escapes etc.
For example: La Bandera was a film which involves violence, action as well as the romantic scenes. In this the protagonist kills a man in which and escapes, during his escape from the problems he gets trapped into several things. He meets a Moroccan girl and falls in love with her. The whole story is complicated so to reduce the stress of the film the music has been composed accordingly representing the theme of the story. Today we have a wide range of genres like action, comedy, adventure, crime, gangster, drama, epics, horror, musical, fiction etc. But earlier the directors were influenced by the wars which were happening during that time due to which they were provoked or inspired to make such films in which they can show a picture of the incidents happening in the surroundings.
The main aim was to entertain the audience besides that they want the audience to remember the film for which they tried to make it more real and wrote the stories inspired by the wars, battles, political movements’ etc. to provide a touch of reality to their film, for which they composed the music accordingly. The music has different kinds of genres so according to the demands of the story of the film the musicians use to compose the soundtracks. Earlier the music includes the patriotic songs and romantics songs especially to inspire or to entertain the audience. Romantic music was very efficient in reducing the stress of the people watching the movie and successful in providing a break after seeing wars, violence, battles, fights etc.