A History of Film Music

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Overview

This book provides a comprehensive and lively introduction to the major trends in film scoring from the silent era to the present day, focussing not only on dominant Hollywood practices but also offering an international perspective by including case studies of the national cinemas of the UK, France, India, Italy, Japan and the early Soviet Union. The book balances wide-ranging overviews of film genres, modes of production and critical reception with detailed non-technical descriptions of the interaction between image track and soundtrack in representative individual films. In addition to the central focus on narrative cinema, separate sections are also devoted to music in documentary and animated films, film musicals and the uses of popular and classical music in the cinema. The author analyses the varying technological and aesthetic issues that have shaped the history of film music, and concludes with an account of the modern film composer's working practices.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As cinema's second century gathers place and the film soundtrack acquires ever greater critical respectability, the need for a good, compact, one-volume survey of its evolution from solo piano afterthought to a meticulously planned, fully integrated element as crucial to the success of a film as cinematography,lighting or direction, has become increasingly necessary. Mervyn Cooke's A History of Film Music gets magnificently close to being just such a book. ...Written in a clean, clear prose shot through with a lightly-worn, concisely-argued scholarship, this is a considerable achievement and an essential read for anyone interested in this vital and still developing genre." --Classical Music Magazine

"‘Cooke hasn’t written merely “a” history of film music… this will surely be “the” history of film music. ...An authoritative read, written with the cracking pace of a Bond thriller." --Classic FM Magazine

"Cooke writes accessibly yet with as much intellectual rigor on the propagandistic songs of Shostakovich as on MTV's impact on Flashdance. ....Crammed with source acknowledgement for further reading, this is nothing short of essential reading for anyone with an interest in film." --BBC Music Magazine

"Cooke has written a book useful to readers with or without musical background...they [readers] will appreciate a historical study that incorporates music and film studies and keeps the film music, not the films, its focus." --Choice

"The real charm of Mervyn Cooke’s A History of Film Music, however, and one with which the reader is abundantly left, is the sheer breadth of coverage and the passion with which this coverage is conveyed. Never before has a work attempted such a wide-ranging, vivid, and well-documented sweep of film music and, for this reason among many others, it is a work thoroughly to be recommended." --Music & Letters

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521811736
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 10/20/2008
  • Pages: 584
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Mervyn Cooke is Professor of Music at the University of Nottingham.
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Table of Contents

Preface; 1. The 'silent' cinema; 2. Sound on track; 3. Hollywood's Golden Age: narrative cinema and the classical film score; 4. Stage and screen; 5. The mainstream divides: postwar horizons in Hollywood; 6. 'Never let it be mediocre': film music in the United Kingdom; 7. Defectors to television: the documentary film; Animation; 8. Film music in France; 9. Global highlights: early sound films in the Soviet Union; India: Bollywood and beyond; From Italy to Little Italy; Japan; 10. Popular music in the cinema; 11. Classical music in the cinema; 12. State of the art: film music since the New Hollywood.
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