June 12, 2017

The Importance of Music in Movies


We all know a movie is not complete without a great soundtrack. In fact, some soundtracks exceed the film on their own and often considered as vital in their presentation, completely independent of the film. Soundtracks are also a great place to introduce an audience to artists.

What Makes A Great Soundtrack?

A soundtrack is something that becomes instantly memorable and recognizable. For example Armageddon and Titanic; both 90s movies that were big box office earners and had a huge impact on pop culture. But it is perhaps the music that is most often remembered. Armageddon featured Aerosmith’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’ and Titanic featured Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’. Rarely does anyone think of these films and not think of these songs.

What’s The Difference Between Film Scores and Soundtracks?

It’s important to note that there is a significant difference between a film’s soundtrack and a film’s score. Pretty much every film has a score, music that is orchestral and instrumental which plays during and in between scenes. Films such as; Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Lord of the Rings, Psycho, The Godfather, Jurassic Park: are all movies with scores that are instantly recognizable and iconic. Scores are used to build tension, set the film’s tone and deliver emotion, to name but a few key functions. A soundtrack on the other hand is a compilation of songs, some original and created for the film, others pre-existing material, and they can act in a similar way to a score or simply be released as a piece of merchandising or promotional material for a film.

Although the soundtrack may not quite be as popular as it once was, let’s not forget the greatness of those from the 80s and 90s. There were songs that beautifully enhanced movies and instantly etched them into your brain, such as The Breakfast Club, which featured ‘Don’t You (Forget About Me)’ by Simple Minds. Songs that defined movies, like Ben E King’s ‘Stand By Me’ from the film by the same name, Stand By Me. And, of course, there’s the musicals, which feature songs that can stand on their own and can have audiences singing them long after it is over. Think ‘Singin’ in the Rain’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Footloose’, ‘Circle of Life’, ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ and ‘Time Warp’. These songs are embedded into their films from a story, character and genre perspective, but they’ve become great songs in their own right.

So although it’s not as big as it once was, the soundtrack is still an important part of cinema. So often it can help a film to become instantly memorable and give it that much more of an edge over other similar films.

If your life were a movie, which songs would be on your soundtrack? Let us know by sharing with our community.