hmmm, any musical
Is there a musical with singing but no music?
Music is important, it’s part of the way the movie primes your expectations and sets the mood.
Remember the music at the start of Funny Games? You got the idea right there.
Music, first of all, is one of life’s mystery’s. No one knows if it is necessary, yet the majority of people who have heard music like it and have even gone so far as to have a favorite artist and a favorite song. Let’s say that music isn’t necessary to make a film better so we’ll re-release every film without soundtrack. That’s right…The Breakfast Club without Simple Minds, Ferris Beuller without Twist and Shout, no Little Green Bag at the beginning of Reservoir Dogs…in fact let’s just ask if music is necessary in life at all..
Do we really need Pachelbel’s Canon at a wedding?
If you remove music from one thing, it is just a domino effect (slow or not) that will occur until we have removed music from everything.
“Life without music would be a mistake.” -Friedrich Nietzche
Music should essentially today have the same use as they did with the early silent pictures, essentially that is – I hate these films where there is some bombastic soundtrack over every moment directing the audience, telling us how to feel – who are they to do that?
I’ll always remember the Bach cello from Winter Light and Takemitsu’s eerily ghostly and offbeat score for Pitfall. Also the industrial techno in Tetsuo: The Iron Man is pretty awesome. I also think it’s in Au Hasard Balthazar Bresson uses some Schubert piece like rhythm just as same as in poems, beautiful. Tarkovsky’s use off Bach and earlier composers such as Purcell and electronic music that his composers made is fantastic also.
They are called “composers” Jakob…
And they are not telling you how to feel….
They are introducing you to your feelings through their music…
What difference does it matter if it is a line in a script or a line in a concerto that directs a person how to feel?
Well, I did call them composers? Sometimes music in cinema tries to tell us how to fell, not all music is good music and not always using music is a good choice. The composer must work under the director following his creative vision or else the film will be ruined. I agree with your last line but I don’t see the point your are trying to make?
I like music. Who said anything about murdering music? I just think it’s too easy to rely on it, and everybody praises its use with little reason. There’s still diegetic music, which reflects the real necessity of music. People listen to music. The characters can listen to music. Removing a phantom orchestra is not killing music.
All things are subjective…i agree not ALL music is good music or even necessary. But we obviously just agree to disagree on this one. My point was that good music in movies can often make us feel something we couldn’t have felt without the music being there. and thus, if it had not been there we would have never KNOWN that emotion was possible on our own.
interesting fact: serjio leone would have the score of a scene playing in the background while filming. people who worked on these sets spoke of the magical feeling of stepping onto the set and into the world of the movie and understanding the tone without even having seen the movie yet. the music, in a sense, helped to direct the actors. leone is a good example of someone who had a very intimate relationship with the music in their films. now, of course there are plenty of examples of shotty usage of music in film but i just pretend those don’t exist.
“My point was that good music in movies can often make us feel something we couldn’t have felt without the music being there.”
Jakub mentioned Bresson’s use of Schubert. You can’t feel the emotions that you’d feel if he hadn’t used it. I think that I’d film a scene differently depending on the plan to use or not use music. The soundtracks in those films you mentioned are necessary because the directors filmed them with music in mind. BUT! I personally find the results (remembering a song instead of… the film) not worth it. It’s like famous actors: If you see a film knowing that there are no familiar faces, it’s because you’re interested in the film. What it’s about, form, style, whatever. If you can’t get a musicless film out of your head… maybe it was the director and not the composer or Celine Dion that put it there. Bresson said that he regretted using it btw. I’m wondering if he would’ve changed the images to accommodate the lack of music.
Music is the most misunderstood tool in Cinema…. so powerful, so often underused / used incorrectly.
Georges Delerue’s music can get me choked up. Fightin’ the ocular moisture. I say that without BULLSHIT HYPERBOLE. His music for Godard and Zulawski is the only music that can do that to me. But it’s the music what does it. A good example of music and image and narrative context that moves me is when Jacques Dutronc face paints himself in L’Important c’est d’aimer. But it’s just cheap and easy to do that. Moving music + emotional moment = tugged heart strings.
Does cinema really need music though? Tarkovsky argued that essentially cinema doesn’t need music and that he was going towards that direction with Stalker for example but never truly excluded music completely. I believe in Haneke’s Funny Games and Caché there is no music at all and in The Piano Teacher and The White Ribbon I believe that the only music comes from people in the film playing music – and Haneke is a huge music lover and he just like Bergman believed that film is closest to music of the art forms because of its rhythmic structure.
As we said before, 1- it’s not easy to know how to combine music with images 2- not everyone has a ‘good’ taste of music. And i can give plenty of examples of films where music and images doesn’t fit at all.
If you think music is fake, then i can say actors are fake, and only films like Guerin’s Tren de sombras are the truth.
I know Haneke’s Code Unknown has only a bit of diegetic drumming that ends up stretching non-diegetically across the scenes. I didn’t notice the lack of music until then, or maybe even until I rewatched it.
“If you think music is fake, then i can say actors are fake”
I’m a Bressonian. I agree with this^ but obviously it’s impossible to be truly real. Truth by way of the false. But certain glaring bits of falseness can easily be avoided like not casting Tom Cruise as a plumber and being unable to avoid the millions of things we associate with him. There is little need for his particular presence.
But there is no truth, Herzog called Cinéma Vérité the “accountant’s truth”. True facts that don’t amount to a deeper illumination. The problem is that the results and effect of music are rarely worth the falseness from directors who are, for the most part, trying to be believed.
I’m not at all some enemy against music in film. This is a nice excerpt from Tarkovsky on use of music:
“Music is obviously of great importance to me. It’s not only the image I could photograph that is important, but for this image I need precisely this snippet of Bach. If I don’t find it I won’t replace it with anything else and I won’t photograph that image. Here in Sweden I have discovered a wonderful folk music which has a fantastic influence on me and it organises the whole material of my new film around itself. It will enter the film not as illustration but as its emotional weave. As usual.
Music competes with film, it can become an organic element of film but it can also take control of the image — this is a serious problem! A scene without music is completely different, it changes with music dubbed in. Pure film should be able to do without music but that’s pure theory as music is something organic in film, it’s not only a form of illustration. "
Music may be the MOST important element. Hell half of the scripts I write (And I work on a lot) were inspired by a song I was listening to. Music might just be the most important element in human life. Just ask Nietzsche how important music is.
“but it can also take control of the image”
This to me actually points to a disrespect toward music. That the overbearing power of music in a film goes unnoticed. Everybody seems to think that music is only a background element in film and real life. How many people listen to their music on its own without outside distractions? It’s always played alongside something else, rarely is anyone’s attention devoted to the music. It’s actually out of reverence for music that I often don’t play it! Because it’s not often that I can listen to it on its own. Need silence. I don’t want bastardized arts. If I do anything, I do it all the way or not at all. How many people sit and listen to a 20 minute piece of music without moving? Purity! No compromise!
@Mathew: You’re making it sound like music is completely shut off from the visual aspect. Wagner and Puccini operas rely on costumes and scenery and acting to relay the message. Ballets by Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky are similar. Hell even when you go to the symphony, seeing the massive symphony and the conductor create emotions that aren’t there without sight. Liszt even changed the direction the piano faced to show off his good looks.
And frankly if you’re calling for purity in art then the only movies you should like are silent pictures with no dialogue whatsoever. Sound is music, dialogue is literature.
Music shouldn’t overpower the visual in film, the same way the visual shouldn’t overpower the music in an opera or a pop concert.
Going to the symphony was the only way to hear that kind of music. Opera was theatre and music.
I shouldn’t have to say that purity is impossible. I’m obviously talking about not compromising beyond the necessary compromises inherent in… real life. You cannot have an art without something. So purity is impossible.
And film is not just images, so silent cinema would be, and was, missing a component both necessary for some reflection of reality as well as useful as a tool. Non-diegetic music in your film is both compromising ‘realism’ (if that’s the goal) and is a far less effective and useful tool than sound (non-music) and has infinitely less potential for expression. I think you should start from zero, and carefully add parts that are enormously useful as well as necessary to the entire foundation of the film. Everything should be treated with equal importance; a line of dialogue and a shot should be equally necessary. I think music can be necessary if the narratve/structure needs it.
And since dialogue is necessary in real life… fidelity to reality as well as a useful tool. Film is a juxtaposition of parts, not all of which are images. And ‘images’ can be objects, people etc. Parts.
apparently this is a pretty divided issue
Many films are interdependent on the musical score to such a degree that the film loses significant impact in the absence of its score.
A classic example: imagine watching Jaws without that 2-note, 3-note score. That familiar theme often substitutes for the unseen threat.
Hitchcock;s Psycho is also often name-checked on these kinds of threads.
I like films that make clever use of diegetic music. For dramas, especially, diegetic music results in a more immersive experience while I’m watching. The characters hear the same things I am hearing.
Non-diegetic music can also be used to cover technical limitations in a film. To use Jaws again as an example, the often-malfunctoning animatronic shark is none too convincing when we do get a good look at it. Suggesting the presence of the beastie with music heightens the tension.
I don’t think we should try to justify this after the fact. If Jaws was filmed effectively without music we’d be saying how smart that was. Can’t imagine Jaws without music, can’t imagine L’Argent with music. Directors both made it that way. Set their own constraints.
I just think most filmmakers just half-heartedly use music and follow convention. They’ve never considered not using it. A film should start from zero with no fixed rules or foundations. I don’t know how to say it, I keep confusing myself. There should be no preconceived necessities.
It’s not really “divided”. I’m the only one who thinks that the non-use of music should be just as respected as the usage. I don’t think it should be the only way. I’m just trying to shatter the traditional idea that its necessary. Nobody even questions it, and these threads usually only serve as a self-affirmative circle-jerk. But we should hope to be contradicted and to be able to shatter our beliefs. Especially when they’re not ours.
And I think the fact that the ‘[pop]cultural importance’ of these examples of non-diegetic music is the main reason for their being mentioned only points to my assumption that tradition is the greatest influence here. “It’s just how it’s done.”
I’m not sure if that first sentence is grammatically correct.