Living Entrepreneurship Blog / The Arts

Music in Films

By Ian Schranze:

Musical Notes courtesy of

Music has been a vital part of the film industry even before movies had sound. During silent films, there would be musical accompaniment including either a piano or a full orchestra, playing throughout the movie. Usually, the pianist would improvise music for the film, highlighting drama, action, and love scenes with music. Some movies included scores for the pianist to play, which usually consist of light hearted, upbeat melodies. Films have always relied on music, including everything from harsh bass tones to signify a climactic scene, to a children’s song slowed down during a scary part in a movie. Some movies rely heavily on music, aiming to take the audience away from the movie with catchy melodies that stay in your head throughout the film. In these films, multi-talented, orchestral composers are hired, such as Hans Zimmer and John Williams. Other movies use music as support, playing pop songs during a party scene, or Wagner-esque opera music when watching a wealthy evil character. The biggest change in music since silent movies is the lack of commonality. Recent films have been experimenting with different mus

ic applications in their movies. For instance, in trilogies, a composer may keep the same repeating melody throughout each movie, while only subtly changing chords and tones to reflect the changing of a character. In other movies, the music may change drastically over the course of a single film. This change in music is for the better because any new ideas are better than just repeating past experiences. Music is the glue that holds films together, signals important scenes, and humanizes characters so audiences may connect with them on a more personal level.


Ian Schranze, Class of 2017, Babson College