Music in film – Why is it important?

Film without music wouldn’t be film at all, it would just be a video. Since the beginning of the cinematic art-form, music has played a crucial role in the idea of telling a story. It’s there in the saddest of moments and the happiest of times, and it isn’t there when we expect it for comfort but then it swoops in, in grandiose fashion.  Music is one of the most important aspects of film, and it is evident as to why.

For example, examine this scene from Mad Max: Fury Road (2015). This highly emotional scene, if you watch the whole film, helps you understand Furiosa not as a character, but as a person living in this wasteland. Music not only conveys a sound for the films background, it also communicates emotion. When the score climaxes and Furiosa lets out a scream, you can both hear and feel her pain thanks to the heightened affect that cinematic music gives you.

Now, listen to the way Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer end The Dark Knight (2008). The melody, played throughout the film, finally comes to a roaring end as Batman rides up the on-ramp and Commissioner Gordon is explaining to his son why The Batman is running away; because he is the Dark Knight.

The music always depends on the scene it is built for, some scenes call for high climaxes, others call for soft and melodic sounds in order to heighten the actors efforts even more. Blade Runner (1982) did just that during the famous “Tears in Rain” monologue (spoilers). The electronic score fits the futuristic setting of the film, but it is Vangelis’ incredible attention to detail that makes this scene so powerful. The light notes peaking here and there through the sound of rain, and then sort of coming to fruition towards the end of the scene. Soft, but extremely powerful.

Although all these films pack long-lasting musical scores, some films like to go for the jugular by giving you something eternal; like the opening to Star Wars (1977)Or how about Alfred Hitchcock’s famous shower scene from the movie Psycho (1960)? Music in film is, in my opinion, the most important aspect of film. Because music can turn anything into a film. For instance, if you take your childhood home videos and then you mash them all together, then you add music to it and share it with your family. Well, you just created a film. You pieced together a story, your childhood, and added a musical score, essentially giving this film an essence. If you leave the theatre humming the music from the film you’ve just seen, then the filmmakers truly succeeded in creating a piece of art. Because if you can remember the music, you can remember the story.

A really good use of music can be found in a short film I helped make, back in November, called I Phub You (2016)It’s a silent film that isn’t all that silent.

I hope you enjoyed my last blog post for the Online Communications 202 class. Come find me on my personal blog if you want to read more of my thoughts:

Thanks for reading, if you did read, and I hope this post was really informative!

Take ‘er easy Online Comm. Class, have a good summer,


Videos were taken from YouTube.

Bonus: Why the Marvel Cinematic Universe has bad music:


One thought on “Music in film – Why is it important?

  1. Shushami, I completely agree with everything you said! Good music in film can really make or break a scene. There is a scene in the film “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” that uses Brian Eno’s “The Big Ship” that really aids to the emotional performances given by the actors. I recommend watching the movie but if you don’t have the time here is a link to the scene.

    Awesome post!!


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