And the Grammy Goes To…


Before we dive into the Grammys this weekend, I’d like to take a moment to mention categories that are often forgotten.

Producing, mixing, surround sound, composition…the list goes on. A good amount of the individuals I have met who have won Grammy Awards, Emmy Awards, etc are not who the general public typically thinks of. These categories tend to be tuned out.

Where would we be without the sound and score in a show?

We should be aware to celebrate all of these achievements for a music and sound oriented show like the Grammys (originally the Gramophone Award).

Yes, award shows can be over abundant and constant callings for people to pat themselves on the back-believe me, I know. There are thousands upon thousands of people who do great things each year and never even get a raise, nevermind a televised award.

But if we are going to pull resources to events like this, I am often bummed at the lack of attentiveness…from audience members, at least…to those on the production side.

While I’d love to delve into sound design and engineering, perhaps we will save that for an Oscar discussion? It’s almost Wednesday and my flannel penguin sheets are calling my name!

Well, no. Thankfully not. If I did we would have other problems in the sound department.

That being said…

…There are plenty of films that take advantage of not having a score. But for a lot of films the score really makes the scene, in my opinion. In many ways the composer can be compared to an auteur. The music drives the scene and the emotion.

During my undergraduate studies I did an experiment as part of my research thesis. I gathered individuals and showed them some film clips, based on whether or not they had seen the film. I didn’t let on that I had edited the scene with film score from another film. There were two versions of each film clip. The viewers understanding of the scene, the characters and their motives…all changed depending on which score they heard.  So to all those who say the film score doesn’t matter or that you don’t notice…that’s what you think. You may not notice that you actually noticed.

I am really hoping for Clint Mansell’s score for Black Swan to win. His scores are always spot on and remain stuck in my head for days. The incorporation of themes from Swan Lake was done beautifully. Before seeing the film I listened to the last few tracks and wished I had not, only because the music did such a great job at telling the story…I felt I had accidentally watched the ending.

Photo by Niko Tavernise

Some other favorites from the past:

  • Eric Serra: The Fifth Element and Leon/The Professional. Works a great deal with Luc Besson.
  • Maurice Jarre: Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago.
  • Dario Marianelli: Atonement
  • Javier Navarrete: Pan’s Labyrinth

Photo from New Line Cinema 2006.

Please check them out!

I could go on and on about film music but I will leave it at this for now.

Have any favorites? Let me know!


4 thoughts on “And the Grammy Goes To…

  1. Agreed with all the above hahaha. Love Marianelli. I listen to the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack probably twice a month. Which makes me wicked manly 😛

    Black Swan and Pan’s Labyrinth are also standouts. I’ll have to give Leon another (belated) rewatch with emphasis on the music. The Bjork song jumps out at me any time I think of the movie though.

  2. Hey now, Marianelli did a great job. Elegy for Dunkirk (Atonement) reminded me of Adagio for Strings. Not sure if it was intentional, but a clever reference.

    Venus as a Boy was a great song choice for Leon! I love the piece ‘Noon’ from the score. Serra does a lot of interesting things with percussion and strings, and eastern sounds. Timecrash from the Fifth Element is similar.

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