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Effective: Summer 2014

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU/UC
4 hours lecture, 1 hour laboratory. (60 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Students will be able to analyze how music and images combine to enhance the film experience.
  • The students will be able to differentiate between parallel, contrapuntal, and associative types of music in film.
Description -
A cross cultural study of how music propels the story line in motion pictures from symphonic scores to pop soundtracks comparing imagery, emotions, characterizations, rhythm, intervals, melody, and chords. A “music-in-film” history course that blends the study of film music composers with an analysis of musical techniques from the earliest examples of film sound to film noir, westerns to James Bond, Hitchcock to musicals, and the Golden Era of Hollywood to Star Wars. Students will differentiate between parallel, contrapuntal, and associative types of music in film. The goal of the class is to identify how music and culture function in film to highlight dialogue, reflect thoughts, create tension, and establish a sense of time and place. Previous musical knowledge is helpful, but not necessary.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. Identify new concepts of musical elements and apply them to the analysis of themes and motives in films
  2. Summarize how musical themes can enhance and justify the moving images experience with specific characters, actions, or scenes
  3. Differentiate between diegetic (music integrated into the story reality) and non-diegetic (music not heard by the actors, that exists independent of the story line) music in film
  4. Identify and compare film music composers on a domestic and international level, and respond to weekly writing samples
  5. Critique the music of film music composers on a domestic and international level and respond to weekly writing samples
  6. Evaluate by viewing individual images, the form of an entire movie, while expanding critical listening skills and writing comparison essays
  7. Summarize and synthesize essays from the textbook on music and film, and communicate their responses in quote and comment format
  8. Apply creative use of course materials towards research and writing projects as they pertain to music in domestic, foreign, or documentary films
  9. Trace the rise of pop music with the development of film and recording technology
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. Classroom must be equipped with the latest stereo and sound record/playback unit, DVD and CD player, and multi-media equipment, piano, and staff lined boards.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access using Etudes, ongoing access to a computer with e-mail address, software and hardware, and internet access.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Understanding basic terms in music
    1. Melody
    2. Rhythm
    3. Chords and cadences
    4. Form
    5. Scales and modes
  2. Understanding qualities in movie analysis set by the U. S. National Archives and Records Administration
    1. Music
    2. Narration
    3. Special effects
    4. Color
    5. Live Action
    6. Background noise
    7. Animation
    8. Dramatizations
  3. The anatomy of hit songs in movies
    1. Verses, choruses, and bridges
    2. Poetic devices
    3. Lyric set up: tension, excitement, climax, and resolution
  4. Researching soundtracks
    1. The influence of technology, marketing, and MTV
  5. Film Composers: a sample of possible composers to study might include:
    1. Burt Bacharach
    2. Leonard Berstein
    3. Danny Elfman
    4. Marvin Hamlisch
    5. Henry Mancini
    6. Ennio Morricone
    7. Rachel Portman
    8. Nino Rota
    9. Max Steiner
    10. John Williams
    11. Hans Zimmer
  6. Identifying the use of classic themes in film: possible movie selections might include
    1. The Shining
    2. Elvira Madigan
    3. Masters and Commanders
  7. How music is used to heighten emotion in film
    1. Unresolved chords
    2. Tempo
    3. Elements of horror film music that create a chilling effect
    4. Use of diegetic and non-diegetic music
  8. Analysis of intervals, rhythm, and chords found in music of different cultures
  9. Writing review papers on music in film analysis
  10. Critically distinguish types of music used in film
    1. Parallel (example-Psycho shower scene)
    2. Contrapuntal (example-Godfather christening scene)
    3. Associative (example-Titanic instrument choices that establish a specific period)
  11. Synthesizing how the meaning of the image changes with different modes of music
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Writing
    1. Film analysis synthesizing what the music is like, what is happening visually, and what is the overall effect on the viewer
    2. Choice of film music comparison essay, hit song analysis essay, or instrumental analysis essay
    3. 10 history and debate responses
    4. Write a “manual” to accompany a chosen movie. Discuss the elements that the music must have in order to complete the objectives of the imagery.
    5. Select a favorite song. Design a scene of a fictitious movie that you think would make this song memorable.
    6. Be a Music-in-Film critic for the day. Pass judgment on 2 films, one old, and one new, and then summarize and compare.
  2. Research Projects
    1. Create an original book project on a film composer
    2. Film comparison project
  3. Tests
    1. 2 written tests (essays, matching, and/or multiple choice questions)
    2. Listening/viewing movies for parallel, associative or contrapuntal music
  4. Lab
    1. 12 one-hour online labs
Representative Text(s) -
MacDonald, Laurence, The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History, 2nd ed. Baltimore, Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing, 2013.
Buhler, James, Neumeyer, David, and Deemer, Rob, Hearing the Movies: Music and Sound in Film History, New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
Cooke, Mervyn, The Hollywood Film Music Reader, New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
Wojcik, Pamela Robertson, Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music, London: Duke University Press, 2001.
Sound and Vision: 60 Years of Motion Picture Soundtracks, by Jon Burlingame, Billboard Books, 2000.

Disciplines -
Music, Mulltimedia
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Cooperative learning exercises
  4. Field work
  5. Oral presentations,
  6. Electronic discussions/chat
  7. Independent study
  8. Laboratory
  9. Writing Samples
Lab Content -
In Etudes, there will be 12 one-hour lab assignments where the student will find the reading, viewing, and listening materials for each week under “Modules.” After reading the assignments, students will be asked to complete an activity by responding to questions they will find under “Assignments, Tests, and Surveys.” The format will be multiple choice, true and false, or short answer. The lab is a supervised extension of the grade and starts in week one. Students will have one week to submit each lab assignment as they will move in parallel to the lectures and are intended to delve into a deeper level of personal enrichment. The intent of the lab is to integrate the history of film music with society and technology. Through the lab, we will travel to far away museums, incorporate news media and current events, and review films. Lab topics will include the origin of film music, scoring for films, Film Noir: Casa Blanca vs. Chinatown, Alfred Hitchcock: The Birds vs. Psycho, an essay by Andre Previn titled "No Minor Chords," an essay by Sidney Lumet titled "Making Movies," an essay by Igor Stravinsky titled "Film Music," a comparison of 3 movies: The Graduate, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Easy Rider, the impact of MTV and Saturday Night Fever, Orchestral Film Music: John Williams and Star Wars, Music and Soundtracks in the Classical Studio Era, and emergence of sound design in film today.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Weekly essay source readings:
    1. From Soundtrack Available: Complete a quote and comment card for "Music as Ethnic Markers: Sounding the American Heart: Cultural Politics, Country Music, and Contemporary American Film," Barbara Ching, 202.
    2. From The Hollywood Film Music Reader, compare essays by film composers in their own words, examples: Max Steiner, "Scoring the Film," 1937, with Aaron Copland's, "Our New Music," 1941, or Andre Previn's "No More Minor Chords," 1991, with John William's "Star Wars," 1997
  2. Weekly reading sample from the textbook: example
    1. Read Chapter 1: The Sound Track and Narrative and compare the second attempt at meeting in Sleepless in Seattle with the Boston Common Scene from Good Will Hunting.
  3. Essay on popular songs in films: Similarities and Differences
    1. Select 2 songs, 1 from each of 2 films featured in the book.
    2. Print out each lyric sheet.
    3. Make a comparison between noting what is similar and what is different between the 2 songs, here are some possible ideas:
      1. The song length
      2. Subject matter of the lyrics
      3. Form
      4. Style
      5. Melody
      6. Harmony
      7. Rhythm
      8. Chords
      9. Politics
      10. Poetic devices (rhyme, alliteration, simile, repetition, metaphor, assonance personification, symbolism, onomatopoeia, etc.)
  4. Book on a film composer or songwriter
Motion pictures are a significant part of our American heritage. I want you to present your selection of an artist in a creative book format. Think about your first experiences with film. What movie made a lasting impression on you?
Please consider the following thoughts, and questions, as you weave your research into your personal book. What will you add? What will you delete? Capture the magic of music, and the fantasy of film in your book!
Create a cover with the title, artwork or photograph, and author on the front. Your story should be 10-20 pages long, with 2-5 lines per page. Include your bibliography. New considerations that may require additional research:
  1. Training and background: Streets, jukes, cabarets, clubs, circus life, dance, poetry, drama, art, music, college, private lessons, film, Broadway, recording, producing
  2. Influences: Family life, political views, religious upbringing, morals, idols, other musicians. Did they ever pursue another career? Any film or TV connections?
  3. Style of music and explanation. For example: What is a blues song? Use terms from the text like hokum, mess around, cutting heads, juke joints for authenticity and to establish a "sense of place."
  4. A section on What's New? Examples: radio, cassettes, MTV, amplifiers, synthesizers, i-pods
  5. Theatrics and Fashion: Style of dress, hair, that is/was popular
  6. Include photographs, programs, ticket stubs, personal drawings, or artwork as necessary.
  7. Lifestyle challenges or controversies? Humanitarian contributions?
  8. Theme or symbolism within their musical performances?
  9. Innovator or stereotype? If any, in what way did they "push the envelope?"
  10. Select a song (by your artist), to be played quietly in the background as you read your book to the class