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Film music: soundtracks that help create unforgettable memories

Nowadays we cannot conceive a film without a soundtrack. Nowadays, all movies have cinematic music that plays throughout the scenes, which links sequences of scenes and helps us understand and interpret how a character may feel at a certain moment or recognize a moment of suspense, terror or romance. , among others.

What is a soundtrack?

Film music composed especially for cinema is called a soundtrack. This type of music performs a double function: to reinforce the meaning of the ideas that, on their own, the images are not capable of expressing and, at the same time, to establish a continuous narrative link in the cinematographic discourse, contributing to giving credibility to the action.

Soundtracks “sound” the images and thereby transmit to the viewer the soundscape that gives credibility to a scene. It is very common for the term original soundtrack (OST) to be used to refer only to the music used in a film, since it is the sound part with the most interest.


Do you know what was the origin of soundtracks in cinema?

In 1908 the first original soundtrack in the History of Cinema was born.. It was created especially to reinforce the expressiveness of certain passages of a film. Those responsible for creating original scores for the films The Assassination of the Duke of Guise and Stenka Razin were the composers Camille Saint-Saëns and Mihail Ippolitov-Ivanov.

In 1914, four films were produced with a musical background created for them with the participation of the musician JK Breil. A year later, there are now ten films that have specific music created by him. It is from these moments that film music compositions become widespread, with each studio having its own composers.

This would be consolidated in subsequent decades. Starting in the 1930s, major film studios had entire music departments. In 1933, with the film King Kong, Max Steiner demonstrated what could be done with an original score completely synchronized with the images.

Between the 1930s and 1940s, composers began creating music for films that came from different areas of musical composition. From Broadway musical comedy to opera. Numerous classical music composers such as Malcom Arnold or Aaron Copland would make important contributions in this field.

The fifties are the absolute domain of Alfred Newman and Bernard Hermann along with Orson Welles. Other authors from light music and jazz also emerged.

In the middle of the decade, the general public began to take more into account the music in films. A change in attitude that the studios made profitable by encouraging their composers to write sellable songs, melodies and songs that could be released on disc. For example, one of them was the song Moon River by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini for Breakfast at Tiffany's in 1961.

To all this, a technical improvement in sound recording systems would contribute, which would become evident in the great epic films of those years..

Elements that are part of a cinematographic soundtrack.

The starting theme corresponds to the music that accompanies the opening credits, therefore, if these titles are preceded by images and music, this music would not, in principle, be an opening theme unless it began before the credits and developed in them.

Background or indexical music is music that, by definition, is not diegetic.. It does not come from natural sources, but abstract ones. The viewer cannot recognize her place of origin and the characters do not listen to her. It has no realistic meaning and is located in places as vague as the environment, the psychology or the emotions of the characters. Its duration does not respond to criteria of accuracy, but is prolonged depending on the needs of each scene and can be interrupted and resumed a long time later.

The closing music corresponds to the music that accompanies the final credits titles. Therefore, if music were not inserted in these titles, the last music played in the film would not be considered an ending theme. Of course, the final theme can begin before the end credits and develop during them. It can be different, identical or a variation of the initial theme.

Musical reference in the form of short notes, known as Leitmotiv, which can be independent, derived or derived and which consists of a musical motif or fragment related to something specific and exclusive.

Dialogue is the communicative body of the film and television script and they serve for the characters to interact with each other unless it is an internal dialogue. In it, special emphasis is placed on the colloquial aspect of everyday speech. The main function of cinematic dialogue is to provide information that cannot be shown with the action itself.

External sounds that are recorded independently of the film and are added in the post-production process. They add volume and intensity so that, for example, the impact of an action is greater.

What are the functions of a good soundtrack in movies?

It serves to reinforce or intensify different moments. It can replace unnecessary dialogues and acts as a counterpoint to the images. It is integrated into the general, dramatic and aesthetic tone of the cinematographic work.

Supports the structure of the narrative giving a sense of continuity to the film. It also serves as a neutral background on many occasions to fill in empty passages and unify the montage of the different scenes.



It helps to influence the feelings and emotions that the viewer experiences throughout the film, modifying the meaning of the image or anticipating a certain situation. They create a certain psychological effect. The music reinforces the action on the screen, charging a scene with tension, joy or sadness to bring the emotions of the characters closer to the viewer.

The music expands and explains the image in the most emotional sense. Helps create and reinforce certain atmospheres to give a feeling of reality to the viewer in certain scenes and situations. Soundtracks also help create the right atmosphere for the development of the action. The composers adapt the music to the time and context of the film.

Types of soundtracks that exist in cinema

Optical soundtrack in cinema

It is that which is linked to the sense of sight. Different intensities of light are converted into electrical impulses creating the entire soundtrack integrated into the cinematographic film.

Magnetic type soundtracks

One or more magnetic recording strips run along the edges of the film strip. When read by a device in sync with the projection, sounds are generated just as a cassette player would.

Digital soundtracks

This is the one that uses the new digital sound reproduction systems on the screen, which require the use of different coding standards for sound reproduction. Some of the digital audio playback systems are MIDI, WAV, MP3 and OGG among many others.

The importance of a good soundtrack to turn a movie into an unforgettable experience.

Hearing is one of the most complex senses and its pathway communicates with numerous brain areas. Among them, it is related to the limbic system related to emotional processing. Music releases dopamine and induces physiological changes on us in the same way that any emotional stimulus does.

Music awakens memories because it has the ability to bring back those that are related to the content of the song's lyrics. It has the ability to transport us to moments and make us relive emotions and sensations.

For many people It is impossible to understand cinema without music. A large number of films have become immortal thanks to their soundtracks or soundtracks. Star Wars, Gone with the Wind, Psycho and a long etcetera.
Movie soundtracks have the power to move us, make us smile, disturb us or make us cry.
For this reason, to a large extent, the success of some legendary films is closely linked to their soundtrack.

Through OSTs, composers are able to introduce viewers to a specific emotional state: fear, sadness, tension, etc.

Soundtracks enrich the viewer's experience in the cinema. It generates emotions, awakens memories and, to a large extent, guides throughout the story of the film. Music is an art of infinite possibilities that multiply if we combine them with the cinematographic universe.


The best film music at the Film Symphony Orchestra

FSO is a pioneer orchestra in Spain in the interpretation of the best film soundtracks. On the 2019-2020 Tour We have been able to enjoy the soundtrack of Avengers: Endgame, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jurassic World, Aladdin, Amelie, Interstellar and many more.

With more than 80 musicians, our symphony orchestra has toured the main auditoriums of the country since 2012. This project, conceived and led by Constantino Martínez-Orts, has been a real success for the music of film soundtracks.

Our orchestra has the magic of transporting you to these mythical films through the sense of hearing and awakening all kinds of emotions during the shows. The reward, the love of the fans and the countless 'Sold Out' that we accumulate during our tours.