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Film Music
by Peter Larsen
translated by John Irons
Reaktion Books, 2007
Paper: 978-1-86189-341-3

Just hearing a few notes from certain songs can bring a movie back to life—whether the Doors’ “The End” from Apocalypse Now, Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” in The Graduate, or John Williams’ scores to such blockbusters as Jaws, Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. But what is the relationship between film and music—where does the film begin and the music end?

Taking off from a variation of that question—whether music accompanies a film or a film illustrates the music—Peter Larsen probes the complex relationship between the two. He charts the history of music in film, exploring along the way the role that music plays in the narrative and psychological functions of film. Examining such classics and blockbusters as The Big Sleep, American Graffiti, North by Northwest, and Blade Runner,Larsen uses these case studies to demonstrate how scores and soundtracks can expose unexpected new facets of a film.

A wholly accessible examination, Film Music will be an essential read for music scholars and film buffs alike.


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