Take Two: The magic of movie music


The power of music  can transform a movie. By creating tension with harsh violins or adding a magical touch with light flutes, a film’s score can be the difference between a mediocre film and an immediate favorite.

Imagine enjoying a day with your closest friends on the beautiful English countryside. Dario Marianelli, who also wrote and composed the music for “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “V for Vendetta,” recreates this feeling perfectly through an elegantly classical score for the film “Pride & Prejudice.” The film opens with “Dawn,” a delicate piano piece fitting for the introduction of Elizabeth Bennet.

Among other magnificent pieces in Marianelli’s score is “Georgiana,” a predominantly piano piece that becomes more complex upon each repetition of the theme.

If there is any way to make a movie about a time traveling dog any more magical than it already is, Danny Elfman has achieved it with “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.”

Elfman, who is notable for his work alongside producer Tim Burton, managed to capture the perfect tone in the film. With fluffy pieces directly contrasted with darker, more mysterious ones, the film seems to have a perfect song for every scene.

 Elfman skillfully tailors each song to the historical character being featured. While “Off to Egypt” is, upon first listen, a western orchestral piece, it has undertones of trilling flutes  fit for a pharaoh.

 “Trojan Horse” demonstrates the qualities of a powerful Greek operetta and adds to the intensity of the scene. Full of variety and, ultimately, fun, the score “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” gives its listeners a hunger for adventure.

The original “Halloween” is iconic for a number of reasons, but what truly sets it aside is the unforgettable music that will haunt you long after the final scene. Director John Carpenter wrote the score himself in only three days, and he claims it “saved the movie.”

The classic theme song was inspired by a drumming exercise Carpenter did do as a child. Its intense beat with underlining violins make each scene where Michael Myers appears even more chilling than the last.

The high pace instrumentals in songs like “Laurie Knows” prove that Carpenter is a master at tone, and he knows exactly what will make the spines of his audience tingle.

Though a more recent film, “Moonlight” has proven its worth with its numerous awards and nominations, including best original score at both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes. In addition to the beautiful storyline, Moonlight provides the sublime music to define each step in the life of Chiron.

 One of the most chilling scenes in the film occurs when Chiron learns to swim, with nothing but the sound of the ocean and composer Nicholas Britell’s “The Middle of the World” playing. Britell’s use of string instruments and tone reflects  a softness that is hardly seen in the black male community.

 Britell also wrote the score for showstoppers such as “Lion.”