Music For Film

Music for film composed as soundtracks or scores for movies can be breathtaking and is art in its own right. Many movies' original scores go on to sell very well in CD format independent of the movie in which the music was featured.

George Lucas probably ushered in the modern era of big time movie music for film scores with "Star Wars" in 1977. Bucking the then-going trend of rock or jazz-fusion or "Bollywood" movie music, Lucas hired great contemporary classical composer and conductor John Williams to compose and arrange the now-famous Star Wars theme and, a few years later, the almost equally famous "Imperial March" orchestral theme.

Lucas has stated that the musical score to Star Wars can tell you the whole story by itself.

When composers score music for a film, they are aiming for that effect or something similar.

A film's musical score allows a scene to reach more directly into our emotions and give us a fuller sense of the meaning behind what we are seeing and what's being said.

So we often don't realize the powerful impact a musical score can have for good or bad on a film.

For instance, Peter Jackson's super-successful film adaptation of the great 'Lord of the Rings' novels relied in part for its tremendous success on the film score composed by Howard Shore, who won awards for his compositions for those films.

On the other hand, there have been films such as "The Last Unicorn" that were diminished in their appeal and success by a bad musical score decision (in the latter case, the director switched from an orchestral score to an electronic one by Tangerine Dream...with disastrous results).

Usually, but not always, a film's director completes some "rough cuts" of the film's scenes and then shows them to a musical scorer, who begins conjuring up music that seems to illustrate the story emotionally.

Over the last 50 years more and more composers have used electronics to craft film scores, although since "Star Wars" orchestral scores have been strong as well.

These musical composers don't work for free. Musicians who target music for film and who are well known can make a substantial amount of money through royalties.

I will cover royalty free music from people who don't have that kind of budget in a link below labeled Free royalty free music.

Because they are paid on royalties, it's in their best interests to come up with music that will help to drive a film's success.

The more money the film makes in ticket sales and later on in distribution sales like on HD DVDs, the more money they'll be paid.

The royalty is part of a film's gross profit that gets paid to the music composer in exchange for the rights to use and distribute the music.

If a film's musical score gets made into a separate CD, the composer will earn additional royalties from the CD sales if he had it in the contract.

Also, if any part of the score becomes a "hit song" (such as happened with the movie title song "Chariots of Fire" in 1982), the composer also receives "performance royalties" based on how often it gets played on the radio.

Therefore, professional film music scorers want to compose music that not only makes the film successful, they also want to write music that might yield "hits" in its own right, which would of course be a win-win situation for all involved.

Free Royalty Free Music

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