Exploring Film Music

The Musical Contexts Soundtracks Composing Videos Bank

A collection of short films (all in .mp4 format) suitable for soundtrack composition activities all preceded by the “5-4-3-2-1 countdown timer” and with an on-screen timer throughout.  Most videos are given in “silent” form and with the original soundtrack, dialogue, underscore or sound effects.   

Music Spotting sessions and the construction of a Storyboard and/or Cuesheet can then be completed before pupils attempt to create their own film music soundtracks.

Soundtracks - Cover and Homework Activities

Soundtracks - The James Bond Film Music Project

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Soundtracks - Horror Film Soundtracks Resources

Soundtracks - General Film Music Resources

Soundtracks - Leitmotif Resources

Soundtracks - Westerns & Cowboys and Indians Film Soundtracks Resources

Soundtracks - Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Magical Film Soundtracks Resources

Soundtracks - Action, Thriller and Spy Film Soundtracks Resources

Soundtracks - Music Theory and Melodic Dictation

Soundtracks Melodic Dictation Exercises

Bass and Treble Clef Melodic Dictation based on Film Music Themes.

 All of the audio examples are given on the accompanying audio file.

The unit begins with an introduction into the purpose of film music and the decisions and challenges a composer of film music faces.  Leitmotifs are an important aspect of film music and pupils explore how composers have used these to represent certain characters and situations within films and how, through the manipulation of the elements of music, these can be changed to suit different on-screen situations. 

The unit has several “Lesson Pathways” allowing teachers to focus on some of several film music genres in detail.  While the focus of this unit is on creating and composing, there are opportunities for pupils to critically engage with a range of film music through listening and appraising, together with some performing activities of famous film themes and leitmotifs.

The James Bond Film Music Project is one such popular pathway where pupils perform the James Bond Leitmotif and Themes before using these in a soundtrack composition for the newest James Bond film trailer.

Another popular pathway is to focus on the music in horror films using one of the “Haunted House” videos as a stimulus for a soundtrack composition.

The Musical Contexts Soundtracks Composing Videos Bank contains several short suitable films with an on-screen timer throughout where pupils could undertake a music spotting, construction of a storyboard/cue sheet and ultimately a complete soundtrack composition.

Soundtracks - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Soundtracks - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Includes Scheme of Work Overview, Unit Learning Objectives, Learning Outcomes and Lesson Pathways.

Soundtracks - DOITNOW (Starters) and Plenary Activities

Soundtracks - Plenary

Presentation

A range of lesson closers and ways in which pupil’s can review their learning and consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding from within the Soundtracks unit.

Soundtracks - 5 Minutes Silent Reading

For teachers who prefer to begin their lessons with quiet, focused openers.  All contain “Questions to Think About” which can also be used as Cover or Homework tasks.

1. What is Film Music For?

2. Early Film Music.

3. How do you start writing Film Music?

4. The Independent Life of a Film Score.

5. Cultural Repercussions.

6. The Purpose of Film Music.

“Haunted House” - Composing Ideas (a .png file Brainstorm/Mindmap) - Some ideas (a ‘Haunted House Film Music Composer’s “Toolkit”’) giving some of the most common and frequently used compositional musical devices “associated with” Film Music used in Horror Films.  This may help direct pupils to using SOME of the many given ways of adapting the “Elements of Music” in their ‘Haunted House’ Film Music compositions.

Soundtracks Theory

Pupils construct intervals of a 5th adding notes above and below treble and bass clef staff notation and work out the note names of chords (also in treble and bass clef notation with accidentals) before aurally evaluating whether they are a concord or discord. 

Soundtracks - “DOITNOW” Presentation

 

Cutting down on printables, file storage and media files, the “new look” Musical Contexts “DOITNOW” Soundtracks lesson openers Presentation contains  a wealth (only two samples shown here), of effective “DOITNOW’s” when delivering the Soundtracks unit in just one place - all audio and video files are embedded and there’s accompanying Teacher’s Notes in the “slide comments” section. 

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SQUILT

Key Words, Concepts and Musical Knowledge

Leitmotif, Soundtrack, Theme Song, Mickey-Mousing, Concord/Discord, (Chromatic) Sequencing, Storyboard, ‘Borrowed’ Music, Music-Spotting, Interval of a 5th, Click Tracks/Timing, Theme, Sound Effects, Motif, Timbre/Sonority, Musical Clichés, Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Film Music.

Music Theory

Intervals of a 5th

Concords and Discords

Links to GCSE Music

Film Music/Music for Film

Music for Stage and Screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haunted House Video 1 (.mp4)

with on-screen timer

Haunted House Video 1 (.mp4) with on-screen composing prompts

Haunted House Video 2 (.mp4)

with on-screen timer

Haunted House Video 2 (.mp4) with on-screen composing prompts

Haunted House Video 3 (.mp4)

with on-screen timer

Haunted House Video 3 (.mp4) with on-screen composing prompts

 

 

 

 

Haunted ‘Psycho’ House Video 4 (.mp4)

with on-screen timer

Haunted ‘Psycho’ House Video 4 (.mp4)

with on-screen composing prompts

Haunted ‘Psycho’ House Video 4 (.mp4)

with Bernard Hermann’s original soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Collapse” Short Film

(2 minutes 29 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Collapse” Short Film

(2 minutes 29 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

“Crows Attack the Students” from ‘The Birds’

(2 minutes 29 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Crows Attack the Students” from ‘The Birds’

(2 minutes 29 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

“The Force Awakens”

(Ending Scene)

(2 minutes 34 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“The Force Awakens”

(Ending Scene)

(2 minutes 34 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

(Opening Sequence)

(2 minutes 12 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Guardians of the Galaxy”

(Opening Sequence)

(2 minutes 12 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”

(3 minutes 42 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”

(3 minutes 42 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

“Harry Potter Dementor Train Attack Scene”

(3 minutes 42 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Harry Potter Dementor Train Attack Scene”

(3 minutes 42 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Lit up Sea and the Whale” from ‘The Life of Pi’

(1 minute 43 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“The Lit up Sea and the Whale” from ‘The Life of Pi’

(1 minute 43 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Metropolis”

(3 minutes 32 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Metropolis”

(3 minutes 32 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

“Scare Floor” scene from ‘Monsters Inc.’

(3 minutes 32 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Scare Floor” scene from ‘Monsters Inc.’

(3 minutes 32 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Throne Room” Scene from ‘Star Wars’

(1 minute 44 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“Throne Room” Scene from ‘Star Wars’

(1 minute 44 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat

(First Documentary Film 1895)

(53 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat

(First Documentary Film 1895)

(53 seconds)

Early Piano Accompaniment

“The Woman in Black” (trailer)

(1 minute 31 seconds)

Silent with on-screen timer

“The Woman in Black” (trailer)

(1 minute 31 seconds)

Original Soundtrack

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Music

Pupils answer comprehension questions and then think about how they would use instruments, sounds, sound effects and genres of music in different types of films.

Can be done without using ICT.

Music for Films

Pupils think about how mood, instruments, tempo, pitch and musical features can be used in their choice of film types before creating a mini storyboard for one film and writing the lyrics to a theme song for it.

Can be done without using ICT.

Film and Background Music

Comprehension-style activity based on Film and Background Music and Cinema Sound Systems.

Can be done without using ICT.

Film Music Composers Research

Pupils match the titles of films to their soundtrack composer.

Suggested answers provided.

Requires Internet access for research.

Film Music Word Search

Pupils answer questions relating to key words and terms in Film Music and find the answers within a word search grid.  Answers provided.

Can be done without using ICT.

Film Music Missing Words

Pupils complete missing words on the music used in different film genres before answering questions on Westerns and Horror soundtracks. 

Can be done without using ICT.

All About Film Music

Another comprehension activity based on Film Music with film music genre planning.

Can be done without using ICT.

Lost in Space

Pupils plan a soundtrack o a Sci-Fi film scene using a Storyboard.

Can be done without using ICT.

Musical Devices Used in Film Music

Pupils suggest how music could be written for different film situations.

Can be done without using ICT.

Planning a Soundtrack to a Horror Film

Pupils plan a soundtrack to a Horror Film using either a 6, 7 or 9-frame Storyboard.

Can be done without using ICT.

 

 

 

 

 

James Bond Performing Sheet

Contains the James Bond Leitmotif, The Main James Bond Theme and The James Bond Action Themes 1 & 2.

How the James Bond Leitmotif and Themes are used in a Soundtrack

Thematic analysis of the use of Leitmotif and James Bond Themes.  Contains answers.

 

James Bond Soundtrack Video

How Music is used in “Goldfinger” Video

Video with on-screen question prompts as to how music is used in the opening sequence of an older James Bond film.

No Time to Die James Bond Trailer Video

Edited version of the trailer to “No Time to Die” for soundtrack composition project.

No Time to Die James Bond Trailer Cue Sheet

Blank Example Cue Sheet with timings and a Cue Sheet with question prompts to accompany the “No Time to Die” soundtrack composition video trailer.

 

 

Famous Leitmotifs Performing Sheet

Batman, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Star Wars and Imperial Death March Leitmotifs.

Leitmotifs Study Guide

A 14-page Study Guide exploring how film music composers use Timbre and Sonority, Pitch, Dynamics, Rhythm, Melodic Movement and Intervals in famous Leitmotifs such as Batman, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Harry Potter and Star Wars.  Contains complete Teacher’s Notes with Discussion and Answers and all supporting audio and video filesAlso useful for GCSE Film Music Areas of Study.

Leitmotifs Video 1 - Jaws Leitmotif in Action       Leitmotifs MIDI 1 - Batman Leitmotif        Leitmotifs MIDI 2 - James Bond Leitmotif          Leitmotifs MIDI 3 - Darth Vader Leitmotif

Leitmotifs Audio 1 - Listening to Timbre in Film Leitmotifs          Leitmotifs Audio 2 - Listening for Pitch in Film Leitmotifs          Leitmotifs Audio 3 - Listening for Dynamics in Film Leitmotifs

Leitmotifs Audio 4 - Listening for Rhythm in Film Leitmotifs          Leitmotifs Audio 5 - Indian Jones Rhythms          Leitmotifs Audio 6 - Darth Vader Leitmotif Rhythms

Leitmotifs Audio 7 - Darth Vader Leitmotif          Leitmotifs Audio 8 - Indiana Jones Leitmotif          Leitmotifs Audio 9 - James Bond Leitmotif & Theme 1

Leitmotifs Audio 10 - Star Wars Leitmotif          Leitmotifs Audio 11 - Intervals Listening          Leitmotifs Audio 12 - James Bond Leitmotif          Leitmotifs Audio 13 - Tritone Examples

Leitmotifs Audio 14 - Harry Potter Leitmotif          Leitmotifs Audio 15 - Listening for Seconds in Leitmotifs

 

 

 

 

The Ghoul

Pupils select appropriate music by Wagner to accompany an early “silent” Horror Film.  Contains Teacher’s Notes with Background Information.

The Ghoul Video

The Ghoul Audio Wagner Extracts

Performing the Halloween Theme by John Carpenter

Contains scores with and without note names and Teacher’s Notes.

Theme from Halloween Films Audio

Exploring the Soundtrack to “Psycho”

5-page Study Guide exploring Bernard Hermann’s soundtrack to “Psycho” including performing and composing activities, listening and analysis and full Teacher’s Notes with answers and discussion. 

Psycho Video 1 - Opening Titles with Soundtrack           

Psycho Audio 1 - Opening Chords (repeated 4 times)

Psycho Audio 2 - The “Psycho Theme” Sigh Motif           

Psycho Audio 3 - “Slasher Theme” from Psycho

Psycho Audio 4 - Film Music from Psycho

Performing “In the House - In a Heartbeat” Theme from ‘28 Days Later’

Contains scores with and with partial note names.

 

28 Days Later Audio—Melody and Bass Line Parts together from “In the House - In a Heartbeat”

 

 

 

 

 

Orchestral and Electronic Resources in Film Music Listening Sheet

Contains Teacher’s Notes, Answers & Discussion Points.

Orchestral & Electronic Audio 1—Spellbound—Rózsa

Orchestral & Electronic Audio 2—Sorcerer—Tangerine Dream

Orchestral & Electronic Audio 3—Koyaanisquatsi—Philip Glass

Film Music as an aid to Narrative Listening Sheet

Contains Teacher’s Notes, Answers & Discussion Points.

 

Theme Music from “Laura” Audio—David Raskin

The First Specially Composed Film Scores and Music Spotting

Pupils analyse two scenes from the film “October” where appropriate music and sound effects could be added before creating their own film soundtrack for either video film sequence.

October Video 1 - The Raising of the Bridges

October Video 2 - The Tanks Advance

Exploring Music in Cartoons and Animated Films

Musical clichés used in cartoons and animated films for pupils to perform.

 

Cartoon Audio 1 - “Putty Tat Trouble (1951)”

Cartoon Audio 2 - “Two Crows from Tacos (1956)”

Cartoon Audio 3 - Cartoon Clichés Listening Quia

Film Music Composing Briefs

Useful as practice for GCSE Music Film Music Composing to a brief without video.

 

Leitmotifs Study Guide 2

Explores how Leitmotifs can be varied, changed and developed through Chromatic Sequencing and the addition of Incidental Music in film soundtracks.  Also features a pupil composition task where they create then vary their own “Monster Leitmotif”.  Contains complete Teacher’s Notes with Answers and all supporting audio and video files.  Also Useful for GCSE Film Music Areas of Study. 

Leitmotifs Video 2 - Leitmotifs in Wagner’s Operas            Leitmotifs Video 3 - Incidental Music and Leitmotifs in scenes from Jaws

Leitmotifs Audio 16 - Leitmotifs in Wagner’s Operas Audio            Leitmotifs Audio 17—Chromatic Sequencing from Rigoletto            Leitmotifs Audio 18 - Chromatic Sequencing from Taste the Blood of Dracula

 

 

 

Exploring Film Music in Westerns

4-page Study Guide focusing on Listening and Appraising film music used in Westerns.  Contains a 10-mark GCSE-style Listening Question complete with audio files, teacher’s notes, answers and discussion. 

Westerns Audio 1 - Main Title from The Big Country

Westerns Audio 2 - Theme from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Westerns Audio 3 - Cowboy Theme from Twins of Evil

Westerns Audio 4 - Theme from The Magnificent Seven

Westerns Audio 5 - Westerns Instruments Quiz

Performing the Theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” by Ennio Morricone

Differentiated performing sheets in a two-part (Melody and Chords and Bass Line together) short version and a two part (Melody and Bass Line) longer, full version with and without note names.  .

Includes melody line part in B flat for transposing instruments and Stretch and Challenge tasks. 

Theme from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”

10 recordings of pupil performances ranging from 1/10 to 10/10 useful for preparatory performing work and WWW/EBI activities.

GBU Audio 1 - 1/10 Example          GBU Audio 2 - 2/10 Example

GBU Audio 3 - 3/10 Example          GBU Audio 4 - 4/10 Example

GBU Audio 5 - 5/10 Example          GBU Audio 6 - 6/10 Example

GBU Audio 7 - 7/10 Example          GBU Audio 8—8/10 Example

GBU Audio 9 - 9/10 Example        GBU Audio 10 - 10/10 Example