Music for film: a history

Course Dates: 20/04/20 - 29/06/20
Time: 10:30 - 12:40
Location: KS - Keeley Street
Pauline Greene

Since the earliest silent films, music has been used for atmosphere, character and emotion. We examine the development of specialised film scores and composers for genres from art-house to blockbuster. Break week: 25 May (Bank holiday).


What is the course about?

Music accompanying silent film was useful in covering the noise of the projector, but was soon recognised as an aid to enriching the experience of the audience and reinforcing the director’s vision. Film companies started sending out suggested (existing) music, and from this the idea of specially-written music took over. We will consider the relationship between the film composer and the director, looking at their working systems as technology developed. Using examples from all periods and many genres, we will examine individual scores and scenes in more detail to determine how film music can be most effective, and how composing for film differs from writing for stage or concert-hall.

What will we cover?

- A general overview of the history of film music
- Some technical aspects of film composition
- The working relationship between composer and director
- Specific examples of film scenes with music from a variety of dates and genres.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

- Place a film score or scene in its appropriate context of date and/or genre
- Analyse and discuss the variety of ways that composers make use of tools such as melody, harmony, texture, rhythm, and their effect on the resulting film scene
- Be able to discuss the effect of music on a particular film scene or complete film.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This is a beginners’ course. No prior knowledge of music is assumed but you should have an interest in music and be keen to find out more. You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussions and take notes in English.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

You will be taught using a range of techniques including short lectures, slide shows and discussions, practical demonstrations on the piano and guided listening sessions. Courses use a variety of materials including YouTube clips. Links to these are given on handouts so that further exploration may take place between classes if you wish.

Occasional short preparation tasks, such as listening to a piece or reading a review, may be set from time to time. Listening and reading outside class is encouraged and, once enrolled, further online resources will be available via Google Classroom.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

- Please bring a notebook and pen.
- You may wish to buy some of the music or books recommended in class.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

City Lit offers a wide range of music history classes, as well as related courses in history, art history and philosophy.

Pauline will be teaching a short course MD642C Great musicians: Noël Coward, at the end of this term.

If you enjoy learning about music you may like to consider our wide range of instrumental classes including piano classes taught in our digital piano suite. All beginners classes are suitable for those who don’t yet read music notation but are keen to learn.

To find out more about music history classes and to read our year-long selection of courses, please see the blog post Music history: your guide to the 2019/20 programme which lists our full programme of classes ordered by term, and by day of the week. You may then click on each title to read the full course outline.

Tutor Biographies
We’re sorry. We don’t have a bio ready for the tutor of this class at the moment, but we’re working on it! Watch this space.

Book your place

Course Code: MD506

Mon, day, 20 Apr - 29 Jun '20

Duration: 10 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Full fee: £199.00
Senior fee: £159.00
Concession: £121.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2630

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.