Okay. I have nothing more to say on the subject. That title just came to mind, and I had to type it. So there you go. Sometimes I get a title in my head and, well, I have to run with it. You can bet your classical on that one. ;-)

But moving on …

The Guardian wonders if movie music should be called classical music. Actually, Jakob-Hoff says it shouldn’t.

I honestly don’t know what to think. Mostly because it’s 7:00 in the morning, I just woke up (for the umpteenth time; hotels and I aren’t best friends), and I haven’t had a cup of coffee.

I can say, though, that when I tune in to our local “classical station” and it’s in the middle of a work sometimes I think, “Hmmm. That sounds like a movie soundtrack.” And I’m always correct when they play one of those. This tells me that if it’s classical, it is certainly a particular kind of classical that is easily recognizable. Kind of like a lot of ballet music. (Why is it that some ballet music is so darn awful? Not all, mind you, but I’m convinced that some of it wouldn’t be around today if a ballet wasn’t attached.) And yes, if I heard Bach on the station that would be easily recognizable too, but that just seems different to me. I’m guessing Bach didn’t write a work while watching a film and thinking, “This is when she runs out of the house and gets hit by a car,” or some such thing.

Of course I could be wrong.

Oh. Wait. No, I couldn’t be wrong about Bach & film. Whew!

It’s not a big deal, to be honest. Not something I’d spend an entire blog entry on, that’s for sure. Aren’t you glad I wouldn’t do that?

PS I do know there are “classical” composers who wrote, and write, for film. So what’s the diff between Shostakovich and, say, Shore? Anyone have an answer. (Besides, perhaps, a snide little, “Talent” answer. Or “dead”. Those are cheating.)


  1. Just a thought, but sometimes it seems to me that a lot of film music is very…contrived. Film composers know exactly what is going to make an audience feel a certain way, and almost…take advantage of it? It seems almost manipulative, an outside source saying, “Here is how you are going to feel in this moment”. Shostakovich, perhaps, is less contrived in that he wrote music to say, “This is how *I* feel in this moment”. Same for a lot of great classical composers, and composers of “art music.”
    Is that the difference, perhaps? Are film scores *entertainment* music, not designed to be emotionally engaging but simply emotionally directing?

  2. I’ve written before about the manipulative aspect of a lot of movie music. When I recognize what it’s doing … when it is noticeable in that way, I am very distracted. And annoyed!

    But of course classical music can be manipulative as well. So I agree with what you write, but I suspect there’s also other things that come into play as well.