A History of Film Music

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This book, first published in 2008, provides a comprehensive and lively introduction to the major trends in film scoring from the silent era to the present day, focussing not only on dominant Hollywood practices but also offering an international perspective by including case studies of the national cinemas of the UK, France, India, Italy, Japan and the early Soviet Union. The book balances wide-ranging overviews of film genres, modes of production and critical reception with detailed non-technical descriptions of the interaction between image track and soundtrack in representative individual films. In addition to the central focus on narrative cinema, separate sections are also devoted to music in documentary and animated films, film musicals and the uses of popular and classical music in the cinema. The author analyses the varying technological and aesthetic issues that have shaped the history of film music, and concludes with an account of the modern film composer's working practices.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 586 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (October 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521010489
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521010481
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.2 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds

Customer Reviews

Almost too comprehensive?

9 people found this helpful.
 on September 16, 2010
By Pecos Pete
The passion for the subject and the depth of the research overcomes the danger of attempting to cover as much as possible on the subject (film-music history). Given two volumes it would be amazing, and perhaps then Cooke could become the first to take on the last fifteen years of history (so far too daunting for anyone it would seem). I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a broad perspective on the whole picture, which includes great coverage of film-music made in places far from Hollywood. If you are looking for a deeper look and analysis into certain aspects of the history, you might find 

Great book!

2 people found this helpful.
 on October 20, 2009
By Lázaro Manuel Silva
Great book and a very good seller! Hope we meet again.

Great book! Get the paperback!

One person found this helpful.
 on July 3, 2015
By Michael G. Shafto
Before encountering this book, I thought I had made a pretty good effort to survey film scores back to the silent era. I had acquired, auditioned, and researched hundreds of soundtracks in all styles. But I was lacking any conceptual framework within which to integrate the material, and (I now know) I was aware of only about 10% of the interesting music and the contexts in which it was composed. I generally agree with the positive comments in previous reviews, especially the combination of scholarship, insight, and humor; the energy and enthusiasm for the topic; and the thorough coverage of prior theoretical work. I also expanded my vocabulary with words such as ‘diegetic’ (unknown to most spelling checkers), ‘distanciation’ (ditto), and ‘anempathetic’ (ditto). I have to issue just one caveat: This is a 2008 publication, and I would have expected the publication process to be fundamentally electronic. My version of the book, however, is an e-book that seems to have been derived from a printed source by some highly erratic OCR technology, without the slightest hint of any proofreading. Cooke definitely deserves better. Whereas the content is great, the raggedy instantiation is too often distracting.

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