Composing for the Cinema: The Theory and Praxis of Music in Film

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With nearly 400 scores to his credit, Ennio Morricone is one of the most prolific and influential film composers working today. He has collaborated with many significant directors, and his scores for such films as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly; Once Upon a Time in America; Days of Heaven; The Mission; The Untouchables; Malèna; and Cinema Paradiso leave moviegoers with the conviction that something special was achieved—a conviction shared by composers, scholars, and fans alike.

In Composing for the Cinema: The Theory and Praxis of Music in Film, Morricone and musicologist Sergio Miceli present a series of lectures on the composition and analysis of film music. Adapted from several lectures and seminars, these lessons show how sound design can be analyzed and offer a variety of musical solutions to many different kinds of film. Though aimed at composers, Morricone’s expositions are easy to understand and fascinating even to those without any musical training. Drawing upon scores by himself and others, the composer also provides insight into his relationships with many of the directors with whom he has collaborated, including Sergio Leone, Giuseppe Tornatore, Franco Zeffirelli, Warren Beatty, Ridley Scott, Roland Joffé, the Taviani Brothers, and others.

Translated and edited by Gillian B. Anderson, an orchestral conductor and musicologist, these lessons reveal Morricone’s passion about musical expression. Delivered in a conversational mode that is both comprehensible and interesting, this groundbreaking work intertwines analysis with practical details of film music composition. Aimed at a wide audience of composers, musicians, film historians, and fans, Composing for the Cinema contains a treasure trove of practical information and observations from a distinguished musicologist and one of the most accomplished composers on the international film scene.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (October 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810892413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810892415
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Customer Reviews

A welcome addition to the field of film musicology

2 people found this helpful.
 on June 8, 2014
By Charles
Gillian Anderson’s translation of this Italian classic is a welcome addition to recent scholarship in the field. Although Morricone and Miceli discuss more about the events that take place before, during, and after composing, they discuss relatively little about the compositional process itself.

Interesting Didactic Window into the Film Music Profession

 on January 20, 2017
By George P. Burdell
As a music composition amateur, I found this book an interesting window into the professional film music world — and particularly into the minds of Ennio Morricone and Sergio Miceli. Since the book is a textual translation from a series of seminars, it is surely no substitute for actually attending or seeing the seminars; indeed, at times it was difficult to follow because Morricone or Miceli would refer to specific videos or musical passages being played for the audience, and the book is mainly text rather than visuals. I was also reading the book to see if I could understand the stories behind the soundtrack for “The Mission,” and there were only a few pages written on this particular film; overall, the prospective reader should understand that this book is more about conveying lessons for film music composition in general rather than detailing the history and origins of Morricone’s soundtracks in particular (though he does relate many stories along the way).

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