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Film Music: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) [Paperback]

Kathryn Kalinak
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 May 2010 0195370872 978-0195370874
The rich and deeply moving sounds of film music are as old as cinema itself. Even the very first projected moving images were accompanied by music in many places as a variety of performers - from single piano players to small orchestras - brought images to life through musical accompaniment. Film music has since become its own industry, an aesthetic platform for expressing creative visions and a commercial vehicle for growing musical stars of all varieties.
This Very Short Introduction provides a lucid, accessible, and engaging overview of the subject of film music. Beginning with an analysis of the music from a well-known sequence in the film Reservoir Dogs, the book focuses on the most central issues in the practice of film music. Expert author Kay Kalinak takes readers behind the scenes to understand both the practical aspects of film music - what it is and how it is composed - and also the theories that have been developed to explain why film music works. This compact book not entertains with the fascinating stories of the composers and performers who have shaped film music across the globe but also gives readers a broad sense for the key questions in film music studies today.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Film Music: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) + Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema
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Product details

  • Paperback: 152 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA (27 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195370872
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195370874
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.9 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Kathryn Kalinak has emerged as one of the freshest and most authoritative commentatory on film music of her generation. (Michael Quinn, Classical Music)

Both an admirable thumbnail portrait of the history of film music and an impressive precis of key issues (Michael Quinn, Classical Music)

You won't find a better primer than this pocket-size one...Her scope is enorous. (Classic FM Magazine,)

Her scope is enormous...and her tone is intelligent, invigorating and well-informed. Superb. (Classic FM Magazine,)

About the Author

Kathryn Kalinak is Professor of English and Film Studies at Rhode Island College. Her extensive writing on film music includes numerous articles as well as the books Settling the Score: Music in the Classical Hollywood Film and How the West was Sung: Music in the Westerns of John Ford.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, concise and enjoyable 24 Oct 2011
This is an excellent starter for the subject. The differentiation in the opening chapters (What, How, Why) is helpful and by preceding the history chapters the focus on analysis is fixed and valuable. The history sections highlight key areas and suggest suitable ideas for further research. Additionally Kalinak's writing style is fluent and for such a short introduction she packs plenty of interetsing material in. I have been recommending it to many students.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to film music 10 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was just what I was looking for as I've become interested in film music since watching some BBC programmes with Neil Brand. Kalinak's book was a good follow up as it's given me lots more information about the history of film music, not just American but from other parts of the world, and some ideas for movies to watch which will keep me busy for a while.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for what it is 29 Jun 2010
By Telstar - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The first quarter of the book is a very well done explanation of different approaches to film theory and music. There are then historical sections, and a final section on film music as both craft and art.

This is a breathtaking exposition, very original, and scholarly but approachable. However, do not be fooled, Hollywood film of 1970 forward is not focused upon, there is much more on art film and historical film. The sections on non-Hollywood and non-Western films are particularly superb and unique.

The writer does assume some level of knowledge about music, instrumentation, and the like, but it is not technical. It serves well as an introduction, is timely with appropriately recent materials, and is very readable. I would have liked better citation machinary and density than these books traditionally provide.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice and short (as it's supposed to be) 14 Oct 2012
By Greg Michaels - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book does a great job of summarizing the history of film music and various technological advances since the days of Edison. It is succinct and to the point; perfect for someone who knows virtually nothing about the history or is looking at quickly brushing up on their knowledge.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for all film lovers 14 July 2010
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
With rare and notable exceptions, film music is an essential and indispensable part of the movie watching experience. Film music serves many purposes, and comes in various shapes and forms. Movie soundtracks are frequently among the most popular audio albums, and in some instances even overshadow the movies for which they were made.

This very short introduction explores many facets of film music. For the most part it has a concrete focus, and draws examples from many films and scenes to substantiate its main points. The book does not assume any prior knowledge of music, and where necessary, makes only a cursory mention of prominent aspects of music to enhance the reader's understanding of the main ideas presented. The book is particularly noteworthy for all the attention that it pays to non-Western films and cinemas. The author comes across as extremely knowledgable and passionate about her subject, and any true movie lover would really enjoy reading this book.

The only weak point of this book is the chapter on "theory" behind film music. Replete with the kind of obsessive musings one might expect of graduate seminars in the humanities, this chapter has little relevance, if any, to the everyday world of film music. In fact, I would be highly surprised if many renowned film music composers have even heard of any of these "theories." Thankfully, this is a very short chapter that can easily be skipped without compromising content or enjoyment from the rest of the book. Overall, this is one of the more readable and enjoyable books in this series.
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting! 13 Jan 2014
By Amir Molookpour - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
it's a very short and interesting book about film music and it's not just about american movies but it's a very general guideline about the film music in the world!
1 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I was kind of bored 1 April 2013
By Patrick Faith - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just got bored reading this, there was nuthing horrible in it. The music theory was just tedious and the music film history was tiresome(lacking a theme). I'd even say the theory and history was basically off based - wasted a bunch of my time reading it explain inverted music (i.e. happy music during scenes with psychos) - again just tiresome.
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