The Functions of Film Music
Music plays an important role in films. Music helps the audience to be able to capture the atmosphere of various scenes, and this enables the audience to understand the plot better.
By incorporating music in film, it is possible to arouse emotions through the characters in the movie or film so that the audience is able to share what the characters experience.
When music is played together with film, the audience is able to perceive through both sight and hearing. This paper will discuss how music has been used in the movie Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
The movie is based on a short story by Scott Fitzgerald, which goes by the same title. The movie tells the story of reverse aging, and it is directed by David Fincher. The main character, Benjamin, is born while aged and grows younger and eventually dies as an infant. Music and dance have been incorporated to achieve different effects.
The music is directed by Alexandre Desplat, and features include various songs like a moment of greatness by immediate music, my body in a cage by Arcade Fire, the return by APM. Didn’t Leave Nobody but the baby, Ill fly away and a song by the beetles (twist and should). In total, the songs used in movie number forty-five and were used to produce the soundtrack and score for the movie.
The music played at the beginning of the movie is slow and soft but increases to become a little bit and then continues slowly again. The first scene in which the music plays lasts for around three minutes and five seconds during the introduction part of the movie.
When the soundtrack is played, it easily arouses emotions that lead to deep reflection, and as a consequence, the audience remains alert as it draws one towards being attentive. The soundtrack can also lead one to perceive that the visual images appearing on the screen are those of the countryside.
Therefore it can be said that the main role of the introductory music at the beginning of the movie is to set the geography and period for the movie, this mainly seeks to capture the attention of the audience before the story of the movie unfolds (Adapted from Functions of film Music by Oppenheim, 1997-2010, Para 1-4).
The music that plays in the scene where Benjamin is alone at night lasts for two and a half minutes.Through this piece of music, the audience is able to capture the feelings of sadness that characterize Benjamin’s life at this particular moment in his life, and it is conclusively be said that the use of this piece of music in this particular scene is to provide emotional focus.
A piano is used to create the musical beats used for the performance of the bethena song within the movie. The majority of the songs used for the soundtrack and score of the movie are jazz compositions by the Hall jazz band and various orchestra bands. Seven of the songs that are featured in this movie belong to the Hall Jazz Band.
The other music contributors are various orchestra groups like the Orchestra Del Teatro San Carlo, Frank Trumbauer and His Orchestra, Louis Armstrong and his cotton orchestra band and a host of other bands, individual and group singers(Reel soundtrack blog, 2008, para 1)
Based on this, it can be concluded that the source music for the movie is jazz. There is a prolonged play of music in the scene sunrise on Lake Pontchartrain, which lasts for about three and a half minutes.
This soundtrack is mainly used to capture the cool serenity associated with the lakeside, and this greatly enhances the imagination of the audience on how spectacular watching the sunrise near the lake would be like. The importance of using this piece of music at this point clearly helps to define the location in the movie (Oppenheim para 5-8).
A composition of jazz by Schubert is performed in a scene where the character Daisy goes to audition for ballet dance. Although the music plays for a very short period of time, the character Daisy is able to hear the music.
In another scene, Benjamin watches Daisy dancing during the night, and it seems like Benjamin was hearing the music playing in the background. Dasiy is also able to hear the music playing in the background again in another scene which takes place in her ballet school (Reel soundtrack blog para 1)
There is the probability that music appears in the plotline in order to build the characters of Daisy and Benjamin. The score in the two instances is sorrowful jazz, which also serves to elicit an emotional response from the audience.
Classical music has been used in the movie to set the location and time for different scenes in the movie. Classical jazz music, as used in the movie, seems to be majorly associated with the middle class. Benjamin Button and his friend Daisy are fond of Jazz music, and the music is used to develop their character and shape their roles in the movie.
Oppenheim, Yair. “The Functions of Film Music”.2010.
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