Film is always seen as a visual medium but that is only half of the story. There has never been a silent movie. Every film has been accompanied by music of some sort, small orchestras, piano, or organs ranging from simple to massive. The images flickering on the screen have always been accompanied by music and therefore that music is an essential aspect of film.
Barton Theatre Pipe Organ that was in the Redford when it opened in Detroit 1928.
I am not a student of music by any means. I took a one-semester class in music appreciation. Although the course was more than just appreciating music there was no in-depth study. I also played the saxophone for two years in elementary school band. Only 2 because even when I was young repeated renditions of Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater and Ode to Joy became tiresome, I already wanted to play the music of John Williams.
Yes like everyone growing up in the 70’s Star Wars was a life-changing event. A seismic shift in my and the lives of my friends. Star Wars this and Star Wars that. Many of my friends had all the action figures and playsets. I did not have any of those, but I did have one item that none of my friends were able to acquire. I had the film score on 8-track tape of all things. Really can’t get any more 70’s than that.
I came into possession of the Star Wars score by accident and retained that tape by force of sheer will. My mother was a member of the Columbia House Music Club. The club would send out order forms once a month and members would make selections to get discounted music. The catch and there was always a catch, was that Columbia House would have a monthly selection and if that selection was not rejected the music was sent to your home. One month that selection was the Star Wars score and my mother forgot to unselect it.
My mother desperately wanted to send it back and even though I was only 7 stood firm. I want this, I need this in my life and no one was taking it away from me. Like any other child, I played that tape incessantly. My friends would put down their toys and listen with me. I had something all my friends did NOT have. To her credit, my mother did not protest too strongly and did not try to take that tape from me.
Of all the cues on that score the one that caught my attention more than any other was Binary Sunset. I cannot explain why but it touched me, created emotions of wonder and hope. Nearly 40 years later it is my favorite piece of music ever written. I never put away my childish obsession but I nurtured it I let it grow. I never watched a movie the same again, I now listen as well.
In the intervening years, I came to appreciate film scores. My friends could name off bands on the radio, I could name film composers. Williams, Goldsmith, Barry, and Bernstein. Later I added Horner, Elfman, Silvestri, Vangelis, and so many others to my favorites.
For film scores, I am no expert or scholar I am an enthusiast, a fan. I like what I like and I make no apologies for that.
John Williams conducting the London Symphony scoring Star Wars