What's In A Musical Movie Score?

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Music does all kinds of things for movies, from setting the emotional tone to transporting the viewer to a particular time and place.

But in recent years, the music that composers have written for the big screen has moved way behind the scenes. The average audience member probably doesn't even know the name of a movie's score or the composer who wrote it.

This week's Arts File on WQXR is devoted to those composers, and especially to the composers who were nominated for best musical movie score in this year's Academy Awards.

James Horner - Avatar
Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders - The Hurt Locker
Hans Zimmer - Sherlock Holmes
Michael Giacchino - Up
Alexandre Desplat - Fantastic Mr. Fox

WNYC's Kerry Nolan talks to Jon Burlingame, who teaches film music history at the University of Southern California and writes for the showbiz bible, Variety, about film composers and the role of a movie's musical score. Burlingame also gives us his Academy Awards pick for best original music score.

Jon Burlingame, who teaches Film Music History at the University of Southern California. He also writes for the showbiz bible Variety. Good morning, Jon. Thanks so much for joining us.
music score
mourner/flickr
Six composers were nominated for an Academy Award for best musical movie score on February 2, 2010.
New Jersey native Michael Giacchino composed the music for
MichaelGiacchinoMusic.com
New Jersey native Michael Giacchino composed the music for "Up."
Hans Zimmer is the composer of the music for
Vince Bucci/Getty Images/Getty
Hans Zimmer is the composer of the music for "Sherlock Holmes." Here, he plays guitar at the premiere of "Pirates Of The Caribbean" in 2007.
Alexandre Desplat, composer of the score for
AlexandreDesplat.net
Alexandre Desplat, composer
James Horner was nominated this year for his score for
Hal Garb/AFP/Getty Images/Getty
James Horner was nominated this year for his score for "Avatar." He received two Oscars in 1998 for the music he composed for "Titanic."
Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders composed the score for
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images/Getty
Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders composed the score for "The Hurt Locker." Beltrami and his wife attended the 80th Annual Academy Awards.
One composer will be awarded the Oscar for best musical movie score on March 7, 2010.
Dave B/by/flickr
One composer will be awarded the Oscar for best musical movie score on March 7, 2010.

Guests:

Jon Burlingame

Produced by:

Matthew Sollars and Abbie Fentress Swanson
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