More Mood Than Melody: The Mysteries of Modern Movie Scoring

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These days, composers and filmmakers are creating film scores with a maximum of mood, and a minimum of melody. The moods are conveyed through shimmering orchestral drones, elemental minor or major key harmonies, and a layering of music across the narrative action of the film.

David Garland features some recent examples of this approach: the stately beauty of Hanan Townshend's score for "To the Wonder," the gentle murmur of Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin's music for "Beasts of the Southern Wild," Olafur Arnalds's "Broadchurch," Marco Beltrami's "The Sessions," the dark urgency of Mike Patton's "The Place Beyond the Pines" and Cliff Martinez's "The Company You Keep."