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Is Film Music The Modern Day Classical?

When we talk about music and the artistic translations of the compositions in which the music is presented, one needs to address the film music or better stated the interpretive videos which are now becoming more and more popular in today’s media world. The question which is being addressed is more complex than a simple yes or no answer. The reason for this is due to the many genres of music film. Therefore we will address certain genres and expound upon how they relate or differ from the traditional classical.

MTV and VH1

For many musicians, the belief that MTV and VH1 has done a great deal to kill the music industry is valid in my opinion. Here is why. When MTV first appeared, there was somewhat of an artistic flare to the videos, but limited in that aspect. Think of Twisted Sister’s Were not going to take it. The song is iconic, but the video was severely lacking in any artistic form. Considering if this in any way resembles a classical, one would have to say not so much. Where there are a few videos that have the inspiration to be loosely based upon a classical, the majority are nothing more than the artist shaking her hips or close ups of the face of the rocker presenting the music.

Understanding what Classical entails

What then is a classical? What film music relates directly to such? A classical as it relates to the question at hand is an opera or likewise performance where a story is told in a direct fashion. It does not have to be specifically a script with actors and sets. The main focus is to present the composition in a manner which inspires a story in the viewer’s mind. Consider:
• Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 – I have mentioned the artistic genius before and I will state it again here. The combination of music and sound match perfectly to give the audience a visual stimulating experience while still holding firm to the musical score. There is an equal balance between the story which is being told and the composition which is being presented. One is encouraged to look at the 2000 version and see how even the most traditional of music has been translated (such as the ever so popular theme used in graduations).
• Mega ‘Blockbuster’ Operas - These have grown in their popularity. From such musicals as Rock of Ages and Into the Never one has to wonder if this will be the newest and more sought after trend in film. I love the potential for more of an artistic interpretation and modern opera . Yet, the caution that one should take when viewing these films is whether or not the film is focused upon telling a story, conveying the music, or selling the artist. A great film maker will merge these together in a way that is compelling and memorable.
However, one does not have to have hand drawn animations or random objects in a film to inspire a story. There are many composers that are using his or her music in order to make a compelling piece. Please keep in mind that film music which strives to be remembered in the same genre as the classical opera and story related musical performances of the past vary in leaps and bounds from a music video. Music videos are made for the sole purpose of selling the artist (at least in my opinion) with very little to do with the actual music. Classical film music focuses on the music and the artist is very much limited in his or her self-promotions.

Film music that resembles classical

Elew RockJazz (as seen on YouTube) has done well to take the modern day music and translate it into a classical. It is this writer’s opinion that classical needs to have classical instruments somehow incorporated into the score. This can be done with something as subtle as stock music or background music to your overall composition. One who plays the blues should have a saxophone somewhere in the score; one that plays the classics (such as Mozart) on the keyboard may want to incorporate some stringed instruments into the work.
If one were to look at the classical productions, one will see that there is a common theme. This is over dramatic presentations. Every emotion is greatly enhanced. The colors, however, are kept to solid colors. It is uncommon to find a classical adorned with fluorescent pinks and greens. This is not to say that the artist cannot present these colors. Yet, such needs to be done in a sparing way.
When focusing on the artistic aspects of film music, one could look at P.O.D’s video Alive. Where this is rock music, a story is still told. Keep in mind that this is a mainly a music video. Yet, there is a story that is told.
Film music is very much evolving into a more artistic form. One needs to make the decision of whether or not he or she wants to have an artistically focus piece or a music video. As stated, the main difference between the two is focused on how one wishes to have his music presented.
To answer the question is film music the modern day classical; I would have to say no. Where there is an aspect of the film music that caters to the classical side, the majority of these videos are lacking the traditional style to which one could classify such.
Do not be discouraged. If you are an artist wanting to capture the film music (such as Phantom of the Opera, Rent, Chicago, or Stomp) then by all means go in that direction. Keep in mind that YOU determine the emotion, feel, and how the audience will interpret the score which is presented.

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