Dan Golding’s A Theory of Film Music is a video essay that talks about another video essay. This other video essay is one from Tony Zhou called The Marvel Symphonic Universe. Now this video essay really added to my understanding of current action music, like the music in Marvel movies. Originally having watched only Tony Zhou’s video I had been under the impression that Marvel music doesn’t leave people with lasting memories of their music because composers “play it safe” and rely too heavily on “temp music” (music that is moderately edited from other sources). Interestingly though, Golding’s video essay points out that using temp tracks is not a recent Hollywood development, and that even famous musical scores like that of Star Wars from John Williams, was an adapted piece. Golding points out that digital music is part of the reason that action/adventure movie music isn’t as memorable anymore. Music influenced from Hans Zimmer focuses on percussion and horns. Most of these recent tracks don’t have a discernable melody. I found this really fascinating because it explained a lot to me about film scores. I now understand that in order for a score to be memorable, it needs to have a discernable melody and effectively combine elements of all different kinds of other musical scores. For example, the score of Star Wars had lots of different influences ranging from different Hollywood film genre classics. Overall there are lots of different factors that impact the effectiveness of a musical score.
In terms of the video essay format, there wasn’t anything particularly new that I saw used in this video, but the way Dan Golding used various elements was particularly effective. One example was Golding’s use of a black screen. I think it is always tough to cut to black within the middle of a video because it might give your viewers the impression that the video is ending, but in the case of the video essay, it is an effective way to really let the viewer focus on any voiceover being said without the “distraction” of the visuals or any other on-screen text. This happens at around 5:40 in the video. I took careful notice of it because before seeing that I had mostly used freeze frame images to make video essays less chaotic, and allow emphasis on text or voiceover, but by cutting to black, Golding added an extra amount of emphasis on the things he said in his voiceover during that part of the video. Overall though the use so many different pieces of source material (screen capture, movie footage, behind the scenes movie footage, interviews, and another video essay) really just astounded me.