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Classic Film Music: From King Kong to Spider-Man

This course will explore how sound became an integral part of our cinematic experience by surveying classic Hollywood film soundtracks. For years after the advent of sound films in the 1920s, film scores were mainly influenced by classical orchestral music. Since the 1950s, however, film scores have come to include all music genres, from jazz, rock and roll, and hip hop to electronic and experimental music. The investigation will begin with notable scores from King Kong, The Big Sleep, and The Sea Hawk. You will listen to such compositions as David Raskin’s Laura, Aaron Copland’s The Heiress, and Bernard Herrmann’s The Day the Earth Stood Still. The course will continue into the 1960s and 1970s with Maurice Jarre’s expansive music for Lawrence of Arabia, Simon and Garfunkel’s pop sounds for The Graduate, and the interesting case of Alex North’s rejected score for 2001: A Space Odyssey. It will wind up with musical selections from more recent films such as The Cider House Rules and Up. Lectures will be supplemented by DVDs and online sources. No musical knowledge is necessary for the enjoyment of this course.

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You'll Walk Away with

  • An understanding of the role of the soundtrack in the cinematic experience
  • Increased familiarity with Hollywood and movie scores

Ideal for

  • Films and music buffs
  • The creative and the curious
NO open sections available for this course at the moment. Please check back next semester.