Monday, July 11, 2005

Music as a film's DNA

In jazz, all great musicians have a unique style that one can recognise just by listening to a few notes of a tune: Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter or Herbie Hancock... They've got a signature.



It's the same for Ennio Morricone. His style is absolutely unique and immediately recognisable in a million. Despite him responsible for more than 400 scores in the 60s - 70s, each of them is very faithful to the very idea of the film it was composed for, reflecting it in an effortless manner.

Listen to a score from Morricone: it first sounds very orchestral, very rich and complex. Now listen to it more carefully, you'll soon discover that its backbone is in fact extremely simple: usually 3 or 4 core chromatic notes on which Ennio Morricone builds endless variations, which unveil their amazingly evocative power.
These 3 or 4 key notes manage, as if by magic, to unlock the film's core idea and its singular atmosphere. Images immediately spring to mind. Whether you've seen the movie or not, they open the theatre for you.

Morricone's unique combinations of notes are like the DNA of the films they were composed for.

A concrete example is the role of the music in "Short night of the glass dolls", which I talked about here.
More from this blog about Morricone here and about his favourite female singer Edda dell'Orso there.


For the giallo amateur, the "Mondo Morricone" compilations are an absolute must-have: Mondo Morricone, More Mondo Morricone and Molto Mondo Morricone.

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