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History of Film Music - MUS00060C

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  • Department: Music
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. John Stringer
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: C
  • Academic year of delivery: 2023-24
    • See module specification for other years: 2022-23

Module summary

This project will study film music from before and during the silent era, the Golden Age of Hollywood, the changing trends of the 1950s and finally the re-emergence of the full orchestral soundtracks of the 1970s that are still influencing today's scores.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2023-24

Module aims

The project aims to develop students’ familiarity with the history of film music composition, the development of style within genres and periods, national trends and critical reception.

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module the student:

  • Should have a broad knowledge of film music from the late 19th century to the present day
  • Should understand the importance of the Golden Era of film music
  • Should understand the relationship between music and the image
  • Should understand the underlying stylistic changes in film music across the eras and how these arose
  • Should understand the basic process of film composition and the relationship between the studio and the composer

In their independent work, students should demonstrate Learning Outcomes A1-6.

Module content

The project will be largely delivered through lectures including case studies of composers or films. Early explorations in film music (or the intimation of sound in silent film) will be the starting point moving out towards areas such as the orchestral, almost Wagnerian, use of music in the work of composers such as Korngold, Steiner and Tiomkin, the introduction of popular culture into the soundtracks of the 50s and the particular relationship between directors and composers/music (for example, Hitchcock/Hermann or Tarantino).


Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive feedback in the form of a written report four weeks after submission and in a post-project tutorial.

Indicative reading


The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.