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Book Details

  • Paperback
  • Bookstore's Wholesale Price: $54.00
  • April 2017
  • ISBN: 978-0-393-93766-4
  • 656 pages
  • Territory Rights: Worldwide

    Digital Product

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  1. Film
  2. Music

Reel Music

Exploring 100 Years of Film Music

Second Edition


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Roger Hickman (Author, California State University, Long Beach)


The #1 film music text, now with more attention to international films.

Reel Music, revised for a new generation of movie lovers, tells the story of film music through iconic scenes. The Second Edition features more in-depth exploration of international films—from classics like Seven Samurai to more recent works like Run Lola Run—as well as new suggestions for activities and classroom discussion, and even more Viewer Guides, which show how film music functions moment-by-moment.


Comprehensive coverage and focused analysis

Reel Music covers a wide variety of films while exploring how the form has evolved since the nineteenth century. New chapters expand coverage of international films, and illuminate how they influenced and competed with Hollywood. The Second Edition examines the driving historical forces behind film and film music, such as rock and roll, the Cold War, and 9/11, and features a range of new Viewer Guides to deepen student understanding of music's impact on movie moments. 

Foundational concepts

Reel Music provides an overview of musical terminology, the elements of narrative film, and the birth of musical drama. Subsequent chapters apply these concepts to a growing body of works.

Exceptional pedagogy

The Second Edition's many pedagogical features include:
-Viewer Guides, which show how music functions from moment to moment in a film scene and highlight major composers, films, and approaches to composition. New to this edition is a Build-Your-Own Viewer Guide.
-Composer Profiles, which offer brief biographies of the foremost film composers and lists of their major works.
-Close Up sidebars, which detail key events in film and film music history.
-Suggestions for discussion and activity that are tailored to each chapter. 

    Part One: Exploring Film and Music
    Chapter 1: Exploring Film and Music
    Chapter 2: Elements of Music
    Chapter 3: Listening to Film Music
    Chapter 4: Forerunners of Film Music

    Part Two: The Silent Film Era, 1895–1929
    Chapter 5: A New Art Form
    Chapter 6: The Foundations of Modern Filmmaking
    Chapter 7: Breaking the Sound Barrier
    Chapter 8: Europe after World War I

    Part Three: The Golden Age of Sound, 1929–1943
    Chapter 9: The Classical Hollywood Film Score
    Chapter 10: Lighter Musical Scores
    Chapter 11: Hollywood and World War II
    Chapter 12: International Filmmaking: A Golden Age Interrupted

    Part Four: New Challenges for Hollywood, 1944–1959
    Chapter 13: The Postwar Years
    Chapter 14: Expanding Modern Music, 1951–1959
    Chapter 15: Country, Rock, and All That Jazz, 1951–1959
    Chapter 16: The Revitalization of International Filmmaking

    Part Five: The New Cinema, 1960–1974
    Chapter 17: The Tumultuous 60s
    Chapter 18: The Rockin’ 60s
    Chapter 19: Emerging from the Crisis Years
    Chapter 20: The New Wave and World Cinema

    Part Six: Synthesizing the Past and Exploring the New, 1975–1988
    Chapter 21: The Return of the Classical Score
    Chapter 22: Alternatives to the Symphonic Score
    Chapter 23: Box Office vs. Critics
    Chapter 24: Global Views of the Past and Present, 1975–1988

    Part Seven: Fin de Siècle, 1989–2000
    Chapter 25: Historical Films
    Chapter 26: Life in America
    Chapter 27: Animations, Comedies, Romances, and Fantasies
    Chapter 28: World Cinema after the Cold War

    Part Eight: The New Millennium, 2001–2015
    Chapter 29: Blockbuster Fantasies and Adventures
    Chapter 30: Seeking Heroes
    Chapter 31: Animations, Musicals, and Dramas
    Chapter 32: International Films Achieve Parity