Part I general

This in-class exercise may be used as early as Chapter 1, but can be useful even as late as the Chapters of Part II that define and illustrate scene types with music. The specific problem posed here (a scene from Son of Frankenstein) is of course only a sample, but the questions may be used for many scenes without alteration. It is generally better to avoid scenes of more than 4-5 minutes, so that students have enough time to write their responses and sufficient memory of the scene's details to do it effectively. Exercises of this type work very well as notes or rough drafts of short papers, which can be corrected by the instructor, then returned to the students for refinement.



Son of Frankenstein (1939), disinterment and revival scene (beginning only) roughly 33:30 -- 36:10

  1. Sound elements (dialogue, music, effects): what's there? and how does that change?

  2. Sound elements, balance:

  3. Music, pacing (how does it match the images?) and mood (how does the music fit--or not fit--the images emotionally?)


The following can be used in connection with any of Chapters 1-3, with adjustments for the priorities in each (basic segmentation, sound track and narrative analysis in Chapter 1; sound track description and exploiting musical terms in Chapter 2; and the sound track and physical space in Chapter 3).


Additional scenes from Glory: March in review (DVD 56:35); the arrival in South Carolina (DVD 58:35-1:01:20, or until music goes under at about 1:01:50); evening before the battle (1:30:04-1:35:50)—for this performance scene (see chapter 9), with its repeated segments (like verses of a song), you could analyze one or two segments, rather than the entire scene).


From Sleepless in Seattle: Sam calls a woman for a date (42:54-44:47); Annie and Becky watch An Affair to Remember (1957)  (44:47-47:20). 


From Good Will Hunting: Will and Skylar at an outdoor café (1:19:17-1:22:38); Will leaves Boston 1:58:10—2:01:50 (overlaps with end credit sequence and the song "Miss Misery").


From The Matrix (1999): Morpheus shows the Matrix to Neo (38:45-44:40). The scene could also be subdivided (analyze only up to 41:00, or where we first see the real world).  Warning: the end of the scene (about 44:40) may be uncomfortable to watch.


From Yojimbo (1961): Yojimbo arrives in the town, part 1 (5:50-7:40); part 2 (16:10-19:50); Yojimbo announces the capture of two henchmen (51:00-53:05).


From Amelie (2001): "Music in the subway" (21:30-23:20 (sound overlaps into next scene)); "Mr. Bredoteau" (30:39-34:50); Rendezvous/The Repairman (1:40:46-1:44:18; alternate start point: 1:42:10).


For the following seven films, students who read music notation will find reduced scores, as indicated, in George Burt's The Art of Film Music (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1994).


From East of Eden (1954): Opening scene (4:50-just after 6:00, as Kate walks back toward her house; or continue through the end of first large scene: 10:32); climactic scene (1:39:43-1:41:42).  Timings are according to the DVD release that includes an overture before the main title sequence.

From Laura (1944): Apartment scene. 

From The Best Years of Our Lives (1946): Homecoming scene. 

From Fool for Love (1985): "May and the Little Girl" (music in at 45:17; goes out under the sound of Eddie's (Sam Shepherd's) truck). Also watch the subsequent scene (no music score), after the brief insert of Eddie in the truck, when a voice-over is superimposed over every similar music, as a couple take the little girl and leave the motel while the Old Man (Harry Dean Stanton) talks to May (Kim Basinger). Shortly thereafter the screen switches to a flashback. Here, as in several other places in this film, note the unreliable narrator (a blatant disparity between what the narrator says and what we see happening onscreen). 

From Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966): "Bergin." The scene begins at 50:50 (as Burton sits down); the larger scene begins somewhat earlier (at 45:20) with a different music cue. 

From The Young Lions (1958): "River Crossing." 

From The Misfits  (1961): "The Roundup." The music cue enters at 92:30. The larger scene begins a few minutes earlier. 

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