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Visual & Performing Arts
Movie Review
English (U.S.)
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Film music analysis essay Visual & Performing Arts Movie Review (Movie Review Sample)


Film music analysis essay
This a written assignment will be an examination and analysis of a selected film clip, and the role of music—and more broadly, the role of sound—within that clip, as it interacts with the film’s visual track. Each student will select a clip between one and three minutes in length (with perhaps some flexibility in length, one way or the other, depending on the clip). Select a film from the list and identify a clip between 1 and 3 minutes in length that will be the subject of your paper.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Kill Bill: Vol. 1
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
The Wolf of Wall Street
require a film title with start and stop times.
followed by start and stop times.
for example: The Great Gatsby; Clip: 00:59:20 - 01:02:50(you can not choose this clip)
You should read other docs to see good examples and sample essay. And, you can not choose the sample's clip
Here are some more tips about writing your paper: You can assume the reader has seen the film, but you still want to orient your reader with a brief introduction of your topic. Similarly, at the end of your paper, you want a conclusion that provides insight and synthesis--stating the sorts of things that come from reflecting on the observations and analysis that make up the "meat" of your paper.


Please think about the following when you start your paper:

Many of you are hearing and connecting the emotional feeling of the scene with the music. The next important step is to analyze why the music creates that emotion and how it ties in with what you see.

What do you hear in the music or sound that creates feelings such as “triumphant”, “suspenseful”, “romantic”, “mysterious”?

Think about things like dynamics (soft, loud, builds, dies down), instrumentation (vocal, keys, electronic music, strings, brass), stingers, etc.


Some things to think about or listen for:

When something sounds triumphant, often you’ll hear trumpets/brass, possibly strong rhythm.

When you feel you’re hearing a romantic emotion, it could be something like lush strings or a simple piano or vocal melody.

Suspenseful or mysterious music often starts soft, repeating low notes, builds in dynamics and/or tempo.


Even if you have no musical background, you can practice listening. When you view a clip, repeat it several times. Close your eyes and listen, apart from the visual track. Try to analyze and describe what you hear, beyond an “emotion” word.


Simply describing the music as diegetic/non-diegetic is not enough. 


Also, words like triumphant, ominous, happy, sweet, scary, suspenseful etc are not enough.  You need to describe what you heard that conveyed that emotion (and how it fit in with the visual track).

Don’t forget to use terminology from this course, where it suits, when describing your chosen clip. You may not find the need to use all of these, but don’t forget about:


mise-en-scene (scenery, setting, costumes, lighting)

shots (fade out, fade in, dissolve, wipe, cut)

story/plot (temporal order, ellipsis, continuity)

continuity editing system (eyeline match, match on action, 180 degree system)

protagonist, antagonist, diegesis, diegetic, non-diegetic.



Some final tips that seem obvious, but are often overlooked:


Music Analysis – The Hobbit – The Battle of Five Armies; Clip: 1:7:15-1:10:35
Author’s Name
The Institutional Affiliation
Course Number and Name
Instructor Name
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Music Analysis – The Hobbit – The Battle of Five Armies; Clip: 1:7:15-1:10:35
The silence breaks right after the camera focuses on the high mountains and the military forces marching ahead to attack. Most of the voices and sounds the audience hear in this scene are non-instrumental and highly compatible with the asymmetrical and gloomy atmosphere of the battleground. Besides, it also grants an insight into the degree of violence from opponents. However, the sporadic instrumental touches to the realistic weapon striking sounds give a more theatrical tinge to the movie while maintaining the nasty effect of the war.

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