The Cultures of Film Music


Start Date






End Date


Meeting Day

Tuesday through Friday



This online course features the following types of interaction:

  • Pre-recorded content
  • Live meetings

This course treats the evolution of film music from silent movies until the present.  It introduces students to musical syntax, the aesthetics of film music, and the means by which composers synchronize music and script to convey mood and render action vivid. Working chronologically, the course explores the increasing importance of music in cinema and how music functions as an expressive element in a film.  The course treats composers who wrote almost exclusively for the cinema (i.e., Charlie Chaplin and the contemporary John Williams), treats classical central European composers who migrated to the screen composition from wartime Europe (i.e., Korngold, Waxman, Alexandre Tansman, Bronislaw Kaper), and treats composer-director/producer collaborations such as Eisenstein-Prokofiev, Rota-Fellini/Visconti, and others. The course additionally treats the role of music from Morocco, India, China, and Japan in world cinema. Two term papers are assigned, one dealing with a composer-director partnership, the second treating the function of score in a major, iconic film such as Gone with the Wind. The textbook is Mervyn Cooke’s A History of Film Music.[Formerly titled Film Music]

This remote class meets daily from 2-4pm.  Additional individual time for tutorials will be scheduled throughout the course with each student via ZOOM.

Note:  This class will begin on January 3rd.  The Tuesday class will be made up during the course at the convenience of the students.

This class has ended.

Paul Andre Bempéchat holds a DMA (Piano/Musicology) from Boston University, a Diplôme d’Etudes Approfondies (M.Phil.) (Musicology and Comparative Literature) from Université de Paris Sorbonne, an MMus (Piano) from the Juilliard School, NY, and an MMus (Piano) and BMus (Piano) from the Manhattan School of Music. He has taught extensively throughout North America and Europe at … Read more