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Unit of study_

MUSC2663: Survey of Film Music

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit is an introductory survey of the history and aesthetics of film music from the late 1890s to the present day. Topics for discussion will include the dramatic function of music as an element of cinematic narrative, the codification of musical iconography in cinematic genres, the symbolic use of pre-existing music, and the evolving musical styles of film composers.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MUSC2663
Academic unit
Credit points 6
Prohibitions
? 
None
Prerequisites
? 
None
Corequisites
? 
None
Assumed knowledge
? 

None

Available to study abroad and exchange students

No

Teaching staff

Coordinator Phillip Johnston, phillip.johnston@sydney.edu.au
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Research/analysis paper
Essay
50% Formal exam period
Due date: 26 Nov 2021 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Participation Participation
Participation
15% Ongoing n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Licensed music task
Practical/written assignment
35% Week 11
Due date: 29 Oct 2021 at 23:59

Closing date: 26 Nov 2021
3-5 minutes of audio/video, 1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

  • Participation: Participation in tutorial discussions.
  • Licensed music task: audio/visual + essay (see Canvas for details)
  • Final paper: Students will submit a final paper in essay format one of a choice of three films.

 

  • Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.
  • Note that information here may not match assessments in Handbook. The information here is correct.

Assessment criteria

The following assessment criteria are used for written work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range

Description

High distinction

85 - 100

Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written with style, originality and precision.

Distinction

75 - 84

Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex understanding of question and ability to critically review material in relation to underlying assumptions and values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, well-developed structure and argument with some signs of literary style.

Credit

65 - 74

Evidence of broader understanding than pass level; offers synthesis with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using a range of relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually.

Pass

50 - 64

Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant material; tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.

Fail

0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient or overlong word length.

For more information see sydney.edu.au/students/guide-to-grades.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction: Film Music Analysis/Theory/History Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Gorbman: pp. 11-30; Donnelly: pp. 1-14 Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 02 Silent Film and the Transition to Sound Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Gorbman. Why Music? From Silents to Sound (pp. 31-52) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 03 The Golden Age of Film Music (Hollywood in the 1930s-1940s) Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Gorbman: Classical Hollywood Practice (pp. 70-91) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 04 Film Noir and neo-Noir Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Butler: Jazz Noir, Kind of Jazz (pp. 1-24) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 05 Bernard Herrmann: The Music of the Irrational Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Brown: Herrmann, Hitchcock & the Music of the Irrational (pp 148-175) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 06 Jazz In Film Music Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Elmer Bernstein: The Man with the Golden Arm (pp 262-273) (Hubbert); The Jazz Composers in Hollywood: A Symposium with Benny Carter, et al, 1972) (pp 349-358) (Hubbert) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 07 The Silver Age of Film Music/European Composers Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Towards an Interior Music: Ennio Morricone (pp334-336) (Hubbert); Keeping Score on Schifrin: Lalo Schifrin and the Art of Film Music: (pp 337-342) (Hubbert); BBC Interview with Jerry Goldsmith (pp344-348) (Hubbert) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 09 Electronic Music in Film Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Wierzbicki: Origins and Connections (pp 1-13) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 10 Songs in Film Music Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Kassabian: How Film Music Works (pp 15-36) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 11 Contemporary Film Music 1: Orchestral Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
(no reading) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 12 Contemporary Film Music 2: Non-Orchestral Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Donnelly: The Lock of Synchronization (pp 1-13) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Week 13 Television & 'Quality Television' Online class (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
(no reading) Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Attendance is required, and missing fifty percent of the lectures and tutorials will result in an automatic Absent Fail grade. Students should be aware that it is difficult to participate in discussions, or to turn in written assignments on time, without attending the tutorials. Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned. The Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned may determine that a student fails a unit of study because of inadequate attendance. Alternatively, at their discretion, they may set additional assessment items where attendance is lower than 90%.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Bibliography (for readings: see Unit Outline for specific pages and weeks):

  Brown, Royal S. Overtones and Undertones: Reading Film Music. Reprint 2019. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1994. Online.


  Butler, David. Jazz Noir: Listening to Music from Phantom Lady to The Last Seduction. Westport: Praeger, 2002. Online/Print


  Donnelly, K. J. Film Music: Critical Approaches. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2001. Print.


  Donnelly, K. J. Occult Aesthetic: Synchronization in Sound Film. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014. Online.


  Gorbman, Claudia. Unheard Melodies: Narrative Film Music. London: BFI, 1987. Print.


  Hubbert, Julie. Celluloid Symphonies: Texts and Contexts in Film Music History. 1st ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Online.


  Kassabian, Anahid. Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music. New York: Routledge, 2001. Online/Print.


  Wierzbicki, James Eugene. Louis and Bebe Barron’s Forbidden Plane: a Film Score Guide. Lanham, Md: Scarecrow Press, 2005. Online/Print.

Other Recommended Readings: (not required)

  Kalinak, Kathryn. Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1992. Print.


  Wierzbicki, James Eugene. Film Music: a History. New York: Routledge, 2009. Print.
 

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. develop an understanding of the history of the art and craft of screen composition, and its relationship to other art forms and worldwide culture/history more broadly.
  • LO2. analyse film cues, articulating the composer/director’s creative decisions.
  • LO3. understand the concepts relating to the technical skills of screen music: choosing a point of view, expressing drama, realizing intent, trapping, negotiating diegetic music, and using licensed music.
  • LO4. display a working knowledge of the relevant principles of dramaturgy and cinematography.
  • LO5. understand the implications of genre and style in scoring and arranging for the screen.
  • LO6. examine the relationship between the dominant ‘Hollywood’ paradigm and that of independent film/world film, specifically regarding gender, class and culture.
  • LO7. understand the business and commercial aspects of the film and TV industry.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
GQ1 GQ2 GQ3 GQ4 GQ5 GQ6 GQ7 GQ8 GQ9

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

NO INFORMATION ENTERED HERE YET

Disclaimer

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