Film Music Comparison Paper

SUBMIT to BlazeVIEW Assignment folder “Film Music Comparison Paper”

Must be submitted in PDF or Word Document Form!

LATE SUBMISSIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED—A ZERO WILL BE ASSIGNED FOR LATE SUBMISSIONS. This is the only assignment where late submissions WILL NOT be accepted.

Turn It In is in use for this paper and will be implemented. Do not copy/paste the guidelines onto the paper, Turn It In will flag it as plagiarized. Please see the syllabus regarding the plagiarism policy.

Directions: Pick two films of your choice with the same composer. Upon viewing both films, please write a paper that incorporates the following points (each number must be fully addressed in the paper). Do not compare a series of movies or similar movies. For instance, do not use Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban and Harry Potter: The Sorcerer’s Stone (with John Williams as your composer) or Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (with Hans Zimmer as the composer). When in doubt, find two separate movies to compare with.

An example could be ET and Jaws, two different movies with John Williams as the composer.

Formatting for the paper:

  • 2-3 pages (feel free to write more than 3 pages, if you wish)
  • Double spaced
  • Complete sentences
  • Any incomplete sentences, presence of texting language (including lowercase “i’s”, and/or presence of multiple misspellings/poor grammar will result in letter grade deductions. 
  1. Make the following your heading for the paper:

Composer name

Film #1 Title

Film #2 Title

2. Provide a general plot of each film in your own words (do not copy/paste from online sources). Does one film use more source music than underscoring? Think of general characteristics of each film score. Questions to consider when completing this portion: What types of instruments do you hear overall in the underscoring/source music? Did one film utilize more music than the other? Can you generalize a characteristic about the composer and his/her composition style? 

3. Pick a scene from each movie where you found the music made an impression on you. Briefly describe each scene and the aesthetic(s) that the music represents (see PowerPoint on Copland/Wagner for a listing of the aesthetics of film music).  Describe what is going on in the music during each scene (discuss dynamics, instruments, tempos, melodies, harmonies, texture, etc.)? Why did you choose these particular scenes? What type of impression did these scenes make on you?

4. Based on the music alone, which movie score do you prefer? Why? What specifically made your decision for you? Which film uses music to a greater effect and how? This is an opinion-based response and needs substantial thought and evidence to support your thought.


A =100 Assignment was well written and all questions were answered. Thoughts/answers are clearly communicated.

B = 85 Assignment shows promise of being well written, but a few questions/sections are left unaddressed. Some thoughts are not clearly communicated.

C= 75 Assignment is missing answers to several questions in the bullet points. Most thoughts are unclear.

D=65 Assignment was poorly written. Minimal effort demonstrated. Thoughts are not communicated at all and many questions are left unanswered.

0 = Assignment not submitted/submitted five days or more after the due date

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