Music Month

By Nick Dawson | February 24, 2010
Movie Music

February is Music Month here at, so settle in and enjoy a whole slew of articles on the sweet sound of the movies.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.” So said Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the great German thinker of the 19th century. And though he wasn’t talking in the context of the movies – indeed, cinema had not been invented yet when he made the statement – he might as well have been. I mean, film truly would be strange if its relationship with music were severed. Music has always been a central part of cinema, from the tinny pianos that provided accompaniment back in the days of the old silent one reelers to huge international recording artists creating soundtracks for major feature films today, such as LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, who scored the upcoming Focus Features movie Greenberg.

Over the course of February, FilmInFocus has been putting a special focus on the sonorous sound of the movies as part of our Music Month coverage. In advance of the release of Greenberg, Scott Macaulay profiles the movie’s composer, James Murphy, and then elsewhere takes a look over the essential soundtrack albums of all time. Elsewhere, there is a timeline showing the landmark events in movie music history, and Nick Dawson looks at what goes on behind the scenes as soundtrack albums are put together.


Brokeback Mountain

Filmmaker Selects 25 Essential Movie Soundtracks

As part of Music Month, Filmmaker magazine editor Scott Macaulay picks out the most seminal movie soundtracks of all time.


James Murphy

That's How it Starts: James Murphy's Journey from Producer to Artist

FilmInFocus' Scott Macaulay profiles James Murphy, the composer of the Greenberg soundtrack and the musical brains behind buzz band LCD Soundsystem.


Plus, more musical articles from the FilmInFocus archives:

Carter Burwell at his piano

Carter Burwell on A Serious Man's score

The Coen brothers’ regular composer, Carter Burwell, talks about writing the music for their film, A Serious Man.


Bruno Coulais

An Interview with Coraline Composer Bruno Coulais

Acclaimed French composer Bruno Coulais, a veteran scorer of movies in his native country, talks to Scott Macaulay about working on Coraline, his first American film.


Alexi Murdoch

Alexi Murdoch: The Sound of Away We Go

Away We Go, Sam Mendes’ film for Focus Features, presents a new star in the form of singer-songwriter Alexi Murdoch, who provides the movie’s memorable soundtrack.


Composer Dario Marianelli

Playing to Type: Scoring Atonement

Scott Macaulay talks to composer Dario Marianelli about his innovative score for Joe Wright's Atonement.


Carter Burwell

Carter Burwell on Burn After Reading

Scott Macaulay learns how Coen collaborator Carter Burwell gets into the character of the films he scores.


Jim Jarmusch on the set of his new film <i>The Limits of Control</i>, a Focus Features Release

In the Key of Jarmusch

Renowned music writer Simon Reynolds takes a melodic journey through the soundtracks of five Jim Jarmusch movies, from Stranger Than Paradise through to The Limits of Control.


Limits of Control

Other Music and The Limits of Control

Scott Mou from NYC record store Other Music discusses the doom metal bands featured prominently on The Limits of Control's soundtrack, Earth, Sunn O))) and Boris.


Stephen Merritt's Other Coraline

Stephin Merritt's Other Coraline

Henry Selick’s 3D animated movie of Coraline was a hit, but there is another, very different Coraline adaptation coming soon, as Nick Dawson discovers.


Pirate Radio

Character Playlists from Pirate Radio

FilmInFocus presents the special musical playlists that writer-director Richard Curtis created for each of the DJs featured in Focus Features’ current release, Pirate Radio.


Richard Curtis during his stay in New York

Richard Curtis on the Music of Pirate Radio

Nick Dawson sits down with Pirate Radio’s writer-director to discuss what he describes as his “first love.”



Five in Focus: DJs

To celebrate the release of Pirate Radio, we reached out to some of our favorite DJs and asked them for their five favorite films about music.


Dandy Warhols

Five in Focus: Portland Bands

As part of our celebration of the musically-minded metropolis in Movie City: Portland, we here at FilmInFocus reached out to an illustrious group of bands who call Portland home and asked them to pick their five favorite movie soundtracks.

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