Development of Film Music and Its Psychological Impact

Nowadays, it is hard to imagine a great film without a good soundtrack. Cinema and music went together since filmmaking industry’s appearance. Even silent movies were accompanied with live music played during the screenings (Reay, 2004, p.5). With the development of cinema industry, the connection of films and music become stronger. In the 1930s, filmmakers used Classical Scoring technique in order to add music to their movies. It is still a common filmmakers’ tool, which sounds like an orchestra is accompanying the film. These scores consist of repeated patterns of themes and leitmotifs associated with specific topics or ideas represented on the screen. (The Evolution of Music in Movies, 2016, para. 11-14) In the modern cinema, recognizable song soundtracks are also being widely used by filmmakers.


Orchestra accompanying a silent film in the early years of cinema era.

However, not always music was considered essential for films. For instance, the followers of the Dogma style of filmmaking claimed that music in unnatural in movies. They made realistic movies that had sound effects, but music appeared in these films only if its source was visible on the screen. Although this movement took place in the history, others insisted on using scores and soundtracks because of the effect it has on the audience. (Fischoff, 2005, p. 2)

Undoubtedly, scores and soundtracks have a great psychological influence on the audience that should not be underestimated. First, music helps to tell the story through creating a certain atmosphere and mood of the film. According to the article The psychological effects of film music, “it guides the audience in certain ways, for example, emotionally, and it enriches and deepens their experience of the film” (2015, para. 10). A film is an illusive world created by filmmakers, and in order to make people believe in this illusion, they need several tools including scores and soundtracks. Usually we perceive music on unconsciously while watching a film: we do not realize what we hear but mostly we just feel it emotionally. (Fischoff, 2005, p. 3) Soundtracks and scores drive our minds to the proper understanding of the story being told. It also contributes to how we react to what we see on the screen. “Music adds something we might call heightened realism or supra-reality. It is a form of theatrical, filmic reality, different from our normal reality. […] Because films are two-dimensional, extra-ordinary experiences, they may need help, as it were, from music”. (Fischoff, 2005, p. 3)

The purpose of using music in films is not limited by the psychological effects described above. It is just a small part of the huge influence it makes on cinema. Film music is a subject of many researches that prove its importance in filmmaking.



Fischoff, S. (2005, June 24). The Evolution of Music in Film and its Psychological Impact on Audiences. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from

How indie musicians are reinventing film music [Digital image]. (2014, May 12). Retrieved October 15, 2017, from

Pileberg, S. (2015, May 8). The psychological effects of film music. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from

Reay, P. (2004). Music in film: soundtracks and synergy. London: Wallflower.

Silent film orchestra [Online image]. (2013, March 6). Retrieved October 31, 2017 from

The Evolution of Music in Movies. (2016, April 20). Retrieved October 14, 2017, from

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s