Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Music (MUSIC)

MUSIC 004 (GA) Film Music (3) An introductory examination of music's role in Hollywood narrative film from the classic era (1930s and 1940s) to the present.

MUSIC 004 Film Music (3)

The course examines the role of music in narrative film, the premier art form of the twentieth century. The popularity, significance, and value of film art would not be what it is today if music had not become an integral--indeed, indispensable--part of motion pictures from the outset.

Preliminary objectives will include basic musical information (the fundamental elements of music; the broad stylistic eras of western music and their associated characteristics; the culturally encoded language of tonal music and associated musical meaning) and the main techniques of narrative film. The main objectives of the course are: to identify and recognize the principles of nondiegetic music in narrative film; to identify and recognize the purpose and functions of music in narrative film; to recognize some of the historic eras/genres/trends in Hollywood film making; to identify and recognize selected films, directors and composers; to analyze and articulate the role of music in a given scene and in a given film; and to recognize underlying assumptions and values of the culture conveyed through the diegesis.

These objectives will be met by addressing such questions as: What are the underlying principles of music in film? What are the functions of music/sound within a particular scene and how does it achieve those functions? What do we see of what we hear, and what do we hear of what we see--and why? What secrets does music tell? To what extent does music influence--even control-- our interpretation of a film? More broadly, to what extent do films reflect our culture, past and present--our interests, our values?

Evaluation methods will include quizzes, exams, discussion boards, and a final paper. The course will be available for GA credit. It will not satisfy any requirements for the major or minor in music. The films and film excerpts will be made available to the students online.

General Education: GA
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Summer 2009

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking