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3min Writing Tips: Writing Film Music & About Music

3min Writing Tips: Writing Film Music & About Music

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Eugene FeygelsonTamar Levi interviews Eugene Feygelson on the craft of writing film music and about music.

Writing Music for Film

T: What mistakes have you made that you would advise others to avoid?

E:
The classic beginner mistake is to write music that is overly robust for the other aspects of the film such as visuals or dialogue. Remain focused on how the music accompanies, directs, or colours the visual.

T: What challenges have you overcome, and how?

E:
Every film is its own challenge. Listen to the visuals and sound as its own sort of music. Everything has its own rhythm, for example the cuts, panning, dialogue, etc. And there is already meaning implicit in the colours and actions on screen. It is often the composer’s job to bring this out.

T: Is the craft of writing music for film different than writing music for performance?

E:
Writing music for performance can follow a wide range of possibilities, but in film music you don’t want to detract from the plotline, create a mixed message, or even dissonance between the filmic and the musical. Unless you’re being adventurous with your film, then no holds barred!

Writing About Music

T: What to be aware of when writing about music?

E:
The way one writes about music is of course, a question of audience and agenda.

Writing for an academic audience one asks ‘Is this paper for a musicological audience, or a psychological one?’ Differences being; the musicological work may mention empirical research, but would avoid going into details over statistics or experimental methods.

Academic writing is also far more concerned with the composer, socio-economic factors influencing the composition, aspects extrinsic to the music. Unless writing what’s known as an ‘analysis’ paper, one may not even go into any detail about the music itself.

In contrast, informal writing is often concerned with influencing the reader in their listening. Writing directly linked to the experience of the music.

T: What challenges have you overcome, and how?

E:
For me, the biggest challenge in academic music writing is objectivity. Musicology is often concerned with historical questions but I’ve always been more concerned with music perception, performance issues, and musical skill acquisition. Many years of experience as a musician had bred notions of how music was being perceived and how skills were acquired. Although reading academic texts assisted in breaking down these preconceptions, my research has shown that questions around objectivity are best answered using empirical methods. For example, analysing the way large, diverse populations engage with music and musical skills.

T: What do you get from writing about music?

E:
All writing helps to clarify thoughts. Music is so linked to emotions, one often asks why a piece makes them feel a certain way, for example, how did that music motivate me while I was jogging? I would not have been able to understand so many of my experiences with music without having written about them.

Listen to and read about Eugene Feygelson’s music here.

www.TamarLevi.com

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About

Alaskan raised, Cornish-Jewish, Belgium-based author and illustrator Tamar Levi has spent her life triangulated between desk, bookshelf and easel.Beginning by writing and illustrating whilst studying in London and Cambridge, Tamar also consulted for a leading multinational company. She's now come full circle, back to where she belongs, writing and illustrating again.

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