I really love a movie where the soundtrack fits perfectly with the scenes. I especially like a soundtrack that has a deeply moving or haunting theme that plays over and over. There are many great movie soundtracks filled with hit songs that play well when listening to the CD by itself, but I’m talking about soundtracks that compliment the scenes of the movie and are meant to enhance the feeling of the visuals.
One of my favorite movie soundtracks is the Shawshank Redemption. The music is pretty sparse and monotone but really works well. When the aerial view of the prison is first shown, a single moody Cello starts to play. The feeling that is conveyed is one of loneliness, hopelessness and despair. This Cello part repeats itself throughout the movie and works incredibly well.
Another brilliant soundtrack is A Clockwork Orange. The music was intended to sound futuristic even though it was arrangements of very old composers such as Beethoven. This soundtrack stands very well on it’s own but works especially well with the movie. In particular, the music ‘the Thieving Magpie’ is used as a background to a brawl between rival gangs. The timing and editing of that scene is masterful.
The Godfather is pretty much the gold standard of movie soundtracks. Almost everyone can hum the theme to the Godfather and the melody recurs numerous times throughout the film. My astonishment is in the feeling it evokes each time it is played. Sometimes it seems to convey honor, or the passing of time, or the loss of something important, or even the closeness of family. Whatever it is, it hits the mark over and over again.
Sometimes a movie soundtrack can get on your nerves. A particular one that comes to mind is the movie ‘There will be Blood’ with Daniel Day Lewis. The main theme of the movie is a piece that moves along like a centipede on speed. It is antsy and full of motion and this music could probably be used to torture someone to madness. At first it seemed to work quite well with the beginning scenes, but after the 5th, 10th and 20th time it is played, I was crawling the walls!
Some movies stand out for that one song that seems to punctuate or sum it all up. I have 2 favorites that come to mind. ‘The Exorcist’ only played the song ‘Tubular Bells’ by Mike Oldfield in one scene and it was only for a few seconds but it left an indelible mark on the viewer. It was known as the ‘theme song to the Exorcist’ after the movie was released. The second movie is ‘The Mothman Prophecies’. At the very end when the credits start to roll, there is a song that comes on that seems to sum up the entire, eerie creepy supernatural feeling of the film. It is called ‘Half Light’ by TomandAndy and it is wonderful!
Are you creating a movie or video? Do you want your soundtrack to stand out with that one great memorable song? My suggestion is to do a specific search for royalty free music such as “royalty free progressive rock music” or public domain background music”. The more specific you get, the better your results. You may want to try one of the premium royalty free websites that offer quality over quantity and songs that are easily downloadable.