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Music for Motion Pictures Author(s): BERT LAVASTIDA, PETE STALLINGS, NORMAN PHELPS, GLEN GOULD Source: Journal
Music for Motion Pictures Author(s): BERT LAVASTIDA, PETE STALLINGS, NORMAN PHELPS, GLEN GOULD Source: Journal

Music for Motion Pictures Author(s): BERT LAVASTIDA, PETE STALLINGS, NORMAN PHELPS, GLEN GOULD

Source: Journal of the University Film Producers Association, Vol. 7, No. 2 (WINTER, 1954),

Accessed: 06/10/2011 16:26

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A transcription of a panel discussion by Bert havastida, Director of Film Produc

tion, University ofMichigan; Pete Stallings, Service Manager, The Calvin Com

pany; Norman

Gould, Detroit free-lance composer. Presented at the Eighth Annual Conference.

Phelps, Ohio

State University Department

of Music;

and Glen

Music

for Motion

Pictures

BY

PHELPS,

BERT

LAVASTIDA,

AND

GLEN

PETE

GOULD

STALLINGS,

NORMAN

Mr. Lavastida:

Ever since the beginning of mo

tion pictures, music has been an important part, be

cause even

everything that the microphone could pick up,

had the

before they were

roll

talking and recording

to accompany

they

the film.

piano or piano

we

nar

Today

when

have

dialogue,

conversation,

ration and all these sound tracks, music

is certainly

more

important.

In the universities we

probably have most of our

into two categories: one, strict

films divided

roughly the instructional film in the

this

particular

how

that knot

ly tional Film Research

shown us many of these

a knot. In

sense of the Instruc

Program. Ray Carpenter has

earlier,

case

such as

you're

is

the

tying

of

not interested

that is

in anything but

the instructional film in its strictest sense, and here

tied, and

perhaps are the informative or

types the filmwith a message.

music

is of

least

importance. the information film,

interested in

The

other

Here we're

not only

notice

how the knot is tied; we

the

quality

also want

you

to

tie i t ,

tie it,

you

you

of the rope with which we

that the rope

to perhaps even notice the

type of hands, things like that. In other words we

is from a certain place. We want

way the hands move, the

want to impress you. The public relations film comes

under

because

this

category.

it helps

not

themood

Here

music

is very

important,

and

adds

two cate

only to make and

it pleasanter

but

also

to give you

atmosphere

polish to this type of film.

gories that we use mostly

background

matched

In the filmswith music we have

music. Here

roughly in the universities. First,

the music

really

to the picture. It merely is there to sort of

is not

add pleasantness to the film, to polish it up a little

and put you

period of time or sit there and absorb the film. Sec

ond, the original score of the matched music,

longer

inmore of a mood to stand for a

and

here music

it not

only can set 'themood of the scenes to come, it not

only

timing of the various

is very important. In fact some people

as

the

picture, because

it can even

pace

the

sense the

think it is as important

can accompany

film.

We're

about

it, but

You

can more or less

parts by the way themusic

very fortunate today who

the various First of all we

panel

of experts

is played.

going

to have a very distin are

of music

guished

phases

pictures.

going to talk to us on sources ofmusic and editing

us

to talk to for motion

is

have Pete Stallings, who

techniques.

Mr.

Stallings:

[12]

I have

with

me

today

some

screen

examples of Calvin Company Workshop

might give you an

applying have very little to

can

censed

music

get

idea

as

to the

filmswhich

used in

I

techniques

to motion pictures. As

say;

we have

two

places

to source

where we

music. One

is from records which can be li

forfilm production of our type, and the other

source

is,

of

course,

to write

and

our

own

why

universities don't do that, but not having been

score. I've often wondered

any longer.

say one

live-score

to the

editing

produce

original

more

I would

musical

question

like to

faced with the problem for three years, I can't go

into that

thing about the live score is

is, the

in advance. The

of

who have

cord

stop. It's pretty

tough

on

thewhole

recording technique that

technique,

in the final show. Many

in live scores to our com

very important

cutting

people

pany for mixing with

themusic together

brought

other sound have tried to re

through without a

and also

show all the way

tough

on the conductor

I think you'll

picture,

the musicians,

of the

find that if

you

you're going

take a phrase

a sequence inwhich

setting, and record

phrase
and

and

if the

pull

just far as industrial film

pic

littlebit short.

used

the

Chapel and the old and

use

Li

faith

to have one musical

that sequence and then pick up the next

record that sequence, and then go back

on the editing table against the picture and cut it

lay it

together, you'll be able to adjust your picture

music

ture

is

running just if themusic is

a shade

together live musical is concerned is

score as

at Calvin

Company

The

production

have

form.We

brary, theHarmonics Library,

We

ful Boosey and Hawkes

long

a

or

the

less and less.

being now three fine libraries available in record

with which most of us are

familiar.

with

music, I'd like to show you some film examples and

Getting

back

to what we're

going

to do

then answer questions afterward if time permits.

The primary

use

pacing

of the underscore is in aiding the

(Here

an

example

was

1 themusic

aids the

is used

to create a

Community Chest

producer tell its own

shown.)

I wonder

of the picture.

shown.) In screen of the

pacing

example No.

picture.

In the second

mood. This filmwhich we made

example is an excerpt

music

from a for one of our

many clients, and I think I'll just let themusic

story. (Here the second example was

There was a music changeover under the opening

how

it. It's really quite easy to achieve

voice of that particular

many of you heard

sequence.

type hind voice. If

get into trouble. Let's

that

of

changeover it out in

you

try

as

long

as

the open

you do

you

No.

it be

usually

3

in

look at sequence

which

we've

used

is an

some

original

music

to punctuate

action. This

original at the Calvin

harp score for a picture

Company.

an

(Third example.)

now

of edited cut to fit a

example

track has

been

produced

I'd

like to show you

music

inwhich a music

photosequence.

This

is

a

sequence

on

a dragon

there

fly

is a

show on

still in

three-way

public state. The title isNature's

the underwater

state, in which

cut. This is from a state of Ohio

relations purposes

Children.

nature released for

in this

I'd like to show you now another

example ofmusic

for Caterpillar

heavy con

editing. This is from a picture made

Tractor

struction

was made

Company on safety in

equipment.

for

who

build

our

the use of

(Fifth example.)

dams,

The

bunch of

picture

guys

de

a rough-and-tumble

streets,

roads,

and

so

it's

signed

big they leave the blade up

tomake

just

behemoth will do without brakes or if

in the air. The

them wake

up

a bit

and

see

what that

a

picture, is based on the old idea

of Russian roulette, and it's pretty effective to give

pretty

continuous sequence,

the idea thatwhatever

bet

do, because

get one

you're betting on what one of thosemachines

of

it's just

the

about

like

try will do or won't

betting

that

you'll

the

on, don't

to

five empty cylinders against

loaded

one.

The next screen

tion from the motion

Bells, inwhich

example is an opening

picture

called The

is set, and

title sec

Sound of

the mood

inwhich we

also have

music.

titles flow to the

(Sixth example.) That was of course a series

songs.

some title changes.

the music was

The

of arrangements

Though

plotted

corded,

can arrange your picture and music

in some sort of have

back

a

destroyed

taken from popular Christmas

an

original

to themusic

way

score, the title

after itwas

re

in which you to fall

titles could

together

changes were

possibly

or half

So

quences,

used with

so there is still another

logical sequence.

been

foot

placed

ahead,

just

thewhole effect.

Those

half a foot farther

have

se

to be

a

and you would

going

if you watch certain of your

particularly

music

those which

photography

are

alone and don't have

to have

certain

amount

of

verbiage

in

them,

can

cut

you

and re-adjust your photography

and

get assure you, to cut the

of thosemodulations apart and

piece of music tomake

to themusical

music.

than to

glue

score

It's easier, I to cut some

try them to another

the effect of edited

photo

them sound as if they were

scored

that way.

Next is somemusic from a

quired

Mississippi

River Com

of the

mission

Giants, which is a combination of sound effects and

music.

re

tide, the motion picture

example.)

That

so therewere

Shackles

(Seventh

four tracks, voice, sound effects, and the

straight blended orchestral

cuts in that

job probably

music

music. I think itwas principally a

A and B,

background.

hind

There

the voice.

were

some

music

changes

be

example music track. In this case it's edited tomatch canned

The next

shows titles edited tomatch a

music rather than scored music.

The

last

example

It's the

I have

is a

(Eighth example.)

a pro

scoring

of

logue. introduce you to the title of the motion this is from the same

Again turewe saw a little earlier,

Film Productions

Community

recorded

in Cincinnati.

Q. What

about the

to edited music

library

A.

use of both sound effects and music to

picture.

pic

Chest

for Olympus

(Ninth

example.)

percentage in these selections?Were most from

of canned music

type

of

recording?

of the 250 shows

perhaps

the other

they bring the

music, that

That's

opening

in.

right. I think perhaps each

and

closing

all,

music and

that I handle

of them don't use music at

use

half per cent have a live score when

year, probably 98 or 99 per cent

and one-half per cent

show

Q. What

didn't

use

one

comments do

plus

music?

you have

It's

always

on

been

the use

my

of

feel

sound effects

ing

that the two clash with each

get

or

that effect.

the other.

other. But here I

it seemed that one

that the policy is to

Generally

will conflictwith the other and

a question of balance and of

music placement. I don't think you want to get the

inwith the tick of the

A. I think

it's mostly

heavy

clock. You're

between them in order to hear both. But

beat of themusic

going

keep

to do

pretty

well

right

to have

in

to have

a

little spacing

they

must

still

rhythm. It's something you

the

editing

table.Watch

effects track and

track in order

sound

have

the modulations

your to tellwhat the best position is going to be. Then

I'd say

effects just a trifle louder than your music

pretty much on

on

your sound

have

watch themodulations on

you'd

probably

music

to

carry your

in order

to maintain

balance.

Q.

I don't know

you're about, one that

we

if

aware of the film I'm made in Minnesota in

seemed to have been in

the

have dropped

talking

which

me to conflictwith each other.

the sound effects and the music

but

I'd

just

a

It may

lot rather

sound effects.

the balance,

music in favor of

A. It might have

we were

been better in that case, because

a different sort of idea in

trying that particular sequence. We have found, I think,

to build

that

costs

are

too

great.

In

tions that come to us made such as Ford Tractor

dustry

universities, the

outside would

entire

many

cases,

made

for produc

internally by some in

or

internally by

made

on

the

original music budget cost

considerably

costs

more

than their

put together, and for

to

picture production

I

thinkwe're

that reason

canned music.

availability and better canned music has caused the

going pretty heavily

I also think that

ofmore

swing in

that direction. But sheer cost last reason for not doing it.

I'd say is the firstand

In

the university you

can perhaps lick that problem with your own uni

versity

Mr.

musical

Lav astida:

group.

Professor Norman

Phelps view of the

will

now present the picture from the point of

university

writer-composer

and

and

by

having

the

the

entire

un

picture composed

Mr.

derway

ested

played

university.

was

This last discussion which

inter

as a composer. This particular presentation

Phelps:

is a

thing

inwhich

I am very much

[13]

this

been

morning

done

will be based here at Ohio

written on the campus

upon a filmwhich State and for which

and

has

the

music was

the per

formance

all

done

by

the university

in

manner

any

of

photography

about

tempo, pace,

or

great value

bring

detail. But to

orchestra.

whatsoever

I'm

to

not

at

speak

competent

real

of the problems

competency is of course in the field of music, and I

could

of thing, but I don't

modulation, and

that sort

believe thatwould be of

out

filming.My

speak instrumentation, and

to go

into

into

great

the open

to you forme

the

problem

tomake a

at least, I've organized this

and how

kind of what, why,

exactly the way inwhich the problem was presented

situation, for that's

to me.

The what is, of course, the filmwhich was

done by the Department

to be

of Photography here and

is in the nature of an information film. It has to do

with

based

the

university, and

question,

the fundamental

text is

on the

"What is a university?" The

and

very

script is very nicely done, very clear,

cleverly

first,

third,

worked

out.

It centers

the university's buildings;

ideas.

around

three

second, people;

items:

and

Actually

was

schools, we

since the

story

has to do with Ohio State

informational film which

to be

I

high the score around

shown

in

the

State Uni

or thematic ma

The Carmine Ohio,

one of the clips

University, and it's an

believe

primarily

determined

to build

connected with Ohio

music which was

versity,

terial

and

which we've

so that the central motif

song, hear it when we

play cut from the film.

is the alma mater

you'll

This was, of course, the firstdecision as towhat themusic should be built around, what sort of data and thematic material should be used, and was set

way.

tled

quite

easily

sowell

in

that

I was

surprised

that it

worked

with such

a great variety

with much

to do.

The second

problem tobe performed by the university orchestra, and

that bothered me was

that it

was

this

is, after

all,

an

amateur

group.

There

are

neces

sarily limitations, so that the craftwhich I employed

had

to be very carefully geared

be

to the best

per

formance that could

done with this amateur or

chestra.

I

settled upon a small orchestra, in my own mind

use about four first violins, four sec

intending to

onds,

three

violas,

three

cellos,

and

two

basses,

a

small group of two flutes, one oboe, one bassoon,

one

bass

clarinet,

and

a

contra-bass

clarinet,

which

gives

considerable variety

saxophone group

I would

in the wind

section. I

wanted a

would be what

of five instrumentswhich

call a group

to give body

good saxophones

their own

to the score, but we didn't have five

or even four, so I settled on four trombones and

two

very good sort of sound within the orchestral

French horns. The four tromboneswere a

chordal,

fabric, and the horns of course added

individual color.

gluing

to the

conductor

four firstviolins so thatwhen the

chosen h? got down to everybody

Actually

when

it came

performance, the

rely on

string except, I think,

of the orchestra felt he couldn't

section was

[14]

two players,

play.

This

two second violins who didn't

They might

get

have

to

had

was unfortunate.

the opportunity and the experience as well.

The third

problem

was

has never been settled. I don't

happened.

hope,

Part

of it

and with

and most

is that there is an

the film, and

I

the voice

down.

go so that if too much

know even today exactly what

done with forethought of itwas

extensive narration that

goes could not predict or know

just hope, I think.That

with

exactly when

would come

Consequently it should be faded out, itwouldn't make

difference, there wouldn't

in and when themusic would themusic had to be written

to be

be any absolute

there. I had

loss, or

primary item for ten or

if it should come up

twelve seconds, itwould

important and belonged

a

sound as though it were

to tread this

very fine line between writing completely innocuous

music

and music which had some definite interest

of its own. This was

themost difficult part of the

whole

process.

In the film there

where themusic stands

are actually

only

two

exerpts

is in

by the titlemusic. This is the second titlemusic which

itself.The

first one

we composed. The first was perfectly adequate

the pace

the pace

was

for

It was

too

slow.

wrong.

the film as

It didn't

it should be. The

overturemusic went

that and moved

in a

presumed

appropriate

The

We've

to the

and ideas.

ing

I had

got

music. I

probably a quarter

subject

under

discussed

a

great

to a

and

presented deal of funwith

point where I could

buildings

even,

very that this brisk, walking

second strip comes much

already

between

the music

counselling

are

his study work and his social life.This

the old

itself. The

available

but

set

original

slower than

natural tempo. I tempo was more discussion. later in the film.

buildings

the build

distinguish

from

and the new ones

next item describes

student

and other activities

and systems

campus

which

besides

is considered

to the student on the

to be a rather serious part

counselling

he receives

of the student's view. In

and the guidance he gets

de

as

fugai serious and highly aca

the

probably making cisions which will affect his future life as much

or more than those he makes in the classroom. For that reason this is the alma mater tune in a

setting which has a rather

outside of the classroom he's

demic

concept

in music.

Since a

good

part of the student's life is devoted

and since the student deems these

?

State which we

stands

to.social activities,

to

be extremely important ? and there's no doubt but

this next segment displays a tradi

what

they are

tional activity at Ohio

Week.

there used

particular segment,

all by itself,

abilities and talents.

call May

It probably goes back to theDark Ages when

to be early spring festivals, but in this

the other inwhich music

the students display theirmore natural

This

leads directly into the final segment which

is centered

around

the

commencement

activities

at

the university.

given a

which

you'll

Actually,

narration would

At this

full-blown orchestral

place

the alma mater tune is with chorus of

setting the last notes.

the

come

hear the firstand

as

I

said, I could not know when

come in and when

itwould

out.

I

had

predetermined

the chorus

that it would

began,

is

and

be

all

for

through

prised

before

sur

just faintly audible

right way

I was

place

to find that the chorus

it seems tome

in

to do

the narration. It cannot be earlier, but the time and

the background.

it, as

I agree that this is the

that this is the

effort we

ting

and getting the orchestra balanced against

down the drain.

spent them in the

all

gone

getting the boys

right position

to

There are three

together and get

microphone

the

them had

that we

just

Mr. Lavastida:

should perhaps

print

down. It

things

recap out of the many

this morning.

that Professor

just

work

all

and

un

scores is, how

run. The

Phelps has told us about

One

is that it's extremely the

go

saves a

thing

can

difficultwhen you

script or even just

these things

bring

if

score it

can

you

put

on

long

in the long

original

a

up

give the composer to know when

to

certainly helps track and then he

it doesn't

really

fortunate

ever, that

you film is completely

the

right down and then

analysis. It

down the drain in the

lot of time

about these

can't do it for that reason until the

finished, and

if you have

planned an original

a dead

other

to use some

line, sometimes even if you have

score, the time limit forces you

means

One

who've

of getting your music.

very interesting thing

that I thinkmost of us

original scores have found

department

they you with the

that

situationwithin the

are

in

will work

to

had

to deal with

people

doing

is that the terested in harder than

anybody right type ofmusic. We

in themusic

it, and

else

usually

provide

certainly appreciated

very much,

university

We've

help you

and

and this is themusic itself. had the commercial

with theirmusic

sources of original music. We've

story, everything being

itself,

organization libraries and even their

the university

university

who can

had

done within the

now we're

going to hear fromMr. Glenn

Gould,

a

composer,

an

arranger

of music

who

is

a

free-lance

musician

and works

outside

the university.

Men

when

you

such as Mr.

with

original

Mr. Gould:

top

of

Gould

the music department can't do

are sometimes available

it to provide

what

I can add

on

music.

I don't know

just that has been

everything

Phelps' music.

Wayne

to work

said here this morn

ing. I want

fessor

that at

phony

years

to say that I admired very much Pro

It was very good, had

always

and I wish

the sym

two

think I

about small

usually booked

morning

I

University we

with,

but

it is

in advance. In my talk this

can

do you the best service by talking

combinations.

Presuming

that maybe you can call the dean of the

can recommend to

like to do

hold of someone

someone who had

school ofmusic and

you

a

student or a

this, I'd recommend

maybe

they

professor

that

who would

you get

or

interested in dramatic music

written a little opera

or the like. You

see

there is a

bit of difference

descriptive music and the other kind which is pure

between what we call dramatic or

ly

for

concert

and

sometimes

purposes,

are

think. If

entirely different individuals in the way

composers

they

he

you get a dyed-in-the-wool composer,

may be interested

only

in

having think the way

his music

out regardless of the

rilm. I

around

ested

that

situation

is

music,

in dramatic

to

get

or

someone

really

incidental

say,

come

to get

inter

music

for

you towork for a nominal fee,

together

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