Think about your favorite TV show or film. Can you hum along to its theme song? Do you have the song stuck in your head now? Undoubtedly. Music is vital and integral part of any viewing experience. It creates powerful bonds between the viewers and the program, and even more importantly, between viewers and the show's characters. While having a song list curated by a music supervisor can work well with the right film or television show, nothing beats custom music written and created for the show by a film or TV music composer. Here's why.
The most important aspect of the music in a television show is that it sets the tone for the entire program. Think of the haunting, synth-heavy 80s-reminiscent soundtrack at the beginning of Stranger Things. It tells the viewer so much about the type of show they're about to watch in just a few minutes of music. Or think of the cello-heavy opening of Game of Thrones. It's majestic, chaotic, and implies movement and intrigue. You know exactly what tone to expect from both shows just in the first few minutes of their theme music. It would be difficult to curate that perfect tone using songs that already existed.
The music can also play a huge role in character development. For example, composer John Williams creates theme music for most of the lead characters in Star Wars. When you hear the lovely opening flute and oboe trill of Leia's theme, followed by a warm French horn melody, it creates a feeling in the viewer, a feeling of sweetness, strength, and warmth. It's subtle but it hugely influences the audience's perception of that character.
A film and television score also gives the viewer important emotional cues as they watch the story. The writer, director, cinematographer, and editor will do everything in their power to meticulously craft a story so that it leads the viewer on a premeditated path, but there are some cues that just can't be achieved any other way but with music. Remember the screeching chorus of strings in The Shining as Jack Nicholson's character walks down the hallway toward the bathroom to chop through the door and deliver the famous "Here's Johnny!" line. Imagine that scene without the music. It's just a guy limping down a hallway. With the strings in the scene, the viewer feels unbearable tension, unease, and fear. It can be time-consuming and sometimes impossible to achieve those cues through pre-existing songs. A custom score can do it in a way nothing else can.
To incorporate compelling music into your TV show, contact a TV music composer such as Pat Irwin Music.