Orchestrating a prejudice: European misunderstanding of the use of orchestrators in Hollywood

Audissino, Emilio (2014) Orchestrating a prejudice: European misunderstanding of the use of orchestrators in Hollywood. In: MaMI (Music and the Moving Image) Conference, 30 May - 01 Jun 2014, New York, USA. (Unpublished)

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“Whoever writes music for films without orchestrating each segment is nothing but a dilettante.” This (typically) trenchant statement by Ennio Morricone reveals a common prejudice. Many not familiar with Hollywood music practice typically show a misunderstanding of the role of the orchestrator. In non- Hollywood film industries the composer traditionally handles all the stages of the process, orchestration included. Thus, for some the fact that Hollywood composers use orchestrators means that they are frauds using ghost-writers. Yet, even indisputable masters such as Aaron Copland and Erich Wolfgang Korngold used orchestrators for their film assignments.

The paper will engage with this misunderstanding and explain the intended function of the Hollywood orchestrator and why the use of orchestrators have become a recurring staple of most attacks against Hollywood film music. Italy will be chosen as a sample of the European bias – in that country there is still a strong influence from high-brow musicology and Benedetto Croce's Idealism. The difference in work routine and conception of the film-music job will be illustrated with examples taken from La musica nel film (ed.Enzo Masetti, Roma: Bianco e Nero, 1950, which collects papers by both American and European film composers from the 1950 Musicology Conference held in Florence) and with the comparison of two case studies: Ennio Morricone in opposition to John Williams (excerpts from documentaries will be shown to argue that the difference in modus operandi of the two is a matter of different traditions, not different talent).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Film and television
Depositing User: Emilio Audissino
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 15:48
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:19
URI: https://repository.uwl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1656

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