Books that sing the praises of famous composers and famous film scores have been in circulation, with a fair amount of commercial success, since the mid-1970s (for example, books by Tony Thomas and Mark Evans).
Perhaps due to the rise of film music scholarship in the 1980s and 1990s (beginning especially with Gorbman 1987 and Kalinak 1992), books that attempt to explain film music in general (e.g., Duncan 2003, Larsen 2007, Chion 2009, Kalinak 2010) are a more recent phenomenon.
The collections of source readings listed in the subsections are for the most part carefully annotated, and the interviews with composers are for the most part in “journalistic” style.
All the materials need to be read with a scrupulous critical eye, of course, but even the most outrageously opinionated of them add considerable resonance to what might otherwise be dry analyses of film music.
Notwithstanding the pioneering effort of Limbacher 1974, the very idea of film-music source readings—that is, materials generated not from a distance by academics but, rather, by journalists, film music practitioners, and others working close to the scene—is quite new.
Illustrative of the apparent fact that film music studies is an increasingly “hot” field of scholarly activity, it should be noted that three of the four items mentioned in this section (Cooke 2010; Wierzbicki, et al.The immediate value of composer interviews depends, of course, on the questions the composers are asked, yet it seems that most composers who figure into these collections manage to get their points across regardless of the interviewers’ skills or the format of the interviewer’s writing.Thomas 1979 features interviews with “golden age” composers; Schelle 1998 and Morgan 2000 deal with composers prominent during the 1980s and 1990s; Des Jardins 2006, Hoover 2010a, and Hoover 2010b are very up to date and include comments not just from composers but also from arrangers, producers, etc.With very few exceptions, the musical precincts of the academic world paid no attention at all to film music until the mid- to late 1990s; nevertheless, since 2000 the study of film music, from the perspective both of film studies and musicology, has been one of the academy’s “hottest” fields.This bibliography progresses from general works, through anthologies, guidebooks, bibliographies, and academic journals now being devoted entirely to the burgeoning field of film music, to, finally, specialized studies, early studies, and region-specific studies.In all cases, the anthologies’ content represents not a summary but, rather, a sampling of current work.The earliest bibliographies listed here—Zuckerman 1950 and Sharples 1978—appeared in film journals and date from long before film music became a field of scholarly endeavor; later bibliographies typically build on what has come before (Stilwell 2002 springs directly from Marks 1979, for example, and Pool and Wright 2011 is an updating of an earlier work by Wright and Stephen M.Because of their diversity of topics, well-edited anthologies serve both as useful entry points for persons new to the field of film music and as valuable sources of stimuli for persons deeply immersed in it.Some anthologies (e.g., Powrie and Stilwell 2006; Conrich and Tincknell 2006; Goldmark, et al.To date, the only comprehensive encyclopedia or dictionary of film music seems to be the German-language Gervink and Bückle 2012; comprehensive reference works in English are rumored to be in progress, but these have yet to materialize.Whereas Gervink and Bückle 2012 is indeed a dictionary, Mc Carty 1972, Limbacher 1981, Marill 1998, and Mc Carty 2000 are for the most part listings of film composers and their works.