A little boy is swimming in the ocean with his boogie board; a dozen other kids are splashing beside him. "Dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun, dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun," a large fin pokes out of the water and the boy goes under. Bright red blood stains the ocean water; everyone runs to shore, except for little Alex. The torn cloth from his boogie board washes up to the sand. Many of us recognize this scene from Steven Spielberg's 1975 thriller Jaws. What makes this movie so iconic is the suspenseful film score written by John Williams, which "won him an academy award and was ranked as the sixth greatest film score of all time by the American Film Institute" (Mohan, 2013). Music plays a vital role in the production of a film. Music and film have gone hand in hand since the early beginnings of film making. .
When movies were first introduced, audio recording were not yet available. Black and white films, without audio capability, were presented with a live band or orchestra which played along with the film to give the audience a movie to remember. It was used to keep the audience engaged in the production, and to keep them from being distracted from outside noises and talking. Watching Jaws with and without audio has open my eyes, or should I say ears, to the importance of music in film making. The film scores brought the movie to life. The music pulled me, the viewer, into the movie and made me feel what the director intended the audience to feel in each scene. Soundtracks such as these are important to set the mood for different scenes with in a movie. .
In Jaws, when the great white shark spots his pray, we are greeted with an ominous low-tempo sound. As the shark approaches his prey the music picks up speed and builds an intense, heart pounding feeling that something bad is about to happen. This music is usually followed by the inevitable shark attack or "almost" shark attack.