In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Music and Cinema, Global Practices

  • Introduction
  • Readers, Sourcebooks, and Companions
  • Textbooks
  • Bibliographies, Encyclopedias, and Resource Guides
  • Film Score Guides
  • Histories
  • Topic-Specific Monographs

Related Articles Expand or collapse the "related articles" sectionabout

Forthcoming Articles Expand or collapse the "forthcoming articles" section


Cinema and Media Studies Music and Cinema, Global Practices
Kathryn Kalinak
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 May 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 22 February 2018
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199791286-0045


Film music has always been a global phenomenon, but until recently scholarship on film music has tended to focus on the United States. Moving images and music were paired from the outset in the United States, France, and Germany, but musical accompaniment materialized at screenings of moving pictures all over the world, if not initially, then within days, weeks, or months of film’s arrival. As an institutional practice, film music is a global phenomenon that developed in different ways across a variety of national cinemas. The citations in this article in some way reflect this perspective: some are devoted exclusively to a film music practice outside the United States; some consider film music as a global phenomenon drawing examples from a variety of national cinemas; and some are simply not limited to examples drawn exclusively from Hollywood film. Separate bibliographies have been prepared for musicals (see the Oxford Bibliographies article “Musicals”) and for film music in the largest and most powerful film industry in the United States: Hollywood (see the Oxford Bibliographies article “Music and Cinema, Classical Hollywood”). And although music plays an important role in television and in other forms of audiovisual entertainment, such as music videos and computer gaming, this article focuses on music and cinema.

General Overviews

The study of film music finds itself at the intersection of film studies, musicology, and popular music studies. As a discipline, it developed fairly recently. Although serious books on film music were published as early as the 1930s, academic interest in film music began in the 1980s. Gorbman 1987, cited under Post-structuralist Approaches, played no small part in this development. The titles in this section each offer an introduction to the field of film music as a discipline, generally outlining film music’s functions and touching on important issues in film music history, theory, and criticism.

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