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Film Music / Study 5

Does typecasting result in generic and interchangeable scores within a genre?

Though Aaron Copland feels composers should be cast according to their specialty (Huntley, 1957), some of John Williams's scores seem difficult to differentiate. In order to test this question, scores written by the same composer could be switched.

For example, is the score to E.T. sufficiently different from Star Wars to be noticed or are they simply generic futuristic scores grounded in classical symphony orchestra?

Researchers could show one group a scene from Star Wars with its original music. A scene from Star Wars with E.T. music (same genre, same composer) inserted would be presented to a second group, and a third group would view the scene with music from another futuristic epic from the same time period not composed by John Williams, such as Star Trek (Goldsmith, 1980).

Which seems more different from the Star Wars music, the Star Trek music or the E.T. music?

A fourth group should be shown the scene with John Williams's music but music from a different genre, such as Schindler's List or Far and Away. Is this music still characteristically Williams's?

Is it more or less different from the Star Trek music? In other words, which is more important for continuity, the same composer or the same movie genre?

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