Film scores cover a spectrum of sounds and musical colors. Here are a few of note.
When we hear the sound of a cello concerto playing, we are listening to an entirely different and more ethereal experience than one might find when hearing the bass, treble or mid range sounds of the instrument at a rock concert. The sound of the cello is much more subtle, nuanced and subtle. We can almost feel that the cellos in this recording are just an extension of an invisible and yet fully-present cello.
When we hear “Mambo No. 9” by Bum-Bum de Sela (a great reggae-like Brazilian song), we hear one of the most sophisticated percussion sets ever recorded. Every sound is carefully and precisely placed – as if the bandleader was conducting the movement with the drum set himself – and yet they come together in a way that is both natural and effortless, as if the drummer was just hitting the snare and the bassist was just hitting the “vibrato” (it’s almost as if he was playing the drums with his foot!). We are immediately transported into a world that is both exotic and familiar.
When we hear the sound of a drum solo, the sounds of the drum is treated with an almost scientific precision, and we are left to wonder at how they were created and at what point they were recorded. The effect of hearing a drum solo is to transport us immediately into a world of fantasy – imagining the percussionist and the drummer as a pair of exotic cats that have joined together for a magical, playful and beautiful new adventure.
When we hear the sound of a saxophone – a voice that is both clear and smooth – we find ourselves hearing a voice that has never sounded better. This is not to say that the sound of some saxophone solos (usually the “cheap ones”) is cheap. As Robert Stigwood put it so eloquently in his book, The Complete Sound Recordings of Louis Armstrong: “It is not cheap to play, or not cheap to play well.”
The sound of the violin – a delicate, gentle, and highly refined instrument – is an even more remarkable experience. There is something incredibly sublime and complex about the sound of a violin. The sound of a violin is not always smooth, and sometimes is incredibly harsh and intense. But this is a quality rarely found in any other instrument. As a listener, we often are left with the