Is Film Soundtrack a genre?

The music from this week’s album, the soundtrack to the 1956 film The King and I, was originally written for the broadway musical of the same name. The soundtrack for the highest grossing film of all time, Avatar, was painstakingly composed especially for the film; designed to be a fusion between a traditional orchestral score and the musical style of the Na’vi, the alien race depicted in the film. One of my favourite films, The Royal Tenenbaums, has a soundtrack comprised almost entirely of pre-existing rock songs from artists like The Rolling Stones.

My point is, to call Film Soundtracks a genre in its own right implies that these three soundtracks are in the same musical tradition, which they clearly are not. It is also difficult to fit this version of the Film Soundtrack genre into the Music Tree, because it is cited as a major influence on Pop Music. Even if the definition of Film Soundtrack is changed to only include the soundtracks of musical films, there are still a wide variety of styles of music present in musical films, that makes it difficult to view them as part of a single genre.

I think that film soundtracks, rather than representing a distinct genre draw on many genres, and are better categorised separately. I do, however, offer an alternative suggestion: Musical Theatre. The progression from musical theatre to popular music is far clearer, and perhaps musical theatre and popular music were once the same thing. Afterall, the soundtrack to The King and I is (bar a few alterations) music from the theatre.

Dave, can you persuade me otherwise?

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One Response to Is Film Soundtrack a genre?

  1. Pingback: What is Art Rock? | Fran and Dave's Musical Adventure

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