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A critical examination of film music from the late nineteenth century to present day, including film music genres, composers and styles.

Students will explore music styles in film, techniques of scoring, and the commercial side of film music. This paper examines the relationship between sound and image, while developing critical skills in listening and viewing. Students are introduced to key theoretical literature, works and composers.

Paper title Film Music
Paper code MUSI366
Subject Music
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Not offered in 2023 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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18 200-level MFCO or MUSI points
MUSI 266
Schedule C
Arts and Music
Students who have not passed the normal prerequisite may be admitted with approval from the Head of Department.
No prior musical knowledge in music notation and theory is required.

Teaching staff

Paper Coordinator: Professor Henry Johnson

Teaching Staff: Professor Henry Johnson
Professor Peter Adams

Teaching Arrangements
One 1-hour lecture, one 2-hour screening and one 50-minute seminar per week.

Please contact the School of Performing Arts office for information about required readings.

Course outline

Please contact the School of Performing Arts office ( for a copy of the most recent paper profile.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

Students who successfully complete the paper will:

  • Develop a critical understanding of the role of music in film
  • Gain a familiarity of the characteristics of the sound-image relationship
  • Develop an understanding of film music within broader social and cultural contexts
  • Gain an awareness of famous film composers and their works
  • Develop an understanding of the role of technology in the development of music and film
  • Gain the ability to identify diverse types of film music
  • Develop skills in interdisciplinary research
  • Develop skills in the critical appraisal of diverse types of film music

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Not offered in 2023

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system