ByCraig Patrick Arnott, writer at
I'm currently studying a degree for Film Production and Cinematography.
Craig Patrick Arnott

Music in films and their trailers is something we as the viewers tend to overlook. Music is a key part to any films success. Without us even realizing it our brains are pre-programmed to accept certain types of musics to explain to us the genre of a film.

To help explain even further let us look at a well know family comedy Mrs Doubtfire and the horror classic IT by Stephen King.

The narrative along with the music tells us a lot about this film. It is a family fun comedy film. We know this by the tempo being fast paced with the classical music which is them followed by music that makes everyone's foot tap. These things were told to us by our brains without us even noticing as our brain's primary focus is on the images we are seeing.

Next we have Stephen King's IT. The music uses a lower pitch and tone and increases in speed, much like the human heart when in fear. The addition of an almost circus style music adds to this as the subject of fear in this case is a clown. Again, these things were decided by your brain without you even noticing.

Still not Convinced?

Now I am sure there are a few who are still skeptical on how important the choice of music is to a films genre. Well here are two trailers swapping the film genres of Mrs Doubtfire and IT.

By adding a chilling soundtrack in addition to a heartbeat tells us this is not a family film suddenly. Instead it changes laughs to chills as Mrs Doubtfire suddenly changes into an antagonist set to regain his children.

Much like Mrs Doubtfire changing, this trailer makes Pennywise the Clown suddenly become the savior to a family in turmoil who need happiness back in their lives. This was told to us by the music suddenly hitting a "magical" moment breaking from the sad music at the start of the trailer.

There are hundreds of fan-made trailers on the internet and many are people playing with this trick of changing the music to change the genre. A movie needs specific music to work just as much as it needs a good story, director and actors to portray it. So is it always the actors, director and script writing failing to win over audiences or is it sometimes the music that has let them down?


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