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Music: Film Music (May 2020)

This guide provides helpful resources for students enrolled in music courses at LaGrange College.


This guide was created in May 2020 for Dr. Andrew Harry’s online course, Music for Films.  It’s designed to provide supplementary resources on film music and composers.  Since it’s an online course (and as of May 2020 the library is closed because of COVID-19), the emphasis is on online resources, but I’ve included some physical items in the hope that this guide will be useful for students on campus when the library re-opens. 


If you’re taking Dr. Harry’s course in summer 2020 and not finding the information you want, please e-mail arobinson@lagrange.edu or refdesk@lagrange.edu and specify what you need (e.g., “resources on the music for Gone with the Wind”).  If I can’t find an online source, I may be able to scan and e-mail pages from our print books.  You may want to look at the “Print books” box on this page.  If a book looks useful, you can (usually) access the table of contents in the online catalog, then e-mail to indicate what you want (e.g., “the chapter on Bernard Herrmann’s Vertigo music from Scoring the Screen”).  


Use our online catalog to find books about film music.  You can search in several ways:

  • “All fields” search
  • Title search (for a specific book)
  • Subject search


The following are sample subject headings; you can click on the links to find books with that subject heading.  To restrict your search to e-books, use the “Limit Search Results” option (on the left of the catalog record) to select “Electronic books” or “Electronic resources.”

Motion picture music.

Motion picture music -- History and criticism.

Motion picture music -- United States -- History and criticism.


Here are a few of the e-books you can access through our catalog; click on the title to access the book.

  • IMPORTANT:  If you’re given the option of “Read Online” or “Download Book,” choose “Read Online.”  This will allow multiple users to read the entire book, and download sections by using the printer or PDF icons.  If you select “Download Book” (or the downward arrow icon), your classmates will be unable to access the book for three weeks (and you’ll be unable to view it on any other device).



Biographical information:


Books on individual composers:


The Gale eBooks database includes the five-volume Encyclopedia of Popular Culture (2nd ed. 2011) which has entries on many films and some film composers, including Leonard Bernstein and Henry Mancini.

Searching full text of e-books

You can also search the full text of our e-books.

To search the full text of our ProQuest e-books:

  • Go directly to this page (or, from the library home page, select “Search Databases A-Z, ” then click “E” and select “Ebook Central”)
  • Type your search terms, e.g. the composer’s name.
    • Use quotation marks for a phrase:  “howard shore”
  • Select the e-book you want to view
  • Click “Read Online.”  (Do NOT select “Download book”)
  • To find the pages that cover your topic, either view the index or use the “Search within book” box
  • To download or print an entire chapter, use the “PDF” icon at the top of the page
  • To download or print a page, or a range of pages, click the “printer” icon (even if you want to download, not print)


To search the full text of our EBSCO e-books:

  • Go directly to this page (or, from the library home page, select “Search Databases A-Z”; click “E” and select “eBook Academic Collection (EBSCO)”)
  • Choose the “Advanced search”
  • Use the pull-down menu to select TX to search the full text (or you can try another option)
  • Type your search term; you may want to use quotation marks for phrases (“lord of the rings”)
  • Select the book you want
  • Click “PDF Full Text” to view the entire book
  • You can download the index or use the “Search within” box

Print books

Print books on film music are on the upper level with call numbers beginning ML 2075.

If you’re taking this course online, you can use the online catalog to view the table of contents (for most of these books).  If a chapter looks useful, e-mail refedsk@lagrange.edu and ask for a scan of the chapter you want, or the pages on a specific film or composer (we can’t scan the entire book).  Use your LaGrange College e-mail account; this service is available only to currently enrolled students.

  • Buhler, James and David Newmeyer.  Hearing the Movies:  Music and Sound in Film History.  Oxford University Press, 2010.  (ML 2075 .B84 2010)
  • Buhler, James and Caryl Flinn.  Music and Cinema.  Hanover, NH:  University Press of New England, 2000. (ML 2075 .M875 2000)
  • Cooke, Mervyn.  The Hollywood Film Music Reader.  Oxford University Press, 2010.  (ML 2075 .H64 2010)
    • includes first-hand accounts by Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Hermann, Henry Mancini, André Previn, David Raksin, Miklór Rózsa, Max Steiner, Dmitri Tomkin, Franz Waxman, and John Williams (an interview on his music for Star Wars)
  • Davis, Richard.  Complete Guide to Film Scoring:  The Art and Business of Writing Music for Movies and TV.  Boston:  Berklee Press, 1999.  (ML 2075 .D388 1999)
    • includes interviews with Elmer Bernstein, Danny Elfman, David Newman, and David Raksin
  • Hill, A.W. Scoring the Screen:  The Secret Language of Film Music.  (ML 2075 .H53 2017)
  • Morgan, David.  Knowing the Score:  Film Composers Talk about the Art, Craft, Blood, Sweat, and Tears of Writing Music for Cinema.  New York:  HarperEntertainment, 2000.  (ML 2075 .K588 2000)
  • Pelkey, Stanley C., and Anthony Bushard, ed.  Anxiety Muted:  American Film Music in a Suburban Age.  Oxford University Press, 2015.  (ML 2075 .A595 2014)


Reference books:

  • Sherk, Warren M.  Film and Television Music:  A Guide to Books, Articles, and Composer Interviews.  Lanham, MD:  Scarecrow Press, 2011.  (REF ML 128 .M7 S545 2011)
  • Browse the Music books in the M section in reference, such as the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (REF ML 100 .N488 2000, 29 volumes) and the Encyclopedia of Popular Music (REF ML 102 .P66 G84 2006, 10 volumes)

Films on Demand

We don’t have feature films online, but you may want to check our Films on Demand database for streaming documentaries, such as:

Series “Cinema Sound:  Music” (2017)


If you’re able to come to Lewis Library (and we’re open), you can check out DVDs of many films.  Use our online catalog to see if we have a film, or browse the DVDs of feature films on the main level (they're more or less in alphabetical order).  You can do a title search for the film, or an “All Fields” search for a composer; this may display some (though not necessarily all) films we have with his or her music.  You can either look for items with call numbers beginning DVD or, if you get too many results, select the “Video disc” option under “Format” at the left.

Sound recordings

Our Naxos Music Library database allows you to stream music for many recordings.  You can browse by composer or do a keyword search (“john williams and star wars”).


To look for CDs, browse the CD M 1527 area on our upper level (we have about 70 CDs of film music), or use our online catalog.  Do an “Author” search for the composer and limit the results to “Audio disc.”  We have CDs of several film scores, for example:

  • Cape Fear (CD M 1527 .H35 C18)
  • Citizen Kane (CD M 1527 .H400 C62 1989)
  • The Lord of the Rings:  The Two Towers (CD M 1527 .S56 2002)
  • The Star Wars Trilogy (CD M 1527 .W57 S79 1983)
  • Vertigo (CD M 1527 .H400 V47 1996)


You can use GALILEO to search for articles, or “Search Databases A-Z” for specific databases.  For newspaper articles since the 1980s (if you want to find film reviews, or interviews with composers), try the News & Newspapers database.  If you need assistance, e-mail refdesk@lagrange.edu ; be specific about what you want (e.g., “articles about John Williams’s score for Jaws”).

Normally you can order articles that aren’t available in full text on interlibrary loan.  This may or may not be possible in summer 2020 because of COVID-19; e-mail the reference librarian at refdesk@lagrange.edu (paste the citation into an e-mail) to inquire.

Lewis Library has Film Score Monthly from 2001 to 2005 in print; if you’re taking the online course in summer 020, the reference librarian can scan individual articles for you.  You can do an “Advanced Search” in GALILEO for journal title Film Score (it changed its name to Film Score Magazine in 2005; you can also search for ISSN 10774289) plus other search terms (“john williams,” “lord of the rings”) and limit the “Published date” from 2001 to 2005.  If you find good articles or reviews, paste the complete citation into an e-mail and send it to arobinson@lagrange.edu .

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