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Original soundtrack: On the meaning and significance of film music albums
Despite a gradual, albeit still hesitant turnaround in music and film studies, film music is considered a musical genre that, for a long time, was not seen without the associated medium of film. Film music was thus regarded as an accompaniment to the film narrative, more or less inseparably connected with it and not appreciated as a separate work of art. Nevertheless, with the spread of sound storage media such as the gramophone record, albums came onto the market on which “only” film music could be heard. Today, film music on CDs or as digital releases is an integral part of the distribution chain of film studios and is usually commercially available. In a niche segment, labels have also specialized in releasing film music outside of mainstream cinema or in completing film music that has only been released incompletely and bringing it back onto the market in a remastered version. In addition, there are numerous releases where film music is not released as original recordings but as re-recordings, sometimes in the form of suites or new arrangements. The paper would like to argue that through this work of labels and releases, film music is held in high esteem, which goes far beyond viewing film music as a mere accompaniment or underscore to the accompanying film. Instead, albums enable the listener to perceive film music independently of the film, which corresponds not least to the performance of film music in concert halls. In this paper, a few examples will be worked out and interviews with producers and label managers will help to find out to what extent film music can be regarded as independent works (which, like program music, are based on an extra-musical idea) and what advantages or disadvantages the tendency from CD to digital releases has.
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