Music plays a significant role in films. For instance, it can be used to emphasize the theme of the film, to create the mood for the movie, or to make scene transition in the film among many others. This paper will focus on the role of music in the film, The Exorcist, 1973, by William Friedkin. This film has employed the use of more than one song. These are Giannis Kalatzis’ “My Tale” (“Paramythaki mou”) and film music by Schifrin. Music has played different roles in this picture. Each of the songs plays a role different from the other.
To begin with, the film song by Schifrin is more of sounds accompanying the scenes. This is used to create the mood of the film as it progresses. It is used frequently in the film whenever it is necessary. Since this is a horror film, the song helps in bringing out the horror in the composition. For instance, as the fathers carry out the exorcism on the young girl, the accompanying sounds help create clear images in the minds of the audience on what is happening beyond what the scene is portraying. In other words, the film song by Schifrin helps in creating images of what is happening in “real” behind the scene. If there is no musical accompaniment, it becomes obvious that the film will not bring out the horror in the exercise.
The song brings out the horror in the exorcism as well as in demon possession. The music also evolves the horror in the film when the girl, Regan, is getting aggressive. The music brings out the evil in Pazuzu’s possession of Regan. During the moments, Regan gets aggressive, and the film music by Schifrin demonstrates the evil behind the aggression. This shows that there is something supernatural driving the girl to be aggressive. The weird sound of the music brings out the supernatural image of the force behind the aggression. Shooting the film unaccompanied by the music would not bring out the magnitude of the evil force behind everything Regan was doing.
The music plays a key role in the incident when Karras asks the demon to leave the girl and possess him. At this juncture, the music shows the immortality of the demon. It has the ability to leave one individual and possess another. In summation, the film music by Schifrin plays a great role in bringing out the immortality and supernatural nature of Pazuzu in the motion picture. It also sets the mood for the film. It clearly brings out the horror and helps in imagery. That is, it creates mental images of what is on the scene and beyond in the minds of the audience.
Another song featuring in the film is Giannis Kalatzis’ “My Tale” (“Paramythaki mou”). The song was playing on the radio when Karras left his mother’s house. This happened after the death of his elderly mother. This song demonstrates the desperation and despair in Karras. Karras expected that God would heal his mother, and that she would not die. Her death brought so much despair and pain to him that he lost faith in God.
As this song sounds, it exposes the extent of Karras grieve in losing his mother. There are no words that could explain the extent of grieve and pain that Karras went through when losing his mother. Therefore, the song highlights what words could not otherwise do. Emotions at times are best shown by using a song in a film. This is because actions, such as crying or yelling, may not express the real feeling in clarity. On the other hand, a song will enable the audience feel with the actor. In other words, the audience will enjoy or hurt with the character on the stage through a song. In Karras case, his tears could not clearly express the extent of loss he felt, but the song playing on the radio helped him do so. The audience could perceive the pain and despair he felt through the song.
Lastly, in a single film, music plays an important role. It is hard to completely communicate in a single film. The challenge of limited time and space of recording a single film frequently leads to the rush ideas in the picture. Therefore, the idea or the theme of the film does not come out well by the time the movie ends. Music eliminates this challenge to a great extent and helps communicate the theme of the single film through the means discussed above among others. For instance, the use of the two songs in this single film has proved that by the end of the film, the audience understands what the author or director of the film intended to communicate. This is a unique role of music in single films, which it does not play in other kinds of films.
In conclusion, the use of music is extremely important in films as it fosters interest to the actions happening to the protagonists. In most cases, it explains what images (scenes) and words in the film cannot communicate. Some ideas are too immense to be brought out in words or stage play; thus, they come out well by using songs in the film. Other ideas have no physical representation. For instance, supernatural nature and immortality cannot be demonstrated in any physical representation. Music easily brings out such incidents in the film. It is easy for the audience to indicate the film’s idea through the song that plays at a certain incident.
In addition, transiting from one scene to another comes out well when music sounds. This music marks the end of one idea and the beginning of another. Music is the best way to communicate with the audience within a film. It is not a good idea for a film to transit abruptly from scene to scene as it would seem disorganized. When the music sounds, the audience realizes that a certain scene has lapsed and another one is about to begin. This makes the film look organized and communicative. Regardless of the length of single films, music ensures that they communicate effectively with the audience.