Routledge has released Music in The Horror Film: Listening To Fear, edited by Neil Lerner.

Lerner is Associate Professor of Music at Davidson College, with his Ph.D. in Musicology from Duke University. He has several published articles and numerous conference presentations to his credit, including co-authorship on our book with Joseph Straus, Sounding Off: Theorizing Disability in Music. Moreover, he is an active teacher of Film Music and carries a full load, teaching the curricula for general liberal arts students as well as required courses for music majors.

Music in Horror Film is a collection of essays that examine the effects of music and its ability to provoke or intensify fear in this particular genre of film. Frightening images and ideas can be made even more intense when accompanied with frightening musical sounds, and music in horror film frequently makes its audience feel threatened and uncomfortable through its sudden stinger chords and other shock effects. The essays in this collection address the presence of music in horror films and their potency within them. With contributions from scholars across the disciplines of music and film studies, these essays delve into blockbusters like The Exorcist, The Shining, and The Sixth Sense together with lesser known but still important films like Carnival of Souls and The Last House on the Left. By leading us with the ear to hear these films in new ways, these essays allow us to see horror films with fresh eyes.

“I noticed early in my teaching career that pieces by Stravinsky, Schoenberg, and Webern, some of the major composers of the early 20th century, drew troubled looks from students when they heard them in the stark isolation of a classroom, staring at a speaker or a score,” Lerner says in a piece on College News. “Those same musical gestures, though, made much more sense to students when they encountered them in the context of a scary movie. I recognized long ago that studying musical styles, even particularly difficult ones, shouldn’t end with the concert hall and opera stage, but should extend into the study of mass media, where musicologists have much to add to the scholarly conversation.”

You can catch the rest of the article here: Music in The Horror Film

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