How do movie composers/directors know whether to add music to a scene or leave it with just what’s onscreen?


And does the composer create the music around the scene or vice versa?

In: Other

They don’t know. Sometimes they try it both ways and see what works best.

Alfred Hitchcock usually explained to composer Bernard Herrmann what he wanted from a score, and where he wanted it. On *Psycho* he particularly specified that the shower scene should be silent because it would have more of an impact. Herrmann thought he knew better (this seems to have been fairly common for Herrmann and was why they eventually fell out) and wrote music for it. Hitchcock realised that Herrmann was right and left the music in.

Sergio Leone directed Westerns. He had a good working relationship with Ennio Morricone, the composer. When working on the script he would involve Morricone early on so that Morricone has an idea of the tone they both wanted from the score, and because they knew what it would be like, Morricone was able to write bits of it before they started filming, so that Leone could play the demo version to the actors as they filmed certain key scenes, and they could adjust their performances correctly.