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MUSIC 2F03 Music for Film and Television

Academic Year: Winter 2018

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: E

Instructor: Prof. Simon Wood


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 416

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23668

Office Hours: Monday, 5:45 to 6:45 - TSH 432

Course Objectives:

Music 2F03 is a historical and aesthetic survey of the styles, trends, and important figures in the development of narrative film music, from the invention of moving pictures to the present day. The course will also include a discussion of the technical process of creating film music, as well as a review of popular music in film and the approaches to writing music for Television.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Roger Hickman, Reel Music: Exploring 100 Years of Film Music, 2nd Edition (New York: WW Norton, 2017).

Method of Assessment:

The written tests and exams will consist of multiple‑choice questions. The questions will be drawn from readings, viewing assignments and lectures (thus it is essential that you attend class!).  The final exam is scheduled by the registrar’s office. Students are warned that travel arrangements should not be made until the exam date is posted, as no deferred exams will be granted for anything other than health or family emergencies.

Term Test 1 (25% of Final Grade): Saturday, February 10th at 12:30 pm

Term Test 2 (30% of Final Grade): Saturday March 3rd at 12:30

Final Examination (45% of Final Grade): April Examination Period

Students will have received a minimum of 10% of their grade by March 16th, 2017.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

There will be no deferred writing of tests and exams without medical or similar certification. If you miss a test, notify me at once through email. A deferred test will be arranged within one week of the original date.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Course topics and readings:


Week 1, 2 and 3: Course Introduction, What to Listen For in Film / Technical Details, How It’s Done / Early History, The Silent Era

Reading: Chapters 1-8


Week 4: The Birth of Sound, and the Orchestra in Hollywood:

Viewing: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

Reading: Chapters 9 and 10


Week 5: Film Music Comes of Age (1940‑1950):

Viewing: Laura (1944)

Readings: Chapters 11 and 13


Week 6: The 1950s and Hitchcock/Herrmann:

Viewing: Psycho (1960)

Readings: Chapters 14 and 15


Week 7: The 1960s/Goldsmith:

Viewing: Planet of the Apes (1968)

Readings: Chapters 17 and 18


Week 8: The 1970s/Williams:

Viewing: Jaws (1975)

Readings: Chapters 19 and 21


Week 9: The 1980s/Horner:

Viewing: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Readings: Chapters 23 to 25


Week 10: The 90s:

Viewing: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

Reading: Chapters 22 and 27


Week 11: Current Trends:

Viewing: Inception (2010)

Reading: Chapters 26, 29 and 30


Week 12: Music For Television:

Viewing and Readings TBA


Other Course Information:

Class Attendance: While due to the size of the class, formal attendance will not be taken, class attendance is considered manditory.

Viewing: Students must view one film every week, as indicated in the Course Schedule. Questions will be posted on the course web site that will act as a guide to your viewing. Most of these films can be found through on line streaming services, or are available from the local public library. The films are central to the course and will feature in the midterm test and final exam.