Period films often use music from the era in which they take place to create an historically accurate performance. Sometimes, however, the music we hear may be from a time following the film’s setting. Today’s let’s look a few examples – one obvious, and the second more subtle.
Have you seen the 2006 film Marie Antoinette staring Kirsten Dunst? This film is set during the 18th century and tells the story of the last queen of France before the French Revolution. Listen to the music here.
This scene shows an obvious example of music displacement. “I Want Candy” performed by Bow Wow Wow is modern music intentionally chosen for use in a period film.
But what about the 1975 Stanley Kubrick film Barry Lyndon? This movie also takes place during the 18th century. Listen here for any displaced music.
Did you hear any? If not, that’s okay! Schubert’s Piano Trio in E-flat, Op. 100 is used non-diegetically during this scene. It fits nicely into this historic setting, and it’s meant to blend well as period music. This piece, however, was not written until the 19th century! I wonder if the creators of Barry Lyndon were aware of this discrepancy when they chose it as part of their film score?
During this month of movie music, let’s talk about a few significant film composers. Join me next time!