In The Synergy of Film and Music: Sight and Sound in Five Hollywood Films, Peter Rothbart examines a handful of motion pictures to convey how a variety of elements work together to create a singular experience. Rothbart considers the aural and visual aspects of five representative films: West Side Story, Psycho, Empire of the Sun, Altered States, and American Beauty. After reviewing the various roles that music can serve in a film, as well as an overview of the film scoring process, the book looks at each film, examining them one musical cue at a time, so that the reader can watch the film while reading about each cue in real time. This unique analysis makes The Synergy of Film and Music a fascinating and instructive volume that both casual viewers and students of cinema will appreciate.
Peter Rothbart is professor of music at the Ithaca College School of Music, where he teaches courses in electroacoustic composition and film music. In addition to writing music for numerous films and theatrical productions, Rothbart has composed works, which have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe.