1st Edition

Music in Action Film Sounds Like Action!

Edited By James Buhler, Mark Durrand Copyright 2021
    332 Pages 108 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    332 Pages 108 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Music in Action Film is the first volume to address the central role of music and sound in action film—arguably the most dominant form of commercial cinema today.

    Bringing together 15 essays by established and emerging scholars, the book encompasses both Hollywood blockbusters and international films, from classic works such as The Seven Samurai to contemporary superhero franchises. The contributors consider action both as genre and as a mode of cinematic expression, in chapters on evolving musical conventions; politics, representation, and identity; musical affect and agency; the functional role of music and sound design in action film; and production technologies.

    Breaking new critical ground yet highly accessible, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of music and film studies.

    Table of Contents

    Series Foreword

    Neil Lerner

    List of Contributors

    Preface: Sounds Like Action!

    James Buhler and Mark Durrand

    Part I: Action Scored: Politics, Representation, and Identity

    Favela Chic in Action

    Soundtracking Urban Violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    K.E. Goldschmitt

    "You’re Not Gonna Get Mushy on Me, Are You?"

    Music and the New Man in 1990s Hollywood Action Film

    Rebecca Fülöp

    "I Am No Lady When I Fight!"

    Gender Politics in the Postwar Swashbuckler Score

    Grace Edgar

    Reviving the Swordplay Action Film

    Nature, Technology, and the Soundtrack for Seven Samurai

    Brooke McCorkle Okazaki

    Conan the Neoliberal?

    The Sounds of Hypermasculine Entrepreneurship

    in Early Reaganite Film

    James Deaville

    Part II: Action Scores: Evolving Musical Conventions

    Underscoring Chased Heroes and Robbing Villains

    Music of Immediacy in New Hollywood Action Thrillers

    of the late 1960s and 1970s

    Michael Baumgartner

    John Williams’s Action Music in the Twenty-First Century

    Frank Lehman

    "There and Back Again"

    Music and Generic Transformation in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Films

    Stephen C. Meyer

    Star Trek as Action Film

    Reimagining The Original Series’ Soundscape

    Paul Sommerfeld

    A Tale of Two Cinemas:

    Zashchitniki (Guardians, 2017) and

    Music for the New Russian Superhero Film

    Joan Titus

    Part III: Scoring Action: The Kinesthetic Experience and Production

    "Those Who Dance"

    Popular Music, Audiovisual Editing, and Meaning across

    the Guardians of the Galaxy Franchise

    Catrin Watts

    Toward a Musical Understanding of Cinematic Action:

    Two Experiments with Embodiment and Musical Vitality

    in Film Experience

    Mark Durrand

    Sound-Induced Visual Illusion in Film

    Sarah Louden

    "Humming the Foley, Singing the Sound"

    Designing Sound with a Musical Perspective

    Vanessa Theme Ament

    Music, Digital Audio, Labor:

    Notes on Audio and Music Production

    for the Contemporary Action Film

    James Buhler



    James Buhler is Professor of Music Theory at the University of Texas, Austin.

    Mark Durrand is Senior Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Akron.