Epic Sound

Epic Sound : Music in Postwar Hollywood Biblical Films

4.92 (14 ratings by Goodreads)
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Lavish musical soundtracks contributed a special grandeur to the new widescreen, stereophonic sound movie experience of postwar biblical epics such as Samson and Delilah, Ben-Hur, and Quo Vadis. In Epic Sound, Stephen C. Meyer shows how music was utilized for various effects, sometimes serving as a vehicle for narrative plot and at times complicating biblical and cinematic interpretation. In this way, the soundscapes of these films reflected the ideological and aesthetic tensions within the genre, and more generally, within postwar American society. By examining key biblical films, Meyer adeptly engages musicology with film studies to explore cinematic interpretations of the Bible during the 1940s through the 1960s.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 152.4 x 228.6 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 11 b&w illus., 57 music exx.
  • 0253014514
  • 9780253014511
  • 2,031,574

Review quote

Epic Sound is a major contribution to the field of film music studies and ought to be widely read by musicologists with an interest in film. Really, it ought to be read by film scholars as well: although the depth of Meyer's engagement with the music is felt on almost every page, this is also a powerfully sustained exploration of the biblical epic as a film genre. * American Music * Stephen C. Meyer provides detailed, historically grounded research into the music of post-Second World War biblical epics. 4/1/16 * Music, Sound and the Moving Image * This is a well-researched and thorough book examining what the author finds to be a unique facet of film music of the late 1940s and early 1950s - its use, sometimes to glorious excess, in the biblical epics of postwar Hollywood. * Soundtrax *show more

About Stephen C. Meyer

Stephen C. Meyer is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University. He is author of Carl Maria von Weber and the Search for a German Opera (IUP, 2003).show more

Table of contents

AcknowledgementsNote to ReadersIntroduction1. A Biblical Story, for the Post-World-War II Generation?: Victor Young's Music for DeMille's Samson and Delilah2. Turning Away from "Concocted Spectacle": Alfred Newman's Score for David and Bathsheba3. Spectacle and Authenticity in Miklos Rozsa's Quo Vadis Score4. Novel and Film, Music and Miracle: Alfred Newman's Score to The Robe5. Spirit and Empire: Elmer Bernstein's Score to The Ten Commandments6. The Law of Genre and the Music for Ben-Hur7. King of Kings and the Problem of Repetition8. Suoni nuovi, suoni antichi: The Soundscapes of Barabbas9. Universality, Transcendence, and Collapse: Music and The Greatest Story Ever ToldEpilogueNotesBibliographyIndexshow more

Rating details

14 ratings
4.92 out of 5 stars
5 93% (13)
4 7% (1)
3 0% (0)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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