Sunday, 9 August 2009


Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel.

I watched Jaws the other day and it made me realise how much the music made the film and, without it, there would have been no fear factor, no tension. Whenever the music began you knew that the shark would be appearing, and the tension started to build inside of you. Without the music, it would be a nothing film. Amazing how, obviously you cant watch it in mute because you wouldn't be able to hear them talking, but if you do remove the volume at certain key moments, all of the fear and the character of the film is removed. You then focus on the key feature in the film, the shark, and notice that the shark isn’t scary, but the music makes it scary, and that half the time the actual shark is played and symbolized by the music. So not only does the music create tension and anxiety it is also, I feel, the character of the film.

Jaws brought a fear of going into the water. When people are slightly dubious about stepping into the water their friends will start to sing or hum the music from this film, which shows what a massive effect the music has had on so many people. This film was successful because it tapped into the innate fear that we all have of going into the water.

Like so many other things in life, the simplicity of the music is its strength - using only two different notes creating a fear. The music was by John Williams.

You would think that going to the cinema to see a film, of your five senses, the visual would be the most stimulating, yet with this film, your hearing takes control.

A good example of how to make a film successful you need to stimulate far more than just the visual. And this film with a very weak story line was saved and made by the musical score.

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