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What kind of music is that?

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What kind of music is that?

Postby sidd finch » Mon May 07, 2018 3:56 pm

This one might be difficult because I am not even sure how to accurately describe the question.

In the 1960's there were a lot of serial TV shows like Flipper, Hazel, Bewitched etc. that would have some incidental music playing on a radio while the characters were talking ect. Sometimes the character would be acting and the scene called for them to turn on the radio and listen to music. The music was always just a background element of the show's scene but I think the music would make for some interesting video elements.

What would that music type be called and is there a way to find it either by title or by artist. My apologies in advance if my question is not so clear


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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Bob » Mon May 07, 2018 6:20 pm

That is called "incidental music" or "background music". Never the primary focus, it supports or enhances the scene or establishes atmosphere. It's a pretty general term and can apply to any use of music in a scene such your example of radio music or even live musicians so long as it's used in a supporting role. In theater, "incidental music" can also apply to the music played during scene changes or interludes.

As to what to search for, that's tough because the term is so broad. It kind of depends on the specific style or type of music you need for your scene. Is the person listening to Heavy Metal or 40's Swing or are they a Parrothead or a Deadhead. If you're looking for generic elevator style music, you'll likely have better luck searching for background music rather than incidental music. Or, search for the style you are looking for.
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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Steve Grisetti » Mon May 07, 2018 7:12 pm

Studios have libraries of "production music", including some for specifically that purpose. The music was written to represent a certain generic music style without interfering with the action. For that reason it's always instrumental. Whenever someone on Gilligan's Island tuned to a rock and roll station, for instance, the same twangy rock guitar song was playing, for instance.

I doubt you could find it by title and artist since it was most likely created as a work-for-hire by studio musicians specifically so that the studio would own it and they could use it whenever they wanted without paying anyone any royalties.

There was also generic TV show sound. Remember that? Back in the 1950s and 1960s, whenever someone on TV turned on the TV, it always seemed to be playing the same cavalry charge, with bugles, gunfire and whooping Indians. Remember that? Though I think there was also a collection of cartoony sound effects that played whenever they should kids watching cartoons.
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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby RJ Johnston » Mon May 07, 2018 9:15 pm

I thought that maybe TV scripts would list the music. Of the few I searched, none mention the word "music."

For the Abyss movie script, there was one reference to a song on the radio: "Willing." There is no mention of the artist or label, just that it is a truck driver song.

I didn't realize that whole TV and movie scripts could be found online. I searched for TV and movie scripts, teleplays, screenplays. Some of the scripts are on images in PDF files, so they aren't directly searchable.
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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Steve Grisetti » Tue May 08, 2018 7:29 am

For most basic production music, it's usually a decision of the post production supervisor, unless the director has a preference or recommendation. The song Robert references from the "Abyss" was probably commissioned specifically for the movie, so the song's writer and performers surrendered any rights to it.

Meantime, here's some Water Cooler trivia that has almost nothing to do with what we're talking about. Do you know what "American Graffiti" and "Touch of Evil" have in common? Neither movie has any incidental music! Despite having one of the most popular soundtrack albums of all time, all of the music in "American Graffiti" is part of the action. In other words, the songs are all either playing on a car radio or are performed live by people in the movie. None of it is incidental music that the audience hears but the characters in the movie do not! Same with "Touch of Evil", another of my all time favorite movies.
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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby sidd finch » Tue May 08, 2018 11:43 am

Thank you for the insight and tops.

I ended up coming across a term that was used called "underscore" I do remember the whooping Indians... :)

Your comments are relevant as this music was intended to be incidental and to only provide background. The composers are just providing a service and not in anyway a musical band.

I will see if I can find a scene that has some of the music I was mentioning.

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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Bob » Tue May 08, 2018 12:03 pm

The song in The Abyss mentioned is Willin' by Lowell George. Originally recorded by George's band, Little Feat, it was covered by other artists too. I think the version used in the movie was covered by Linda Ronstadt. I would assume the studio actually licensed this one.

Sidd, let us know if you find a scene with the music you mentioned.

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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby sidd finch » Fri May 11, 2018 5:54 pm

Well I found something close. The spiderman underscore music. skip to about 2 minutes.



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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby sidd finch » Sat May 12, 2018 3:49 pm

Well thank you to everyone's help I think I found it. It is called Seeburg Background music. I have included a clip as an example.





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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Chuck Engels » Sat May 12, 2018 4:43 pm

When I was in radio we had an entire room full of music and sound effects to use for commercials or programs that we ran. Most of it was recorded on vinyl but some were reel to reel tape.
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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Steve Grisetti » Sat May 12, 2018 9:18 pm

Such a cool find, Sidd!
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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby sidd finch » Sun May 13, 2018 12:05 pm

Thanks Steve.

The song I remember I have heard (not sure what tv show) starts at 8:20. To me it is that happy busy day song...



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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Bob » Sun May 13, 2018 1:09 pm

That's Holiday for Strings composed by David Rose. It was the theme song for The Red Skelton Show. The music became very popular and eventually was used all over the place. Even Spike Jones did a parody of it.

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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby Dave McElderry » Sun May 13, 2018 3:25 pm

Amazing, the memories that invokes. Shall we nostalge a bit?
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Re: What kind of music is that?

Postby sidd finch » Thu May 17, 2018 11:29 am

ok.... Dave......

When Lawrence Welk was in syndication I can remember them playing that song. But Sissy & Bobby did not dance to it. lol



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