Film Music by Paul Tonks
Pocket Essentials softback, pocket sized , 96 pages
ISBN 1-903047-63-3 £3:99
This is a very compact and concise history of
film music stretching from the silent era, through the ‘Golden and Silver
Ages’ to the present day. Paul Tonks, one of Film Music on
the Web’s reviewers, covers the ground rapidly yet astutely concentrating
on landmark scores and the more important contributions of leading composers.
Sensibly, he concentrates on the film music of more recent decades -
the music of the Golden and Silver Ages has been more than adequately
covered in books by Christopher Palmer and Tony Thomas. On the way,
Tonks makes telling comments about the changes in the genre – not all
for the better, particularly over the last ten years, as this site has
One of the best features of the book is the chapter entitled ‘Hitting
the Right Note', in which Tonks gives a condensed yet detailed account
of the varying stages through which a score is commissioned, written
and used within a film and transferred to CD as the soundtrack album.
Tonks worries that so many worthy orchestral scores are now lost, delayed
or ignored because of the trend of releasing albums of songs from films
ahead of their orchestral scores – a trend that is becoming all too
frequent and one that increasingly irritates the buying public and threatens
to destroy their confidence in the genre.
This valuable and inexpensive book also has a short bibliography,
a list of specialist film music magazines, film music web sites, and
film music composer appreciation web sites, together with a list of
recommended film music CDs. Recommended to student and enthusiasts alike.