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Film Studies Research Guide: Music & Sound in Movies

A guide to conducting research in Film Studies at Yale University, including key resources and crucial search strategies.

Music and Sound in the Movies

What's Here

The role of sound, sound effects and music in movies is a topic of growing interest. Below are some examples of how to search Orbis for materials on this subject, and a selection of reference materials.


The Music Library has most of the books on movie music at Yale.



Example Subject Headings for Searching Orbis



Selected Reference Materials


The American musical film song encyclopedia. Thomas S. Hischak. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.

MUSIC LIBRARY Reference, ML 101M

The complete index to British sound film since 1928. Ed. Alan Goble. London ; Melbourne ; Munich ; New Providence, NJ : Bowker Saur, c1999.

SML Reference, PN1993.5 G7 +G63X 1999

Encyclopedia of motion picture sound. Marty McGee. Jefferson, N.C.; London: McFarland, c2001.

SML Reference, TK7881.4 M47X 2001

Film composers in America: a filmography, 1911-1970. Clifford McCarty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

MUSIC LIBRARY Reference, ML128 M93 M1 2000

Film music collections in the United States: a guide. Hollywood, Calif.: Society for the Preservation of Film Music, 1996.

MUSIC LIBRARY Reference, ML128 M93 F48+

Film Score Monthly

Film Score Monthly is a magazine about motion picture and television music. It focuses primarily on background music rather than scores. The website provides a supplement to their hardcopy magazine.

Film Score Rundowns

Cue-by-cue musical analysis of classic film and television scores.

Keeping score: film and television music, 1988-1997. Alvin H. Marill. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

MUSIC LIBRARY Reference, ML128 M93 L73 1998

Music in the Public Domain

A reference site to help the people identify music and songs in the public domain.

A research guide to film and television music in the United States. Jeannie Gayle Pool, H. Stephen Wright. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Music Library, ML2075 P821 R4


SoundtrackNet aims to centralize Internet resources relating to the genre of film and television music.

Soundtracks: an international dictionary of composers for film. Stewart R. Craggs. Aldershot, Hants, England; Ashgate, 1998.

MUSIC LIBRARY Reference, ML102 M93 C8

Warner Bros. sound effects library. 2 CD-ROMs. Warner Bros. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Distributed by Sound Ideas, 1992.

MUSIC LIBRARY Circulation Desk, CDRM 4


Director, Film Study Center